Talk:History of film

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I came to make the point about the US-centric standpoint. I see it's already being discussed, but it jumped out immediately to me when reading. I don't know enough to correct it, but discussion of non-US film is comparatively sparse and always under the rubric of 'foreign film.'

I too wish to make it known that the aricle is too US centred. It is commonly acknowledged that the first full length feature film was made in Australia about the bushranger Ned Kelly. Just because the film is not from Hollywood, doesn't make it a foreign film.

Lazy at the end[edit]

Most of this article is pretty good and in depth, but the writer(s) seems to get lazy near the end with odd sentence structures and "short hand". Sentences such as "The history of film and video distributed online began in the year 1994 with the first public showing of Quentin Tarantino's Pulp Fiction. Influence of Comics. Smoke, 1995. In the 1990s, cinema began the process of making another transition, from physical film stock to digital cinema technology. Pixar, The Matrix. Meanwhile, in the home video realm, the DVD would become the new standard for watching movies after their standard theatrical releases. Just look forward to the future." aren't very encyclopedic and need cleaning up. They seem very stream of conscious or something like you would read in an email. Statements need to be explained better and more in depth so the reader can understand why something is that way.

Yes, what the hell is up with 3.8-3.10?? 05:46, 6 October 2006 (UTC)

Birth of cinema[edit]

I think this article has a US-English POV bias. The Louis Lumieres brothers are presented (in the middle of the text) merely as some of the creators who helped on technical stuff. But they actually both introduced a major breakthrough in the technical way of making a modern movie, and secondly they are the first ones who actually understood what the cinema was for, that is something meant to have a very large audience - contrary to the other "precursors" who saw it as a toy for very rich people. The Louis Lumieres borthers are, regarding these two aspects, the real inventors of cinema and I think there should be more emphasis on this.

Also, see Louis Le Prince. The birth of cinem part is doubly inaccurate and needs heavy editing.

Random Early Comments[edit]

This article should be better called "History of Cinema in the United States" Is'nt it a shame to be so narrow minded and so arrogant?

We must add bits on daguerrotypes and the introduction of film itself, allowing for multiple copies of a work--surely a crucial development in film history.

I'm not sure what to make of part of the article on France--Truffaut's last film was completed in 1983, and Godard finished one last year (2000). Do you mean that these were influential personalities during that era? Why in that era specifically? What did they do? Would they be as influential now, with later generations continuing to discover their work at revival houses and on video? Also, could I add Louis Malle? (Au Revoir Les Enfants, Damage, My Dinner With Andre)

Plenty of subpages here that could be given new page names. -- Tarquin 10:30 Jul 26, 2002 (PDT)

There seems to have been a vast momement from articles using the word film to using cinema without much discussion. Mintguy (T) 01:36, 6 Feb 2004 (UTC)

Surely more important than storage or display technology is the improvements in digital film camera technology??

Regarding who was the first practical inventor of film for audience, no mention is made of Edwar Amet of Waukegan, Illinois and his "Magniscope" which he invented in 1894, a year before the Lumiere Bros. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:11, 18 April 2010 (UTC)

American POV?[edit]

Folks, I've created an outline here and am putting in points to briefly cover. I can see this as a very Wiki-dense article. Most of my citations are regarding American cinema, so if anyone wants to include Goddard, Malle, &c. before I get to it please go ahead. -- Zosodada 01:28, 20 Jan 2005 (UTC)

This page used to be about the technical developments in cinema. You've clearly put a lot of effort into adding material. As you say, almost all of it is about America. I think its gone beyond the point where we can redress the POV — we're not just talking about including Goddard here, we're talking about 'highlights of the 20th century for rest of the world'. Russian? Indian? Chinese? That's just for starters. Plus a lot of American stuff would have to go, if we're to retain some sort of reasonable level of world significance — the article goes into more detail about US cinema than Cinema of the United States! Its an epic task to make this NPOV. The first step would be to delete over half the article, which would be a waste.
I think it would be easier to split the article into two parts:
  1. History of cinema in the United States, which would have to be reconciled somehow with Cinema of the United States.
  2. History of cinema, developed from a brutally edited version of the current article.
This isn't an attack on American cinema or the work done here, I just think the material needs to be structured properly. Jihg 23:58, Feb 7, 2005 (UTC)
I hope to include more world cinema as time allows, this is still under development (the same state as most wiki articles). My primary reference is Oxford History of World Cinema which would be less than half of its size without mention of US cinema. There's plenty of room here for citations of, e.g., the first anime feature, the introduction of color film in the UK, the British studio system, cinema in India and Hong Kong, &c. Most of the sentences here are pretty short and we're a far cry from maxing out on size so there's plenty of room for more info which would be preferable than less. I also see this as a gateway to other Wiki articles. If you care to list your favorite WP articles on non-US world cinema, go ahead and squeeze 'em in. With time the list might be more than a list as it coalesces into prose. I do hope, however, that it is possible to keep the quality of the links on this one up. Personally, I don't feel the need to categorize this history according to country anymore than I would be inclined to dedicate articles entirely to Italian producers, German directors or English actors.Zosodada 06:54, 8 Feb 2005 (UTC)
So we're agreed the article as it stands is US POV? I appreciate that anybody is free to add their own non-US citations, my point is that this is not going to make the article NPOV within a few days. -- Jihg
Considering it's dormant state and largely British bias for -- years? months? -- I, for one, am not concerned with playing beat the clock. If anyone has more energy or time than I do and is up for a marathon editing session, they're welcome to have at it. -- Zosodada
There was no British bias, but let's not argue about that. And I'm not suggesting any time limits here. Besides, neither point justifies the current POV: we must change the title, or move material elsewhere, or indicate somehow that the page is currently POV. This is the key issue I'd like to achieve a consensus on. Jihg 09:51, Feb 10, 2005 (UTC)
Non-US cinema is not one of Wikipedia's strong points, and its going to take a lot of research and editing to redress the balance here. So what we've got here is a page that will most likely violate policy for weeks or months to come. Hence my suggestion to split the article — it will maintain NPOV while we work. But if you want to move forward from the current article we can do that. We will need to use Template:NPOV or similar until we get close to something resembling neutrality. Also, I think its a shame that a good article on the history of Hoollywood is going to get lost. -- Jihg
The basis of your non-NPOV claim seems to be that there is more information here on US cinema than in another article. I see the problem as a dearth of information in the other article, not a surplus here. Zosodada 02:50, 10 Feb 2005 (UTC)
I agree there's a lack of information. However you put it, the article is unbalanced. Jihg 09:51, Feb 10, 2005 (UTC)

Zosodada, can we drag the discussion back to my original point: Do you agree that the page as it stands is unintenionally POV? Would you support any of the suggestions I've made: we change the title, or move material elsewhere, or indicate somehow that the page is currently POV? Or have you an alternative plan which will help this page conform to Wikipedia policy? Jihg 09:40, Feb 11, 2005 (UTC)

No, I still don't agree. It's still too early in the development to claim POV or bias. I don't support changing the title. Some of the material could be moved elsewhere, yes. Much of the material has been moved elsewhere, e.g. Vitascope now has its own article. This doesn't suggest that much should be removed from here. I see someone -- perhaps yourself? -- has reformatted the outline to incorporate the three-part outline that Nowell-Smith uses while still retaining the ages of H'wd as sub-headers. I think this is something that is quite agreeable to both of us. (I had avoided it as not to lean too heavily on OHWD, but this doesn't look as derivative as I had imagined.) As for an alternative plan I would suggest either adding to the outline to incorporate any subjects you think are overlooked, or, alternatively, completely reformatting to a "timeline" style as in the first sections. Zosodada 20:27, 14 Feb 2005 (UTC)

After skimming through your discussion, I've decided to add the "Globalize/USA|section" tag to the article. I agree that it is too early to claim POV/bias though, and I would not support a title change. Lewis512 (talk) 23:44, 7 January 2009 (UTC)

Reference books[edit]

US cinema may dominate reference books, but that's mainly an excess of material of relative unimportance to cinema in general. If you had to summarise your Oxford History (like, in an encyclopedia article...) then US cinema would be a major theme, but it would be massively POV to proportion it like the original book. -- Jihg
I don't understand this point, sorry. -- Z.
Sorry, it was made badly. I was trying to say that a bias towards US material in reference works doesn't justify an equal bias in this article. Jihg 09:51, Feb 10, 2005 (UTC)
Have you read OHWC? If you're suggesting that it's biased that you obviously see bias everywhere. There is more information about US cinema because there is more work coming from the US than any other during most of the history (of course, Indian cinema holds the banner on the basis of quantity at this point.) Trying to spin it otherwise is bias in favor of historical revisionism. Zosodada 18:38, 10 Feb 2005 (UTC)
I'm not suggesting OHWC, which I've never read, is biased. I was objecting to "My primary reference is OHWC which would be less than half of its size without mention of US cinema" as a justification for a similar proportion of US cinema in this article. It was a small point, and discussing it is going nowhere. Honestly, it looks like a great book! Jihg 09:40, Feb 11, 2005 (UTC)

National cinemas[edit]

Also, nationality of production is generally agreed to be the most practical way to make sense of the vast world of cinema, as reflected in the majority of writing on the subject. It has nothing to do with nationalism or even the nationality of the people involved. There are many trans-national themes, but they're usually looked at in the context of national cinemas. This page will have to reflect that, up to a point. Jihg 13:54, Feb 8, 2005 (UTC)
I disagree with your second point, the national origin of any non-politically motivated work is relatively unimportant to issues of style, genre, theme, content and context and the historic precedent and significance set by the technical or artistic achievements in the works that secures their place in the greater history. As this is a history, the structural context should be historical and chronological rather than political, although a political history of film is a worthy idea for another article. -- Z.
Are you kidding? OK, one could easily make too much of 'national cinemas', and all the other things you mention are important. But nationality is one of the fundamental organisational concepts of film studies, especially when writing histories. The majority of British films of the 1930s are more similar to each other than they are to American or German films of the same period, in style and in the context in which they were made. The significance of a film differs between cultures. Clearly there are exceptions to both these generalisations, but they're extremely useful in understanding the history of cinema. Political content has nothing to do with it. Jihg 09:51, Feb 10, 2005 (UTC)
I'm sorry, I see national boundaries as political constructions. British cinemas in the 1930's were largely dominated by American movies. If you'd like to add a bit about Zoltan Korda and King Vidor, please go ahead, I haven't even gotten to include The Third Man yet. Zosodada 18:38, 10 Feb 2005 (UTC)
Nations can also have distinct cultures. Many have had distinct cinematic histories. Denying this is POV. Also, we talking about national production: box office dominance of the US doesn't void the fact that other countries made their own films.
This has developed into a vague argument with no immediate consequences for the page. I think we've both entrenched ourselves in somewhat extreme positions. Could we agree that the cultural context of a film's production can have an affect on its style, genre, theme, ...? Jihg 09:40, Feb 11, 2005 (UTC)
Well, I think the new additions by many people are legitimate improvements. What items for inclusion do you feel would balance this out in the direction you're pulling for? I would be more interested in your suggestions for additions rather than subtractions at the moment. Once this is fleshed out some consideration for info movement or article creation might be useful. Zosodada 20:27, 14 Feb 2005 (UTC)

New Hollywood[edit]

Why is New Hollywood not mentioned at all in this article? I think this is a important aspect of (American) cinema, shifting the balance of power and all (producers lost their powers while directors became more important). I was wondering if there was any reason it was not included in this article?

I don't know. Probably worth mentioning in that time period, most of the article really needs to be rewritten anyway MechBrowman 23:27, Apr 18, 2005 (UTC)

Maverick directors[edit]

I've removed this director list as I'm not really sure how it fits in. But if someone wants to expand on it and go into the autuer theory or whatever then please do. JW 00:52, 8 Jun 2005 (UTC)

Merge with film[edit]

An anon user wrote this:

{{merge|Film]] How can such an enormous article, with all this data, exist when "cinema" defaults to "film"? There are two competing major articles, unlinked to each other or to their attachments. Good grief!

I didn't correct the merge template and just removed it because an article on the history of a topic is quite common. Music and History of music for example. The article on film and an article on the history of cinema are quite different. MechBrowman 20:53, Jun 8, 2005 (UTC)

The main issue here, for me, is that the Film article all but declares that Film is the Wikipedia default term for "movies", "moving pictures", "motion pictures" - and "cinema". This defaultness is confirmed by the fact that, using the site search engine for all these terms, the user is redirected to the Film article as the starting point (actually, "Cinema" first takes you to a Disambiguation page, which then leads to Film as regards the medium itself). So I've been using this official starting-point to contribute some things about episodes in the history of "Film", and correcting terminology to "film" in standing articles and then...
...then here - and I don't even remember how I stumbled on it - is this enormous timeline-article called History of Cinema, which expands on the narrative text in the Film article - which *does* address the History of Film so cannot be said to be "quite different" except in the matter of style (narrative text) and precision (general, and for some periods incomplete). They are, in short, much the same thing, in two different formats, using two different primary terms, and not interconnected; plus this one is "hidden" from the search engine for anyone seeking the starting-point. It may be perfectly correct to make this a subsidiary article to the current Film article, but in any case they should be merged at least at the level of a link, and this one retitled History of Film - as in your example, Music and History of Music, the key term is the common "Music".
Furthermore, this article seems to come with its own set of attached subsidiary articles and so does Film, many of which appear to be different but cover similar ground. So we have people writing on things about Film and others writing about the same topics in Cinema based on somehow ending up with this page as the starting point (History of Cinema on the search engine does bring it up), and what we seem to have are two parallel universes going here; and that just doesn't seem a good idea, trying to put together a unified encyclopedia.

Putting up a merge flag seemed to me the best way to draw this matter into the open, altho a subsequent examination of the list of items to be "merged" at the "Village Pump" suggests it could be years before anyone might actually get around to acting on it, at which point all the more damage would be done in terms of two series of parallel articles. At least, we've brought the problem to the surface where, hopefully, it can be fixed so that we have ONE set of articles, logically treed and available to all users and contributors.

PS - For what it's worth, I'da called the whole topic category Motion Pictures. --The Anonyme who put up the merge command, whose entire existence seems to have been deleted from the "history" record. May 8, 2005.

Is "Film" really the WP default term? Movies, film, cinema are all used in various places. Articles on national cinemas are all titled "Cinema of..." JW

Like I said, use the search field and insert any other term - motion pictures, movies, moving pictures, cinema - and see to which page you're redirected - Film. Then, read the first paragraph, and look at all the stuff that's linked to the article at the bottom.
See for yourself, as I did... Anon.

Making the articles consitent is definitely something that should be done, or at least make it clear in the into paragraphs that film, cinema, ect. mean the same thing in this context. I'm still confused about this merge. Do you feel that the articles should be merged? Or do you just feel that this article should be moved to History of Film? MechBrowman 16:53, Jun 13, 2005 (UTC)


Does anyone know why it seems like the the names of actors on the covers of movies (movie artwork) are so consistently transposed? [1] what's with that?!--Deglr6328 20:44, 16 July 2005 (UTC)

A hail of bullet points! + Making the article stand on its own[edit]

After much eyeing of this article, I have (drum roll, please) partially corrected the citation format in the print References section. It was the only quickly and easily improved thing I could see in the whole article. Like almost everyone, I think, I'm paralyzed by the size of the project and the fear of stepping on some of the many toes involved. Be that as it may, two broad questions that could help start us on the road to significantly improving this huge thing:

1) What to do with those early sections and their long list of bulleted milestones and semi-milestones? There's a lot of interesting and not irrelevant information there that part of me hates to lose. But I feel like it is, first of all, too much to digest for most of the people who will come here; paring down to more key milestones and giving them a little more context is in order. (This goes doubly if we are indeed going to add a lot more information about non-U.S. film - this article will quickly become too large and unwieldy.) Second of all, these need to be reorganized and rewritten into narrative format, rather than list format. That many bullet points gets to be an eyesore and looks amateurish.

2) I feel like this article ought to be able to stand on its own for the relatively casual reader who comes here, in the sense that they shouldn't have to follow up Wikilinks to understand what we're talking about (even though they can if they want to learn more on a particular topic). Any even somewhat specialized term - technical, critical, or other varieties - ought to receive at least a few words of definition or context. "Production code" and "studio system" stand out as examples as I scan through the text.

I hope people are reading and will give their votes on one or both of the above suggestions. Be forewarned, I'm liable to just go ahead and start doing them if nobody objects.  :) Michael Wells 04:04, 12 October 2005 (UTC)

A quick followup: Speaking of the bulleted lists, looking at the Precursors of Film section. Does anyone think maybe most of that ought to be moved and expanded into its own article? Again, interesting stuff, but too much by half. A few quick lines at most on that subject, with a couple examples, ought to be enough to start out this article. It's "History of Film," after all, not "History of Things That Are Sort of Like Film." Michael Wells 04:14, 12 October 2005 (UTC)

My votes:
(1) Yes please! Trim the fat! Separate articles can always be created for the stuff that insufficiently important to be in this article.
(2) Absolutely! Yes!
Followup point: Yes!!
Summary: Woo! Yeah! You go Michael! Been wanting to do this myself for ages but it was too daunting. The Singing Badger 11:59, 12 October 2005 (UTC)
Well, I didn't say I wanted to do it all myself or that I thought I could do a terribly good job of it that way. But thanks for the encouragement. Too daunting by oneself, I agree... but two's company, Badger. Pick a section or just a paragraph. Have at it. And I know there are others listening.
Reading more of the article, there are way too many randomly listed "Hollywood favorites" in among the good information. More context and more of a story of development are needed. Actually, Cinema of the United States, which this article sort of is for large stretches, is much stronger on that point and isn't a bad example to look to (although I haven't read the whole thing). Maybe some stuff could be moved over from here to there. Michael Wells 01:41, 13 October 2005 (UTC)
Well, they tell us to edit boldly, so I just did. I created a new Precursors of film article and moved that whole section over there. Then I wrote up a drastically condensed version of its material to put in its place for History of Film. I wanna pull more stuff on the 1890s out of Precursors of film and work it in, but it's late and I'm tired.
Feel free to squawk or just start reverting if you feel I've jumped the gun. But somebody had to get this party started. Jump in, the water's fine! Michael Wells 04:14, 13 October 2005 (UTC)
Great work, this is looking much better! Will definitely start helping out here at some point in the near future when time permits; it's looking a lot less scary now. The Singing Badger 12:44, 13 October 2005 (UTC)

Weird problem in References[edit]

Um, why is the first entry (Acker) doing that? Did I just do that? I can't see anything in edit mode that would cause that to happen. Anyone? Michael Wells 03:45, 14 October 2005 (UTC)

Don't put a space at the beginning of a line. It makes it go like that. I've no idea why. The Singing Badger 13:21, 14 October 2005 (UTC)
Ooooh. Thanks. Michael Wells 23:43, 14 October 2005 (UTC)

Too much text makes Wikipedia mad![edit]

Now I did it. The article is so long now that Wikipedia complains when I choose "edit" for the whole page that it exceeds recommended length, and moreover won't let me make any changes... at least I think that's the problem, because it will let me edit individual subsections. The problem then is that you can't add a general intro at the top of the page, which is much needed to conform to Wikipedia standards, and just as a matter of good writing.

It is awfully long... I haven't actually cut down the length of the opening section at all, only added text to it, although I like to think it's more coherent and readable. Too much minute discussion of individual inventions? Should the "Technological ancestors" section be cut way down, letting the Precursors of film link do most of that work? We're only going to be adding even more stuff to later sections, presumably. If the article's already so long that Wikipedia freaks out... oy. How do we succinctify (not a real word) this stuff? Michael Wells 23:58, 14 October 2005 (UTC)

The way I can think of to succintify this stuff is through Encarta and other Encyclopaedias. This article is waaaaaaaaaaaay too long AND detailed. I have taken some info from the History of cinema article in an old Encarta and incorporating them into this one. Maybe if I post some things in, someone can try to change them. (talk) 09:28, 24 April 2010 (UTC)

By removing most of it into separate articles. Each section can then be just a brief digest that refers the reader to a longer article. See History of theatre for a (rather crappy) example. The Singing Badger 00:33, 15 October 2005 (UTC)
(sigh.) Is true. I got carried away trying to make this the be-all, end-all article on the subject. I've gone back and hacked out big chunks of my verbosity, and moved some sentences that I think are very useful or needed into the appropriate separate articles. (There is a lot of very strong material in these, but the fear of tackling the big overview articles keeps them at a lower level, I think. I wish some of these writers would come and contribute their two bits to History of Film.) More hacking to come, probably, along with the writing. Michael Wells 06:21, 15 October 2005 (UTC)
Take a look at Wikipedia:Cinema Collaboration of the Week - you can use it to try to drum up interest... The Singing Badger 14:25, 15 October 2005 (UTC)
  • The problem with this article is that its had a bit of an identity crisis. It started off as a technical history of cinema, which is why the early section was so long. Then someone decided all articles with "Cinema" in the title should be changed to "film", so this became "History of Film", which has a slightly different meaning. So then it was re-written as basically a history of Hollywood film. Its been POV'd down quite a bit, but it still doesn't quite know what it is. Can it really be a history of cinema or is that way too ambitious? Should it be about the film industry and not individual films, or should it revert to being an article about the technical side of making films? JW 13:17, 18 October 2005 (UTC)
Some interesting points, and it's nice to hear another voice in here. But if we just make this a technical article, where do we put the history of the aesthetic/artistic developments and movements throughout cinema history? Or of the business side of cinema? And that's even assuming the three strands can be cleanly separated, which I don't think they can. As more than one of the film history books I've been consulting have pointed out, film is more dependent on technology than any art form before it, and the developments in film art are strongly driven by technical developments, and vice versa. Which in turn means that business considerations have been tightly wedded to most film developments, given the amounts of money generally needed to create movies.
On the questions of "too ambitious" or not, if we can have, say, a History of China article, I don't see why we can't have a History of Film article. After all, China's been around even longer than the movies.
But seriously: To me, the question is what exactly "History of Film" means in this context. As a rule of thumb, I've been trying to keep what I'm writing focused pretty strongly on developments that had broad implications for cinema as a global medium. On the question of "individual films" (and individual film artists, for that matter), I've been trying not to load down the text with laundry lists of titles and directors and performers, no matter how much it hurts to leave out some of them. So, yes, to my mind, I think it ought to be about the industry and the art form broadly. Of course, individual films and artists have sparked off whole trends, and in any case you can't tell the story without some concrete examples. At that point, a certain arbitrariness enters the equation, as who I mention and who I don't has much to do with whim and personal tastes and perceptions, and plain, ol' space considerations. Another thing is that not being a tech-savvy type of guy, I tend not to have much about the technical developments (discussions of different film sizes and stocks and aspect ratios and lenses tend to lose me). Somebody else might say more mention should be made of exactly these matters, and they might be right. Which is why no Wikipedia article is supposed to be the work of just one person.
On a related point, I think my above pontification about explaining all the terms and names and not leaning on Wikilinks was naive and, well, too ambitious. There just isn't space, and it seems like we do have to lean on the Wikilinks pretty hard. Still, I try to put in at least a few words of definition in most cases. I'm also trying to work in a sizeable but carefully chosen bunch of relevant Wikilinks that will broaden out the compacted and inevitably oversimplified story, but not to the point where the text becomes a big block of blue lettering, which to my taste is off-putting to read.
Speaking of History of China, I was glancing over it, and its example could be a little helpful. The sidebars linking to separate, related articles is an idea that could be well adapted to this and similar articles. But I'm afraid that's a little beyond me (see above, re. non-tech-savvy).
You know what else this article needs? Pictures.
Um, ok, shutting up now.
Michael Wells 23:59, 18 October 2005 (UTC)
What have you got in mind for the general shape of the article then? The more I look at it, the more I think the article doesn't really work after about 1940. I don't really know what the answer is at the moment. I suppose, like the History of China page, this should serve as an introduction to the subject, and not try and go into great detail. Should that also mean discussing genres and national industries? Are there other articles that cover the technical developments adequately (3d, digital film, CGI, cinerama, etc) or does that still need to be an important part of it? Is a strictly chronological structure best, or do we need different sections on the industry, film theory, etc.? JW 13:03, 21 October 2005 (UTC)
Oy, good questions all. I'm kind of figuring that all out as I write (as I write this comment, I've only gotten up to just before the 1920s). I didn't think the whole article worked, before or after 1940 - which I don't enjoy saying, since there was so much obviously sincere effort, and some good material.
I guess the vague outline in my head is like this: a chronological, narrative account that touches on some ("all" is impossible) of the most influential developments and broad movements in world film; that in the process gives some idea of the broad reach and variety of cinema around the globe during the last century; that tosses in a decent number of concrete examples, including plenty of carefully chosen wikilinks to lead readers to more detailed explication of important topics; and that is nevertheless fairly intelligible to the general reader on its own. This includes, in my mind, the art/aesthetics of film, the business of film and technical developments, which, again, I find tough to separate. With some of the more prominent national cinemas and genres noted, at least insofar as their influence becomes international or affects the medium in general. I don't think this is too much to bite off; it's more or less what any main encyclopedia article on a major topic aims for. And I think it's compatible with what you describe as "an introduction to the subject."
The more I think about it, the more I like the idea of including little "sidebar" boxes with lists of more wikilinks, to subjects that the main body can't get to; maybe a box for each subsection, with a heading like, "Other important figures and developments of this era." Even those could get big and unwieldy and clogged up, of course.
Couldn't it help if we made three separate articles: History of Film (technology), History of Film (industry) and History of Film (art form)? The first would contain stuff about sound, color and computer animation, the second on sales and box office success, and the third would be a careful skeleton article on the new waves and great directors, using some international standard art movie reference. varbal 22:12, 8 November 2006 (UTC)
Michael Wells 20:30, 21 October 2005 (UTC)

I don't know why but someone has tagged the article for "inappropriate tone", which doesn't seem really accurate to me. I'm seriously tempted to remove it... JW 10:40, 27 October 2005 (UTC)

"Inappropriate tone" tag?[edit]

Yeah, it seems odd that the tag urges us to discuss this on the Talk page, but the person who put it there gives no explanation for their view. I mean, everyone's entitled to contribute, of course, but it's not terribly helpful to stick it up there anonymously without starting an accompanying discussion. I'd be inclined to take it down after a few days if no more explanation is forthcoming (or if no one else steps in to agree with the tag and elaborate). Although presumably it's my prose that's being critiqued, so I'm hardly objective in the matter.

I am trying to make the style at least slightly pleasurable to read and not too dreadfully dry. Do I cross the line into editorializing at certain points? It would be useful to have some feedback on that.

Michael Wells 00:16, 28 October 2005 (UTC)

I removed it because it doesn't seem very accurate, and we know this article is still going through a re-writing process. JW 10:51, 4 November 2005 (UTC)
Looking at it at the moment I would say the main issue with the style is there are a number of sections with numerous sentance fragments, and links that have no real context - for example in the 1990s it has a sentance 'Pixar, The Matrix.', where the sentance on either side has anything to do with either thing. What did the person adding these want to indicate about either's contribution to the history of film? Sfnhltb 17:42, 18 March 2006 (UTC)

Epic Film[edit]

I've been cleaning up links to Epic dab page and have been simply removing any link that is intended to explain "epic film" as there does not appear to be any addition information to be gained (currently) by clicking through the Epic page. If anyone believes there is more that can be said about the term than "a film with a vast scale" and is interested in creating such an article, do so and let me know.

Answering my own question - I found Epic film and have been using it. Sorry I didn't sign. John (Jwy) 18:10, 11 January 2006 (UTC)

Film industry merge[edit]

The film industry article's history of film section is a duplicate (with more detail in some areas) of this page, and needs to be merged here. At the very most, the history on that page should be covering the highlights which impacted the development of the business side of film only. Anyone who wants to lend a hand in this merge, please feel free. -Harmil 16:51, 6 March 2006 (UTC)

The film industry page contains a large section on Hollywood which is copied from the Hollywood page and should probably be removed. JW 22:54, 28 May 2006 (UTC)

Nothing about color[edit]

I don't know much about film but I was researching the history of television and film and I could not find out when the first color film/movies started.. Perhaps this should/could be included in the article? I see sound is in there. Volksgeist 11:40, 6 June 2006 (UTC)

I agree, color should be treated in this article, if only minimally, with a link to some other article for more information. As it stands now there is absolutely no mention whatsoever of the history, technology, or impact of color in films. -- (talk) 00:31, 21 January 2008 (UTC)
Agreeing still. Perhaps the most minimal concerns above have been addressed, but still nothing of substance. A huge chunk of the article details silent vs. talkie and there's virtually nothing about b&w vs. color. At least something about the time period became odd to do black and white films vs. the tiime period when it was odd to do color films and what both the last commonly b&w films and the first commonly color films were like and why makers chose to sometimes be atypical (Wizard of Oz using color in a b&w era; Schindler's List using b&w in a color era) is very necessary. Also, why did sound almost instantly take over despite inherent diffculties early on, while color was available forever but didn't become common for decades. Etc. (talk) 09:30, 15 April 2009 (UTC)
still nothing about color? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 08:36, 14 September 2012 (UTC)
See my recently overhauled material addressing most of the abovementioned aspects of color in the "History" section of the "Film" article. I am tempted to simply copy the relevant text into this article myself, but there is no obviously inviting place in which to put it. Yet again, the resident Wikipedia demon of overlapping and duplicative (and sometimes contradictory) articles rears its head. A concise treatment of the advent of color seemed essential even in that summary of the history. The absence of any such treatment in this hefty "History of film" article is indeed absurd. On the other side of the street, this article contains a considerably more in-depth treatment, albeit from a historical perspective, of the non-technological aspects of filmmaking than can be found in the "Film" article. Major simultaneous surgery on the two seems to be in order, but I am neither broadly expert nor masochistic enough to tackle that Herculean task myself. AVarchaeologist (talk) 08:20, 28 November 2012 (UTC)

Revert of edits by "Donteatyellowsnow"[edit]

I've just reverted a series of edits by User:Donteatyellowsnow. I'm normally loathe to bulk-revert edits unless they are obvious vandalism, and there may be a few elements in there that are salvageable. However, for the most part, these changes seemed to add a very distinct POV to the article, skewing it in a pro-Hollywood and anti-other jurisdiction manner. I noted these changes after the same editor made similar POV changes to a related article, and wrote a very POV article at Runaway film. Someone might wish to check out the edits at Quentin Tarantino as well. (By the way, I've also rewritten Runaway film to try to remove the POV, using the same sources already used in the initial edit. Please let me know if you can think of ways to improve and build upon it. Thanks.) --Ckatzchatspy 07:02, 13 January 2007 (UTC)


This article should be called History of Hollywood

Roundhay Garden Scene[edit]

Why is the Roundhay Garden Scene regarded as the first film when the Lumiere Brothers's stuff was being shown three years previously? Ed zeppelin 20:44, 21 August 2007 (UTC)

  • This isn't correct. Roundhay Garden Scene – 1888. Lumière – 1891. Three years later, not earlier. (talk) 21:40, 20 March 2011 (UTC)

Public showing[edit]

"Paul had the idea of displaying moving pictures for group audiences, rather than just to individual viewers, and invented a film projector, giving his first public showing in 1895."

I would love to see a cite for this. Most books put his first public showing in february 1896. --Tethur 10:50, 28 October 2007 (UTC)

Coverage of other countries and new facts[edit]

I am about to considerably expand the section up to 1920 to give coverage of the history of film in other countries besides the USA, and to take account of important new factual knowledge about the period that has appeared in the last 30 years, but which is missing from the entry. Barrysalt 23:51, 5 November 2007 (UTC)

Desperately needs rewriting, chunking, and editing[edit]

Whoa! This article is incredibly difficult for a newcomer to the subject to understand, and must be one of the worst long Wikipedia articles that hasn't been hijacked by a field's fringe group. Each individual section needs to be shortened to a brief paragraph with relevant information being split off into a different article. The article also needs to be linked with related relevant articles so that newcomers like I can get a better context of the subject matter. (For example, D.W. Griffith is mentioned constantly, but his name is never wiki-linked. Who the hell is he? He must be important, but I have no idea why.) Technical terms need to be defined at the beginning of the paragraph about their creation, whereas now they're only defined at the end or not at all. I understand how hard it is for any one person to make sweeping changes to such an article that covers so much material. But this article must be one of the most unreadable in the entire encyclopedia, which is a shame when one thinks of the importance of the topic. Please, film pople, do better... Soon.--Cassmus 08:32, 10 November 2007 (UTC)

I agree for the most part, and it's a bit too far from conventional film history as well. The article would need a lot of work.--Termer (talk) 03:37, 29 August 2008 (UTC)

The beginning of the article goes into great detail about the technical advances of cinema, and the developement of film language. Comme the 1930s, and most of it is gone. Is it possible to add more of that inside ? There is some, but not nearly as wonderfully detailed as in early cinema. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Elisabeth Kvaalen (talkcontribs) 18:40, 26 October 2009 (UTC)

not very precise about "inventor", US POV[edit]

it's quick disturbing to see how hard is it for American to give name of inventor when he's not american. hey, go to Aviation history check how Wright bothers are highlighted as being inventor all along the article. ok now check this "history" of film, who is the inventor ? quite hard to find, no ? (tips : no, it's not Edison) Please be polite, give same honor to foreign inventors than US ones. (talk) 21:33, 24 August 2008 (UTC)

It seems you're mixing up who invented what, "moving pictures" were invented by Edison (actually not by himself but by his assistant William Kennedy Dickson), one of the first one is called Sneeze stored in the Library of Congress in the US on January 9, 1894. Cinema, moving pictures projected on a wall was invented by Lumiere brothers, the first one La Sortie des Usines (Workers Leaving A Factory) was made in 1985.--Termer (talk) 03:43, 29 August 2008 (UTC)

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Posting information[edit]

Information from Encarta coupled with information on Wikipedia about the development of film. Feel free to use this. Here goes...


• As a result of the work of Etienne-Jules Marey and Eadweard Muybridge, many researchers in the late 19th century realized that films as they are known today were a practical possibility, but the first to design a practical moving picture camera was William K. L. Dickson, working under the direction of Thomas Alva Edison [chief engineer at Edison Labarotries]. His fully developed camera, called the Kinetograph, was patented in 1891 and took a series of instant photographs on standard Eastman Kodak photographic emulsion coated on to a transparent celluloid strip 35 mm wide. (Encarta)

• Celluloid blocks were thinly sliced, then removed with heated pressure plates. After this, they were coated with a photosensitive gelatin emulsion.[citation needed]

• The results of this work were first shown in public in 1893 at the Chicago World's Fair, using the viewing apparatus also designed by Dickson, and called the Kinetoscope. (Encarta) The Kinetoscope was a cabinet in which a continuous loop of Dickson's celluloid film (powered by an electric motor) was back lit by an incandescent lamp and seen through a magnifying lens.

• This was contained within a large box, and only permitted the images to be viewed by one person at a time looking into it through an eye piece, after starting the machine by inserting a coin. (Encarta) Kinetoscope parlours were supplied with fifty-foot film snippets photographed by Dickson, in Edison's "Black Maria" studio (pronounced like "ma-RYE-ah"). These sequences recorded mundane events (such as Fred Ott's Sneeze, 1894) as well as entertainment acts like acrobats, music hall performers and boxing demonstrations.

• Kinetoscope parlours srapng up in New York in the late 1890s and soon spread successfully to Europe. Edison, however, never attempted to patent these instruments on the other side of the Atlantic, since they relied so greatly on previous experiments and innovations from Britain and Europe. This enabled the development of imitations, such as the camera devised by British electrician and scientific instrument maker Robert W. Paul and his partner Birt Acres. (?)

• Paul had the idea of displaying moving pictures for group audiences, rather than just to individual viewers, and invented a film projector, giving his first public showing in 1895.

• >>>The Kinetoscope was not a commercial success in this form, and left the way free for the Lumière brothers, Louis and Auguste, to refine/improve/perfect their apparatus, the Cinématographe. This was the first successful projector, as well as being the apparatus that took and printed the film beforehand. With their Cinématographe they gave the first show of projected pictures to an audience in Paris in December 1895. (Encarta)

• >>>At about the same time, in France, Auguste and Louis Lumière invented the cinematograph, a portable, three-in-one device: camera, printer, and projector. In late 1895 in Paris, father Antoine Lumière began exhibitions of projected films before the paying public, beginning the general conversion of the medium to projection (Cook, 1990).

• They quickly became Europe's main producers with their actualités like Workers Leaving the Lumière Factory and comic vignettes like The Sprinkler Sprinkled (both 1895). Even Edison, initially dismissive of projection, joined the trend with the Vitascope within less than six months. The first public motion-picture film presentation in Europe, though, belongs to Max and Emil Skladanowsky of Berlin, who projected with their apparatus "Bioscop", a flickerfree duplex construction, November 1 through 31, 1895.

• That same year in May, in the USA, Eugene Augustin Lauste devised his Eidoloscope for the Latham family. But the first public screening of film ever is due to Jean Aimé "Acme" Le Roy, a French photographer. On February 5, 1894, his 40th birthday, he presented his "Marvellous Cinematograph" to a group of around twenty show business men in New York City. After this date, the Edison company developed its own form of projector, as did various other inventors. Some of these used different film widths and projection speeds, but after a few years the 35-mm wide Edison film, and the 16-frames-per-second projection speed of the Lumière Cinématographe became standard. The other important American competitor was the American Mutoscope & Biograph Company, which used a new camera designed by Dickson after he left the Edison company. [1]

This should cut the "development of film" section down quite a bit. Please discuss. Thank you. (talk) 09:37, 24 April 2010 (UTC)

Also Early Cinema

The first commercial exhibition of film took place on April 14, 1894 at the first Kinetoscope parlor ever built. However, it was clear that Edison originally intended to create a sound film system, which would not gain worldwide recognition until the release of The Jazz Singer in 1927. In 1896 it became clear that more money was to be made by showing motion picture films with a projector to a large audience than exhibiting them in Edison's Kinetoscope peep-show machines. The Edison company took up a projector developed by Armat and Jenkins, the “Phantoscope”, which was renamed the Vitascope, and it joined various projecting machines made by other people to show the 480 mm. width films being made by the Edison company and others in France and the UK.

However, the most successful motion picture company in the United States, with the largest production until 1900, was the American Mutoscope company. This was initially set up to exploit peep-show type movies using designs made by W.K.L. Dickson after he left the Edison company in 1895. His equipment used 70 mm. wide film, and each frame was printed separately onto paper sheets for insertion into their viewing machine, called the Mutoscope. The image sheets stood out from the periphery of a rotating drum, and flipped into view in succession. Besides the Mutoscope, they also made a projector called the Biograph, which could project a continuous positive film print made from the same negatives.

EARLY CINEMA The movies of the time were seen mostly via temporary storefront spaces and traveling exhibitors or as acts in vaudeville programs. A film could be under a minute long and would usually present a single scene, authentic or staged, of everyday life, a public event, a sporting event or slapstick. There was little to no cinematic technique: no editing and usually no camera movement, and flat, stagey compositions. But the novelty of realistically moving photographs was enough for a motion picture industry to mushroom before the end of the century, in countries around the world. (Wikipedia) • The earliest films showed just one scene, which ran for about a minute, which was all that the standard lengths of film (65 or 80 ft/around 20 or 25 m) produced by Eastman Kodak or other manufacturers allowed. From the beginning, some of these films showed specially staged and acted scenes, such as the Edison Barbershop Scene and the L’Arroseur Arrosé (A Trick on the Gardener) by the Lumières. However, the majority of early films were simple records of real-life scenes or stage acts. Some of these showed different views of related places and actions, and, although sold separately, they were probably joined together in succession by the showmen who bought them and projected them. It seems that the step forward from this, to joining a number of staged scenes together to tell a longer story, was taken in 1898 by the Robert Paul company in Britain with Come Along Do!. In this the action moves from a scene outside an art gallery to a scene inside by means of a cut. (Encarta) • Real film continuity, which means showing action moving from one shot into another joined to it, can be dated to Robert W. Paul's Come Along, Do!, made in 1898. In the first shot of this film, an old couple outside an art exhibition follow other people inside through the door. The second shot showed what they do inside.(wikipedia) • However, most of the early multi-shot films were made by Georges Méliès. In his films, well-known stories such as Cinderella (1899) were told in a series of disconnected scenes joined by dissolves (see Special Effects), as was done at the time with slides in a magic-lantern show. Méliès’s long story films with their trick effects were the most commercially successful of all in the first few years of cinema, and they led other film-makers towards producing longer films. However, Méliès’s films made no real contribution to the development of film construction as we know it. (encarta) • By 1898 Georges Méliès was the largest producer of fiction films in France, and from this point onwards his output was almost entirely films featuring trick effects, which were very successful in all markets. The special popularity of his longer films, which were several minutes long from 1899 onwards (while most other films were still only a minute long), led other makers to start producing longer films. • The important figures in doing this were G. A. Smith and James Williamson, working independently in Brighton, East Sussex. Smith invented the basic technique of breaking a filmed scene down into a number of shots taken from different camera positions in his films Grandma’s Reading Glass (1900), As Seen Through a Telescope (1901), and The Little Doctors (1901). The first two of these introduced the view of things looked at through a magnifying glass and a telescope by one of the actors, by taking close shots inside a black circular mask. The Little Doctors used a close shot of a kitten being fed medicine that was cut into the middle of the shot showing the whole scene, and constitutes the first such use of a “close-up” cut into a scene. By 1903 Smith was making a conscious effort to get some sort of continuity matching in the actor’s position across the cut. Smith then gave up ordinary film-making in 1903 to produce a system of colour cinematography called Kinemacolor that was quite successful up to World War I.(encarta) • In 1900, continuity of action across successive shots was definitively established by George Albert Smith and James Williamson, who also worked in Brighton. In that year Smith made Seen Through the Telescope, in which the main shot shows street scene with a young man tying the shoelace and then caressing the foot of his girlfriend, while an old man observes this through a telescope. There is then a cut to close shot of the hands on the girl's foot shown inside a black circular mask, and then a cut back to the continuation of the original scene. • G.A. Smith further developed the ideas of breaking a scene shot in one place into a series of shots taken from different camera positions over the next couple of years, starting with The Little Doctors of 1901. In this film a little girl is administering pretend medicine to a kitten, and Smith cuts in to a big Close Up of the kitten as she does so, and then cuts back to the main shot. In this case the inserted close up is not shown as a Point of View shot in a circular mask. He summed up his work in Mary Jane's Mishap of 1903, with repeated cuts in to a close shot of a housemaid fooling around, along with superimpositions and other devices, before abandoning film-making to invent the Kinemacolor system of colour cinematography. (wikipedia) • James Williamson developed the movement of action through a series of shots taken in various locations in his films Attack on a Chinese Mission Station, Stop Thief!, and Fire!, all made in 1901. In these films the leading character was shown running out of one shot, then there would be a cut to another scene set somewhere else, and the character would then run into frame to continue the story. Méliès also used a similar technique on one occasion in the same year, but in this case the shots were joined with a dissolve rather than a cut.(Encarta) • Even more remarkable is James Williamson's Attack on a China Mission Station, made in 1900. The first shot shows the gate to the mission station from the outside being attacked and broken open by Chinese Boxer rebels, then there is a cut to the garden of the mission station where the missionary and his family are seated. The Boxers rush in and after exchanging fire with the missionary, kill him, and pursue his family into the house. His wife appears on the balcony waving for help, which immediately comes with an armed party of British sailors appearing through the gate to the mission station, this time seen from the inside. They fire at the Boxers, and advance out of the frame into the next shot, which is taken from the opposite direction looking towards the house. This constitutes the first “reverse angle” cut in film history. The scene continues with the sailors rescuing the remaining members of the missionary's family. • James Williamson concentrated on making films taking action from one place shown in one shot to the next shown in another shot in films like Stop Thief! and Fire!, made in 1901, and many others. (wikipedia)

Other film-makers in Britain took up these techniques in 1903, and developed longer films by having characters pursued through more and more different scenes. These were referred to as chase films. Afterwards, other less inventive film-makers in France and the United States such as Edwin S. Porter copied these techniques in various films, such as The Great Train Robbery. (Encarta) Other film-makers then took up all these ideas, which form the basis of film construction, or “film language”, or “film grammar”, as we know it. The best known of these film-makers was Edwin S. Porter, who started making films for the Edison Company in 1901. When he began making longer films in 1902, he put a dissolve between every shot, just as Georges Méliès was already doing, and he frequently had the same action repeated across the dissolves. In other words, Edwin Porter did not develop the basics of film construction. The Pathé company in France also made imitations and variations of Smith and Williamson's films from 1902 onwards using cuts between the shots, which helped to standardize the basics of film construction. In 1903 there was a substantial increase in the number of film several minutes long, as a result of the great popularity of Georges Méliès’ le Voyage dans la lune (A Trip to the Moon), which came out in early 1902, though such films were still a very minor part of production. Most of them were what came to be called “chase films”. These were inspired by James Williamson's Stop Thief! of 1901, which showed a tramp stealing a leg of mutton from a butcher's boy in the first shot, then being chased through the second shot by the butcher's boy and assorted dogs, and finally being caught by the dogs in the third shot. (wikipedia) In France, Charles Pathé built a large company by ploughing back his profits to raise the production values of his films, and the film-makers he employed, led by Ferdinand Zecca, added extra polish to the continuity devices developed by the British. By building more studios and setting up multiple production teams, Pathé produced more films than any other firm in the world. A form of comedy unique to film began to develop, particularly at Pathé, by combining theatrical slapstick with the chase film. Microsoft® Encarta® Encyclopedia 2003. © 1993-2002 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

Please discuss. (talk) 10:05, 30 May 2010 (UTC)

Too Long, Too Detailed, Too Disorganized[edit]

I was going to write a few choice comments here but I see Cassmus already said it perfectly on 10 Nov 2007:

Whoa! This article is incredibly difficult for a newcomer to the subject to understand, and must be one of the worst long Wikipedia articles that hasn't been hijacked by a field's fringe group. Each individual section needs to be shortened to a brief paragraph with relevant information being split off into a different article. . . . But this article must be one of the most unreadable in the entire encyclopedia, which is a shame when one thinks of the importance of the topic. Please, film people, do better . . . Soon.

Well, here it is three whole years later, and the article is still un-freakin-readable. Typical Wikipedia insanity: no adult in the room. The first section, "Precursors," names three different "first projected movie" events in three different countries in three different years. Things like "reverse angle shot" are redundantly explained and exemplified two or three times in the course of the article, which is a waste of the reader's time.

It's supposed to be an encyclopedia article, guys, not a f***ing textbook, ya know? Something a casual non-expert reader can easily read through and glean the essential points from, and move on to sub-articles if he wants more details.

As is, it's just crap, guys. Totally not-helpful. I don't have the time or the expertise in this subject to tackle what is now an enormous job of editing, just hoping to bring this to people's attention one more time. Though why I should bother, when obviously nobody else gives a damn, is beyond me . . . . Textorus (talk) 19:25, 27 August 2010 (UTC)

File:Le Voyage dans la lune 2.jpg Nominated for Deletion[edit]

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this could use an update, now that we've seen video websites like youtube and vimeo offer comparably excellent content and serve as a bridge for filmmakers into professional ranks. P.S. i think you might want to look into the animation portions of film better. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:38, 14 November 2012 (UTC)


For over 8 years, there have been complaints on the article's length, and its focus on detail.

I think the article lends itself to a very easy split. 1) history of film technology, which includes the first cameras, projectors, cinemas, companies, sound and colour, and 2) history of film, which deals with the media and its artistic and aesthetic development.Noodleki (talk) 18:17, 29 December 2013 (UTC)

  1. ^ Microsoft® Encarta® Encyclopedia 2003. © 1993-2002 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.