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A vastly influential form of filmmaking seen by millions of people, educational films provide a catalog of twentieth century preoccupations and values. As a medium of instruction and guidance, they held a powerful cultural position, producing knowledge both inside and outside the classroom. This is the first collection of essays to address this vital phenomenon. The book provides an ambitious overview of educational film practices, while each essay analyzes a crucial aspect of educational film history, ranging from case studies of films and filmmakers to broader generic and historical assessments. Offering links to many of the films, Learning With the Lights Off provides readers the context and access needed to develop a sophisticated understanding of, and a new appreciation for, a much overlooked film legacy.