Early Cinema: Primitives... View large image
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Film Details

Directed by: Edwin S. Porter George Mèliés G.A. Smith

Produced: 1910

Countries & Regions: France, United Kingdom, United States

DVD Details

Certificate: E

Studio: British Film Institute

Length: 187 mins

Format: DVD

Region: Region 2

Released: 29 August 2005

Cat No: BFIVD643

Extras:
Languages(s): English
Hard of Hearing Subtitles: English
Interactive Menu
Scene Access

Moviemail Details

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Early Cinema: Primitives And Pioneers

DVD
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Collection of 59 short films from the earliest days of cinema, preserved in the BFI archives and including such groundbreaking classics... Read More

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Collection of 59 short films from the earliest days of cinema, preserved in the BFI archives and including such groundbreaking classics as Edwin S. Porter’s ’The Great Train Robbery’ (1903), the first film to use crosscuts and close ups to progress the narrative, as well as George Mèliés’ fantastical ’Voyage A Travers L’Impossible’ (1904) and many more. The technical and narrative innovations in these early works ensured the rapid development of cinema into one of the most vital art forms of the 20th century. The collection also includes newly-scored music from National Film Theatre pianists Neil Brand, John Sweeney and Stephen Horne.

Following on the release of Electric Edwardians, featuring films from the astounding find of Mitchell and Kenyon's work, the bfi continue their programme of early cinema releases with this collection of 59 films made between 1895-1906. All the luminaries of early cinema are represented, with works included by Lumière - Sortie d'Usine, Méliès - Voyage à travers l'impossible, George Albert Smith - Mary Jane's Mishap, Haggar & Sons - Desperate Poaching Affray, The Hepworth Manufacturing Company - Rescued by Rover and Cricks & Martin's A Visit to Peek Frean's Biscuit Works. There's also a newly restored and tinted version of Edwin S. Porter's The Great Train Robbery, and the Edison Manufacturing Company's The Dream of a Rarebit Fiend which includes a striking simulation of drunkenness using superimposed panning shots.

Some of the most impressive films of the era however came from Pathé Frères, especially in their hand-tinted treatments of Ali Baba et les Quarante Voleurs and Aladdin ou la Lampe Merveilleuse, where the beautiful use of colour adds a little touch of magic and conveys something of the marvel of film that we now take so much for granted.

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