A beautifully produced book. A footnoted but fancy-free account of the various technological accretions which together make possible the motion picture as we know it today. Ceram dismisses as ""mechanistic"" and ""ridiculous"" those evolutionary theories which would go back to the insights of Claudius Ptolemy or the speculations of Lucretius in tracing the origins of cinematography. ""What matters in history"", he says, ""is not whether certain chance discoveries take place, but whether they take effect."" He begins his prehistory in 1832 with Plateau's Phenakisticope and Stampfer's Stroboscope, cites Bayard as more important than Daguerre in the paternity of photography, William Henry Fox Talbot for his work with multiplication of positive prints, Marey for his photographic gun. And as for the first film? Well, Hannibal Goodwin was the inventor, but George Eastman did most to promote the celluloid strip. Archaeology of the Cinema ambles casually up through the early 1900's until finally Ceram leaves it all in the lap of Russia's Eisenstein and Pudovkin, who made it an art form. .. Far from scholarly, yet very knowledgeable, this is an anecdotal account of pioneer work full of charming erudition, loaded with pictures. For what audience? That's the question.