30 of 31 people found the following review helpful
Fascinating films from 1895 to 1910,
This review is from: Early Cinema - Primitives and Pioneers [DVD] (DVD)
The quality of these restorations of the earliest moving pictures ever taken is stunning, as are the examples of the hand coloured films (every frame was individually painted).
The finest quality is from the 1895 films from the Lumiere brothers taken on stock from their own factory of such quality it has never degraded. Apart from the static framing and lack of panning and zoom they could have been taken yesterday, the film of one of the Lumiere brothers and his wife feeding their baby takes us vividly back one hundred and eleven years.
Personally the 1901 "Fire" is a favourite as I used to shop regularly in George Street, Hove where the Fire Station building remained virtually unchanged until at least the fifties. Another high point is the film made for Peak Frean showing every aspect of biscuit making from the furnaces that heated the ovens to a wonderful procession of heavily laden horse drawn and motor lorries leaving the factory.
A true wonder is Mehlies coloured fantasy "Voyage a travers l'impossible (extract) (1901)" an incredible mixture of "animation or collage?" and live action that is staggering.
The DVD may well be sub titled "Primitives and Pioneers" and that is true, but make no mistake, with the simple fixed focal length hand cranked cameras available these people produced fascinating films, some of the longer ones, examples "Rescued by Rover (1905)", "The Great Train Robbery (1903)", "Attack on a China Station (1900)", a documentary "A day in the life of a coalminer (1910)" all manage to present simple but effective plots without the aid of captions.
This DVD set is an essential round up of early films, for a history of the rest of the silent era I must wait until the eleven hour documentary "Hollywood" is released in August 2006..
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Initial post: 19 Oct 2011 18:34:25 BDT
R. A. Caton says:
They never did release "Hollywood" to DVD and I doubt if they ever will; too many permissions to obtain I suspect. They never released the soundtrack LP to CD either; they should.
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