See the moving picture


The Cinématographe Comes to England

An illusionist by profession, Félicien Trewey (1848-1920) had appeared in several of the Lumières’ earliest films before becoming their London representative (poster on the left). In fact, he’s the figure on the far right in Partie d’écarté (The Card Party [1896]—frame on the right), one of the subjects in the first presentation of the cinématographe—and the first public showing of projected motion pictures—in England, which Trewey mounted at the Royal Polytechnic Institute on 20 February 1896 (photo in the center). (R.W. Paul’s unveiling of his theatrograph at Finsbury Technical ollege, which took place on the same day, was a private demonstration.) On 9 March, Trewey moved his show to the Empire Theatre of Varieties, which thus became the first music hall in England to show films. Trewey’s cinématographe shows at the Empire were held over until July 1897, and their phenomenal success earned the motion picture a regular spot on the program of almost every major music hall in the country.

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