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The History of Cinema Exhibition in Exeter 1895 - 1918
(The text of this dissertation is copyright Alex Rankin, 2001. No part of it may be reproduced without the permission of the author.)
This dissertation sets out to record the history of cinema exhibition in the city of Exeter between the years 1895 and 1918. This time period marks both the earliest beginnings of the moving image as we know it today and the considerable development it underwent over the following years. Whilst the technological and industrial developments that occurred are of obvious importance to any understanding, this dissertation will concentrate predominantly on the pure exhibition side of the moving image. Consequently, this work has been written with the expectation that the reader already has some knowledge of the other factors involved.
The development has been tackled in a chronological order. Thus each chapter will be framed by linear development allowing a natural progression throughout the work from the travelling showmen of the late 1890s, to the big-budget propaganda films of the First World War. Throughout the work, attention has been paid not only to how the films were exhibited, but also to how they were received. Thus the audience (both the public and the officials) are as important as the showman or cinema owner. The core of this work, then, will show how the film developed not only in the physical sense, but also as an integral part of society in the form of entertainment, education and control.
In the course of the study, considerable focus has been placed on primary texts, most notably local newspapers and County Council records. This focus, however, does not preclude an understanding of the ‘wider picture’. Indeed, academic and historical works on the development of cinema have been extensively used to locate the local cinematic environment within the national and international concerns. This process will allow for both contrast and comparison and attempts to indicate that whilst ‘British Cinema Histories’ have been written, the individual case rarely matches the general trend perfectly.
Chapter One Earliest Beginnings to the Boer War (1896–1900)
Chapter Two The Boer War, Synchronised Sound and Pantomime (1900–1902)
Chapter Three Stock Actualities, Lectures and Extended Film Runs (1902–1909)
Chapter Four Official Regulation and the Purpose-built Cinema (1909–1914)
Chapter Five The First World War (1914–1918)
Appendix A Map of Exeter showing the locations of the principal film venues
Appendix B Table showing the number of moving picture venues in the County Towns of Britain
Appendix C Chronology of important events in the development of cinema in Exeter
The Old Library, The University of Exeter, Prince of Wales Road, Exeter, Devon, UK EX4 4SB
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