The Movies Begin (DVD)
The Great Train Robbery and Other Primary WorksThe genesis of the motion picture medium is vividly recreated in this unprecedented collection of the cinema's formative works. More than crucial historical artifacts, these films reveal the foundation from which the styles and stories of the contemporary cinema would later arise.
An animated rendering of Eadweard Muybridge's primitive motion studies (1877-85) begins the program, immediately defining the compound appeal of cinema as both a scientific marvel and sensational popular entertainment.
This is followed by the works of Louis and Auguste Lumiere.
The European PioneersWhile some may consider the cinema a distinctly American invention, the most influential figures during its infancy were two brothers in France: Auguste and Louis Lumiere. In the beginning, they dominated world film production and distribution. Through the magic of cinema, such ordinary sights as the demolition of a wall, the arrival of a train, a family enjoying breakfast or workers exiting a factory were transformed into mystifying spectacles of light and motion, having their premiere on December 28, 1895.
Perhaps the most extraordinary elements of this collection are the early British films, virtually unseen in the United States. Robert W. Paul, a scientific instrument maker by trade, devoted fifteen years to motion pictures, designing his own camera and projector and, in March 1896, staging the first performance by an Englishman of projected motion pictures to a fee-paying public. Paul's works range from Lumiere-influenced actualities to experiments with stop-motion (Extraordinary Cab Accident, 1903) and miniature effects (The (?) Motorist, 1906, made with Walter R. Booth).
Other inventive artists represented herein include George Albert Smith, a well known scientific lecturer of the day; Walter Haggar and sons, who exhibited their films in a travelling tent show; Frank Mottershaw of the Sheffield Photographic Company; James Bamforth, also a manufacturer of lantern slides and picture postcards; and James Williamson, whose 1901 short Stop Thief! is considered the source of the subsequent development of the chase film.
Louis and Auguste Lumiere
- Leaving The Factory (1895)
- The Baby's Meal (1895)
- Demolition Of A Wall (1895)
- The Sprinkler Sprinkled (1895)
- Arrival Of Congress (1895)
- Arrival Of A Train (1895)
- Card Party (1895)
- Leaving Jersusalem By Railway (1896)
- Snowball Fight (1896)
- A Fire Run (Lyons) (c.1896)
- Niagara Falls (1897)
- Spanish Bullfight (1900)
- Rough Sea At Dover (1895)
R. W. Paul
- Come Along Do! (1898)
- The Derby (1896)
- The Countryman And The Cinematograph (1901)
- A Chess Dispute (1903)
- Extraordinary Cab Accident (1903)
- Buy Your Own Cherries (1904)
- The Motorist (1906)
George Albert Smith
- The Miller And The Sweep (1898)
- The Kiss In The Tunnel (1899)
- Let Me Dream Again (1900)
- Grandma's Reading Glass (1900)
- As Seen Through A Telescope (1900)
- Sick Kitten (1903)
- Mary Jane's Mishap (1903)
Sheffield Photographic Co.
- Daring Daylight Burglary (1903)
Haggar & Sons
- Desperate Poaching Affray (1903)
Bamforth And Company, Ltd.
- The Kiss In The Tunnel (1899)
- Ladies Skirts Nailed To A Fence (c.1900)
- The Bitter Bit (1900)
- Rough Sea (c.1900)
- Attack On A China Mission (1900)
- The Big Swallow (1901?)
- Stop Thief! (1901)
- Fire! (1901)
- An Interesting Story (1905)
The Magic of Melies
The MAGIC of MÉLIÈS
Fifteen Fantastic Works by the Cinema’s First Special Effects Wizard including the documentary Georges Méliès: Cinema Magician
Decades before the term “special effects” was coined, audiences of the newborn cinema were witnessing spectacular screen illusions, courtesy of the medium’s first master magician: Georges Méliès.
Such films as THE ECLIPSE (1907) and LONG DISTANCE WIRELESS PHOTOGRAPHY (1908) not only demonstrate Méliès’s astounding employment of double exposure, makeup, editing and theatrical trickery but provide mesmerizing insight into the social context of his work, which blended Victorian approaches to astronomy, superstition and feminine beauty with the unnatural wonders of 20th-century technology and heavy doses of slapstick. The centerpiece of the collection is THE IMPOSSIBLE VOYAGE (1904), presented with the authentic frame-by-frame hand-coloring and narration penned by Méliès himself.
GEORGES MÉLIÈS: CINEMA MAGICIAN is a documentary on the filmmaker’s life, integrating rare photographs, early drawings and numerous clips. It charts Méliès’ rise from shoe factory worker to proprietor of Paris’s mystical Théatre Robert-Houdin, where he learned the skills to become a cinematic illusionist and developed an interest in the supernatural, exquisitely represented in THE MYSTERIOUS RETORT (1906) and THE BLACK IMP (1905).
B&W/Color 103 Min.
Music Composed and Performed
by Alexander Rannie
Directed by Georges Méliès
- The Untamable Whiskers (1904)
- The Cook in Trouble (1904)
- Tchin-Chao, the Chinese Conjurer (1904)
- The Wonderful Living Fan (1904)
- The Mermaid (1904)
- The Living Playing Cards (1905)
- The Black Imp (1905)
- The Enchanted Sedan Chair (1905)
- The Scheming Gamblers Paradise (1905)
- The Hilarious Posters (1906)
- The Mysterious Retort (1906)
- The Eclipse (1907)
- Good Glue Sticks (1907)
- Long Distance Wireless Photography (1908)
- The Impossible Voyage (1904)
Georges Méliès: Cinema Magician
U.S. 1978 20 Min. Color/B&W
A Film by Patrick Montgomery
and Luciano Martinengo
© 1978 Blackhawk Films, Inc.
Film Notes by Charles Musser
Produced for Video
by David Shepard
Film Preservation Associates
Dedicated to Dan Woodruff
* Note: despite the boxcover art, this title does NOT contain A Trip to the Moon. That title is available on The Great Train Robbery and Other Primary Works -- also in The Movies Begin series.
Comedy, Spectacle, and New HorizonsBy 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.
Visual comedy, with notable elements of slapstick, is represented in Path Frares' The Policeman's Little Run (1907), Bangville Police (1913, marking the first appearance of the legendary Keystone Kops) and Max Linder's Troubles Of A Grass Widower (1908). Best remembered today as a major influence on Charlie Chaplin, Linder was one of the first and most popular stars of the cinema. The comic potential of such a basic device as an undercranked camera is exhibited in Path's Onasime, Horloger (Onasime, Clock-maker, 1912).
Alice Guy-Blach's Making An American Citizen (1912) is an excellent example of the films of social conscience, always an undercurrent beneath the apparently smooth surfaces of commercial productions. Released the very same week was D. W. Griffith's A Girl And Her Trust, a superb film of wide emotional range and great technical virtuosity made near the end of his tenure at the Biograph Company.
Nero, Or The Fall Of Rome (1909) strains at conventional film limitations in dimension and duration, looking forward to the revolutionary Italian epics (Cabiria, The Last Days Of Pompeii) that followed a few years later.
Equally prophetic are the dazzling animations showcased in the Vitograph Company's Windsor McCay And His Animated Pictures (1911).
- The Policeman's Little Run (1907)
- Troubles Of A Grass Widower (1908)
- Nero, Or The Fall Of Rome (1909)
- Onasime, Clock-maker (1912)
- Windsor McCay And His Animated Pictures (1911)
- Making An American Citizen (1912)
- The Girl And Her Trust (1912)
- The Bangville Police (1913)
"AN ABSOLUTE MUST for cineastes.
- The Los Angels Times
Over the course of more than 120 complete films, an art form is born before your eyes.
The Great Train Robbery and Other Primary Works
- Edwin S. Porter - Director
- Edweard Muybridge - Director
- Thomas Edison - Director
The European Pioneers
- (various) - Director
- Neil Brand - Composer
The Magic of Melies
- Georges Méliès - Director
- Alexander Rannie - Composer
Comedy, Spectacle, and New Horizons
- (various) - Director