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While films made during cinemas early days may appear archaic awkward or even unintentionally funny to some modern viewers they were part of a revolution in entertainment that was never before equaled and perhaps may never be equaled again Later innovations such as television and the internet so far more of an information medium than an entertaining one owe their acceptance if not their very existence to the initial discovery that people are endlessly fascinated when a narrative story moves before their eyes even without the physical presence of the actors and settings The creation of cinema -- barely imaginable before the mid-1890s -- is impressive enough Whats even more suprising is that far more than a handful of films made in the years between 1895 and 1930 solidly hold up as entertainment today The wacky fantasy of Georges Mlis 1902 A Trip to the Moon still enchants director King Vidors social commentary in 1928s The Crowd still cuts to the heart and Abel Gances startling 1927 epic Napoleon used a widescreen triptych effect that no one successfully used again until Woodstock 42 years later Its too bad that early cinema has been mostly left to historians because there is so much soul that escaped the combustion of the nitrate stock on which it was originally shot and sadly there is so much more that was lostThe time in which cinema was born was pretty revolutionary in itself southern and eastern Europe were suffering hard economic times resulting in millions of immigrants coming to the United States The Ottoman Empire was falling and the Spanish-American War was on the horizon Social upheaval in the wake of the Industrial Revolution resulted in the creation of child labor laws and the womens suffrage movement meanwhile the Sherman Antitrust Act was being developed to limit the spread of monopolies To take their minds off world events people went to circuses or county fairs the well-off attended the theater
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