In the foreground, smoke billows. Four horse-drawn fire wagons approach and pass in front of a stationary camera. Two horses draw each wagon, and each wagon carries from two to eight ...
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Auguste Lumière directs four workers in the demolition of an old wall at the Lumière factory. One worker is pressing the wall inwards with a jackscrew, while another is pushing it with a ... See full summary »
Wintertime in Lyon. About a dozen people, men and women, are having a snowball fight in the middle of a tree-lined street. The cyclist coming along the road becomes the target of ... See full summary »
A gardener is watering his flowers, when a mischievous boy sneaks up behind his back, and puts a foot on the water hose. The gardener is surprised, and looks into the nozzle to find out why... See full summary »
A man opens the big gates to the Lumière factory. Through the gateway and a smaller doorway beside it, workers are streaming out, turning either left or right. Most of them are women in ... See full summary »
Members of the French Photographic Society arrive from a riverboat to their congress venue in Neuville-sur-Saône on a summer day. They go ashore across a wooden landing stage. Among the ... See full summary »
In commedia dell'arte style, an actor on a stool presents six distinct characters through speedy application of whiskers and a hat or, in one case, a wig followed by a few gestures. First ... See full summary »
A rowboat with three men is leaving a little harbor. Two of them are rowing the boat, while the third is sitting in the stern. All of them wear hats. They are passing the outer end of a ... See full summary »
In the foreground, smoke billows. Four horse-drawn fire wagons approach and pass in front of a stationary camera. Two horses draw each wagon, and each wagon carries from two to eight firefighters. After the wagons pass, carts and pedestrians resume traffic on the street. Written by
Combines Some of the Earliest Effective Movie-Making Ideas
This brief footage of fire-fighting equipment in action in Lyon combines some of the earliest ideas that proved effective in making movies. The use of motion coming towards the camera (and thus towards the viewer) was already used in a number of even earlier Lumière movies, and the filming of fire fighters on the job seems quickly to have become a popular subject for a number of cinema's pioneers.
In this feature, the movement of large horse-drawn fire engines conveys a sense of action and of power. As with so many of the earliest movies, the very brief footage leaves a lot of questions unanswered, and creates a slight sense of mystery, though its likely that this was unintentional. What does come across clearly is both the power and the urgency behind the effort that is underway.
That the effect works probably comes equally from the technique and the material. Previous Lumière features had shown motion of persons and of trains coming towards the camera, to very good effect, and so trying to get the same effect with other subjects would have been a natural idea. Fire engines in themselves are also an attention-getter, automatically conveying a sense of emergency and danger. This is a simple feature, but like many such films in the Lumière filmography, it shows a good understanding of what works in making even the most basic of movies.
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