If you are fascinated with old Hollywood lore and the beginning of cinema, “The Electric Hotel” by Dominic Smith will cement that fascination. Although a work of fiction, this book contains a vast amount of factual anecdotes and layered stories of the pioneering of a new industry — such as the account of the simultaneous invention of celluloid film by the Lumiere Brothers in Paris and Thomas Edison in the United States.

Edison pushed his patent forward by unscrupulous methods and threatened early movie houses in the U.S. with shutdowns if they did not exclusively use his film in their projectors.

Extremely interesting are the stories and background of the first stuntmen, producers and promoters, as well as what it took to pull a set together to shoot the first silent movies. A look at the role of cinema in documenting World War I, plus a heartbreaking love story add even more to the enjoyment of “The Electric Hotel.”

Penelope Johnson, Hopkins

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