Early Cinema in Scotland

John Caughie, Trevor Griffiths, María A. Vélez-Serna

Research output: Book/ReportBook

Abstract / Description of output

This collection of essays, drawn from a three-year AHRC research project, provides a detailed context for the history of early cinema in Scotland from its inception in 1896 till the arrival of sound in the early 1930s. It details the movement from travelling fairground shows to the establishment of permanent cinemas, and from variety and live entertainment to the dominance of the feature film. It addresses the promotion of cinema as a socially ‘useful’ entertainment, and, distinctively, it considers the early development of cinema in small towns as well as in larger cities. Using local newspapers and other archive sources, it details the evolution and the diversity of the social experience of cinema, both for picture goers and for cinema staff. In production, it examines the early attempts to establish a feature film production sector, with a detailed production history of Rob Roy (United Films, 1911), and it records the importance, both for exhibition and for social history, of ‘local topicals’. It considers the popularity of Scotland as an imaginary location for European and American films, drawing their popularity from the international audience for writers such as Walter Scott and J.M. Barrie and the ubiquity of Scottish popular song. The book concludes with a consideration of the arrival of sound in Scittish cinemas. As an afterpiece, it offers an annotated filmography of Scottish-themed feature films from 1896 to 1927, drawing evidence from synopses and reviews in contemporary trade journals.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationEdinburgh
PublisherEdinburgh University Press
Number of pages272
ISBN (Electronic)9781474420365, 9781474420358
ISBN (Print)9781474420341, 9781474452236
Publication statusPublished - 28 Feb 2018

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • film
  • British cinema
  • film history
  • early cinema
  • Scottish cinema
  • new cinema history
  • fairground
  • exhibition
  • cinema staff
  • cinema in small towns
  • film production
  • regulation
  • 'Scotch' films
  • local topicals


Dive into the research topics of 'Early Cinema in Scotland'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.
  • Making a living at the cinema: Scottish cinema staff in the silent era

    Griffiths, T., 31 Aug 2019, Early Cinema in Scotland. Caughie, J., Griffiths, T. & Velez-Serna, M. (eds.). Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, p. 68-90 22 p.

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review

    Open Access
  • Introduction

    Caughie, J., Griffiths, T. & Vélez-Serna, M. A., 28 Feb 2018, Early Cinema in Scotland. Caughie, J., Griffiths, T. & Vélez-Serna, M. A. (eds.). Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review

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