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The Corbett-Fitzsimmons Fight (1897)

The first known feature film! A very unusual filmed record of the Corbett-Fitzsimmons fight originally ran over 90 minutes in length.

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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:
...
Himself
Bob Fitzsimmons ...
Himself
Billy Madden ...
Himself - Sullivan's Manager
George Siler ...
Himself - Referee
John L. Sullivan ...
Himself - Master of Ceremonies
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Storyline

This legendary fight was filmed on March 17, 1897, using 63mm film that produced an aspect ratio of about 1.75:1. Using three adjacent cameras, Enoch Rector recorded the entire fight, simultaneously creating the world's first known feature film, as the resulting footage lasted over 90 minutes in length. About a quarter of the film survives today. Written by Mark Toscano <fiddybop@yahoo.com>

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bare chested male | boxing | See All (2) »


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1.65 : 1
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The 62mm film stock was first specially designed to record the fight. See more »

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Fight!
20 January 2016 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

The first known feature film! A very unusual filmed record of the Corbett-Fitzsimmons fight originally ran over 90 minutes in length. (The one I saw went for around 19 minutes.) The first feature film and the first film in widescreen, shown as early as 1897. That is rather remarkable considering how primitive many of the 1896 films we have preserved today look. This was a huge leap forward.

What is also interesting is the boxing technique. While I am not well-versed in boxing, what I see here does not look all that different from modern fights. My understanding was that boxing used to be more of an underground thing, but if this film is any indication that is clearly not the case.

Interestingly, Wyatt Earp was a reporter for The New York World at the time, which published his commentaries on the fight on March 14 and March 18. He disagreed with referee George Siler's decision when Fitzsimmons allegedly hit Corbett in the jaw, which should have resulted in a foul, coming after a knockout blow to Corbett's solar plexus.


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