Early cinema in Scotland

The project brings together a range of resources and archive records to produce an integrated account of the beginnings of cinema in Scotland, including more than 600 venues and 500 films.

Map showing film locations by genre, with Aberfoyle selected
Map showing film locations by genre, with Aberfoyle selected

The central aim of the project is to produce a comprehensive account of the early development of cinema in Scotland. Where were the early films shown; who by and to whom? In what ways did cinema, within thirty years, become a major cultural form? How were the expectations of cinema defined; what social, cultural and aesthetic values were ascribed to it; and how was the experience of cinema described in the press and other sources?

This will be the first major attempt to bring together systematically a range of resources and archive records on the beginnings of cinema in Scotland. It will cover production, distribution, exhibition and reception in order to understand the place of cinema in the early years of the twentieth century: the phenomenon which Francesco Casetti describes as "the popularization of modernity and the modernization of popularity."

Find out more about the experience of 'going to the pictures' in over 600 venues, from the drill halls of the 1900s and 1910s to the 'picture palaces' of the 1920s, and from the early touring variety shows and concert parties to the rise of the feature film and the dominance of Hollywood.

Browse or search the annotated filmography to learn about the six silent feature films released by Scottish companies, and about the wealth of non-fiction productions, including extraordinary 'local topical' films, scenic and travel films. Scottish stories, characters, or themes were popular in silent-era films from around the world, and are also discussed here.

Project website: https://earlycinema.gla.ac.uk/

Main contact: John Caughie

Developer: Matthew Barr

Start year: 2012

End year: 2015

Funded by: AHRC

Subject areas: Information StudiesTheatre, Film & Television Studies

Keywords: Digital CatalogueHistoryMapping

Record last updated 2020-01-14