History of Film Exhibition Prior to 1927

2673 Words11 Pages
While the actual films produced during the silent era of American film production and distribution are frequently discussed and analyzed, both as primary historical documents and important cultural contributions, the actual practice of exhibiting and viewing those films gets somewhat less attention. Prior to 1927 (the year when sound films first emerged onto the national stage), movie exhibition in the United States was still growing into the massive industry it represents today, and it reflected in the films being produced. By examining the history of film exhibition prior to 1927 in general, and the experiences of Denver and New York in particular, it will be possible to understand how the medium's nearly thirty-year existence prior to sound was characterized by a chaotic, open-ended exhibition system that nevertheless predicts the gradual takeover of exhibition by a few large chains. To begin it is necessary to note that there was some precedent for the exhibition of films even before the medium was created, because by the time film became widely-known in the 1890s, phonographs had been "set up in the arcades found in the heart of bustling cities," where "for a few cents customers could select various music and speeches, which they listen to through individual ear horns" (Gomery 4). Early film exhibitions attempted to recreate this process, using Thomas Edison's Kinetograph to draw customers into arcades, even though the concept of individual audiences make much more

More about History of Film Exhibition Prior to 1927

Open Document