The Mission of the Cinematograph

The Americanisation of the WorldIn 1902 the renowned journalist and newspaper editor William Thomas Stead wrote an essay, 'The Mission of the Cinematograph' which was published in Review of Reviews Annual 1902 alongside and incorporated with a longer thesis from Stead, The Americanisation of the World. The essay was a follow-up to an earlier piece written by Stead on the magic lantern, its educational and evangelical possibilities, and to make similar arguments for the cinematograph Stead visited the Warwick Trading Company and its manager Charles Urban. Many of the arguments here would feature in later promotional publications issued by Urban, and it is a matter of debate whether Stead helped formulate such arguments in Urban's mind or whether Urban had the more powerful influence over Stead's ideas.

A digitised copy can be found online at the Hathi Trust.

Many years ago I wrote an article entitled "The Mission of the Magic Lantern." The article had some considerable success at the time, and succeeded in turning the attention of many people, educationists and others, to the immense importance of utilising Eye-gate as well as Ear-gate for the purpose of education. Since then so much progress has been made in the art of projecting pictures upon screens that the time has come for re-writing that old article, or, rather writing another dealing with the later phases and developments of the methods by which Eye-gate can be opened still more widely for the admission of information and of ideas. In education the first thing is to interest. The one great obstacle that lies in the way of all those who wish to teach is the difficulty of awakening the mind. In all our teaching we rely too much upon the ear, whereas you can wake up the mind much more rapidly by the eye. Far be it from me to say one word against oral teaching. It is invaluable and indispensable, but picture teaching beats it hollow, especially in its initial stages. We all recognise this in infancy, and the first book by which we attract a child is a picture-book. In the Books for the Bairns, which are perhaps the most successful of all the publications I have ever issued, the essential feature is that there should be a picture on every page. But we are all children of a larger growth, and the picture is only one degree less necessary for adults than it is for children. We are slow in the uptake, and dull to grasp a fresh idea. In order to understand things we have got to see them, and the great advantage of pictures is that a picture will at a glance explain much more clearly and intelligently a multitude of facts which the most painstaking explanation by word of mouth or by the printed page would fail to make clear.


At the present moment everyone who has bestowed any thought upon the question is deeply impressed with the necessity of stimulating the mind of our people, and compelling the ordinary man and the ordinary woman to take an interest in things that ought to interest them, but do not; and we are all more or less in despair as to how it is to be done. In some things the public is interested. And how is the public interested? Take, for instance, the war. What interested the man in the street in the war? Very largely the pictures of the war. The illustrated weeklies laid themselves out to interpret the telegrams and the war correspondence by bringing before the man in the street a living vivid image of the scenes which are actually being witnessed by human eyes in the far-off veldt. In like manner the yacht race owes no small part of its popularity to the pictures of the yachts. It may be argued that the pictures followed the interest rather than preceded it, but they acted and re-acted upon each other, and undoubtedly while many were interested in the war before they had seen the pictures, a great number of people first began to take interest in the war because of the pictures of its progress.

Not only do pictures attract attention, but they produce a deeper impression. Let any one look backwards in his own history, and he will find the things that have lodged most indelibly in his memory have been things he has seen rather than things that he has heard. I can see before my mind's eye to-day as vividly as if it were yesterday a picture which I saw forty-five years ago of one of the battles in the Crimea. It probably was wholly imaginary, especially the white horse that figured conspicuously in the centre ; but after the lapse of all these years that white horse is still vividly impressed upon my mental retina. Almost as far back do I remember my first panorama. Out of one of the painted pictures I still see the head of a bear looking out of a hollow trunk. Nearly everything else I was then taught has more or less faded away or blended in the indeterminate vague expanse; but the picture stands out. Hence, if we are really to set ourselves earnestly to the task of quickening the mind of our people, we must resort to pictures. More pictures, and ever more!


Now, just when our need is the greatest, science has come to our aid and provided us with an admirable instrument for presenting pictures to the eye of the multitude much more vividly and with more life-like realism than has ever heretofore been possible. The living picture, which has long been one of the most popular turns in the music- hall entertainment, must now take its place as one of the potent weapons with which the well-equipped educationist goes forth to combat the hosts of ignorance. At present the potentialities of the living picture have only been realised by the showman. It has still to be utilised by the School, by the College, by the University. The magic lantern is very good in that it enables you to show excel-lent pictures on a large scale before a great crowd; but with very few exceptions the picture thrown by the stereopticon upon a sheet was as motionless as an oil-painting. Dissolving views and mechanical arrangements only to a very small extent introduce an element of motion. But if a picture is good, a moving picture is infinitely better, for there you have not only form and colour but the motion which is life; you have the dramatic element vividly present before your eyes. It renders possible the presentation of a living drama without the expense of having to maintain a whole dramatic troupe, and to provide a stage and its accessories.


Anyone who has paid a visit to an exhibition - nay, anyone who has even walked down a crowded street, must have been impressed by the fact that nothing in the world attracts the attention of the ordinary man, woman, or child so much as something that moves. The most marvellous mechanism that ever was invented by human ingenuity, if it stands motionless in a glass case, will attract fewer observers than the simplest apple-paring machine if the latter is only at work. It is, however, unnecessary to argue the question of interest, because the music-halls have settled that for us long ago. The most magnificent pictures in the world would fail to command the attention of music-hall audiences, who will sit in rapt attention before the animated photographs which are thrown upon the screen in an interval between the performances of a juggler and those of a contortionist.

What now has to be done is to yoke this modern invention, which has half a dozen different names, to the service of propagandism and of education. Whether we call it a kinetoscope, a biograph, or a bioscope is immaterial. All that is indispensable is the thing itself.

The Bioscope ProjectorIn order to form some idea as to what this thing itself is, how it has worked, and to what extent it has made its way amongst us, I spent an afternoon this last month at the headquarters of the Bioscope Company. The animated picture business was introduced into Europe in 1894 by Messrs. Maguire and Baucus. They afterwards formed the Warwick Trading Company, Limited, with the following directors: J.D. Baucus, chairman, A. J. Ellis, F. Z. Maguire, J. O. Nicholson, H. W. Mack, directors, and Chas. Urban, managing director. The Warwick Trading Company, Limited, is one of the most enterprising of the firms which have taken hold of an American invention and naturalised it on British soil. It has its head offices at Warwick Court, in Holborn. It has a theatre and photographic film plant at Brighton for photographing its pictures and manufacturing its finished film subject-rolls for the market, and a large and growing factory for manufacturing the machines and sensitized film stock in an outlying district of London.


The company have just taken over two four-story buildings in the vicinity of Warwick Court for a further extension of their laboratories, repair shops, film manufacturing plant and shipping rooms. Extension of film plant was necessitated by the great demand from exhibitors and theatrical managers for quick deliveries of films, to all points of England, of any event of topical interest, such as the Derby, Grand National, Henley Regatta, processions, etc. This means organisation and systematic execution of the work in hand, requiring two forces of dark-room operators, one working force during the day and the other all night. Any negatives which reach Warwick Court by four o'clock in the afternoon can be manipulated so that twenty-five to fifty prints (according to length) can be supplied to the exhibitor for showing at the halls the same evening. The demand for some subjects reaches 300 to 750 copies for immediate delivery. This number of complete films are usually finished within forty-eight hours after the receipt of the negative.

Lightning delivery of films to the provincial exhibitor by passenger and express trains also means hustling. In short, the present phase of the animated picture business can be likened to the preparing and distributing of a special edition of an illustrated journal.

As millions of people have seen the animated pictures who have never seen or, if they have seen, have never had explained to them the way in which the pictures are produced, it may not be without interest to enter into some detail to explain exactly how the results with which we are familiar are produced.

The first thing indispensable is the lantern; the second is the light; the third the bioscope mechanism; and fourth the pictures. Of the lantern itself there is not much need to speak. It differs in no respect from the ordinary magic lantern. Indeed, an ordinary magic lantern can be fitted with the apparatus necessary- for producing animated pictures. It is different, however, when we come to the light. The better the light, the better the pictures. Magic lanterns are operated either with oil lamps, with gas, with electricity, with the oxy-hydrogen light, or with the lime light. It is possible to exhibit animated pictures with the oil light, but the result is naturally not so good as when the oxyhydrogen is used, or the lime light. Concerning oil lamps, it is unnecessary to speak. Oxy-hydrogen light is very good when gas is procurable; but it entails the carrying about of cylinders charged under great pressure. Electric light is the best for projecting animated pictures, and very many and elaborate are the apparati used to press it into the service of the lantern.


We now come to the projecting mechanism and the pictures, without which the best of lanterns, the most brilliant of lights, would be of no avail. This brings us to the camera, which is specially made for the taking of animated pictures. It is a very ingenious piece of mechanism, and marvellous for the perfection of its parts and the facility with which the whole thing works. Every amateur photographer is well aware of the difficulty of posing a subject and of taking a picture even when he is not hurried for time ; but the essence of an animated picture is that the pictures must be taken with immense rapidity and in rapid succession.

The bioscope camera differs from an ordinary camera in the fact that it has what resembles the handle of a barrel-organ on one side. The handle is indispensable for operating the mechanism and winding the long ribbon of sensitised film upon which the photographs are taken. Instead of exposing a plate, the camera used for the production of animated pictures exposes a film in the shape of a long ribbon not more than 1 ½ inches in breadth, which is wound round a spool by the aid of cog-wheels working in the holes punched on both sides of the film. The film is fed into the dark chamber of the camera in coils 150 feet or longer, from whence it passes through the mechanism opposite the lens, and is coiled upon another spool in a chamber immediately below. When the camera is in working, it would appear that the operator was winding off the film steadily at the rate of about 50 feet a minute. Nor can the eye detect any halt in the steady roll of the film off the reel across the ray that passes through the lens. But if the film were constantly moving, the resultant image would be badly blurred. The nicety of the mechanism consists in the fact that, although the turning of the handle is continuous, the cog-wheels are so arranged that when the film passes through the mechanism it halts for the fortieth of a second, during which the ray of light reflected from the object photographed strikes the film through the lens and registers itself indelibly. By this means 150 feet of film can be exposed in three minutes, and during these three minutes no fewer than 2,400 distinct photographic pictures will have been impressed upon the sensitive surface of the film. It is marvellous, almost miraculous, and a short time ago would have been regarded as absolutely beyond the bounds of possibility. But all difficulties have been triumphantly surmounted. The bioscope camera is no sooner in position and properly fixed than the operator literally grinds off small pictures about the size of a postage stamp, but each complete in itself, at the rate of 800 a minute, or 16 a second.


As the film registers the impressions at the rate of 16 a second, it is obvious that between one picture and another the difference is almost imperceptible; but if you compare the first with the twentieth, or still more with the sixtieth, each successive movement can easily be seen without the least difficulty. It is a somewhat appalling thought that one's casual motions, the almost accidental actions, may be registered by this photographic coffee-mill, and reproduced indefinitely for ever-more. When watching the machine in action, it occurred to me to calculate how many miles of film would be required to preserve the exact living picture of all one's waking life. Supposing that a man lives to fulfil the three-score years and ten of the Psalmist, and supposing that one-third of his life is spent in sleep, how many miles of film do you think it would require to register all his acts and deeds, his goings and comings from the time of his birth until his death ? It is no use going into the very minute figures, but broadly speaking it would require 200,000 miles of film in order to make a complete register of the acts of a single life. On these 200,000 miles of film there would be impressed no fewer than 12,000,000,000 separate pictures.

The Bioscope CameraBut if the camera were kept trained upon a single individual through the whole of his waking hours, whether he was at rest or whether he was in motion, it would undoubtedly enable those who come after us to reconstruct the actual living life of a man of the twentieth century better than any amount of description. Of the 12,000,000,000 pictures, 10,000,000,000 would probably consist of endless repetitions, which would be endlessly boring to the beholder. But without going to such extremes it is possible for anyone with the aid of this instrument to preserve a realistic picture of human life under conditions of the present day. It is astonishing how vivid a picture, complete in all its details, can be reeled off in three minutes. It is not too much to say that a dozen 150-foot reels would enable anyone to form a more vivid, comprehensive and complete picture of human life from the cradle to the grave in half an hour than he could possibly realise from the reading of half a lifetime.

There is hardly any kind of effect which cannot be reproduced by this ingenious instrument. Nothing is more difficult to reproduce than the flight of birds, but one of the first pictures shown me at Warwick Court was the feeding of the pigeons of St. Mark's in Venice. Nothing could be more life-like than the fluttering and hovering of the great cloud of pigeons which find their daily bread in the huge square. A much less pleasing, but for the purposes of demonstration perhaps even more effective illustration of the capacity of the bioscope, is afforded by the picture of a cock-fight in Manila. There upon the sheet you see the poor wretched birds, fortunately without other weapons than those afforded them by Nature, fighting main after main with all the savage vigour and combative spirit which they displayed in the Philippines twelve months ago.


The Bioscope in ItalyI was initiated in the whole art and mystery of the making of the pictures, and spent some time in the dark cells in which much of the operation goes on. There is, to begin with, the unperforated film to be passed through a perforator, which punches a row of holes in either side with such exactitude that every hole fits every cog in any one of the 900 bioscopes which are now in active use. After the perforation, the film is carefully packed in light-proof cases, ready for use. After it has all been exposed in the camera, and every inch of the 150 feet has halted for one-fortieth of a second behind the eye of the lens, it is then taken off the reel and wound round the horizontal metal cross, from the four arms of which a number of pins project vertically. The film is wound round these pins, beginning at the centre, which is mounted on a vulcanite roller inserted in an iron standard. When the film is wound in the frame, so as to form a kind of square spiral, it is lifted from the iron base, and the vulcanite roller used as a handle, so as to enable the operator to immerse the film in the developer without soiling his hands. After being developed and further treated, it is then wound off the developing frame upon a large wooden ribbed drum, heated with gas-jets in the centre and revolving rapidly by electric motor, the drying process assisted by utilising a battery of electric fans. Here it remains for half an hour or forty minutes, until it is dried, and the negative is then ready for printing. The developed ribbon of film, having been wound off the drying drum, examined and cleaned, is attached to another ribbon of film upon which the picture is to be printed. The two films are then passed together through a machine which is in many respects the counterpart of the camera and of the projecting machine; that is to say, the film is passed through a machine very much like the projector, but the light which is thrown upon the aperture across which the double film travels is only used for the purpose of printing the picture from the negative, not to project it. The rate at which the film passes varies according to the density of the negative or the brilliancy of the light. At Warwick Court they used electric lights, and wound off 150 feet of film in about five minutes. After having been printed, the ribbon is again wound upon a frame and immersed in a developing and fixing solution, after which it is again wound off upon the drying drum, where after another twenty minutes' drying it is examined and cleaned, wound off upon a reel, enclosed in a tin box, and is ready for use.


The rapidity with which the whole process can be accomplished is amazing. On the Oxford and Cambridge boat-race day 150 feet of film, containing 2,400 pictures, was ready for exhibition in three hours after the arrival of the camera at the works. As a rule 150 feet is regarded as a good working length for an animated picture. It is not well to weary the audience by too long a film. One of the longest films was that representing the funeral of Queen Victoria. Every stage in the long procession from Osborne to St. George's Chapel was photographed by the Warwick Trading Company, eleven cameras and operators recording every stage of the ceremonies and procession. Their works were kept going night and day after the funeral, nor were they able for some time to overtake the orders which poured in from all parts. Everyone wanted them at once. To-day there is but little demand for these pictures, the interest in the Royal funeral having long ago spent itself It is with films as it is with newspapers. A million people will buy to-day's paper for ten who purchase the paper of the day before yesterday. The complete set of these films of the funeral ran from 4,000 to 5,000 feet.

A very excellent picture, more recent than that of Queen Victoria's funeral, is that which exhibits the funeral procession of the Empress Frederick. The cinematograph is, however, by no means exclusively or even primarily employed for funeral processions. It is more at home in pageants and festal processions. Some pictures taken of the procession on the occasion of the opening of the first Australian Parliament in Melbourne give a very vivid idea of the ceremonies and processions in all Australian cities visited by the Royal couple.

One of the simplest but nevertheless one of the most effective pictures exhibited is that showing the procession of the torpedo- boat destroyers on the occasion of the opening of the Manchester Ship Canal. As you sit watching the screen, the canal-gates open, and the long black hull of the destroyer forges its way through the foaming water. It is difficult to realise that you are not actually seeing a veritable ship. The effect, when again and again renewed, is a marvel of realistic accuracy. The camera on that occasion was located on a tug which went about a quarter the speed of the torpedo-boats whose movements were photographed.

WAR PICTURES Portability essential for Skirmish and Scouting WorkOne of the greatest successes of the cinematograph has been in the presentation of scenes from the seat of war, and yet it may be safely said that here we have witnessed one of its greatest failures. The success lay in the machin : the failure was due to the revolution which has taken place in modern warfare. The war was hardly well begun before the Warwick Trading Company had despatched three operators to accompany the British troops operating in various sections of South Africa and in their march to Pretoria. Each operator was equipped by the Warwick Trading Company with two mules, a Cape cart and camping and bioscope outfits. Upon long marches of the troops the "Warwick" carts took their places: side by side with the regular war correspondents. When reconnoitring or scouting the cameras were slung over the back of one mule, the other being mounted by the operator who accompanied the troops, while the assistant watched the balance of the outfit in camp and reloaded a relay instrument ready in case of accident. Mr. Rosenthal, the hief bioscope correspondent, with his camera, rode all the way in the front of the British army through Bloemfontein, Kroonstad, and Pretoria. He used 15,000 ft. of film in photo- graphing scenes on march, and he would have used 5,000 more if the ubiquitous De Wet had not seized the fourth 5,000 ft. of film at his lucky haul at Roodevaal. But although these operators were able to secure some marvellously living pictures of every phase of army life and historic incidents in the Transvaal, they were never able to secure a single battle picture although being in battle many times. The Bioscope Cart on the March - TransvaalOn one occasion Mr. Rosenthal had a horse killed under him. On others shells burst in his immediate neighbourhood; but although he was constantly at the front, taking living pictures wherever he could find them, he utterly failed to secure any photograph which could be described by any stretch of the imagination as a battle picture. The reason for this is that there are no battle pictures nowadays. The nearest approach to such a picture is a photograph of a battery in action, but an equally good picture could be obtained by photographing a battery firing at Woolwich or at Aldershot. Mr. Rosenthal's bitter disappointment in this respect brought into clear relief the fundamental difference between ancient and modern war. Although he was seven months in the forefront of the British army, and present at all the battles that took place during that period, he never saw a single Boer at range near enough to be photographed. In all the battles in which he took part the enemy was not visible. The bullets hissed and skipped around our men, but there was nothing on the horizon, east, west, north or south, to show where lay the marksmen with the Mausers. In war in the antiquated style, which still seems to be believed in in Germany and France, there was ample opportunity for the camera to obtain the most thrilling pictures. But war in the days of Maskelyne powder and long-range guns won't lend itself to pictorial display.

Bioscope Correspondent's Camp EquipmentMr. Rosenthal, after leaving South Africa, followed the allied armies to Pekin, and although he found plenty of traces of ruin and devastation wrought by the avenging troops of the so-called Powers, he came too late to see any actual fighting, Mr. Rosenthal may be regarded in some respects as the latest evolution of the special war correspondent. He was the first to be recognised in the official capacity of accredited war correspondent, and although he represented no paper, his position was never questioned. The Warwick Trading Company, as the purveyor of films to the showmen of the world, necessarily adopts the methods and organisation of a great newspaper. It has its correspondents and camera operators all over the world. Wherever anything is likely to happen of importance or of scenic interest, there its "special" waits, camera in hand, to preserve for the benefit of British music-halls and provincial lecture-rooms the living image of things as they are. An American cinematograph company was fortunate enough to have had its instrument in position to have photographed Mr. McKinley at Buffalo immediately before his assassination, and to have photographed the distracted crowd as it rushed tumultuously hither and thither on receiving the terrible news of the President's murder.


Lord Stanley passing Bioscope Film Negatives at the FrontWith the cinematograph company, as it is with the newspaper, everything depends upon serving up their films hot from the press; and they also resemble a newspaper in the fact that it is becoming more and more necessary to localise the institution. The demand for living pictures of events in the various localities increases daily. Soon every local flower show will consider that it is behind the times unless it has preserved a cinematograph record of the opening ceremony or the distribution of prizes. The cinematograph is becoming not merely an indispensable adjunct to the chroniclers of local history, but it is being adapted more and more as a family record. If, for instance, there is a wedding in your family, and you wish to preserve a permanent record of the ceremony, all that you have to do is to write to Warwick Court, and when the bridal procession leaves the church and comes out into sunshine, the bioscope camera will photograph the whole party, bridegroom, bride, bridesmaids, best man and parson, and all the merry mob of rice-sprinkling, slipper-throwing friends. The bridal procession is not a long affair, and the whole cortège could be photographed on fifty feet of film, which will be developed, printed off and supplied ready for exhibition for a reasonable, sum It is difficult to photograph interiors owing to the lack of good light, but as things are going now it will soon be as impossible for a fashionable wedding to take place without the bride receiving as a wedding gift a film, which will enable her to reproduce for her children and grandchildren after them a picture of how the bridal party looked on the day she was wed, as it would be for a bride to appear without a veil or a bridesmaid without flowers. Families that are comme-il-faut which assumes that they can afford to be comme-il-faut, will have a family record consisting of a kind of record-chamber of films, beginning with a living picture of the bridal party, followed by the christening of each of the children. Thus we shall have each important family event, such as a coming of age, or a silver wedding, commemorated in like manner, while the funeral films would supply a more sombre element to the collection. It will then be possible for every member of the family to call back as it were from the dim shadows of the misty past a living image of those who lived and loved and laughed in the days long gone by. If in addition to those photographic films of living pictures there should be stored permanent cylinders with phonographic records of the actual voices that have long since been stilled, it is evident that modern science is at least providing for those who can pay for it an immense improvement upon the simple written record of the old family Bible.

The Bioscope in China: Chinese mounting a big gun at TakuThe bioscope can hardly be said to have reached the stage of development when it can be regarded as one of the domestic necessaries of a well-appointed household. But notwithstanding its costliness, it has established its reputation as a money-maker in the hands of showmen who know how to use it. A very short time ago, if anyone had asked what chance there was of popularising an invention which would entail an expenditure of £50 before the start, and would necessitate a purchase of at least £50 worth of films in order to supply an hour's entertainment, he would have been told that the risk was too great, and the prospects of a yield too small. But so far from this being the case, there are now at this moment 700 cinematograph operators busily engaged in showing living pictures up and down the country, and six times as many in other countries, and the demand for films and machines grows steadily.


But the cinematograph, although launched with brilliant success as a showman's attraction, has yet to begin its real work of usefulness. At present it is little more than a thing to make people stare, which is very good in itself ; but while it ministers to the curiosity and adds one more to the endless dissipations of modern life, it has never been systematically yoked to the cause of popular instruction. The school boards, for instance, have not yet begun to purchase bioscopes. Not even the Recreative Evenings Association has ventured to embark upon the small expenditure that would be entailed in purchasing and working a cinematograph, although the Salvation Army in England and Australia, the Ragged School Union, and Royal Mission to Deep Sea Fishermen have realised the value of the bioscope in their benevolent and educational work. Yet it is obvious that no adjunct of the schoolroom could be conceived more certain to stimulate the inattentive mind of the scholar and rouse him to a living interest in the lessons over which he pores with too often listless mind. Whether it be in geography or history, it is easy to see the immense variety of uses that could be made of the living picture. With the aid of the cinematograph the teacher could in very truth carry his scholars with him round the world from China to Peru. Instead of learning dry, more or less unmeaning facts, every lesson in geography could be linked on to a living representation of the country and the people to which the lesson applied. In the history class also, when we have impressions of bioscope films as cheap and as varied as a library of books, pupils will not read about the historical scenes ; they will actually see them in progress before them. All the advantage of seeing a well-mounted historical play at the Lyceum or Drury Lane could be placed at the disposition of every child in our public schools.

It may be said that this would leave too little to the imagination. But this is a mistake. Even if the scheme were carried out to its very ultimate, and every important historical event were cinematographed as part of the history-lesson of the day, there would still be ample room left for the exercise of the imagination. Suppose, for instance, that the battle of Hastings or the battle of Waterloo were represented in a series of living pictures. There would still be both before and after an end- less vista in which the imagination of the scholar could revel. The fact is the chief difficulty of the instructor is not to find fields in which the imagination can work, but to get the imagination to work at all, especially the visualising eye of the imagination. None of us adequately conjure up with a sufficient degree of vividness the details of the historical scenes upon which we dwell. If, however, we could actually see, for instance, the execution of Charles I. or the burning of Cranmer there would be projected into our consciousness a real bit of actuality, and our imaginations would build to the right and left of it, making an endeavour at least to construct the edifice of as solid and palpable visible material as that which has been thrown upon the screen.

The Bioscope Company have already made a beginning in this direction, for besides the pictures which they photographed from a living page of contemporary history, they have endeavoured to reconstruct the past. They have selected, with a sound instinct, the romantic, miraculous, and pathetic story of Jeanne D'Arc. This is an importation from France, for as yet no one has attempted to stage, for photographic reproduction, anything approaching to the elaborate drama of which Jeanne D'Arc was the heroine. In the cinematograph spectacle of Jeanne D'Arc there are twelve scenes, covering 800 feet of film, the exhibition of which lasts for about fifteen minutes without a stop. This, however, is to make the worst possible use of it. Each of the twelve scenes should be opened and closed by the telling of the story of the events to which it belongs. In securing the Jeanne D'Arc scenes 500 persons were employed who were clothed in costumes and armour of the period. This is very French, and would shock many English people, although when I was down in Glasgow there were everywhere bills on the hoardings announcing that the story of Jeanne D'Arc was to be presented every day by the cinematograph to the citizens of Glasgow.


This brings us directly to another great field for the use of the cinematograph, upon which it has only begun to enter, and that is the field of religious instruction. Lantern services have long been recognised as one of the most effective adjuncts of religious propaganda, but the best magic lantern is nothing to the bioscope. It is a mistake, however, to treat them as if they were in antagonism to each other, for every bioscope is primarily a magic lantern, and can be used to project ordinary pictures by simply turning the bioscope mechanism, and allowing the lights of the lantern to play directly upon the screen, without passing through the apparatus necessary for projecting living pictures. In the printed catalogue of the Warwick Company, with descriptions which cover more than 300 pages, there is only one set of films relating to religious subjects. It is one of the longest, and it is divided into thirty sections, with a total length of 2,500 feet of film. It is entitled "The Life and Passion of Christ" and is known as the Horitz Passion Play series. The excellent village fathers of Oberammergau were approached by the cinematograph companies with urgent requests and lavish offers of money to be allowed to photograph the Passion Play for the purpose of reproducing it as a living picture, but without meeting with their consent Nothing daunted, the Bioscope Company representatives approached the Horitz Passion Play authorities, and finally induced them to give special performances of the entire production. A special outdoor stage of huge dimensions was constructed, special "photographic" scenery (in black and white) was designed and painted, and over three weeks' time of a special staff of operators was consumed before satisfactory results were obtained, owing to occasional unfavourable weather conditions arising which were detrimental to photo- graphic success, etc. Although this series was photographed over two years ago, the Warwick Trading Company has, for obvious reasons, withheld them from the market until just recently. This series will be in considerable demand, and according to those who have exhibited other similar series, even of a crude representation, and have witnessed its exhibition, the effect of its production, even as a middle turn in a music-hall, has been excellent. It is as if from the stage of the music- hall the revellers were addressed upon the most solemn of all themes by the most eloquent of all preachers. The incongruity of the surroundings will probably not deter a fervid evangelist from seizing the opportunity of presenting the Story of the Cross; and the Warwick Company maintain that, instead of being denounced by the pious for the pictures of the Passion, it ought to be imputed to them for righteousness. It is, however, a mistake to think that the films of the Passion are chiefly used at music-halls. They are, on the contrary, used at special services. Those who lecture on the Passion Play with a magic lantern can well imagine how much greater must be the effect produced when the whole of the events of the sacred tragedy move before the spectator on the screen. The seating capacity of our churches would be fully taxed if some enterprising minister would thus represent this interesting production and cut short a dry sermon.


With this exception, little or nothing has been done to utilise the bioscope for purposes of religious teaching. It is noteworthy, however, that the Salvation Army, that most modern of all churches, is the only religious body that has acquitted itself with the bioscope, and has laid in a complete stock of the apparatus necessary for producing its own films. Its example will probably be followed by the Church Army and other religious organisations, who will use it in the first instance for the exhibition of what may be called the philanthropic department of their activities. But in time all those who are engaged in the attempt to convert their fellow-men will utilise this admirable instrument for compelling the members of their congregations to realise the need there is for consecrated service in the salvation of the world.

Mission work is another vast field which has hardly been attacked. The bioscope is useful at both ends. In the field at home, where funds are collected for missions, it would give a much more vivid, living interest to the details of missionary work than has hitherto been possible. The missionary meeting would be transformed, and become one of the most popular of all the week-night services if it were illustrated by living pictures introducing the audience to lifelike presentations of the far-off scenes and peoples amongst whom the proceeds of their collection boxes maintain the emissaries of the Cross. At the other end, a complete library of the films of the parables and living pictures of the Bible stories would be an endless and inexhaustible source of attraction to the simple children of Nature amidst whom missionaries labour. The picture itself would be little short of miraculous, and would probably do more to carry conviction as to the truth of the Christian religion to their untutored minds than the most eloquent discourses.


But in its adaptation to these fields of missionary enterprise there is the initial expense to be overcome. If, however, showmen find the bioscope pays its expenses and leaves something over, churches may make the same discovery. It is possible that no particular church or chapel may consider itself justified in going to the expense of a hundred pounds for providing the complete set of apparatus, but there is no reason why a diocese or a Free Church Federation in any particular county should not provide a bioscope as part of the regular stock-in-trade of its church militant, and maintain a cinematograph missionary who would make his rounds from church to church or from schoolroom to schoolroom. The churches have at least an organisation which could be utilised at once. There is no reason why the bioscope might not even be made a source of revenue. People pay to go and see living pictures in the music-hall, and there is no reason why they should not pay to see them in church. At the same time those who have money and are desirous of doing good by endowing some institution for popular evangelism might do very much worse than set aside a few thousands for the purpose of endowing a section of the Church to which they belong with a set of bioscopes to begin with, and a small annual income for the purpose of buying fresh films. Diocese could exchange films with diocese, or county with county. The Sunday School Union, the Religious Tract Society, the British and Foreign Bible Society, the London City Mission, could all follow the example of the Deep Sea Mission, which has already an admirable set of films, which they have found to be of great service in bringing home to their members the needs of their interesting and adventurous congregation. It would not require very much organising genius on the part of the Free Churches to form a Free Church Bioscope Society, which would aim at securing for every Free Church Federation in every county in England a first-class bioscope and a good collection of films, and providing a competent lecturer and operator who could be dedicated to the work. I throw out this suggestion for what it is worth, and should be very glad to receive communications from those in any part of the kingdom who wish to make the experiment. It requires organisation, for the expense is more than most individuals or even separate churches could be expected to incur. With a little organisa tion, however, a good business man ought to be able to set the bioscope perambulating on its mission of evangelisation in all the counties of the land.


The Bioscope in Manilla: American Troops firing on party of Philippine RebelsThere is one other sphere of usefulness to which allusion must be made, and that is the service which the bioscope can render to medical science. One of the most important parts of the training of doctors is the witnessing of operations. The bioscope renders it possible to reproduce endlessly, under circumstances which permit of the most close and leisurely study, scenes which at present can only be witnessed in the operating theatres of our hospitals. A great surgeon performs some difficult operation with perfect success, and all those who witness it cherish the memory of that exhibition of skill as long as they live; but what of the enormous multitude of medicos who have never witnessed it and have no opportunity of seeing it? But even of the few who were privileged to be present in the operating theatre, how many would wish to see it over again, if only to imprint more indelibly on their minds the way in which the work was done! The bioscope offers to all an opportunity of witnessing reproductions of the most difficult and delicate operations of modern surgery. The time is coming when every operation of exceptional importance will be photographed with the most scrupulous care by scientifically trained operators, and films of every supremely successful operation will form part of the necessary plant of all medical colleges. Victims for the operator's table cannot always be laid on for the sake of improving the education of our budding medicos, but a very little extension of the scope of the cinematograph would render it possible for every medical student in the land to see every important operation performed by masters of the surgical art with the same certainty that he would be able to buy his Lancet or his medical dictionary. Surgical science is of no country, and pictures speak a universal language. But at present, with very few exceptions, no arrangements are made for securing the permanent preservation of the sight of important operations. The suggestion is well worth while bringing before the attention of leaders of the profession and heads of colleges and of the institutions where doctors are being trained for the next generation. A lecturer in surgery would find his task enormously facilitated if a first-class bioscope, with a carefully-selected collection of films, formed part of the permanent apparatus of his class-room.