A group of people are standing in a straight line along the platform of a railway station, waiting for a train, which is seen coming at some distance. When the train stops at the platform, ... 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 »
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 »
Porter's sequential continuity editing links several shots to form a narrative of firemen responding to a house fire. They leave the station with their horse drawn pumper, arrive on the ... See full summary »
George S. Fleming,
Edwin S. Porter
James H. White
Among the earliest existing films in American cinema - notable as the first film that presented a narrative story to tell - it depicts a group of cowboy outlaws who hold up a train and rob the passengers. They are then pursued by a Sheriff's posse. Several scenes have color included - all hand tinted. Written by
The final shot of a gun being fired toward the camera had a profound effect on audiences. As cinema was in its infancy, many people who saw the film thought that they were actually about to be shot. See more »
Obvious dummy is thrown from the train. See more »
It's hard to assign "The Great Train Robbery" a rating, as it shouldn't really be watched as a film the way we watch films now. But from a historical perspective, it's fascinating, and is an excellent example of the use of film editing, an art form then in its infancy and now an award category recognized every year at the Oscars.
Before this movie, it wasn't customary to tell multiple story lines simultaneously, but here, various activities going on in different locations are intercut to create suspense. D.W. Griffith would use this technique much more ambitiously (and combine it with many other developing film techniques) in "The Birth of a Nation" over ten years later, but credit must be given to "Train Robbery" for blazing a trail.
Also, this is the movie famous for the shot of an outlaw shooting a gun directly at the camera. I can't imagine what effect this had on audiences at the time, who were probably diving behind their chairs for cover.
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