The Man Who Invented Motion Pictures

The Man Who Invented Motion Pictures by Paul Fischer is an intriguing look at a forgotten figure in the history of cinema. The man of the title is not Thomas Edison, as commonly thought, but rather a little-known Frenchman named Louis Le Prince who was experimenting with moving film images as early as the 1880s. Fischer, along with many other historians, claims that it was Le Prince who created the first real moving picture, before the Lumière brothers or Edison. Yet, Le Prince disappeared mysteriously before his single-lens camera could be unveiled, meaning that his contributions to the invention of the movies have been largely unknown. In an unsubstantiated but fascinating detail, Le Prince’s wife believed that Edison had him killed to prevent Le Prince from beating him to the punch. Although that’s mere speculation, and Fischer’s book explores more credible culprits, Edison does come off as a corporate villain, snapping up credit for inventions that were not fully his and eventually getting the glory with his own invention, the Kinetoscope. The details of Le Prince’s life, and the takedown of Edison's mythology, make this book read like fiction. (Non-Fiction)