The Art of the Moving Picture
Saloon Magazine Wrote of the book:
"This (1915)1922 book by poet and sometime cultural critic Vachel Lindsay might have been the first to treat the then-new medium of moving pictures as an art form, one that was potentially as rich, complex, mysterious as far older ones, and whose physical and aesthetic properties were only starting to be understood. The highlight of the book might be “The Motion Picture of Fairy Splendor,” which examines the relationship between film storytelling, magic, myths, legends and bedtime stories. It’s discombobulating, in a good way, to read Lindsay’s attempts to grapple with what, precisely, cinema is. Being supposedly sophisticated 21st century people, we all feel as though we know what cinema is, and don’t need to have the basics explained to us, but this is really just vanity and ignorance talking. Bottom line: You haven’t really, seriously thought about movies — what they are, and what they can and cannot do, and become — until you’ve read this book."< (Salon.com)
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One historical significance of the book is the topic of mob mentality. The people of the early twentieth century feared mob riots (we hold these fears as well). They feared that the mob would be greatly by movies as to act out against the civilized world, and take the violence portrayed on the screen into the streets. Lindsay felt that crowds had the ability to become a wave of destructive force, and that movies could motivate that force. Films let the emotional catalyst of the crowd. He posed the question: Can the wave become sacred or is it bound to hell furry? Who will strike out when they get emotionally hypnotized by the scene portrayed on the screen.?
A clip from Dracula by Bram Stoker gives credence to these questions: