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Research Guides

CIN380: Mobility and Migration in Moving Image Media

Microfilm @ Media Commons, UofT Libraries

Finding Microfilm

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


Before using, consult the accompanying guide(s), available at either Innis Library or the Media Commons. You'll need to provide Media Commons staff with:  

  • 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. 

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

United States / Hollywood

Cinema pressbooks from the original studio collections 

  • PN1993.5 .U6 C52 1988 
  • This microfilm 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.
  • SEE REEL GUIDE for list of included titles

Film Daily 

  • PN1993 .A12 M35 1989 Ser. 1 
  • For 55 years, this publication was the daily newspaper of the film and, later, the television industries. It provided the latest trade news, details of films launched, films in progress, industry takeovers, financial crises, budget difficulties, company liquidations and court cases.
  • 1922 to 1948 available online through Media History Digital Library,  

Film Daily Yearbook 

  • PN1993 .A12 M35 1989 Ser. 2 
  • This publication and its predecessors (1915-1969) “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 ..."
  • 1923 to 1963 available online through Media History Digital Library,

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

  • PN1995.9 .A8 G35 1979 
  • 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.

Hollywood and the Production Code 

  • PN1993.5 .U6 H545 2006 
  • This microfilm 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.
  • SEE REEL GUIDE for list of included titles

J. Edgar Hoover and Radicalism in Hollywood Part 1: Communist Infiltration of the Motion Picture Industry. 

  • HV8144 .F43 J2 2007 
  • Thi microfilm collection includes investigations of mainstream films, informer reports, and surveillance of hundreds of influential writers, actors, directors, producers, union leaders, and studio executives. 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. 

Little magazines series: Selected complete short-run cinema periodicals, 1889-1972

  • PN1993 .L48 1975 
  • Collected by the British Film Institute, the microfilm series consists of entire runs of periodicals which emerged after the birth of cinema and ceased publication after a brief period of time. Ranging from 1889 to 1972, they offer insight into the development of critical styles, attitudes, and film technology.
  • SEE REEL GUIDE for list of included titles.

Moving Picture World v.1(1907)-89 no.9(1927) 

  • PN1993 .M69 
  • For those within the film industry, information and opinion were shaped by a number of aggressive trade publications, each competing for the same limited number of subscribers. The film business had first been discussed in general entertainment industry papers such as the New York Clipper or Variety, which began covering short films as acts in 1907. Chief among these was the Moving Picture World, which, setting a standard for the broadest possible coverage, reviewed current releases and published news, features, and interviews relating to all aspects of the industry.
  • It featured the most detailed news items, the best reviews and feature articles, particularly by Louis Reeves Harrison, W. Stephen Bush and George Blaisdell. The vast quantity of advertisements published each week was by itself enough to make the World a veritable industry encyclopedia.
  • An exhibitor-oriented paper whose genesis coincided with the original nickelodeon boom, it also carried regular columns on projection, advertising, and theater music. At its height, the World was a significant industry force and remains of great value to this day, although more for the raw research it provides that for its reviews.

Variety (New York, N.Y.) v. 1(1905/06)+ (with some exceptions). 

Warner Bros Screenplays, 1930-1950 

  • PN1997 .A1 W5736 1989 
  • This microfilm collection contains the final shooting scripts for a significant portion of Warner’s entire output from 1930 to 1950. ... for important pictures, intermediate scripts have been included in addition to the final shooting script.