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The Living Picture Craze: An Introduction to Victorian Film

The British Film Institute via FutureLearn


Explore the birth of film and the end of Queen Victoria’s epic reign

Roll up! Roll up! Take your seats for the ‘Living Picture’ craze! In this course we journey back to the end of the Victorian era; a time of intense modernisation and unprecedented change.

Using the BFI’s unique collection of surviving Victorian films we will debate common myths about the period and the materials, as well as examine what the films reveal about the society that produced them.

We will be your expert guides to these incredible films, leading you through the many spectacles and curiosities made during film’s formative years, 1895-1901.

This course is designed for anyone with a passion for film and Victorian and British history. This includes lecturers, teachers and students of film, media, history or English literature.


  • Myth-busting the Victorians
    • Welcome to the Course!
    • Fantasy and Fact
    • The First Sight
    • Pioneers and Picture Shows
    • Week 1 Conclusion
  • The Victorian World on Film
    • Introduction
    • Victorian Sensation
    • At Home and Abroad
    • Week 2 Conclusion
  • The Victorian Imagination on Film
    • Introduction to Week 3
    • We are Amused
    • Adaptation
    • Week 3 and Course Conclusion
    • It's a Wrap! Next steps and Goodbye from the Team

Taught by

Gemma Starkey


4.8 rating at FutureLearn based on 158 ratings

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