A Few Facts and Gems from the Earliest Days of Cinema

When I was a child, one of the treats of the week was our family outing to the cinema. The programme back in the mid-fifties, early sixties usually included two films. A ‘B’ movie followed by the main attraction. Today, before the main attraction, spectators are shown endless expensively-shot commercials followed by a series of trailers for upcoming films. I would like to propose an idea: how about the projection of early cinema material such as this extraordinary footage below shot in 1903?

A page from the original manuscript copy of Alice’s Adventures Underground 1864

Produced and directed by Cecil Hepworth, it is the very first cinema adaptation of Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland. The film runs eight minutes and is held at the National Archives of the British Film Institute. It is damaged, looks blistered, but, my, is it worthy of still being screened. The link is here. Do take the time to watch it.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zeIXfdogJbA

We can walk into a bookshop and pick up a copy of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland without any difficulty at all. We can follow the development of authors, their influence on others, their influence on children’s literature, adult or fantasy literature … But to discover the birth of cinema, to have access to the material of those century-and-more bygone days is not so easy. Of course, there are some excellent books on the subject but that is not the same as access to the material. I have been searching the internet to see whether anywhere in the world there is a festival that celebrates the birth of cinema, and I cannot find one. Do any of you know of one?

Some years ago …
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