1. Gilbert, “The Death of Film and the Hollywood Response,” Senses of Cinema 62 (March 2012),
. [return to page 1]

2. My emphasis. Clover, “Marx and Coca-Cola: Enjoy the Silents,” Film Quarterly (Summer 2012), p. 7.

3. Svetlana Boym, The Future of Nostalgia (New York: Basic Books, 2001). In The Virtual Life of Film, meanwhile, D.N. Rodowick speculated that “the idea of cinema persists in the term ‘digital cinema’ as a way of easing the transition to a different [technological] world” beyond celluloid— The Virtual Life of Film (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2007), p. 177.

5. Ibid.

6. Ibid.

7. This discussion of audience labor owes much to the neglected theories of Dallas Smythe on what he long ago called the “audience commodity”—Smythe, “On the audience commodity and its work,” Dependency Road: Communications, Capitalism, Consciousness, and Canada (Norwood, NJ: Ablex, 1981), pp. 22–51.

8. Sperb, “I’ll (Always) Be Back / Virtual Performance and Post-Human Labor in the Age of Digital Cinema,” Culture, Theory and Critique 53.3 (Fall 2012), pp. 383-397.

9. Clover, “Marx and Coca-Cola: Enjoy the Silents,” p. 7.

10. Sperb, Disney’s Most Notorious Film: Race, Convergence and the Hidden Histories of Song of the South (Austin, TX: University of Texas Press, 2012).

11. See, for example, Christine Sprengler, Screening Nostalgia: Populuxe Props and Technicolor Aesthetics in Contemporary American Film (New York: Berghahn, 2009); Linda Hutcheon, “The Politics of Postmodernism: Parody and History,” Cultural Critique 5 (Winter 1986-1987), p. 179-207; and, Richard Dyer, Pastiche (New York: Routledge, 2006).

12. Dyer, p. 130.

13. My emphasis. Clover, “Marx and Coca-Cola: Enjoy the Silents,” p. 7.

14. For more on the conversion to DCP, see: Dombrowski, “Not If, But When and How: Digital Comes to the American Art House,” Film History 24 (2012), pp. 235-248; Rapfogel, Jared, et. al. “From 35mm to DCP.” Cineaste (Spring 2012), pp. 32-42; Elsaesser, “The ‘Return’ of 3D: On Some of the Logics and Genealogies of the Image in the Twenty-First Century,” Critical Inquiry 39 (Winter 2013), pp. 217-246; and, John Belton, “Digital 3D Cinema: Digital Cinema’s Missing Novelty Phase,” Film History 24 (2012), pp. 187-195.

15. This use of silent images to tell its story echoes what Christine Sprengler, drawing on Marc La Sueur, referred to as a “deliberate archaism,” which intentionally “strive[s] to recreate not only the look and feel of the period [mise-en-scene] in question but also the [formal] appearance of art from that distant time” (p. 86).

16. Clover, “Marx and Coca-Cola: Enjoy the Silents,”p. 6.

17. Clover, “Marx and Coca-Cola: Enjoy the Silents,” p. 7.

18. As qtd in: Rapfogel, p. 38.

19. As qtd in: Rapfogel, p. 40. [return to page 2]

20. Dombrowski, p. 236.

21. Dombrowski, p. 236.

22. Elsaesser, p. 222.

23. Dombrowski, p. 238.

24. My emphasis. Gendy Alimurung, “Movie Studios are forcing Hollywood to Abandon 35mm Film, But the Consequences of Going Digital are Vast, and Troubling,”

25. See Dombrowski’s discussion of E-Cinema vs. D-Cinema.

26. Dombrowski, p. 237.

27. Dombrowski, p. 246.

28. My emphasis. Belton, “Digital Cinema: A False Revolution?” October 100 (Spring 2002), pp. 105-106.

29. My emphasis. Elsaesser, pp. 217-218.

30. This is a similar point to what Sean Cubitt has previously argued about digital cinema’s ideologies in The Cinema Effect (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2005).

31. In particular, many scholars have (heavily) modified Tom Gunning’s work on early “attractions” for era of the CGI blockbuster. While some fear a descent into VFX spectacles with little interest in storytelling, others held out hope that such developments today would evoke cinema’s early pre-narrative fascination with spectacle for its own sake, as Gunning first argued.

32.   For example, in his five-star cinephiliac review of the film, Roger Ebert wrote that

“Scorsese uses 3-D here as it should be used, not as a gimmick but as an enhancement of the total effect. Notice in particular his re-creation of the famous little film Arrival of a Train at La Ciotat (1897), by the Lumiere brothers. You've probably heard its legend: As a train rushes toward the camera, the audience panics and struggles to get out of its way. That is a shot which demonstrates the proper use of 3-D, which the Lumieres might have used had it been available.”

– “Hugo,” RobertEbert.com (21 Nov. 2011), accessed: 14 June 2014.

Slightly more level-headed, scholar Dan North wrote that Scorsese’s

“the maker of some astonishingly powerful, influential and innovative work, and his love of cinema history, which drives him to emulate his favourites rather than attempt to honour them with blandly imitative homages, is always infectious.”

—“Digesting Hugo,” Spectacular Attractions (13 April 2012), accessed: 14 June 2014.

33. Gunning, “The Cinema of Attractions: Early Film, its Spectator and the Avant-Garde,” Wide Angle 3 (1986), pp. 56-62.

34. Edison sued Melies, among others, over copyright infringement as early as 1904: see, Charles Musser, The Emergence of Cinema: The American Cinema to 1907 (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1990), p. 402.

35. Eileen Bower, The Transformation of Cinema, 1907-1915 (Detroit: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1991), p. 30.

36. Bower, p. 26.

37. Musser, p. 364.


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