Beyond 100: The 1st Female Filmmaker (Alice Guy), Méliès in May, and more

First off, thank you to anyone reading this and to everyone who’s checked out a previous posting. It’s been a delightful time, giddy actually, connecting and interacting with those who have found something of interest in a post or two. I plan to do a better job of regularly sharing content from a more diverse range of topics that are of interest to me, while still maintaining a slight focus on film, movies, cinema, flicks, whatever-you-might-call-it.

Speaking of which, March Melies Madness officially concluded with my 100th post, but despair not, the works of Méliès will resume in May. As for April, I’m spotlighting the surviving films of Alice Guy-Blaché (seen below), the world’s 1st female director in the motion picture industry. She was a true pioneer with accomplishments and works that rival any of her male counterparts from the era of cinema’s birth.

Thank you again, and here’s to the next 100.

Source: Silent Film via Janelle on Pinterest


1st Slapstick Movie

An Interesting Story (1904) – James Williamson

Considered to be the world’s 1st slapstick film, An Interesting Story shows a man so engrossed in his book that his time is spent dangerously oblivious to everything else happening around him.

1st Extreme Close-Up in Film

The Big Swallow (1901) – James Williamson

The Big Swallow, a clever though logically-flawed movie, contains the 1st Extreme Close Up, used within as a plot device instead of for emotional effect.

1st Chase Movie

Stop Thief! (1901) – James Williamson

Stop Thief! is considered to be the world’s 1st “chase” movie, a type of film most popular in the early 1900’s and 1910’s.

1st Telescoped PoV Close-Up in Film

As Seen Through a Telescope (1900) – George Albert Smith

The 1st Telescoped PoV close-up in film: As Seen Through a Telescope by George Albert Smith uses an irised close-up to give the impression of filming through a telescope, thus giving the viewer the point of view of the main character. There is also a voyeuristic element as the lead (and each of us) witnesses a bit of naughty action.

1st Reverse Motion in Film

Demolition of a Wall (1896) – Louis Lumiere

In Demolition of a Wall (aka Démolition d’un mur) by Louis Lumière, we see the action proceeding forward as expected, but at the mid-point of the film, the footage is reversed, taking us back to the beginning. This was the 1st movie to contain footage in reverse motion.

Happy President’s Day!

1st Dissolve Transition

Cinderella (1899) – Georges Melies

This oldest known film adaptation of Charles Perrault’s 1697 fairy tale is also the first movie to utilize a dissolve transition between scenes. Georges Méliès accomplished this by closing the lens aperture, rewinding the film, and then re-opening the aperture.

1st Yellow Journalism Propaganda in Film

Shooting Captured Insurgents (1898) – James H. White

Shooting Captured Insurgents is a hyper-realistic re-enactment filmed during the Spanish-American War, and having the purpose of bolstering sympathy for the Cuban rebels (and antagonism towards the Spanish). The United States had previously entered the conflict in early 1898 after the sinking of the USS Maine battleship in Havana harbor left 258 of the ship’s crew dead.

In the film, Spanish freedom fighters are led in front of a Spanish firing squad and then executed. The movie would play with no explanation that the footage shown was not real i.e. staged, leaving the audience to believe they had just witnessed actual deaths.

1st Multi-Shot Scene

Return of Lifeboat (1897) – James H. White

Return of Lifeboat contains the oldest example of a scene being filmed from multiple angles and then edited together to give the viewer more than one perspective. It is unknown whether this scene (which is the entirety of the movie) was filmed with more than one camera recording simultaneously, or whether a single camera was quickly moved and set-up in various positions.

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