‘Dr. Wise on Influenza’: Public information films and the ‘flu epidemic of 1918

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rzQNKEpNciI   ‘Whilst many persons are railing against the cinema as a disseminator of disease, there is, I am glad to find, one gentleman who is putting theatre to good account as an influenza combatant.’[1] Previously I reported on some of the debates that the influenza epidemic of 1918 precipitated within the cinema trade. In … Continue reading ‘Dr. Wise on Influenza’: Public information films and the ‘flu epidemic of 1918

‘Have you had the new Influenza yet?’: The Bioscope, the Cinema and the Epidemic, 1918-19

They didn’t take it seriously at first in 1918 either. ‘Have you had the new Influenza yet?’ asked the ‘Kinetosities’ gossip column in the Bioscope in early July. The column observed that what with all the pressures of running a wartime cinema, ‘the prospects of twelve extra drills and the twenty hours police duty on … Continue reading ‘Have you had the new Influenza yet?’: The Bioscope, the Cinema and the Epidemic, 1918-19

Cinema organ interludes as messages from afar 1945-6

To follow up briefly on my earlier post about the Calling Blighty films, they weren’t the only way in which people seperated by the war communicated via the cinema. Cinema organists also offered a vital connection between  troops serving overseas and their families sitting in the stalls of the Ritzy or the Essoldo back home. … Continue reading Cinema organ interludes as messages from afar 1945-6

Silent Bystanders in the Archive (2): ‘Calling Blighty’ from around the Empire

‘Skype’, ‘Teams’, ‘Zoom’, ‘Facetime’, ‘Houseparty’. Over the past few weeks we’ve all been introduced to a whole new lexicon of communication. Even if you were a busy and up-to-date executive who regularly dialled into ‘Teams’ meetings from your regional office, the chances are that chatting to Auntie Vi or Grandad, or even your own dear … Continue reading Silent Bystanders in the Archive (2): ‘Calling Blighty’ from around the Empire

Silent Bystanders in the Archive – Hounslow

Before the shit hit the fan and we were all confined to barracks, I attended a really inspiring and heart-warming event at the Museum of London. It was hosted by Film London and was rather gnomically called ‘Future-proofing Our Collections: Unleashing the Power of Archive Film’. Perhaps its purpose was better encapsulated by the suggested … Continue reading Silent Bystanders in the Archive – Hounslow

Pantomime and Cinema: The Two Columbines (Harold Shaw, 1914)

I’ve written before about the way in which pantomime is used in cinema, not as material for adaptation, but to evoke a specific mood or set of meanings. The Two Columbines is a good example of this. It was made by Harold Shaw for the London Film Co. in 1914. Shaw was an American film-maker … Continue reading Pantomime and Cinema: The Two Columbines (Harold Shaw, 1914)