Posts Tagged ‘early cinema’

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David Devant producing a rabbit in 1896

The early years of animated pictures were years of invention: a primitive technology was played with – “hacked” if we want to use a modern term – to become more reliable, safer, cheaper, of better quality. The presentation of moving pictures was a great novelty for public entertainment and it will eventually, in slightly more than 20 years from its inception, kill those live performances that had provided light entertainment for all social classes since the mid of the 19th century.

With the invention of motion picture cameras in the 1890s, films, under one minute length, started to be shown by itinerant performers, or used as acts in a variety (vaudeville) programme, in between live performances. The novelty of cinema attracted conjurers to it, from Georges Méliès, the major technical innovator of special effects in the early history of cinema, to various travelling performers who rented or built their own projecting machines to show films, to David Devant, the premier British illusionist of the time and the subject of this article. (more…)

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