Friday, 5 September 2014

Classic Cinema

I got my love of old movies from watching them on TV with my grandparents when they came to visit. I now have quite a collection of musicals and some of my favourite classic movies with stars like Bette Davis, Shirley Temple (which the grandkids like to watch with me when they come to visit), Gregory Peck and Judy Garland. My grandfather's favourite actors were Bela Lugosi, Lon Chaney, Edward G Robinson and Peter Lorre. One musical I've enjoyed watching over and over is "Seven Brides for Seven Brothers" which debuted 60 years ago, July 1954. When my four daughters were babies, they would go down for their nap after lunch, and I would take my break by tuning into the TV channel that played 1930-1940's movies every day.

Scene from Story of the Kelly Gang

The first films shot in Canada were made at Niagara Falls as early as 1897.  James Simmons Freer from Manitoba was the first Canadian filmmaker.
December 26, 1906 was the premiere of the first full-length feature movie, The Story of the Kelly Gang, made in Australia. 

October 6, 1927 was the debut of the first full-length talking picture - The Jazz Singer, with Al Jolson, which had all the studios rushing to convert to talking pictures, and led to some of the greatest movies of all time. This year (in August actually, I don't know how I missed it!!) marked the 75th Anniversary of a movie my Mom remembers going with her mother to see in 1939, The Wizard of Oz. This movie is now loved by five generations of our family.

On September 9, 1939 David O. Selznick, his wife and a couple of investors went to the Fox Theater in Riverside, California where there was showing a double bill of Hawaiian Nights and Beau Geste.  After the first feature the audience was told there would be a screening of a new movie and they could leave if they wanted, but if they stayed they could not leave once the movie started. After almost 4 1/2 hours the audience gave a standing ovation for the great American classic - Gone With the Wind.

Did your ancestors go to see a silent or classic talking movie?
Following are some links to publications and sites to do with the movies.

Cinema News and Property Gazette - UK

New York Clipper  

Cinema Progress (1938-1939)

The Cinema; its present position and future possibilities - commission of inquiry list of witnesses - UK 1917

The film till now, a survey of the cinema - Int'l 1930

The film answers back: an historical appreciation of the Cinema - 1939

Silver Screen (several years)

New Zealand Theatre & Motion Picture, May 1922

The Photoplayers Weekly - various dates, US

Screenland - various dates - US

Motion Picture Studio Directory and Trade Annual US

Kinematograph Year Book - various years

International Motion Picture Almanac 1937-38

Film Daily Year Book - US

Moving Picture World - US 

Journal of the Society of Motion Picture Engineers


FilmIndia Bombay

Lists of Vaudeville Actors (some became movie actors)

The Nickelodeon - Vol 1,2,4,5

Who's Who of Victorian Cinema

Using film for Propaganda in WWI

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