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This authoritative choice of introductory and really good readings explores the wealthy and leading edge historical past of this era in American cinema. Spanning a necessary diversity of topics from the early 1900s Nickelodeon to the decline of the studio process within the Sixties, it combines a wide old context with cautious readings of person motion pictures.

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The impracticality of this method for mass production is clear, but it would not be long before Earl Hurd and J. R. Bray, working separately, would develop the means by which to animate specific sections of the frame against a background that did not require movement. Hurd’s cels, which could be layered, allowed the artist to animate only those parts of a drawing that needed motion, thus drastically reducing labor time and making the animated film amenable to the industry’s mode of production (Koszarski 1994, 170).

The director took full advantage of the new surroundings, incorporating the varied topography of the region into a wide range of stories, from a revenge drama set in the desert (Over Silent Paths) to romance in a garden (Love Among the Roses) to a seaside tone poem (The Unchanging Sea).

But the early American avant-garde did far more than document cities. Like its European influence, it frequently used the frame not for verisimilitude but for abstraction, preferring the symbolic rather than the indexical potential of the medium. In The Life and Death of 9413—A Hollywood Extra (1928), Robert Florey and Slavko Vorkapich satirize the movie business, depicting a man whose dreams of stardom turn nightmarish when he is transformed into a numbered, mechanized Hollywood extra. Shot by Gregg Toland, the film intercuts expressionist iconography, miniatures, and images of the real Hollywood.

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