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The IMAX of the 1890s : Everything You Know About Early Movies Is Outdated

Complete with guest appearance of Queen Victoria.

“We live in an environment where there are moving images constantly around us. But in 1897, this was startling and new and completely revolutionary. It was a different way of looking at the world.”

In 1939, MoMA acquired a treasure of thirty-six reels of 68mm nitrate prints and negatives made in cinema’s first years. Everything that survived of the Biograph film company lives on those reels, including a rare bit of moving image footage of Queen Victoria.

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  • Ulysses Toole July 29, 2019, 7:37 PM

    I’m in awe, Everything photographed from 1890 is shorter from my birth than anything photographed today. Learn me more Gerald!

  • Casey Klahn July 29, 2019, 8:51 PM

    I like the way he identifies the visual thing from a narrative event. He knows whereof he speaks. They are not the same thing and the story is not the seasoning of the image, but it’s another thing. He’s a purist.

    Try to convince someone sometime that a visual image does must not contain a story.

    Yes to the historicity of the first films. An epochal change. We have those now every couple days, so we don’t find the awe in them that we used to.

  • Auntie Analogue July 29, 2019, 10:35 PM

    This post reminded me of the Peter Jackson film I saw just a few days ago, They Shall Not Grow Old. I deprecate colorization of B&W films, especially the crude jobs Ted Turner’s outfit did back in the 1980’s, but in making his film Jackson not only colorized the original material, but also corrected the old films in it for speed which yielded a naturalness not present in the choppy originals. Jackson also engaged lip-readers so that dialogue visibly spoken but not audible in those old films was spoken by actors and looped onto the originals. The achievement of Jackson’s production team is simply marvelous to behold.

    Here’s the trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zc1UmjCm1wU

  • Casey Klahn July 30, 2019, 8:39 AM

    Hi, Auntie.

    I somehow got my 2 teens to go see They Shall in the theater. I’m sure my son’s PC game about WWI was instrumental in giving him the interest, and my daughter’s native interest in films because this one was unique as a film.

    It punches hard, and for an avid historian it presents the war in a fairly organized manner from the viewpoint of the trenches. World War One was epic big, and we see and taste only 1% of 1% when we are fed pop history regarding it. It started as a maneuver war. There are gargantuan portions that were fought in the east that are forgotten to time and history – seriously there is no scholarship on the epic reaming that the Russians received, in detail, in the early part of the war. Germany and her allies essentially wiped Russia, for all intents and purposes, off the face of the Earth. Re: Russia became one of the most Satanic empires ever after that and to this day we must respond to those assholes.

    Anyway, so much of that time in world history that we have blocked out and holy shit here comes the 21st century. Buckle up.

  • James ONeil July 30, 2019, 10:06 AM

    Good on yer, Gerald!

  • Sam L. July 30, 2019, 10:12 AM

    Thanks, Gerard! This is a WOW!

  • Dan Patterson July 31, 2019, 8:41 AM

    Adding my vote for “Huzzah”, and echoing Auntie Analogue’s comment about the WWI film project.