The Dream the Kicks is a classic account of the prehistory and early years of cinema in Britain. In this new paperback edition, which has been thoroughly revised to take into account recent scholarship of early cinema, Michael Chanan provides a fasciniating account of the rich and hitherto hidden history of the origins of film.
Chanan demonstrates that the theory of `the persistence of vision', which led to the invention of moving pictures, has been superceded by modern scientific findings. In its place, he puts forward a theory of invention as a type of bricolage, and shows that cinematography was a product of the forces of nineteenth century capitalism. He discusses the wealth of influences, both popular and bourgeois, on the culture of early cinema, including diorama, the magic lantern, itinerant entertainers and music hall. He looks at the relationship between film and photography, and considers the nascent film business, the ways in which early cinema was received by its audiences and the developing aesthetics of cinema in its first fifteen years.

part |4 pages

Part 1 The arrival of moving pictures

chapter 1|17 pages

The site of film

chapter 2|11 pages

The sight of film

part |2 pages

Part 2 The dialectic of invention

chapter 3|6 pages

The conditions of invention

chapter 4|12 pages

Theories of perception

chapter 5|7 pages

Photographic development

chapter 6|11 pages

Patent business

chapter 7|10 pages

Celluloid muse

part |2 pages

Part 3 Culture and economics

chapter 8|14 pages

The production of consumption

chapter 9|22 pages

Music hall and popular culture

chapter 10|12 pages

Culture and politics in the middle classes

part |2 pages

Part 4 The early years

chapter 11|33 pages

Market competition and industrial growth

chapter 12|36 pages

The foundations of the film idiom

chapter 13|5 pages

Epilogue: The dream that kicks