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About The Book

One of the New York Times Best True Crime of 2022

A “spellbinding, thriller-like” (Shelf Awareness) history about the invention of the motion picture and the mysterious, forgotten man behind it—detailing his life, work, disappearance, and legacy.

The year is 1888, and Louis Le Prince is finally testing his “taker” or “receiver” device for his family on the front lawn. The device is meant to capture ten to twelve images per second on film, creating a reproduction of reality that can be replayed as many times as desired. In an otherwise separate and detached world, occurrences from one end of the globe could now be viewable with only a few days delay on the other side of the world. No human experience—from the most mundane to the most momentous—would need to be lost to history.

In 1890, Le Prince was granted patents in four countries ahead of other inventors who were rushing to accomplish the same task. But just weeks before unveiling his invention to the world, he mysteriously disappeared and was never seen or heard from again. Three and half years later, Thomas Edison, Le Prince’s rival, made the device public, claiming to have invented it himself. And the man who had dedicated his life to preserving memories was himself lost to history—until now.

The Man Who Invented Motion Pictures pulls back the curtain and presents a “passionate, detailed defense of Louis Le Prince…unfurled with all the cliffhangers and red herrings of a scripted melodrama” (The New York Times Book Review). This “fascinating, informative, skillfully articulated narrative” (Kirkus Reviews, starred review) presents the never-before-told history of the motion picture and sheds light on the unsolved mystery of Le Prince’s disappearance.

About The Author

Photograph by Sean Trayner

Paul Fischer is an author and film producer based in the United Kingdom. His first book, A Kim Jong-Il Production has been translated into twelve languages. It was nominated for the Crime Writers’ Association’s Nonfiction Book Award. It was chosen as one of Library Journal’s Top Ten Books of the Year and one of NPR’s Best Books of the Year. It was also nominated for a Goodreads Choice Award for History & Biography. Paul has also written for The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, and The Independent, amongst others. In addition to writing, he works as a film producer and is an alumni of the Guiding Lights mentorship program. His first feature screenplay, The Body, based on a short film of his conception, was produced by Blumhouse and Hulu in 2018, starring Tom Bateman (Vanity Fair), Rebecca Rittenhouse (The Mindy Project), Aurora Perrineau (Truth or Dare), David Hull (Crazy Ex-Girlfriend), and Ray Santiago (Ash vs. Evil Dead). 

About The Reader

Why We Love It

“This book tells a story that has been lost to history. It will make you sit up in your seat, and it might even make your hair stand up on end. It is a story about the man who made the first motion picture and about his son, who took his father’s rivals to court in a sensational lawsuit to reclaim that legacy. It is a story about the power of vision, of how a person can make the impossible possible, and about the dangers of obsession, of how a person’s single-minded focus can ruin a family. It is a story full of magic, mystery, and, possibly, murder. After all, it is about the movies.”

—Emily G., Senior Editor, on The Man Who Invented Motion Pictures

Product Details

  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio (April 19, 2022)
  • Runtime: 11 hours and 59 minutes
  • ISBN13: 9781797139272

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Raves and Reviews

"Ellet’s warm tones reveal LePrince’s family life, while her energetic delivery reflects his grueling hours of hard work on the project. She highlights the intense competition between inventors such as Edison and the Lumière brothers, while providing many technological insights on the history of photography. Fascinating listening, especially for film and photography buffs."

– AudioFile Magazine

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More books from this reader: Emily Ellet