Leningrad: Nauchnoe knigoizdatel’stvo, 1925. Octavo (17.5 × 13 cm). Original pictorial wrappers; 154,  pp. With forty-nine smaller drawings in the text. Small nick to front wrapper; spine extremities very lightly frayed; text evenly toned; still about very good.
First edition in Russian. This early film history, oriented toward industry insiders, provides both a media archeology and an overview of contemporary methods of film production. Written by Ernest Coustet (1868–19??), and originally published in French as “Le cinema” (Hachette, 1921), the text reaches back to the earliest devices that produced the illusion of motion. Coustet looks at everything from magic lantern shows to Muybridge’s chronophotography, from the Chromotrope, to the Phenakistiscope, to the innovations of Marey and Addison. The bulk of the text is focused on contemporary film production and discusses in detail film developing technology, the workings of the camera, the making of titles, lighting, set design and construction, as well as special effects and a variety of cinematic tricks. Film projection and the space of the movie theater are also discussed, as are “home screenings” and amateur filmmaking. The text closes with a look into the future, covering color cinema and talking films. A curious glimpse into the way cinema history and contemporary production was understood in the early period of cinema. The translation appeared at a crucial point, when the Soviet film industry was still reeling from the damages of WWI and struggling to regrow its own technological infrastructure. One of 5500 copies. KVK and OCLC show only one copy at the Getty.
Book ID: P6417