Language and the Early Cinema






  • The following short excerpt from Film [1] is all but unknown to the readers of the English version of the book as well as to those of the other translations. The edition of 1957, titled Film As Art [2], on which all these translations are based, was prepared by the author in the conviction that only the essential sections, dealing with the nature of the visual medium, were still relevant whereas much of what had been observed in the infancy days of the sound film was no longer worth saying. A complete English version of the German original of 1932 had been published in 1933 by Faber and Faber in London in a translation by L. M. Sieveking and Ian F. D. Morrow but has vanished of course long ago even from most libraries. The following few pages, slightly retouched by the author, will give today’s readers a taste of the principles that governed discussions of the media in those early days.


    1. Rudolf Arnheim, Film, Ian F. D. Morrow and
      L. M. Sieve king, trans. (London: Faber and Faber, 1933).
    2. Rudolf Arnheim, Film As Art (London: Faber
      and Faber, 1957).