Thomas A. Edison
Eleven Films (1894-1901)
Edison Kinetoscopic Record of A Sneeze (1894)
00:07 (1.1 Mb)
Crissie Sheridan (1897)
00:37 (6.1 Mb)
Description: Cohl made “Fantasmagorie” from February to May or June 1908. This is considered the first fully animated film ever made. It was made up of 700 drawings, each of which was double-exposed, leading to a running time of almost two minutes. Despite the short running time, the piece was packed with material devised in a “stream of consciousness” style. It borrowed from Blackton in using a “chalk-line effect” (filming black lines on white paper, then reversing the negative to make it look like white chalk on a black chalkboard), having the main character drawn by the artist’s hand on camera, and the main characters of a clown and a gentleman (this taken from Blackton’s “Humorous Phases of Funny Faces”). The film, in all of its wild transformations, is a direct tribute to the by-then forgotten Incoherent movement. The title is a reference to the “fantasmograph”, a mid-Nineteenth Century variant of the magic lantern that projected ghostly images that floated across the walls. Read More »
“Anna, a young girl from a poor but honest household, is offered an attractive position as a lady’s companion in London. Her childhood friend is worried, but she goes anyway. To Anna’s horror, the distinguished house turns out to be a brothel, but she manages to overpower her first customer. A helpful maid smuggles out a letter to her parents, and they alert the League for the Suppression of the White Slave Traffic. The childhood friend travels to England and hires a detective. Together, they find the brothel and Anna. They arrange her escape. Anna lowers herself down from her window, but after an automobile chase, the slavers overpower her liberators and abduct her again. Read More »
The Enchanted Drawing is a short film made in 1900. It was directed by J. Stuart Blackton, an American film producer of early silent films, the founder of Vitagraph Studios and an early animator.
Upon a large sheet of white paper a cartoonist is seen at work rapidly sketching the portrait of an elderly gentleman of most comical feature and expression. After completing the likeness the artist rapidly draws on the paper a clever sketch of a bottle of wine and a goblet, and then, to the surprise of all, actually removes them from the paper on which they were drawn and pours actual wine out of the bottle into a real glass. Surprising effects quickly follow after this; and the numerous changes of expression which flit over the face in the sketch cause a vast amount of amusement and at the same time give a splendid illustration of the caricaturist’s art. Read More »
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. Read More »
This edition explores the establishment of cinematic genres in the first years of the 20th Century, offering rare glimpses of the innovative visual comedy of Max Linder, the pioneering Italian epic NERO – or THE BURNING OF ROME, the phenomenal animation of Windsor McCoy, the social realism of Alice Guy Blaché’s MAKING OF AN AMERICAN CITIZEN, D. W. Griffith’s early melodrama A GIRL AND HER TRUST, and more!
By 1907 the cinema’s initial growing pains had subsided and fairly distinct generic categories of production were established. This volume of The Movies Begin examines some of these integral works that begin to reflect the modern day cinema — punctuated with authentic hand-tinted lantern slides used during early theatrical exhibition. Read More »
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. Read More »