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Title: Projected images : Hepworth manufacturing company and British cinema, 1899-1911
Author: Brown, Simon David
ISNI:       0000 0004 2672 666X
Awarding Body: Birkbeck (University of London)
Current Institution: Birkbeck (University of London)
Date of Award: 2007
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This thesis presents a reassessment of the first major British film production crisis. which occurred between 1908 and 1911, through a case study of the Hepworth Manufacturing Company, Ltd (hereafter HMC). In this period British producers saw sales slump and the quality of their films criticised, and standard histories have blamed them for this crisis, describing their conduct as stagnant and incompetent. Challenging these accusations, this thesis examines in depth the advances made by HMC from its inception in 1899 in three key areas. Firstly it looks at filmmaking, examining how HMC developed its production methods and its studio. Secondly it explores how HMC adopted a standardised narrative structure for its films which it augmented by borrowing from a pool of narrative elements in a narrative bricolage. Taking this notion of bricolage further, it thirdly explores how HMC structured its output generically through a similar bricolage of pioneer generic elements and how this approach to genre manifested itself in the market as a strategy to ensure maximum revenues. It contextualises this by presenting at the outset an overview of the development of the British film industry from its origins in 1894 to 1911, highlighting the hitherto overlooked importance of distribution to this development, and studying HMC's relationship to the growing rental sector and the threat posed by the rise of film distribution. Finally it devises a new schema for examining films within exhibition and presents a case study of the circulation of HMC films. The conclusion reviews the state of the market and the attempts made by the HMC to survive within it, taking the position that the strategies of HMC were rendered ineffective by market forces, and that it was only through diversification into distribution and exhibition that HMC, and all the producers, could have avoided the crisis.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available