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 »
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 scene, and effect the safe rescue of a woman from the burning house. But wait, she tells them of her child yet asleep in the burning bedroom . . . Written by
Thomas McWilliams <email@example.com>
There are actually two versions of this film. One version (the re-edit) was shown to the public as a demonstration of the earliest use of editing. It was later discovered that somebody re-edited this film in the 1930s or 1940s based on the real footage that had been salvaged. In the original version of the film, the interior point of view is shown first and completed. Then the exact same action repeating itself is shown again from the exterior. See more »
Director Edwin S. Porter ignites things early in Life of an American Fireman with little let up in this 1903 display of narrative filmmaking. Porter literally juxtaposes (early split screen) exposition before sounding the alarm for the smoke eaters to jump into action. After some firehouse mobilization we are treated to a stunning parade of galloping fire engines in what looks to be a twelve alarm fire. Arriving at the fire (actually more smoke) engulfed home the firemen battle their way into the house to save woman and child.
Fireman has all the visual and circumstantial elements of suspense and action. It is the Towering Inferno of its day filled with human drama and in the balance moments. Porter's action is both non-stop and engrossing and if he needed any indication that this stuff had a future for making money he need look no further to the crowd quickly multiplying to watch the racing fire chariots in a top rate action film from this early period of film.
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