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Edison Kinetoscopic Record of a Sneeze (1894)

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A man (Thomas Edison's assistant) takes a pinch of snuff and sneezes. This is one of the earliest Thomas Edison films and was the first motion picture to be copyrighted in the United States.

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Title: Edison Kinetoscopic Record of a Sneeze (1894)

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Cast

Credited cast:
Fred Ott ...
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Storyline

A man (Edison's assistant) takes a pinch of snuff and sneezes. This is one of the earliest Edison films and was the first motion picture to be copyrighted in the United States. Written by Eric Sorensen <Eric_Sorensen@fc.mcps.k12.md.us>

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Genres:

Documentary | Short

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Details

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Release Date:

9 January 1894 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Edison Kinetoscopic Record of a Sneeze, January 7, 1894  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

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Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The sneeze itself, probably one of the most historic sneezes in history, took place on January 7, 1894. History does not record of the time of the sneeze, however. See more »

Connections

Edited into Women Who Made the Movies (1992) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Five seconds that changed the world of entertainment
30 November 2007 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Watching Fred Ott's Sneeze can be equated to the birth of any new medium. The first music was presumably nothing more than sticks and stones banging together. The first stories, just rough interpretations of daily routines. Even the first video games are, in a way, their medium's version of Fred Ott's Sneeze.

Pong, when it was first released, showcased two rectangles and a small square that bounced between them. It was short, simple, and did what it needed to introduce the world to a new medium. As time went on, video games grew into something much bigger - eventually using cinematic techniques like storytelling, camera angles, and even acting. Now, while video game players still consider Pong fun, it is a far cry from the medium it stood at the forefront of.

The same can be said in all respects to Fred Ott's Sneeze. While only five seconds long, it did precisely what it set out to do. It was short, simple, and introduced the world to a new medium. Film-making eventually grew into something much bigger... much grander, but its humble beginnings should never be forgotten.

From a critical perspective, lighting the scene was clearly difficult - and Ott's clearly fake sneeze mimics the actor's obvious hesitation about appearing in such a strange new medium. In the decades that followed, and people became comfortable in front of the camera, on-screen acting blossomed.

Here, in these five short seconds, lies the birth of film-making.


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