This is an account of the prehistory and early years of cinema in Britain. In this new paperback edition, which has been revised to take into account recent scholarship of early cinema, the author provides an account of the rich history of the origins of film. The book demonstrates that the theory of "the persistence of vision", which led to the invention of moving pictures, has been superceded by modern scientific findings. In its place, it puts forward a theory of invention as a type of "bricolage", and shows that cinematography was a product of the forces of 19th century capitalism. It discusses the wealth of influences, both popular and bourgeois, on the culture of early cinema, including diorama, the magic lantern, itinerant entertainers and music hall. The book looks at the relationship between film and photography, and considers the nascent film business, the ways in which early cinema was received by its audiences and the developing aesthetics of cinema in its first 15 years.