The Cinema of Attractions Reloaded


The Cinema of Attractions Reloaded is new publication from Amsterdam University Press, edited by Wanda Strauven. Here’s some blurb:

Twenty years ago, Tom Gunning and André Gaudreault introduced the concept of attraction to define the quintessence of the earliest films made between 1895 and 1906. As ‘cinema of attractions’ this concept has become widely adopted, even outside the field of early cinema. Ranging from the films of the Lumière brothers to The Matrix by Andy and Larry Wachowski, from trains rushing into the audience to bullet time effects, the ‘cinema of attractions’ is a cinema that shocks, astonishes and directly addresses the film spectator.

This anthology traces the history of the ‘cinema of attractions,’ reconstructs its conception and questions its significance for early cinema, avant-garde cinema, (New) Hollywood cinema, up to recent media applications such as virtual reality and computer games. With contributions by Christa Blümlinger, Warren Buckland, Scott Bukatman, Donald Crafton, Nicolas Dulac, Thomas Elsaesser, André Gaudreault, Laurent Guido, Tom Gunning, Malte Hagener, Pierre-Emmanuel Jaques, Charlie Keil, Frank Kessler, Germain Lacasse, Alison McMahan, Charles Musser, Viva Paci, Eivind Røssaak, Vivian Sobchack, Wanda Strauven, Dick Tomasovic.

Unknown Behind the Lens

Having recently spent a day digging through the historic motion picture records of the U.S. Department of Agriculture at the National Archives, I was constantly coming across the name of George R. Goergens. Mr. Goergens began his career as a still photographer and then transitioned into the position of motion picture cameraman when the Moton Picture Division began in 1914. I have found over 80 titles in existence that he lensed from 1914 through 1936. He shot every type of film: industrial, training, and educational films for the Department of Agriculture Federal Extension Service. With titles such as Cotton Manufacturing (1919), Last Days of the Prairie Dog (1920), Dynamite-Concentrated Power (1926), Highways of Peru (1930), his experience in the area of non-fiction film was unparalleled. He was severely injured at least twice in his career, once while filming an explosion at a grain elevator, and once in a biplane crash about the time of WWI. He was not only an accomplished cameraman, but he also held a patent for a high speed motion picture camera. He produced some animation sequences as well as developed time lapse work to show plant and germ growth. He retired in the mid 1940s, and passed away in 1952. George Goergens is another of the pioneering cameramen who while time has long since forgotten, shows us the film industry was developed in many ways, by many people, some famous, some not, but all left their mark.