About history of cinema in English

Материал для занятия по теме “About history of cinema in English” (Об истории кино). Данный материал может использоваться преподавателями для организации занятия по английскому языку либо всеми желающими улучшить знания английского по данной теме. Здесь дан тематический текст, приведена хорошая подборка лексики, которая пригодится для разговора о киноискусстве.


Cinema came into existence more than a hundred years ago and still remains one of the most popular public entertainments. Now that the tickets to a cinema show have grown too expensive while people are busy in making money cinema halls are seldom full, but still there are a lot of cinema fans for whom there is nothing like going to the cinema.

In the early 19th century scientists took note of a visual phenomenon: a sequence of individual still pictures, when set in motion, can give the illusion of movement. This stimulated experimentation with motion-picture devices throughout the 19th century. Among the first such devices was a slotted disk with a sequence of drawings around its perimeter. When a person spun the disk, the drawings appeared to move.

Later inventors began to conceive of combining the principles of moving-image devices with the photographic recording of actual movement.

By 1895 the Lumiere brothers developed a lightweight, handheld camera, the cinematograph, permitting to shoot films. They also found out the way to show large images on a screen. Their first cinema show for the general public was held in Paris in December 1895.

Early films were short, they ran no longer than 10 to 12 minutes, which reflected the amount of film that could be wound on a standard reel for projection. These films were called one-reelers. Their purpose was to show something astounding, unusual, or perhaps newsworthy. But film-makers also struck out in new directions, especially towards fantasy and narrative. Feature films won the hearts of cinema-goers. Charlie Chaplin became internationally famous for his silent comedies.

Until the late 1920s movies lacked synchronous sound and were projected with piano accompaniment. Then they learned how to record sound.

The advent of recorded sound in the late 1920s changed motion pictures forever. Musical films became favourites among the early talkies.

Musical films seemed a logical outcome of recorded sound. But the genre gained wide popular appeal only after the Warner Brothers released a scries of musicals that broke with stage conventions, filming large groups of dancers from multiple viewpoints to create unique cinematic spectacles. Another type of movie musical featured individual performers, in particular the dance team of Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers in such films as “Top Hat” (1935). From the early days of cinema, the films we think of as silent and black-and-white were screened not only with live musical accompaniment but in many cases in colour. This was initially accomplished by laboriously hand-tinting individual frames. Later, tinting machines were developed.

Colour was used in only a minority of films until the 1950s, when filmmakers turned more frequently to colour in an effort to differentiate movies from the increasingly popular medium of television, then available only in black-and-white. Further simplification and improvements in colour technology meant that colour movies had become the standard and black-and-white the exception by the 1960s.

But the advent of television caused the greatest disruption. Although motion-picture attendance had begun to decline before television became widely available, the rapid spread of home television sets in the 1950s was accompanied by a steady decline in moviegoing. In an effort to combat television’s appeal, movie companies adopted new technologies – wide-screen and three-dimensional processes – that offered a more spectacular screen image. At present computer technology has become a powerful means of making films even more fascinating.

Movies will always remain favourites, but it is much more pleasant to watch them on TV or have them on cassettes than to be dependent on what is on in the nearest cinema.

I am not a great cinema-goer. There is a cinema not far from the place where I live, but I go there occasionally and only if there is something interesting on.


1. Cinema may be called an offspring of theatre. What do they have in common, and what is the difference between them?
2. What is your favourite Russian (foreign) film?
3. Who is your favourite actor (actress)?
4. Would you like to become a film star?
5. Do you often go to the cinema?

Translate the following sentences into English:

1. Американский изобретатель Эдисон оставил свой след и в истории американской киноиндустрии. В 1889 году он изобрел кинетограф и кинетоскоп, прообразы кинокамеры и кинопроектора. Кинетоскоп позволял просмотреть фильм на целлулоидной пленке длиной до 50 футов. Скорость демонстрации фильма составляла 40 кадров в секунду. Кинетоскоп предназначался для индивидуального просмотра. Уже в 1894 году на нью-йоркском Бродвее открылся зал кинетоскопов, в котором были установлены десять приборов Эдисона.

2. Интересно, насколько бурным было бы развитие кино во второй половине XX века, если бы не распространение телевещания? Мне кажется, что конкуренция со стороны телевидения заставила киноиндустрию искать новые способы покорять сердца зрителей.

3. В последние голы кинематограф все больше использует достижения современной компьютерной техники. Очевидно, что многие американские фильмы интересны не с точки зрения сюжета, а с точки зрения приемов, к которым прибегали создатели фильма. Я равнодушно отношусь к боевикам и к научной фантастике, но такое чудо, как «Звездные войны», не могут не восхищать даже наиболее скептически настроенных зрителей.

4. Мне кажется, зрители первого фильма братьев Люмьер смотрели его иначе, чем наши современники. Для нас это просто не очень высокого качества кадры, запечатлевшие прибытие паровоза на парижский вокзал. Для них же это было чудо, выходящее за рамки привычных представлений.

animated cartoon – мультфильм
black-and-white film – черно-белый фильм
camera – кинокамера
cameraman – кинооператор
cinema audience – кинозрители
colour film – цветной фильм
composer – композитор
documentary – документальный фильм
feature film – художественный, игровой фильм
film star – кинозвезда
film studio – киностудия
frame – кадр
hand-tinting – ручная раскраска
horror film – фильм ужасов
leading role – роль первого плана
motion picture = film = moving pictures = movies (амер.) = cinema
(брит.) – кино
musical – мюзикл, музыкальный фильм

screen – экран
screen version – киноверсия
silent film – немой фильм
sound film = talky – звуковой фильм
sound track – звуковая дорожка
supporting role – второстепенная роль
synchronized sound recording – синхронизированная запись звука
three-dimensional film – стереоскопический фильм
to be dubbed in – быть дублированным на (таком-то языке)
“Top Hat” – «Цилиндр»
TV production – телепостановка
wide-screen film – широкоформатный фильм