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Thursday, March 27, 2008

A Little Film History

On yesterday's date, in 1885, the Eastman Dry Plate and Film Co. of Rochester, New York, manufactured the first commercial film.

Just two years later, Kodak introduced it's first camera, and in that same year, the first motion pictures were made. (A timeline of early photography can be seen here.) Fast forward to 2001, and you'll we find the ten major motion picture film companies accounting for more than $8 billion in revenue!

We have a DVD that includes some of the early films of Auguste and Louis Lumiere, Lumiere Brothers' First Films [DVD 791.43 LUM]. These films were made during 1895-1897, and shown to the public, only ten years after the introduction of the first commercial film. The amazing part of the DVD for me is the clarity of the images. I would have thought that there'd be major damage considering how old the movies are. To learn more about the Lumiere brothers, visit this site.

Moving forward a few years, we have a weighty (literally) volume of motion picture history called Conversations with the Great Moviemakers of Hollywood's Golden Age at the American Film Institute edited by George Stevens, Jr. [791.43 CON]. Stevens is the son of the famous director, George Stevens, and his mother worked in Hollywood during the early years, so he comes steeped in film history. Some of the moviemakers covered are Fritz Lang, Frank Capra, William Wyler, Alfred Hitchcock, John Huston, and Frederico Fellini.

A brand new book we just received is Pictures at a Revolution: Five Movies and the Birth of the New Hollywood by Mark Harris [791.43 HAR]. There was nice review of it in the New York Times. It might be fun to read the book and then watch the five films, which were nominated for the 1968 Academy Award for best picture. We have them all--Bonnie and Clyde, Dr. Dolittle (the Rex Harrison version), The Graduate, Guess Who's Coming to Dinner?, and In the Heat of the Night.

Don't forget the popcorn!

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