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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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Juggling Flies and Gravid Plants

Juggling Flies and Gravid Plants

F. Percy Smith’s Early Popular-Science Films

(p.54) {Chapter 2} Juggling Flies and Gravid Plants
Devices of Curiosity

Oliver Gaycken

Oxford University Press

This chapter investigates the beginning of F. Percy Smith’s filmmaking career. Smith, a former civil servant, introduced numerous innovations in the field of popular-scientific cinema, from time-lapse, color cinematography of blooming flowers to some of the first animated maps that were used in World War I propaganda films. This chapter concludes with a discussion of his amateur-detective stories. An argument is made about the affinities between popular-science films and the scientific detective tradition. This argument reappears in Chapter 5.

Keywords:   Percy Smith, Charles Urban, microcinematography, time-lapse cinematography, trick films, flies, scientific detection

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