Revolutionary Moments in Film

    February 14, 2011 at 6:00 am

    One of the great things about film, is that it has a self documenting history by its very nature.  Fortunately many important historical (some relating to film itself) events have been captured on this medium.

    This is, at least in the present time, the closest we can come to traveling back in time.

    Here are five significant firsts in film…..

    Monkeyshines – The First American Movie Ever

    This is the first American film ever made. It was originally designed as a test and was followed by two more. It was not intended for public display. The film was made by Edison and Dickson to test the original cylinder Kinetograph format.

    Dickson Experimental Sound Film

    This is the first film made with a combination of sound and motion. It was made by William Dickson, a Franco-Scottish inventor who is credited with inventing the motion picture camera while employed by Thomas Edison. The film was produced at the “Black Maria,” Edison’s New Jersey film studio. There is no evidence that it was ever exhibited in its original format. The man playing the violin is Dickson.

    Coronation of Tsar Nicholas II

    This is one of the first significant news events recorded – the Coronation of Tsar Nicholas II of Russia. Tsar Nicholas was to be the last Russian Tsar, making this film the only existing moving images of a Russian coronation. 22 years after this day, the Tsar, his wife, and their children would be shot to death by communist revolutionaries.

    First Animated Cartoon

    Fantasmagorie was the very first animated cartoon. It was created by French caricaturist Émile Cohl and is made up of 700 drawings, each of which was double-exposed, leading to a running time of almost two minutes. Cohl was working for the French studio Gaumont when he produced this cartoon.

    First Synchronized Human Voices

    Here we see Al Jolson singing “My Mammy” from the film “The Jazz Singer”. This was the first film in history to include synchronized human voices. At the start of the film when the sounds were first heard, the audience erupted in to a standing ovation. Half way through the film, Jolson speaks the first words, which were (prophetically): “Wait a minute, wait a minute. You ain’t heard nothin’ yet!”

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