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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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The sound has been found in the form of an old Edisonian recording cylinder. The cylinder was repaired, then Walter Murch ACE MPSE synced the film to the correct music in (I believe) 2002. Total running time is approximately 17 seconds.

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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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Documentary | Short

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Release Date:

9 January 1894 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

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

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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First motion picture to be registered with the U.S. Copyright Office. See more »

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User Reviews

A Historical Novelty
2 November 2005 | by (Ohio) – See all my reviews

This ultra-short feature has historical significance in addition to its novelty value. As one of a number of surviving features that the Edison Company made not for exhibiting commercially, but as experiments or for other purposes, it is part of the interesting historical record of the very earliest stages of motion picture development.

Made just a couple of months before Edison's Kinetoscopes were opened for public viewing, this feature was originally filmed for a magazine article, in which the individual frames could illustrate the way that the Kinetoscope would produce the effect of motion. Naturally, for such a purpose they did not need or want more than a few seconds of film.

One thing that is interesting about the earliest movies is their choice of material. A good many of the Edison Company's movie subjects, whether commercial or experimental, are either offbeat or provocative. This contrasts with, for example, the early Lumière movies, which featured so many aesthetically pleasing and even lyrical sights. This subject is one of the offbeat ones, recording Edison employee Fred Ott in the act of sneezing.

For its original purpose this was a suitable subject, since the action would all be contained within a narrow camera field, and it would last only a very short time. Now, so many years later, it is useful in a different way, as a record of one of the many steps on the way to commercially-made movies. It should also be noted that the footage, very short and simple though it is, succeeds in recording motion clearly and smoothly.


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