In this essay I will explore three key moments in the history and cinema and explain their importance. The history of cinema plays a key role when considering the changes film has seen throughout the years, and has fundamentally influenced cinema to get to where we are today. In my opinion some of the most key and influential eras of cinema were the ‘The invention of Cinema’, ‘New Hollywood’ and ‘French New Wave’. In this essay I will discuss these further and consider their significance.
The ‘Invention of Cinema’ in itself is single-handedly the most important moment in the history of cinema. However it is difficult to establish this moment in history as one particular invention as many elements had to come together in order for the first ‘film’ to be created. The invention of the light bulb by Thomas Edison played a major part of developing film as we know it today. This movement can arguably be said to have begun from as early as 1878 (Open Culture, 2018), as a photographer called Edward Muybridge was studying the movement of horses. Muybridge set up a series of cameras and had them capture the movement of the horses as they went past, using the images he had captured he was able to create what can be considered as “the first film”, as he was able to piece together the images and subsequently these images captured the horse in motion.
In 1888, a French inventor named Louis Le Prince invented the single lens combination camera projector type one, mark two (YouTube, 2018). This was the first single lens movie camera. A few years later Le Prince went on to make moving images, these included ‘The Roundhay Garden Scene’, ‘Traffic Crossing Leeds Bridge’ and ‘The Accordion Player’. In 1891, there was another huge breakthrough in cinema, with the invention of the kinetoscope, a couple years later the first film that featured actors was created. The Lumière Brothers invented the cinematograph camera with a projective lens in 1895. This had a huge impact upon cinema as we know it today as this was the beginning of audiences being introduced to cinema. In that same year, the ‘Annabelle Serpentine Dance’ was the first film to be featured in colour. In 1903 one of the first influential films was created: ‘The Great Train Robbery’. This film was developed over the space of fifteen years, and featured ten different locations. All of the ideas that had been building up over the years were finally being put together. This film demonstrated special effects, and the first pan in film history. The end of the film shocked audiences as a man appeared to be pulling the trigger of a gun at the audience. This film proved to audiences that film was something that could communicate narratives and take people to a new world.
Without this essential movement in film history, cinema today would not be possible. Many elements were combined throughout these early years of film production in order to produce what we see on screens today, it is for this reason that ‘The Invention of Cinema’ is arguably the most important moment in the history of film.