Framing the Atmospheric Film Prologue in Britain, 1919-1926

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


In the late 1910s and 1920s, film prologues were often dramatic and/or musical performances presented live on stage immediately before a feature film. Directly related to the feature and intended to bridge the gap between “the world of actuality” and the world of the feature, they sometimes consisted of live enactments of plot summaries or involved a short scene from the film performed on stage by members of the film cast itself, though they might equally have involved a thematically related operatic scena or simply a song performance. This chapter focuses on the ubiquitous film trade-paper reporting of the phenomenon in Britain. To read against the grain is to discover a different story about the prologue’s genealogy (early special presentation in Britain, pre-Rothafel) and its embrace in Britain (less widespread than implied) than the one told by the industry publicity.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Sounds of the Silents in Britain
EditorsJulie Brown, Annette Davison
Place of PublicationNew York
PublisherOxford University Press
ISBN (Print)978-0-19-979754-7
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2013


  • live prologue
  • Francis. A. Mangan
  • H. F. Kessler-Howes
  • advance prologue
  • cinematic atmosphere
  • The Miracle
  • With Allenby in Palestine
  • Mephisto
  • Samuel "Roxy" Rothafel
  • Robb Lawson

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