Cover image for Living pictures : the origins of the movies
Living pictures : the origins of the movies
Rossell, Deac, 1944-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Albany : State University of New York Press, [1998]

Physical Description:
xii, 188 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm.

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
TR848 .R68 1998 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



A history of the near-simultaneous emergence of moving pictures in several countries in the mid-1890s and a thorough reevaluation of the development of the technology.CHOICE Outstanding Academic Book 1999

Author Notes

Deac Rossell is the former National Special Projects Officer for the Directors Guild of America in Los Angeles, and former Head of Programme Planning at the National Film Theatre, London. He is currently working on a book on German cinema before 1900.

Reviews 1

Choice Review

"In the beginning very few of [the motion picture medium's] inventors had a vision of what moving pictures might become. . . ." So begins this invaluable chronicle. Many scholars (Terry Ramsaye, Gordon Hendricks, Charles Musser, et al.) have spilled ink debating Thomas Edison, W.K.L. Dickson, Robert W. Paul, and the Lumiere brothers as the "true" inventors of cinema, but Rossell regards them as a significant few among many competing to capture and package the moving image. He argues that no single technological solution resulted in the reproduction of movement for projection on a screen; rather, each system (e.g., magic lanterns and optical intermittency systems) created its own unique effects. The ultimate failure of most of them was due to mechanical and/or financial shortcomings or lack of business infrastructure. Rossell concludes that each of these different "cinemas" has found fresh applications today: magic lanterns in special effects; the single-plate and series photography in high-speed photography; the home-movie camera in 8-millimeter film and the camcorder; high-speed projection and 70mm-gauge film in Imax and Showscan systems. Though most of this book's material can be gleaned from a variety of sources, Rossell is the first to assimilate it into a readable, inexpensive single volume. Cogent, sensible, nuts-and-bolts history; a must for serious film collections. Graduates through professionals. J. C. Tibbetts University of Kansas