Silent cinema and the study of British cinema have seen some of the most exciting developments in Film Studies. This study brings then together in a comprehensive survey of one of the most important periods of film history. The book also includes guides to bibliographical and archival sources. Most of the acknowledged experts on this period are represented, joined by several new voices. Together they chart the development of cinema in Britain from its beginnings in the 1890s to the conversion to sound in the late 1920s and the emergence of an intellectual film culture in the 1920s. From these acco unts the youthful British cinema emerges as far from innocent. On the contrary, it was a complex field of cultural and industrial practices. Topics covered include: the cinema of attractions in the early period; the emergence of the narrative film; and the series and serials of the 1910s and 1920s. The enormous range of actuality films, including early shorts, cinemagazines, interest films, travelogues and travel films is covered, as are the mainstream feature film of the late 1910s and 1920s.
The study also examines the roles played by key producers, directors, scriptwriters and stars, ranging from Cecil Hepworth to Ivor Novello and from H.G. Wells to Alfred Hitchcock. Contributors consider the changin grelationships between film and literature, theatre and visual culture and the ways in which audiences engaged with films and the patterns of exhibition and reception, as well as the contribution of live music to the film experience, and British cinema's relations with American cinema and the Empire market.
Andrew Higson has been a member of the Film and Televisions Studies academic staff at the University of East Anglia since 1986, and was made a Professor of Film Studies in 2000. From 1991 to 1998, he was chair of the Film Studies sector; in August 2002, he took over as Dean of the School of English and American Studies. When this School was dissolved in 2004, he became the inaugral Head of the new School of Film and Television Studies. He is the author of Waving the Flag: Constructing a National Cinema in Britain (OUP, 1995), and editor of Dissolving Views: Key Writings on British Cinema (Cassell, 1996).