The Loop (TV)
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Films before the 1920s.
Early Short Films (plus one major)
- 1888 -- Roundhay Garden Scene and Traffic Crossing Leeds Bridge -- possibly the first movies ever, and certainly the oldest known to still exist, were shot by Louis Le Prince on experimental camera.
- 1893-1895 -- William K.L. Dickson, working at Thomas Edison's studio, shot Blacksmith Scene, Fred Ott's Sneeze, Carmencita, The Great Sandow, and others -- The first commercial movies ever. Dickson Experimental Sound Film, the first sound picture, and The Execution of Mary Stuart, the first cinematic special effects, were also produced at the studio. In 1897, it introduced the world to the first pornographic movie with The Dolorita Passion Dance or Dolorita in the Passion Dance. The film was removed from Atlantic City Kinetoscope parlors in 1895, this being perhaps the first instance of film Censorship.
- 1895-1896 -- The Lumière brothers shot movies, including The Sprinkler Sprinkled, Employees Leaving the Factory, and Arrival of a Train at La Ciotat, establishing tropes such as the Practical Joke, Faux Documentary, and cinematic narrative in general.
- 1898-1905 -- Georges Méliès shot pioneering movies, establishing many kinds of Special Effects and the first filmed examples of genres such as Science Fiction and Fantasy:
- 1903 -- Edwin Porter directed The Great Train Robbery (video link) at Edison's studio.
- 1906 -- The first ever feature-length film, The Story Of The Kelly Gang, was filmed in Melbourne, Australia. Of course, in 1906, "feature-length" meant about forty-five minutes long, which was still many times longer than any other film made at that point. (Interestingly, The Story of the Kelly Gang was originally planned as a short film, but its runtime ballooned out as the film-makers kept adding more and more footage.)
- 1908-1914 -- D.W. Griffith directed lots of short films, inventing and/or popularizing more Camera Tricks and other film tropes, such as:
- 1911-1914 -- Winsor McCay makes the first animated films, including Little Nemo and Gertie the Dinosaur.
- 1912 -- The Cameraman's Revenge, one of the first examples of stop-motion animation.
- 1912 -- Saved From the Titanic, made just a month after the Titanic sank this very early Disaster Movie (now unfortunately lost) is notable for being partly shot in colour, being Very Loosely Based on a True Story and for having a lead actress (Dorothy Gibson) who was herself a Titantic survivor - playing a version of herself!
- 1914 -- Charlie Chaplin makes his debut.
- D.W. Griffith directed the earliest feature films, including:
- The Birth of a Nation -- The movie that invented the feature film as we know it. Values Dissonance to the max today, but the first blockbuster hit at the time.
- Intolerance -- As advanced for its time as was Birth of a Nation; made to answer cries of racism that were already being thrown at Griffith, it was as big a flop as Birth was a hit.
- Broken Blossoms -- The most sympathetic portrayal of Asians for decades, and probably Griffith's triumph as a director of actors.
- Charlie Chaplin produced and starred in a series of pioneering Slapstick comedies at Mutual studios and First National studios, including:
- Fantomas (Serial, made over several years.)
- Anders als die Andern ("Different from the Others"), notable as the first film to argue for tolerance of homosexuality.
- The Master Mystery
- The Secret Garden -- Starring Lila Lee.
- The Sentimental Bloke -- Australian classic, recently re-mastered and available on DVD.
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