The article explores early moving images of animals in promotional and publicity materials. Despite the lack of a complete, cross-media historical study of what is now called ‘wildlife films’, the film-historical discourse that does exist about this genre of films is dominated by a scientific approach that stresses the increasing naturalness and effect on salving the conscience. In this essay I argue a case for returning to a neglected element of this history, namely early commercial films about animals. By matching the different nomenclature that can be found in catalogues, advertisements and programmes and that are a part of the institutionalization of the cinema as an industry, the limits of the notion of genre and content in reconstructing a history of this type of imaging become clear.

Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision
Tijdschrift voor Mediageschiedenis

de Klerk, Nico. (2009). 'Sans profit pour eux'. Dierenopnamen in vroege commerciële cinema 1891-1911. Tijdschrift voor Mediageschiedenis, 12(2), 83–104. doi:10.18146/tmg.564