Film advertising has changed dramatically since the birth of cinema. While early films traveled through the country and relied on flyers and word of mouth, nowadays we have promoted tweets and website ad banners. The single best signifier of how far the film industry has come is in the evolution of trailers throughout the decades. Focusing on that evolution is a new video essay from Steven Benedict called “American Trailers.”
Running just under twenty minutes, Benedict’s video essays deconstructs what trailers are and what function they served through the history of cinema. It starts with the first film poster ever – 1895’s “L’Arroseur Arrosé” – and ends with what is arguably the best non-“Star Wars” trailer from last year.
It’s as an exhaustive look at the art form – and it is an art form – as you can watch for free. Watch Benedict’s “American Trailers” below.