EXPERIMENTATION AND DISCOVERY (vol. 3 of THE MOVIES BEGIN) Dir. (various). U.S. and Europe. 1898-1910. Color-tinted, B&W. Frequently comical, often risque, and sometimes just plain baffling, the twenty films of this anthology challenged the precepts of the visual representation of narrative, thereby inventing the photographic and editing techniques that would quickly become accepted as cinematic syntax. Includes Peeping Tom (1901), History of a Crime (1901), How It Feels to be Run Over (1900), and The Dream of a Rarebit Fiend (1906).
More than any other decade, the first ten years of the moving picture saw the greatest amount of experimentation and development. Ranging from the ingeniously creative to the audacious, the films represented in this volume offer a sampling of the primitive masterworks that allowed the technical novelty of the cinema to so quickly flourish into an artistically expressive medium.
In the films of Cecil Hepworth, one witnesses a primal use of titles (How It Feels To Be Run Over, 1900) and some other rather gruesome visual comedy (Explosion Of A Motor Car, 1900). A Visit To Peek Frean And Co.’s Biscuit Works (1906) by G. H. Cricks features the extensive use of indoor arc lighting; at the same time being a key transitional film between the early actualitites and a more involved form of non-fiction filmmaking that would ultimately blossom into the documentary.
From France’s Pathé Frères come films that are alternately titillating (Par Le Trou De Serrue/Peeping Tom, 1901), awe-inspiring (Aladin, Or The Wonderful Lamp, 1906), colorful (Magic Bricks, 1908) and dramatic (Revolution In Russia, 1905, which depicts the same event as Eisenstein’s Battleship Potemkin).
Particularly striking is History Of A Crime (1901), in which a criminal’s memories are visually rendered through a unique bit of production design.
This volume concludes with several works from the Edison Manufacturing Co., including the first known advertising film (Dewar’s – It’s Scotch, 1898) and Edwin S. Porter’s The Dream Of A Rarebit Fiend (1906, a stunning visual fantasy adapted from the comics of Windsor McCay, whose animation can be glimpsed in vol. 5 of this series.
Hepworth Mfg. Co.
How It Feels To Be Run Over (1900)
Explosion Of A Motor Car (1900)
Rescued By Rover (1905)
The Other Side Of The Hedge (1905)
That Fatal Sneeze (1907)
Cricks And Martin
A Visit To Peek Frean & Co. (1906)
Kineto Production Co.
A Day In The Life Of A Coalminer (1910)
Peeping Tom (1901)
History Of A Crime (1901)
Ali Baba And The Forty Thieves (1905)
Reve Et Réalité (1901)
La Révolution En Russe (1905)
Aladin, Or The Wonderful Lamp (1906)
Le Cheval Emballé (1907)
The Physician Of The Castle (1908)
Magic Bricks (1908)
Edison Manufactuing Co.
Dewar’s – It’s Scotch (1898)
The Gay Shoe Clerk (1903)
Dream Of A Rarebit Fiend (1906)