Silent Screams – Puppet Masters | The Merry Skeleton (1897)

While Le squelette joyeux (The Merry Skeleton) is more lighthearted fun with little-to-no scares [to us modern viewers], with it the Lumiere brothers lay the groundwork for using special effects to create monster movie magic, which has advanced a tad in the 100+ years since.

In fact, only 3 years later, Frederick Armitage successfully transported the skeleton away from the static black background and onto a pirate ship at sea for Davey Jones’ Locker. The next thing you know, Davy Jones is raising hell in a Disney movie setting sail towards $1 billion dollars, literally. Thanks, Lumiere brothers!

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Slapstick Summer Series! – The Sprinkler Sprinkled (1895), 1st Movie Comedy

Though not slapstick, strictly-speaking, Lumière’s The Sprinkler Sprinkled (aka L’Arroseur Arrosé and The Waterer Watered) earns the starting spot in this summer series for three main reasons:

  1. It’s the 1st comedy film.
  2. What’s more Summer-y than sprinkling sprinklers?
  3. The film’s alliterative English name compliments the blog title.
Thus begins the Summer of Slapstick, which will contain the early shorts of Charlie Chaplin, Buster Keaton, Harold Lloyd, Mabel Normand, Fatty Arbuckle, Max Linder, Ford Sterling and the Keystone Cops, and other surprises.

Alice Guy, 1st Female Filmmaker – At the Club [Au cabaret] (1899)

A slightly different look at a familiar narrative in early French cinema. The original was Louis Lumière’s Card Game (Partie de Cartes), and the 1st remake was Georges Méliès’s Card Party (Une Partie de Cartes).

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0000222/

Alice Guy, 1st Female Filmmaker – The Fisherman at the Stream [Le pêcheur dans le torrent] (1897)

The Fisherman at the Stream (aka Le pêcheur dans le torrent), is a comedic prank film of a type which began with Louis Lumière’s L’arroseur arrosé (The Sprinkler Sprinkled). In fact, Alice Guy-Blaché also filmed a remake of Lumiere’s short, but that movie is now presumed lost.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0000164/

March Melies Madness! – Card Party [Une partie de cartes] (1896)

The 1st of 555 known films by Georges Méliès, Card Party (aka Une partie de cartes aka Party of Cards) is a remake (the world’s 1st known movie remake) of Louis Lumiere’s Card Game. The Lumière original can be found here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0VGSjgi9l4c

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0000132/

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.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0000070/

1st Reverse Tracking Shot

Namo Village, Panorama Taken from a Rickshaw (1900) – Gabriel Veyre

Namo Village, Panorama Taken from a Rickshaw (aka Le village de Namo – Panorama pris d’une chaise à porteurs) was filmed by Gabriel Veyre in the Indochina village of Namo. With the camera set on a pulled rickshaw, a reverse “Phantom Ride” is created in the oldest known example of a reverse tracking shot.

Music performed by Billy Duncan of SEAGULLS (and RICER and AN ARMY OF TINY PURPLE DINOSAURS) for Change Before Going Productions.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1219715/

1st Movie Remake (and 1st Film by Georges Melies)

Card Party (1896) – Georges Melies

The 1st of 555 known films by Georges Melies, Card Party (aka Une partie de cartes aka Party of Cards) is a remake of Louis Lumiere’s Card Game. The Lumiere original can be found here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0VGSjgi9l4c

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0000132/

1st Comedy Movie

The Sprinkler Sprinkled (1895) – Louis Lumiere

The 1st staged narrative and the 1st comedy, The Sprinkler Sprinkled (also known as L’Arroseur Arrosé and The Waterer Watered) was shot in Lyon in the spring of 1895.

The film portrays a simple practical joke in which a gardener is tormented by a boy who steps on the hose that the gardener is using to water his plants, cutting off the water flow. When the gardener tilts the nozzle up to inspect it, the boy releases the hose, causing the water to spray him. The gardener is stunned and his hat is knocked off, but he soon catches on. A chase ensues, both on and off-screen (the camera never moves from its original position) until the gardener catches the boy and administers a spanking. Louis Lumière used his own gardener, François Clerc, to portray the gardener.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0000014/

1st Projected Film

Exiting the Factory (1895) – Louis Lumiere

The 1st projected film, Workers Leaving The Lumière Factory in Lyon (also known as La Sortie des Usines Lumière à Lyon, Employees Leaving the Lumière Factory, and Exiting the Factory), was filmed by Louis Lumière using his Cinématographe, an all-in-one camera, which also serves as a film projector and developer. This film was shown in 1895 at the Grand Café on the Boulevard des Capucines in Paris, along with nine other short movies.

The film consists of a single scene in which workers leave the Lumiere factory. The workers are mostly female who exit the large building 25 rue St. Victor, Montplaisir on the outskirts of Lyon, France, as if they had just finished a day’s work.

Three separate versions of this film exist. There are a number of differences between these, for example the clothing style changes demonstrating the different seasons in which they were filmed. They are often referred to as the “one horse,” “two horses,” and “no horse” versions, in reference to a horse-drawn carriage that appears in the first two versions (pulled by one horse in the original and two horses in the first remake).

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0000010/