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The Sounds of the Silents in Britain$
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Julie Brown and Annette Davison

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199797615

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199797615.001.0001

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Professional Lecturing in Early British Film Shows

Professional Lecturing in Early British Film Shows

(p.17) 1 Professional Lecturing in Early British Film Shows
The Sounds of the Silents in Britain

Joe Kember

Oxford University Press

Adding a magic-lantern-style educative lecturer to moving pictures was one way of addressing emerging concerns in the 1900s that moving pictures themselves did not fix attention. By delving into the detail of exhibition practices at St James’s Hall Plymouth, the chapter argues that town-hall shows there and elsewhere structured the manipulation of audience attention within new institutional configurations, and did so as early as 1901, not only after 1908 as previously understood. Shows at St James’s Hall serve to demonstrate that lecturers could contribute to the creation of new patterns of audience attention, mediating and modulating the various effects involved in moving-picture exhibition, and adapting a wide range of oral practices in doing so.

Keywords:   St James’s Hall, Plymouth, film lecturer, early film exhibition, audience attention, speaking to pictures

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