Around 1900, the issues of poverty and poor relief were the source of heated controversy. This DVD illustrates in seven chapters how examinations of the ‘Social Question’ were presented in magic lantern slide sets and early films. On the screens of auditoriums, Sunday schools, music-halls, cinemas and churches, visitors could witness orphans freezing to death in the snow, drunkards plunging their families into misery and helpless old people begging for a scrap of bread. Audiences experienced poignant moving pictures in performances with music, singing and recitations. The photographic and film industries delivered glass slide sets and films in very large runs on a variety of themes relating to poverty. Continue reading
Walden (also known as Walden; or, Life in the Woods) by Henry David Thoreau is one of the best-known non-fiction books written by an American.
Published in 1854, it details Thoreau’s life for two years, two months, and two days in second-growth forest around the shores of Walden Pond, not far from his friends and family in Concord, Massachusetts. Walden was written so that the stay appears to be a year, with expressed seasonal divisions. Thoreau called it an experiment in simple living. Continue reading
Roundhay Garden Scene is an 1888 short film directed by French inventor Louis Le Prince. It was recorded at 12 frames per second and is the earliest surviving film.
According to Le Prince’s son, Adolphe, it was filmed at Oakwood Grange, the home of Joseph and Sarah Whitley, in Roundhay, Leeds, West Yorkshire, England on October 14, 1888.
It features Adolphe Le Prince, Sarah Whitley, Joseph Whitley and Harriet Hartley in the garden, walking around and laughing. Note that Sarah is walking backwards and that Joseph’s coat tails are flying. Continue reading
The European Pioneers
From the archives of the British Film Institute, this collection features forty distinctive works from cinema’s infancy, produced by such Euro pioneers as R.W. Paul, George Edward Smith, Fran Mottershaw, Walter Haggar & Sons, and James Bamforth, as well as by acknowledged innovators like the Lumière brothers and Méliès. Includes Demolition of a Wall (1896), Exiting the Factory (1895), and Arrival of a Train at La Ciotat (circa 1895). Continue reading
The Movies Begin
The Great Train Robbery & Other Primary Works
Directors: Edweard Muybridge, Edwin S. Porter, Thomas Edison
This survey of the cinema’s earliest landmarks and rarities features the 1877 motion studies of Edward Muybridge, the early productions of Thomas Edison’s Black Maria, the actualites of Louis Lumiére, George Méliès’s A Trip to the Moon (1902), and climaxes with the premiere of a mint-condition print of Edwin S. Porter’s The Great Train Robbery, complete with the authentic hand-tinting witnessed by audiences of 1903.
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