Category Archives: Essays

The Legion of Decency

Source: Extracts from Mary J. Breen, ‘The Legion of Decency: Running a Movie Theater in the 1950s’, http://the-toast.net/2015/11/10/the-legion-of-decency-running-a-movie-theater-in-the-1950s/, originally published as ‘The Legion of Decency’, The Windsor Review, 48:1, Spring 2015 Text: In 1949, when I was five, my cautious … Continue reading

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Are Movies Going to Pieces?

Source: Pauline Kael, extract from ‘Are Movies Going to Pieces?’, The Atlantic Monthly, vol. 214, no. 6 (December 1964), pp. 61-81, reproduced in I Lost It at the Movies (New York: Marion Boyars, 1993) Text: One evening not long ago, … Continue reading

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When the Viewing had to Stop

Source: Peter Ackroyd, ‘When the Viewing had to Stop’, in Peter Ackroyd (ed. Thomas Wright), The Collection: Journalism, Reviews, Essays, Short Stories, Lectures (London: Chatto & Windus, 2001), pp. 140-142 [orig. pub. The Spectator, 7 March 1987] Text: There comes … Continue reading

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The Last Ballad

Source: George Mackay Brown, ‘The Last Ballad’, The Listener, 20 June 1968, p. 800 Text: In a primitive community what happens circulates as story or ballad. During the Napoleonic Wars an Orkney sailor called Andrew Ross died under the lash. … Continue reading

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Moving (Dioramic) Experiences

Source: Charles Dickens, ‘Moving (Dioramic) Experiences’, All the Year Round, vol. XVII, 23 March 1867, pp. 304-307 Text: The diorama is a demesne that seems to be strictly preserved for the virtuous and good. Those for whom the gaudy sensualities … Continue reading

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A Century of Cinema

Source: Susan Sontag, extract from ‘A Century of Cinema’ in Where the Stress Falls (London: Penguin, 2009), pp. 118-119 (originally published in a German translation in Frankfurter Rundschau, 30 December 1995) Text: As many have noted, the start of moviemaking … Continue reading

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For the Children

Source: Extracts from D.J. Enright, ‘For the Children’, in Fields of Vision: Essays on Literature, Language, and Television (Oxford/New York: Oxford University Press, 1990), pp. 72-76 (adapted from original essay ‘Quick Brown Fox – D.J. Enright writes in praise of … Continue reading

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Leaving the Movie Theater

Source: Extract from Roland Barthes (trans. Richard Howard), ‘Leaving the Movie Theater’, in The Rustle of Language (New York: Hill and Wang, 1986), pp. 345-346 Text: There is something to confess: your speaker likes to leave a movie theater. Back … Continue reading

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Moving Pictures

Source: Stephen Paget, ‘Moving Pictures’, in I Sometimes Think: Essays for the Young People (London: Macmillan, 1916), pp. 68-85 Text: We are so accustomed to moving pictures, that we do not trouble ourselves to study their nature, or their place … Continue reading

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Letters of Natural Magic

Source: Sir David Brewster, extract from ‘Letter IV’, Letters on Natural Magic (London: Chatto & Windus, 1883 – orig. pub. 1831), pp. 158-159 Text: The power of the magic lantern has been greatly extended by placing it on one side … Continue reading

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