The time has come, as Lewis Carroll’s Walrus said, to speak of many things. One is that my long-promised book about Paul is finally available – to order online now, and in shops early in the New Year. I’m deeply grateful to Chicago University Press (and specifically Susan Bielstein) for having waited so long, and proud to mark the end of Tom Gunning’s CUP series ‘Cinema and Modernity’. The ‘big book’ as it’s known in our family, was preceded by a graphic novel, or comicbook, which has accompanied the exhibitions marking this Paul 150th anniversary year. And for this, I’m incredibly grateful to Ilya (aka Ed Hillyer), for bringing to it his energy and imagination, and to Martin Melarkey at the Nerve Centre in Derry, for inspiring the idea and backing it when no-one else would.
The BFI has emerged from its apparent lack of interest in Paul’s anniversary in time to deliver online a spectacular cache of new discoveries in the archive – including the very first Paul title to be found in its original tinted colour (THE DANCER’S DREAM above). I’m planning to encourage other archives around the world to look more closely at their early ‘unidentifieds’, armed with a new ‘spotter’s guide to Paul productions’. I’d also like to persuade IMDb to revise and correct their listings, especially the wholesale unverified attributions to Walter Booth as ‘director’.
Bradford’s National Museum of Science and Media exhibition, ‘The Forgotten Showman’ continues until the end of March 2020, and is well worth a visit, to see some of Paul’s original equipment and experience a simulation of the ‘Time Machine’, as well as our replica Kinetoscope next to the real thing (sadly not operable). Radio Four’s Film Programme will be visiting Bradford on 6 January to report on the exhibition – and meanwhile you can view the short film here [coming soon]
There will be a symposium about ‘re-mapping early British cinema’ at Birkbeck College in Spring 2020 (details to follow). And hopefully more chances to see the great new Paul discoveries that continue to come to light at festivals such as Pordenone. Meanwhile, here are some catalogue records of Paul’s regular Christmas films. RWP.Xmas.19.a