Big

It was back in 1992, when an envelope turned up on my desk at the BFI. It came from the Nederlands Filmmuseum (now EYE Filmmuseum), and contained a number of frame stills of very early films that they were preserving. They wanted help in identifying them. They were marvellous, intriguing, baffling images. There were scenesRead More

Now in paperback

I’m delighted to be able to report that my 2013 book, Charles Urban: Pioneering the Non-Fiction Film in Britain and America, 1897-1925, is now available in paperback, from University of Exeter Press. Previously available in hardback at a price best suited to the specialist library market, or as an e-book (has anyone purchase Urban theRead More

Discovering Kinemacolor

Kinemacolor was the world’s first successful natural colour motion picture system. It was preceded by some trial colour systems that did not work in practice, and it competed against artificial systems which painted colours onto film stock. Kinemacolor was the first system successfully to achieve one of the primary goals of the pioneers of motionRead More

Playing dead

Last weekend I sat through six hours and thirty-seven minutes of of Les Misérables (France 1925), the longest film I’ve ever experienced at a single sitting. It was shown at the Barbican in London, two comfort breaks and a supper break along the way. Neil Brand provided the live piano score, as he had withRead More

Lost colours

I’ve been adding more images to my Flickr pages reflecting the works of Charles Urban. Having started with pictures from his 1903 catalogue We put the World Before You, I’ve turned to another treasure among his catalogues, the Catalogue of Kinemacolor Film Subjects (1912). Copies of this catalogue are rarer than hen’s teeth, and I’mRead More

Amleto

Next month, on 23 June, I am introducing the film Amleto at the Bristol Watershed. It’s an Italian film, made in 1917, and yes it’s the story of Hamlet. Among all the celebrations of quatercentenarian William Shakespeare, and among almost every book written on Shakespeare and film, you will find no mention of this gem,Read More