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Devices of CuriosityEarly Cinema and Popular Science$
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Oliver Gaycken

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780199860685

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199860685.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 18 January 2021

“Revealing Nature’s Closest Secrets”

“Revealing Nature’s Closest Secrets”

F. Martin Duncan’s Popular-Science Films at the Charles Urban Trading Company

(p.15) {Chapter 1} “Revealing Nature’s Closest Secrets”
Devices of Curiosity

Oliver Gaycken

Oxford University Press

This chapter describes the earliest popular-science films made for the Charles Urban Trading Company by F. Martin Duncan. Duncan’s films were modeled largely on the preexisting format of the magic-lantern lecture. The best known of Duncan’s films were the first series he produced; entitled The Unseen World, it was a series of single-shot films taken through a microscope. The chapter analyzes the extensive press reaction to these films, paying particular attention to Cheese Mites, a film that achieved considerable notoriety. The reception of Cheese Mites provides a case study for how cinema both inherited and transformed previous visual display traditions.

Keywords:   F. Martin Duncan, Charles Urban, The Unseen World, Cheese Mites, microcinematography, magic-lantern lecture, intertextuality, trick film

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