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Film Studies: National Cinemas

This guide highlights selected resources for various national cinemas.

An introduction to American cinema

Prolific inventor and innovator Thomas Edison (with his assistant, W.K.L. Kennedy) patented the Kinetograph and Kinetoscope (a film camera and peepshow viewing device) in 1891, with the first Kinetoscope parlour opening in New York in 1894 (see early cinema). Between 1893 and 1895, the Edison Manufacturing Company produced hundreds of short films in the world's first film studio, nicknamed the ‘Black Maria’; mainly single-shot setups of vaudeville acts, dancers, and gymnasts, as well as sporting scenes and vignettes of everyday life. Inspired by the Lumière brothers' success in France, Edison leased the rights to the Vitascope film projector, and on 23 April 1896 conducted the first public film screening in the USA. Cinema was immediately successful, thriving firstly within vaudeville theatres and from 1905 prompting the construction of dedicated cinema spaces, or nickelodeons (see cinema of attractions). Edwin S. Porter's Life of an American Fireman (1902) and The Great Train Robbery (1903) are considered significant films in pioneering techniques of narrative and continuity editing.

Kuhn, A. & Westwell, G. (2012). "Film in the USA." In A Dictionary of Film Studies. : Oxford University Press. Retrieved 23 Jan. 2017.

In the Library's collection

You can use the subject heading below to find resources in the online catalog. The call number range is also included. To find more books on any of the subjects, search WorldCat.

Introductory reading(s)

Selected book titles

To see more resources on American film, click here.

Other library resource(s)

Finding journal articles

Articles and other writings about American cinema can be found in many publications. You can use Film & Television Literature Index to find articles or the search box at the top of the page.

Selected movie titles

For a select list of feature films made in the United States, click here. The list below is just a selection of the entire collection in Jones Media Center.

Internet resource(s)