by Jim Allen on June 8, 2024

in Extras,Film

After the so-called ‘moving pictures’ were invented, cinema as a separate genre of art quickly gained popularity around the world. And although cinema was originally ‘silent,’ this did not prevent it from gathering full cinema halls and bringing ‘silent’ film stars worldwide fame.

Of course, no pictures actually moved in the cinema. All films consist of thousands of ‘still’ frames, flickering at a constant speed before the eyes of the audience. Each image (frame) is held by the brain for a moment, and then the next frame is already in front of us. This continuous sequence creates the illusion of movement without any noticeable gaps between the frames.

In the 19th century, more than one toy was created according to this principle of ‘inertia of visual perception,’ but applying this method to film creation was much more challenging. Despite the fact that the first photographs appeared in 1830, the emergence of motion pictures was made possible by the invention of two critical devices:

  1. Cameras that could capture motion, with all frames changing at a constant rate;
  2. Devices that could project the footage onto a screen at the same constant speed.

The development of these technologies allowed cinema to evolve into a major form of entertainment. Just as the invention of these devices revolutionized visual storytelling, today’s advancements, such as online platforms and promotional tools like the Wanted Win promo code, continue to enhance the way we experience movies and games. These modern innovations provide opportunities for viewers and players alike to engage with content in new and exciting ways.

Carlie Chaplin and Jackie Coogan in The Kid

The emergence of cinema

The cinematograph, introduced for the first time in New York City in 1894, required viewers to watch a film through a small eyepiece. A year later, however, two Frenchmen, brothers Auguste and Louis Lumière, produced their ‘cinematograph,’ which would later be the name of the new art form. ‘Live’ photographs of everyday events that the Lumière brothers took gave a great shock to the first viewers. For a few years afterwards, cinema was something unusual for many people, being shown in music halls and at fairs.

From 1900 onwards, filmmakers realised that cinema could be used not only to document events, but also to create, where each film made would tell its own story to the viewer. The pioneer is Frenchman Georges Méliès, his famous film ‘Journey to the Moon’ (1902) showed the huge potential of the film camera in creating special effects and all kinds of tricks. A great contribution to the development of realism in cinema brings the film ‘The Great Train Robbery’ (1903) directed by Edwin S. Porter. Porter. For the first time, ‘parallel montage’ – alternate showing of two events taking place at the same time – was used to increase tension.

By 1910, there were already thousands of cinemas operating in Europe and the United States. But cinema became a really big business after 1912, when the first feature films were shown for the first time. Unlike films before 1910, which lasted only 15-16 minutes, the duration of feature films was an hour or more. This kind of timekeeping gave directors room for larger productions. The pioneers of such cinema are the Italians, who released the film Camo Gredeschi in 1912.

The contribution of director David Wark Griffith.

Not inferior to the Italian epic films were such films as The Birth of a Nation (1915) and Intolerance (1916) by the American director D. W. Griffith. It is Griffith who becomes the first recognised cinematic genius.

The director used parallel editing with unrivalled skill, while producing complex films with serious themes. In doing so, he used multiple cameras to shoot the same scene from different locations, and moved the camera freely to follow the action. It is Griffith’s films, with the extraordinary impact they had on audiences, that show that cinema can be used as a powerful moral and political force that can intervene in complex social issues. The Birth of a Nation, for example, is a film that shows Griffith’s racist views. The film causes sharp sharp contradictions in society and as a consequence it was banned for screening in several states of America.

Nevertheless, the American film industry had already left the East Coast and moved to Hollywood, California. The climate here allowed films to be made all year round, while allowing them to (at first) reduce production costs. Soon several major film studios, such as Universal Pictures and Warner Brothers, dominate film production. With the outbreak of World War I, the European film industry declines, and Hollywood gets its chance to pull ahead and conquer audiences around the world.

All films at that time were ‘silent’, because at that time there was not yet invented an effective method that allowed to combine on film the actors’ lines with their actions. That is why directors added explanatory credits to the film, and screenings were usually accompanied by a pianist (tapper).

The Age of Sound Cinema

Despite all the richness of visual techniques, there was still a sluggishness in the development of the plot, as well as a more simplistic characterisation of the characters in the silent film. Therefore, almost immediately after the release of the film ‘The Jazz Singer’ (1927), which for the first time used synchronized music and dialogue with speech and acting of actors, comes the end of the era of the ‘Great Silent’. The age of sound cinema is coming.


The evolution of motion pictures from their silent beginnings to the advent of sound cinema represents a remarkable journey of innovation and creativity. Early cinema captivated audiences worldwide with its unique ability to create the illusion of continuous motion and tell compelling stories without sound. The pioneering efforts of filmmakers like the Lumière brothers, Georges Méliès, and Edwin S. Porter laid the groundwork for the medium’s narrative and technical advancements.

As cinema matured, it transformed from simple recordings of everyday life into complex, feature-length films that explored a wide range of themes and emotions. Directors like David Wark Griffith demonstrated the powerful impact of cinema on society, using the medium to address serious social issues and evoke strong emotional responses from audiences.

The transition to sound cinema with “The Jazz Singer” in 1927 marked a significant milestone, bringing a new dimension to storytelling and character development. This shift not only enhanced the audience experience but also solidified Hollywood’s position as the epicenter of the global film industry.

In summary, the history of motion pictures is a testament to the relentless pursuit of innovation in the arts. The early pioneers’ contributions continue to influence modern cinema, ensuring that the medium remains a dynamic and integral part of cultural expression and entertainment.

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