Close Up (magazine)

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Close Up was an influential literary magazine devoted to film, published by the Pool Group between 1927 and 1933. "It was the brain child of Kenneth Macpherson, a young man of independent means, not a little talent, and quite a lot of personal charm".[1] The monthly magazine, founded at the group's 'headquarters' in Territet, Switzerland would be dedicated to "independent cinema and cinema from around the world". The first issue was published in July 1927 and described itself on the front cover as an "international magazine devoted to film art". Macpherson was editor-in-chief, with Bryher as assistant editor, and Hilda Doolittle ("H.D.") and Oswell Blakeston making regular contributions.

The publication was truly international with correspondents reporting on productions worldwide, with major literary and cinematic figures contributing articles on the latest film theory (René Crevel, Dorothy Richardson, Sergei Eisenstein, Hans Sachs, Harry Potamkin) and advertising revenue coming from Paris, Berlin, and New York.[2]

Macpherson "dictated the tone and direction of the publication, contributing articles that defined the role of the director and defended the integrity of cinema and its right to be considered as art".[3] Close Up would discard the vulgar entertainment films coming out of Britain and Hollywood, preferring the avant-garde productions from Germany and the Soviet Union. Blakeston, the most prolific of the magazine's writers, would mock British lack of imagination and general ineptitude. Editorial offices opened in 1928 at 24 Devonshire Street, and from April 1930 at 25 Litchfield Street, off Charing Cross Road, London, above Anton Zwemmer's bookshop and gallery.[4]

The Academy cinema at 165 Oxford Street, which was dedicated to showing Continental and 'Unusual' art-house films, frequently advertised in its pages.[5][6]

The magazine reduced in frequency from monthly to quarterly, eventually fizzling out in 1933 when Macpherson departed. A printed slip was attached to the flyleaf of the final December issue, requesting that in future all letters and orders should be addressed to Mr. A. Zwemmer, 87 Charing Cross Road.[7][10]

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  1. ^ "Close Up –An Essay (Geoffrey Nowell-Smith)". Archived from the original on 2011-03-08. Retrieved 2011-04-05.
  2. ^ "BFI Screenonline: Early Film Criticism". Retrieved Aug 9, 2022.
  3. ^ "All Voices – Close Up". Archived from the original on 2013-12-14. Retrieved 2011-04-05.
  4. ^ Donald et al. 1998, p. 324.
  5. ^ "Along these lines, the collection reprints an admiring essay on Elsie Cohen's ambitious Academy Cinema, as well as polemics about worker's films, art films, and so forth." Donald et al. 1998, p. 324.
  6. ^ Coxhead 1933, pp. 133–6.
  7. ^ "Initial matter". Close up. X (4): 309. December 1933.
  8. ^ "Shaftesbury Avenue and Charing Cross Road", in Survey of London: Volumes 33 and 34, St Anne Soho, ed. F H W Sheppard (London, 1966), pp. 296-312. Accessed 23 February 2016.
  9. ^ "Desmond Zwemmer". Daily Telegraph, 6 October 2000. Accessed 27 February 2016.
  10. ^ This is the address of Albany Mansion, a block of shops with chambers above, previously a bank.[8] Zwemmer (and later his son Desmond) also owned a bookshop and gallery at 79 Charing Cross Road.[9]

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