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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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Home and Away

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(p.119) Chapter 6 Home and Away
Robert Paul and the Origins of British Cinema

Ian Christie

University of Chicago Press

Early film programmes often followed the journey or visit pattern of lantern shows, ideally with a lecturer linking the many short films. The best-documented of all such presentations was Carl Hertz’s extended tour in 1896-7, during which he received new films from Paul, as he travelled from South Africa to Australia and New Zealand, with audiences avid for typically English scenes and events, before visiting India, China, Japan and Hawaii. Short’s films taken in Spain and Portugal were presented locally before coming to the Alhambra, where their success inspired an early story about the risk of being caught on camera. Paul visited Stockholm during the 1897 Art and Industry fair and his films were shown locally. In the following year, both Acres and Paul were filming the launch of HMS Albion on the Thames, when the spectators’ stands collapsed, resulting in many deaths. Acres withheld his film, accusing Paul of profiting from disaster. Paul explained that his camera was running automatically while he helped rescue survivors, and donated his film for charitable shows. Paul and his manager Jack Smith continued to seek newsworthy subjects up to 1909, with a documentary about whaling off the Irish coast one notable surviving film.

Keywords:   Carl Hertz, Melbourne, Lisbon, Madrid, Stockholm, HMS Albion, whaling

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