Early Films. Reading Comprehension.



The camera was invented in France in the 1830s. Photographs could then be taken. A photo is a still image. People realised that if you see enough still images in a second it looks like the images are moving. Over 16 still images in a second it looks like movement. Photographers tried to show enough images fast enough to make it look like the images are moving. That would be a film.

In 1895 the Skladanowsky brothers in Germany made a film. Most people think this was the first film of all. Cinemas were founded. There were very few cinemas at first. Films had no sound. The films were in black and white.

Soon there were a few cinemas in Russia, France, Germany and the United States. These would be old theatres. There would be a piano there. The pianist would see the film and play whatever melody he thought suited the film.

Actors and actresses could not speak on film so they had to show emotions with their faces and hand movements. The films also showed subtitles to tell the story and show the words the characters in the film were saying.

By 1914 there were cinemas in Kazakhstan and several other Asian countries. Film producers had started to publish music to go with a film. A pianist in a cinema would play the music that the producer of the film wanted to go with the film.

A film was made of Lenin and it was shown all over the Soviet Union. The Communist Government of the USSR used films to spread its message.

In 1927 the first film with sound was released. It was an American film called ‘The Jazz Singer.’


1. In which country was the camera invented?

2. How many images a second does the eye need to see before it looks like the images are moving.

3. Which brothers made the first film?

4. Was their sound with early films?

5. What tune did pianists play with the first films?

6. Name a famous Soviet leader who appeared on film in the 1920s?

7. How did actors have to show their feelings in silent films?

8. Were the first films in colour?

9. Which was the first film with sound?

10. Do you like films? Explain your attitude. (6)

About Calers

Born Belfast 1971. I read history at Edinburgh. I did a Master's at UCL. I have semi-libertarian right wing opinions. I am married with a daughter and a son. I am allergic to cats. I am the falling hope of the not so stern and somewhat bending Tories. I am a legal beagle rather than and eagle. Big up the Commonwealth of Nations.

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