In Bologna

I spent three days last week at Il Cinema Ritrovato, the renowned festival of restored and classic films held each year in Bologna, Italy. To my great shame it has been twenty-two years since I last attended the festival (though I was in the vicinity for a talk I gave three years ago). The reasonRead More

What is cinema history?

The art of Biography Is different from Geography. Geography is about maps, But Biography is about chaps. I thought of E.C. Bentley’s pithy poem while I was attending the What is Cinema History? conference in Glasgow. The conference was organised by the Early Cinema in Scotland project (on whose advisory board I sit), and addressedRead More

In Copenhagen

I’m just back from Copenhagen, a city that I’ve been to four times now in as many years. No complaints about that – it’s a city of great charm and calm. It’s a place through which to drift on an even tenor. The streets are intriguing, the shops (frequently with basement-level windows) are inviting, theRead More

Popular science

The birth of the popular science film – Francis Martin Duncan appears as the scientist in Cheese Mites, the notorious film he made for Charles Urban in 1903. The full film was only recently discovered by Oliver Gaycken (lurking on YouTube under a made-up title) Two books are to be published shortly which cover theRead More

Eroica

Yesterday I saw the five-and-a-half hour restoration of Abel Gance’s Napoléon (1927), which was shown at the Royal Festival Hall between 13:30 and 21:30 (there were three intervals), with the Philharmonia Orchestra and Carl Davis conducting his music. It’s the third time I’ve seen the film (not counting the DVD of the US version ofRead More

Charles Urban

On 1 August University of Exeter Press is publishing my book, Charles Urban: Pioneering the Non-Fiction Film in Britain and America, 1897-1925. It is based on my PhD thesis, which I completed in 2003, but it has been updated with reference to new research in the field, though equally the word-length has been cut downRead More