Rich in implications for today’s seismic changes in media, The Promise of Cinema offers a compelling new vision of film theory—not as a fixed body of canonical texts, but as a dynamic set of reflections on the very idea of cinema and the possibilities associated with it. This groundbreaking collection unearths a vast array of mostly unknown German texts from the early twentieth century, letting the period speak in its own voice and placing the reader in a world striving to assimilate modernity’s most powerful new medium. Lesser-known essays by Béla Balázs, Walter Benjamin, and Siegfried Kracauer appear alongside interventions from the realms of aesthetics, education, industry, politics, science, and technology. The book also features programmatic writings from the Weimar avant -garde and from directors such as Fritz Lang and F. W. Murnau. Nearly all the documents appear in English for the first time, each one meticulously introduced and annotated. The most comprehensive collection of German writings on film published to date, The Promise of Cinema is an essential resource for students and scholars of film and media, critical theory, and European history and culture.