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Robert Paul and the Origins of British Cinema$
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Ian Christie

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780226105628

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: September 2020

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226610115.001.0001

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“Adding Interest to Wonder”

“Adding Interest to Wonder”

The First Year in Film

(p.63) Chapter 3 “Adding Interest to Wonder”
Robert Paul and the Origins of British Cinema

Ian Christie

University of Chicago Press

Paul was launched on a hectic nightly round of screenings at London’s music halls by the success of his projector, yet urgently needed to make new films to enhance the programmes. The Alhambra manager suggested filming a comic scene on the roof of the theatre, and the resulting Soldier’s Courtship became an immediate success, with one of its actors, Ellen Daws, becoming Paul’s wife a year later. In June, Paul travelled to Epsom to film the Derby, and managed to show his film the following night at the Alhambra, where it was appreciatively encored. Soon the Prince of Wales, owner of the winning horse, came to see it. Magicians also played an important part in popularising the new entertainment, with David Devant presenting it at the Egyptian Hall and at the Henry Wood Promenade concerts, while Carl Hertz took Paul’s projector and films on a world tour. Paul was also active showing programmes around Britain, starting in Brighton, where he would inspire local filmmakers. In September, he sent Henry Short on a tour of Spain and Portugal, which yielded an impressive programme, and led to another expedition to Egypt.

Keywords:   Animatograph, Alhambra, Soldier's Courtship, Derby, Prince of Wales, magician, Brighton, Spain, Portugal, Egypt

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