The Birth of Cinema

August Blom – Den hvide slavehandel aka The White Slave Trade (1910)


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“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 »

J. Stuart Blackton – The Enchanted Drawing (1900)

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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 »

Louis Aimé Augustin Le Prince – Roundhay Garden Scene & Traffic Crossing Leeds Bridge (1888)

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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 »

Various – The Movies Begin – Disc 5 – Comedy, Spectacle, and New Horizons (1893 – 1913)

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 »

Various – The Movies Begin – Disc 3 – Experimentation and Discovery (1898 – 1910)

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 »

Various – The Movies Begin – Disc 2 – The European Pioneers (1895 – 1906)

The European Pioneers
Director: (various)
Country: (various)
Year: 1895-1906
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). Read More »

Various – The Movies Begin Vol. 1: The Great Train Robbery and Other Primary Works (1880 – 1910)

The Movies Begin

The Great Train Robbery & Other Primary Works
Directors: Edweard Muybridge, Edwin S. Porter, Thomas Edison
Country: (various)
Year: 1893-1907
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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