any good books on early, preHollywood cinema?1890s - 1907ish

Open, general discussion of silent films, personalities and history.
User avatar
Darren Nemeth
Posts: 1218
Joined: Tue Dec 18, 2007 11:58 am
Location: Waterford Township, Michigan
Contact:

any good books on early, preHollywood cinema?1890s - 1907ish

Unread post by Darren Nemeth » Wed Aug 14, 2013 1:54 pm

Are there any good scholarly books on the business end of cinema from the pre Hollywood era?

Film distribution, nickelodions, store front theatres and traveling exhibitors?
"How to Film Moving Pictures in the 1910's" by Darren Nemeth
https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/12 ... n-early-ci

User avatar
Gene Zonarich
Posts: 254
Joined: Fri Oct 01, 2010 3:48 pm
Contact:

Re: any good books on early, preHollywood cinema?1890s - 190

Unread post by Gene Zonarich » Wed Aug 14, 2013 2:18 pm

Darren Nemeth wrote:Are there any good scholarly books on movies from the pre Hollywood era?

Nickelodions, store front theatres and traveling exhibitors?
Yes. The most comprehensive book that I've read on early American cinema is The Emergence of Cinema: The American Screen to 1907 by Charles Musser. Exhaustively researched and detailed account of the pioneers of motion photography in the U. S. up to 1907. It is Volume 1 of the History of American Cinema series, Univ. of California Press, 1990. Highly recommended. Another excellent book with a more narrow focus is Nickelodeon City, Pittsburgh at the Movies 1905-1929 by Michael Aronson, Univ. of Pittsburgh Press, 2008, with emphasis on how the nickelodeon concept caught fire (sometimes literally) in Pittsburgh and swept much of the nation. While thoroughly covering the inventors, the marketers, and the nascent industry, The Musser book also contains discussion of specific films and the filmmakers; the Aronson book concentrates on the exhibitors.
I’m the King of the silent pictures -- I’m hidin’ out ‘til talkies blow over!” ~ Mickey One
Continue the conversation at "11 East 14th St":
http://11east14thstreet.com/" target="_blank" target="_blank

Daniel Eagan
Posts: 791
Joined: Wed Dec 19, 2007 7:14 am
Contact:

Re: any good books on early, preHollywood cinema?1890s - 190

Unread post by Daniel Eagan » Wed Aug 14, 2013 2:32 pm

The two books mentioned above are great.

Charles Musser also wrote Before the Nickelodeon; although it focuses pretty closely on Edwin S. Porter, the book explains a lot about the business of cinema. (Some overlap with The Emergence of Cinema.)

I also like Film Before Griffith, edited by John Fell. Split into essays about production, distribution, etc.

There's also Screening Out the Past by Lary May which was a bit too academic for my tastes. Did have a good discussion about when NYC ordered all its movie theaters closed.

I've had From Peep Show to Palace by David Robinson (introduction by Martin Scorsese) for years but have never managed to read it. It looks pretty thorough.

User avatar
Jack Theakston
Posts: 1850
Joined: Tue Dec 18, 2007 3:25 pm
Location: New York, USA
Contact:

Re: any good books on early, preHollywood cinema?1890s - 190

Unread post by Jack Theakston » Wed Aug 14, 2013 3:36 pm

All good suggestions. Also, to see how stage shows were having an effect on film, check out "From Stage to Screen" by A. Nicholas Vardac. He goes into quite a bit how the Belasco productions shaped the look of film from the 1905-1915 period.
J. Theakston
"You get more out of life when you go out to a movie!"

User avatar
David Menefee
Posts: 124
Joined: Sat Jul 26, 2008 5:49 pm
Location: Author, editor, and Assistant Publisher BearManor Media
Contact:

Re: any good books on early, preHollywood cinema?1890s - 190

Unread post by David Menefee » Wed Aug 14, 2013 4:20 pm

Here's an immediately available FREE online article that's beautifully detailed: "The Romantic History of Motion Pictures." By Terry Ramsaye in Film Yearbook 1922-1923. Simply visit http://www.thegreatstars.com/the_romant ... ye.htm#The" target="_blank" target="_blank Romantic History of Motion Pictures article. If this link does not work, visit http://www.thegreatstars.com" target="_blank" target="_blank. Click on FREE STUFF>FREE ARTICLES>THE ROMANTIC HISTORY OF MOTION PICTURES.

Speaking of Terry Ramsay's work, his highly detailed book, A Million and One Nights, still remains as one of the best accounts of the full evolution of the movies. Used copies are currently available at some stiff bid prices on Ebay, but some used copies are also available on Amazon.com for as low as about $10.

And here is an online source for free PDFs of a number of great books about the history of pre-cinema:
http://muse.jhu.edu/books/9780299098735" target="_blank" target="_blank

User avatar
Frederica
Posts: 4852
Joined: Wed Dec 19, 2007 1:00 pm
Location: Kowea Town, Los Angeles

Re: any good books on early, preHollywood cinema?1890s - 190

Unread post by Frederica » Wed Aug 14, 2013 7:56 pm

One of the best sources for information on the early history of cinema is Luke McKernan's blog, The Bioscope, at http://thebioscope.net/" target="_blank" target="_blank
Fred
"Screw the men. I've got the horse."
Helen B. (Penny) Chenery
http://www.nitanaldi.com" target="_blank"
http://www.facebook.com/NitaNaldiSilentVamp" target="_blank"

User avatar
silentfilm
Moderator
Posts: 9354
Joined: Tue Dec 18, 2007 12:31 pm
Location: Dallas, TX USA
Contact:

Re: any good books on early, preHollywood cinema?1890s - 190

Unread post by silentfilm » Wed Aug 14, 2013 8:26 pm

I'll second the two Charles Musser books.

Also, The Ciné Goes to Town: French Cinema 1896-1914 and The Red Rooster Scare: Making Cinema American 1900-1910, both by Richard Abel.

A great picture/film book is Before Hollywood: Turn of the Century American Film compiled by several authors.

g50henry
Posts: 3
Joined: Fri May 19, 2017 6:59 pm

Re: any good books on early, preHollywood cinema?1890s - 190

Unread post by g50henry » Sun Jul 22, 2018 1:47 pm

MANY years ago I read THE LIVLIEST ART (Arthur Knight), do not remember any detail, but recall it as informative.
One of the books listed in many lists of source material is Terry Ramsaye's A MILLION AND ONE NIGHTS, with the caveat that dates and facts are not precisely accurate. I think I obtained a copy, but never read it. Recently I started reading it, got through perhaps a couple of chapters, but find the inflated purple prose not to my liking. Others have found it most illuminating - If anyone here has read it I would be interested in your comments. Perhaps later chapters are more interesting?
Another A HISTORY OF THE MOVIES by Benjamin Hampton (1931), available in a retitled DOVER reprint with new introduction by Richard Griffith, and also in print on demand sources. Huge collection of photos included - I found it enlightening and nicely written.
The University of California also published a multi vol. history
including Charles Musser's The Emergence of Cinema. Any comments - this seems to be well regarded.

Another interesting book, though far from complete and sometimes lacking in detail is American Film Studios: An Historical Encyclopedia by Gene Fernett McFarland, 1988.

There is huge and expensive McGraw Hill publication which seems to cover everything from early history through current, and world cinema - ilm History: An Introduction, 3rd Edition by Kristin Thompson, David Bordwell McGraw Hill 2009.
Anyone famoiliar with this/ and any idea if a new edition is in the works ??

Thanks!

User avatar
Rodney
Posts: 2352
Joined: Mon Jan 07, 2008 11:09 am
Location: Louisville, Colorado
Contact:

Re: any good books on early, preHollywood cinema?1890s - 190

Unread post by Rodney » Sun Jul 22, 2018 4:47 pm

Silent Film Sound by Rick Altman focuses on music, effects, and narration, but has quite a bit of well-documented information about early film exhibition
Rodney Sauer
The Mont Alto Motion Picture Orchestra
www.mont-alto.com
"Let the Music do the Talking!"

g50henry
Posts: 3
Joined: Fri May 19, 2017 6:59 pm

Re: any good books on early, preHollywood cinema?1890s - 190

Unread post by g50henry » Tue Jul 24, 2018 1:01 pm

noticed a series of 6 books by Richard Dyer MacCann (Scarecrow Press) under the rubric AMERICAN MOVIES THE FIRST THIRTY YEARS. Individual titles:
The First Tycoons
The First Film Makers
Films of the 1920s
The Silent Screen
The Silent Comedians
The Stars Appear.
a note indicates that there is a series of 12 half-hour lectures available from the University of Iowa corresponding to the books in this series (are there 6 additional titles extant, or planned but not produced? or 2 lectures per book ??).
Anyone know this series - comments ?? Thanks.

User avatar
silentfilm
Moderator
Posts: 9354
Joined: Tue Dec 18, 2007 12:31 pm
Location: Dallas, TX USA
Contact:

Re: any good books on early, preHollywood cinema?1890s - 190

Unread post by silentfilm » Wed Jul 25, 2018 11:33 am

I have Films of the 1920s. It is a slim book with reprints of articles about important films. The articles (really essays) were from the 1930s through the 1970s.

Post Reply