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Fraid's celebration of cinema thread series: The birth of film to 1919
This is a catch all to discuss the literal first films ever. People's thoughts on them. Any that are actually available to own and which ones are worth owning. The birth of genres. What is the first feature length film? 

Two that I've seen:

Edison's Frankenstein- A true oddity. Positively prehistoric and obviously the first filmed adaptation of Mary Shelley's iconic novel. It's very short and very crude. But given its age, that's to be expected. It runs 10 minutes or so. It might be on YouTube.

A Trip to the Moon- Far more polished and elaborate than Edison's Frankenstein. Also very short. Has one hell of an iconic shot in it though with the rocket stuck in the eye of the man in the moon. Extremely impressive visuals given its age.

Lay some more of these oddities on us..
I'll give a shout-out to Willis O'Brien's The Ghost of Slumber Mountain, released in late 1918/early 1919. It's very much a series of FX setpieces stitched together into something resembling a narrative, but it's a clear turning point (and a serious leap in quality) from O'Brien's earlier series of discrete short films towards his 1925 adaptation of The Lost World, all of which naturally paved the way for him to give us the last word on stop-motion depictions of prehistoric megafauna in King Kong. Sadly only about half the film has survived (what I wouldn't give to travel back in time and knock some sense into all the distributors who hacked up classic films for being "too long!") but it's still worth a look.
The Ghost of Slumber Mountain. Thanks! I'll definitely look that up. There's tons more sci-fi made before 1920 than I ever thought. The vast majority of it is from the Lumiere(sp?) bros and George Melies (A Trip to the Moon). They did tons of stuff. I'd like to seek out as much of it as possible. There's also a 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea movie from 1916! I'd be very interested in seeing that too..
I have that one sitting around on an old VHS tape. Need to sit down with it sometime.
My late uncle had a projector and tons of classic reels, such as The Gold Rush and Erich Von Stroheim's Foolish Wives. I especially remember the William S. Hart Western Wagon Tracks from 1919. One of Hart's most celebrated movies was Hell's Hinges from 1916, which you can watch here -
I was just discussing the 'running horse' sequences taken by Eadweard Muybridge in 1878 the other day. The use of a series of still cameras placed along the path of a traveling subject was not only the first successful recording of physical motion but also the exact same principle employed 121 years later for The Matrix's 'bullet-time' shots.
"I'd rather wake up in the middle of nowhere than in any city on Earth."--Steve McQueen
Ok, that's cool. Hell's Hinges? That's the movie I need to look up?

ETA: Wait, no. Hammerhead what you're referring to isn't exactly a "movie" per se? Right? Was an innovative way to film a horse race?
I haven't watched Hell's Hinges yet, but this thread has inspired me.

Here's the info, fraid -

(just pretend this post is in the proper thread, ha)
Nice! Thanks for providing the info. I gotta get some more material into the 1920 thread too. Everybody talks about top tens and bottom tens of each decade but I believe each year is thread worthy. I want it to lead to more detailed, specific discussion. That's gonna end up being 100 threads if I manage to do it all. I think it could get some much needed diversity in our conversations going. Plus, film history just fascinates me..
Ah, yeah, the Muybridge sequences aren't really "films" in the sense we discuss here, but they're damned fascinating and absolutely groundbreaking in the study of motion and the art of animation.
I support this endeavor. I've read plenty about the early years, yet I haven't gotten around to seeing a lot of the actual movies, save for some of the biggies (THE GENERAL, SUNRISE, CITY LIGHTS, etc). Looking forward to links and recommendations.
(07-01-2019, 07:44 AM)fraid uh noman Wrote: ETA: Wait, no. Hammerhead what you're referring to isn't exactly a "movie" per se? Right? Was an innovative way to film a horse race?

This is the "Birth to 1919" thread, so I don't know where else to discuss the beginnings of motion pictures. If you're only talking NARRATIVE film, the general consensus is that it really starts with The Great Train Robbery (1903).
"I'd rather wake up in the middle of nowhere than in any city on Earth."--Steve McQueen
Well, some of Méliès's trick films from the turn of the century make clear attempts to tell a story, and I'd argue that A Trip to the Moon (1902) certainly counts as a narrative film.
Yeah, I've always had a hard time trying to find out what the first thing that we, as a modern audience, would identify as a fully formed MOVIE and what was just the first moving images on film ever. The latter I believe is some people walking through a garden in England and it's like 10 seconds long..
Well, there's the Lumiere brothers from France, but I don't think they did any narratives.

I always forget that Trip to the Moon came out before Great Train Robbery.
Granted, The Great Train Robbery fully deserves its acclaim - it's much more recognizable as an antecedent to the modern action-thriller, while A Trip to the Moon is more of a comic stage-play (with unusually elaborate backdrops and sets) that happens to make use of movie-camera trickery for its effects.
The blu ray of A Trip to the Moon is kind of a must own if you're at all interested in seeing an art form's possibilities being discovered and taking its first wobbly steps into becoming probably the most profound form of expression than humanity has ever devised..

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