Great Train Robbery: The Cinema Begins, The

1. THE GREAT TRAIN ROBBERY (1903-USA). With BRONCHO BILLY ANDERSON. Directed and scripted by EDWIN S. PORTER. The Great Train Robbery has been wrongly described as the first western, “the first film to feature a sophisticated storyline,” and “the first film with a close-up.” Still, it remains a landmark in motion picture history: an extremely creative, well-made work that may be considered the first important American film. For its era, The Great Train Robbery is an epic: twelve minutes long with a cast of forty. Despite the western locale, the firm was shotin the wilds of New Jersey, just across the river from New York City. Broncho Billy Anderson is cast in several roles, and was to become America’s first Western star before William S. Hart and Tom Mix. Also, that final close-up-you’ll know it when you see itÑis one of the most Famous images in all of film,
2. FIRST PROGRAMS (1895-1896-France). Produced by LOUIS and AUGUSTE LUMlERE. Here is a collage of brief, historic films, each lasting seconds and consisting of but a single shot Employees Leaving Lumiire Factory, Arrival of Express at Lyons, Friendly Party in the Garden of lumiere and feeding the Baby were all on the program of the first-ever public screening of films for a paying audience, given by the Lumiere brothers in Paris at the Grand Cafe, Boulevard des Capucines. The date was December 28th, 1895-the very first movie exhibition. This was how it all began.
3. BILLY WHISKERS (1922-USA). Produced by HANS A. SPANUTH. Animals have starred on screen since the eariiest days of the medium. Before Rin Tin Tin, Rhubarb the cat and Cheta the chimp, there was William Whiskers, a goat who-with the aid of trick photography-found himself involved in a variety of human situations. In In the Life of a fireman, Billy is first seen playing checkers with a fellow fireman. He proves far more capable at rescuing babies from burning houses than any of his inept co-workers. The Soda Water Clerk features Billy in an ice cream shop, where he decidesÑwithout the proprietor’s knowledgeÑto serve up some cool, wet sodas. In the Taxi Business is highlighted by Billy’s misadventures in the back seat of an unsuspecting fellow’s auto. In Bad With the Police features a hungry Billy, who causes some innocent folks much grief in his quest for a meal. A goat’s gotta eat! Silent films with original organ score, correct projection speed. 42 minutes total. Cinema History