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A cinema or movie house is a public site where motion pictures are exhibited to a paying public. Movie house architecture, audience composition, and filmic entertainment have changed dramatically since the first storefront theaters were opened in the earliest years of the twentieth century. However, in almost all of its manifestations, the cinema has been a vital element of urban life. The cinema can be viewed as a portal for understanding the various developmental cadences of urban centers, as well as the pursuits of leisure for working-and middle-class city dwellers during the twentieth century.

Film was the first mediated popular entertainment. From a local perspective, the development of the motion picture projector enabled films to be exhibited to large groups of people who were often strangers ...

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