Caughie J, Griffiths T & Velez-Serna MA (eds.) (2018) Early Cinema in Scotland. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press. https://edinburghuniversitypress.com/book-early-cinema-in-scotland.html
The popularity of cinema in Scotland is legendary. By 1929 Glasgow had 127 cinemas; by 1939, it claimed more cinema seats per capita than any other city in the world. Green's Playhouse, opening in Glasgow in 1927, had a seating capacity of 4,368, and was, by repute, the largest cinema in the world outside the USA. By 1946, the average cinema attendance for Scotland was thirty-six visits, while the corresponding average for England was twenty-eight visits. The aim of this collection of essays, drawn from a three-year AHRC research project, is to provide a more detailed context for the history of early cinema in Scotland from its inception in 1896 till the arrival of sound in the early 1930s. It will detail the movement from travelling fairground shows to the establishment of permanent cinemas, and from variety and live entertainment to the dominance of the feature film. It will discuss the regulation of cinema and the promotion of a socially ‘useful' entertainment, and will consider the early development of cinema both in major cities and in small towns. Using local newspapers and other archive sources, it will detail the evolution and the diversity of the social experience of cinema. In production, it will examine the evidence for the failure in Scotland to establish a sustainable feature film production sector, while noting the various attempts. At the same time, it will record the importance, both for local exhibition and for Scottish social history, of local ‘topicals': locally produced ‘documentaries' (avant la lettre) that filmed the daily life and special events of the neighbourhood. It will also consider the popularity of Scotland as an imaginary location for European and American films, drawing their popularity from the international audience for Scott, Burns and Barrie. In the period, there are around 150 films which have Scottish themes, including four versions of The Little Minister, three of The Lady of the Lake, four Annie Lauries and numerous accounts of Young Lochinvar, Bonnie Prince Charlie, Rob Roy and Mary, Queen of Scots. The book will conclude with a consideration of the arrival of sound, and will offer an annotated filmography drawing evidence from synopses and reviews in contemporary trade journals.
early cinema; cinema in Scotland; Scottish films