With the 35mm theatrical film industry devoted to entertainment for profit, it was left to the non-theatrical community to specialize in specific areas within the educational and industrial fields. Possibly the first area of specialization was medicine, with the cinema, early in its development, proving to be valuable in both documenting surgical procedures and making the work of specialists more readily available for study.
As early as 1902, the British company Urban Eclipse provided footage of surgical operations for study at the University of Birmingham. By 1908, the use of motion pictures to document the work of surgeons had become almost commonplace. In its issue for April 18, 1909, the trade paper The Moving Picture World reported, "In one of the New York hospitals moving pictures have been made of epileptic patients, as well as of persons affected with locometer ataxia. This is following the example set in Vienna, where moving pictures have been made of celebrated surgeons performing critical operations." At London's Middlesex Hospital, Dr. H. C. Thompson had arranged for the routine filming of surgical procedures, and films of operations were screened for students at Chicago's Night University.
Aside from their importance as documentation, films of surgical experiments might also help in the partial elimination of animal vivisection. Writing in 1928 in Taking the Doctor's Pulse ("dedicated to the most potent implement of modern education the Motion Picture Film"), J. F. Mon
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Publication information: Book title: Before Video:A History of the Non-Theatrical Film. Contributors: Anthony Slide - Author. Publisher: Greenwood Press. Place of publication: New York. Publication year: 1992. Page number: 45.
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