Skip to Main Content

Research Guides

CIN201: Film Cultures 1: Art & Industry

A comprehensive guide to for finding the best primary source materials (1895-1968) for your Cinema Studies assignment.

Find Microfilm at Media Commons (UofT)

Finding Microfilm

The microfilm collections and the viewing/scanning equipment are located at Media Commons (3rd Floor, Robarts Library) 

Important - Preparation is needed (Finding Aids & Hold Requests)

Before using, consult the accompanying guides found below on this page or via UTL's Website - Microform 

You will need to certain information when requesting these materials: 

  • the REEL # listed in the Guide (related to the particular film and/or date(s) which you are interested in viewing); and
  • the CALL NUMBER of  the particular microfilmed item (see below).

Staff will retrieve the reel(s) requested and, if necessary, assist you with the operation of the equipment.

If you have questions, email

Accessing Microform

To request digitization of an except from the Robarts Library microform collection, submit a Scan and Deliver request in LibrarySearch. To view this material in it's original format on one of our digital microform readers, email to arrange a viewing. 

Using Viewing / Scanning Equipment 

  • Digital microform scanners, equipped to handle microfilm, microfiche and microprint, are available in the Media Commons Reading room.
  • Digital scans can be made to a USB storage device free of charge.
  • Printed copies cost 15-cents per page and require the use of a TCard/Copy card.
  • Media Commons staff is available at all times to assist.

Primary Sources: Microfilm Collections

Hollywood microform collections


Gallup Looks at the Movies: Audience Research Reports, 1940-1950

  • Call No: PN1995.9 .A8 G35 1979, click on link above and scroll down to view details.  
  • Audience Research Inc., a Gallup Poll affiliate directed by David Ogilvy, was commissioned by David O. Selznick and other Hollywood producers to furnish data that would objectively record what the public wanted to see in the movies.
  • Among the topics covered in the reports are star popularity, movie advertising and publicity, movie titles, pairing of leading men and women, and 3-D and wide-screen formats.

The Wisconsin/Warner Bros screenplay series (1930-1950)

  • Finding Aid  (Warner Screenplays by reel or by author): Download these alphabetical index of all film titles included in the collection.
  • Call No: PN1997 .A1 W5736 1989 
  • Guide provides details of each film, including director, principal cast and source.
  • Collection contains "final shooting scripts for a significant portion of Warner’s entire output from 1930 to 1950. ... For each category [of genre], motion pictures have been chosen to illustrate important variations in narrative form; for important pictures, intermediate scripts have been included in addition to the final shooting script." Thomson/Gale website

Other Microform Collections 

Little Magazines Series: Selected Complete Short-run Cinema Periodicals, 1889-1972.

  • Call No. PN1993 .L48 1975 
  • Produced in conjunction with the British Film Institute, this set contains twentyfive English-language film periodicals published between 1889 and 1972. The content ranges from trade periodicals and fan magazines, to titles dealing with independent and underground movies. The set offers unique insights into the development of early film-making and the emergence of new film technology.
  • SEE Reel Guide (in print) for complete list of titles. Some titles included: The Optical Magic Lantern Journal (1889-1903) which changed into The Optical Lantern and Cinematograph Journal in 1904, The Edison Kinetogram, Documentary Film News, International Film Review, and more. 

Association of Workers of Revolutionary Cinematography (1923-1932, Russian Archives)

  • Russian Language 
  • Call No. PN1993.5 .S65 A77 1999
  • This collection presents an array of written materials from the Association of Workers of Revolutionary Cinematography (AWRC), the proletarian organization established and maintained by leading Soviet filmmakers. The collection includes correspondence, memoranda, notes and minutes of meetings and the organization’s periodicals.

Available as microform and digitized collections

Cinema Pressbooks from the Original Studio Collections

Online Access: Many pressbooks are now available via Media History Digital Library's Pressbook Collection

  • Finding Aid  (Cinema Pressbooks...): Download this alphabetical index of all film titles included in the collection.  
  • Call No: PN1993.5 .U6 C52 1988
  • This collection offers essential information on individual films and their creation and promotion; suggests the rise and fall of particular stars, directors and producers; and enables detailed research into the output of the leading Hollywood studios.
  • Pressbooks are a basic background source: posters and still reproductions, publicity blurbs, actor biographies and full technical and promotional details are included in pressbooks--the publicity kit sent with a film print to all distributors. Pressbooks of the major companies thus form a unique and detailed record of the transition from silent movies to talkies and of the golden years of Hollywood in the 1930s and 1940s.

Film Daily

Online: Media History Digital LIbrary - Film Daily (click on item in list to see all issues)

  • Call No: PN1993 .A12 M35 1989 Ser. 1 
  • For 55 years was the daily newspaper of the film (later for television industries) providing the latest trade news, details of films launched, films in progress, industry takeovers, financial crises, budget difficulties, company liquidations and court cases.

Film Daily Yearbook

Online: Media History Digital LIbrary - Film Daily Year Book and other Yearbooks (click on item in list to see all issues)

  • Call No: PN1993 .A12 M35 1989 Ser. 2 and predecessors (1915-1969) 
  • It “reflects and summarizes developments, and provides a detailed index to films reviewed in Film Daily. Each year the Yearbook provides a state of the industry summary through its features, editorial, detailed notes on film-related companies, advertising and indexing.....

Hollywood and the Production Code

Online Access:  PCA files (1927-1968) - UofT Libraries (UTORID required) or PCA Files & Reports (1927-1968) - Margaret Herrick Library 

  • Call No: PN1993.5 .U6 H545 2006 
  • Full titles: History of Cinema. Series 1, Hollywood and the Production Code: Selected files from the Motion Picture Association of America Production Code Administration collection
  • Online List of the Films profiled in this Microfilm Collection (Carleton University) Organized alphabetically by film title. 
  • This collection contains the files related to 500 films produced between 1927 and 1968, selected from the records of the Production Code Administration (PCA). The records document forty years of self-regulation and censorship in the motion picture industry.

J. Edgar Hoover and Radicalism in Hollywood 

Online Access: 


  • Call No: HV8144 .F43 J2 2007 
  • Full Title: J. Edgar Hoover and Radicalism in Hollywood. Part 1, Communist Infiltration of the Motion Picture Industry
  • Online Guide to this FBI - Part 1 Microfilm Collection
  • Files in this collection include FBI investigations of mainstream films, informer reports, and surveillance of hundreds of influential writers, actors, directors, producers, union leaders, and studio executives during the Blacklist Period/
  • The investigations chronicle the working of major studios, such as Paramount, RKO, and Warner Brothers, and the power struggles between the studios, studio management, and labor unions. 

Moving Picture World

Online via Media History Digital Library (scroll to Moving Picture World) or via Internet Archive (UPenn has a list of direct links) 

  • Call No: PN1993 .M69 v.1(1907)-89 no.9(1927)  
  • A trade publication reviewed current releases and published news, features, and interviews relating to all aspects of the film industry. It aimed to feature the most detailed news items, the best reviews and feature articles, particularly by Louis Reeves Harrison, W. Stephen Bush and George Blaisdell. It targeted exhibitor-oriented readership so the publication includes advertisements and carried regular columns on projection, advertising, and theater music. 


  • LInk above shows a merged record with microform details and links to the online publication. 
  • Call No: PN V275 (New York, N.Y.) v. 1(1905/06)+ (with some exceptions).  
  • Full Historical Run is available via databases as well (UofT Libraries and Media History Digital Library holds a ranges of volumes). 

Citing Microfilm

“Microform” is the general term for documents reproduced in reduced size on transparent media such as microfilm (which comes in rolls) or microfiche (small sheets). Most sources you access as microforms will have originated as printed materials.

Typically, you will: 

  1. Follow the directions for citing the original source (see the citation style guides
  2. Add the information necessary to access the source on microfilm or microfiche (see Yale U. Microform: Microfilm & Microfiche ).
  3. Microform citation information may include a name for the microfilm service, volume number, year, and any letters or numbers identifying the specific film roll or fiche number.

Citing Personal Correspondance

from Purdue U. OWL

How do I cite letters, or email, (Personal Communication) in MLA? Letters fall under the MLA’s guidelines for personal communication, which are as follows:

  • Author’s LastName, Author’s FirstName.
  • Letter to the author.
  • Date of Letter.
  • The MLA Handbook for Writers of Research papers requires that you put “TS.” After the date of the letter if it is a typed letter. In text, you should differentiate between the letters, if you have numerous untitled letters from the same author. Although the MLA has no guidelines for this, we suggest including the date in the sentence referring to the letter. For example: In the letter dated 14 December 2010, he writes, “…it is cold outside” (Smith).