The Missing Reel: The Untold Story of the Lost Inventor of Moving Pictures

Christopher Rawlence, Author Atheneum Books $0 (0p) ISBN 978-0-689-12068-8
French inventor Louis Aime Augustin Le Prince vanished while on a train journey from Dijon to Paris in 1890; before his disappearance--he was then presumed dead--he had been on the brink of going public with his one-lens camera and projector. British filmmaker Rawlence here cites evidence left by his widow in her memoirs that Thomas Edison was linked to Le Prince's death. This absorbing, technically and legally overloaded whodunit jumps back and forth between past and present, including suspenseful accounts of the author's research and interviews with Le Prince's descendants on several continents. Rawlence discusses the cut-throat politics of the infant film industry and shady U.S. Patent Office dealings, along with what he considers Edison's dubious business practices. No smoking gun is decisively uncovered, however, and readers are left to draw their own conclusions about Le Prince's fate. Illustrations not seen by PW. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1990
Release date: 01/01/1990
Paperback - 320 pages - 978-0-14-015973-8
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