From Peepshow to Palace: The Birth of American Film

Film critic David Robinson chronicles the early use of film as vaudeville sideshow; as sheer spectacle of moving images precluding any notion of plot development or drama; and as a fledgling dramatic effort, ranging from prizefights to Passion plays. He also takes readers to the nickelodeon theaters, and replete with more than 150 drawings and photographs, shows how the earliest devices of cinematic prehistory--machines with colorful names like the Phantascope and the Wheel of Life--led to the technology of filmmaking we know today.