It's December 24th, and 'Santa Claus' is busy feeding his reindeer and finishing up the toys that he will soon deliver. Meanwhile, the children in a large family hang their stockings over ... See full summary »
A simple scene of two rather flamboyantly-dressed Edwardian children attempting to feed a spoonful of medicine to a sick kitten. The film is important for being one of the earliest films to cut to a close-up, then back again to the same medium shot as before Written by
Michael Brooke <email@example.com>
Despite the tongue-in-cheek Marxian film-school analysis of the films in THE MOVIES BEGIN DVD set by Ms. Liddell-Hart and the amiable and seemingly unsophisticated enthusiasms of Snow Leopard, these films retain a fascination for those of us who are interested in old films for their own sakes. For those of us who are not fascinated by history, it is still interesting to see that there was cinema before, say, Adam Sandler ... and to see things done for the first time is always interesting. There is a freshness about the first time that sophistication cannot repeat.
But we can also appreciate these films on their own terms, and further, in their ability to engage us today. It is interesting to put oneself in the mind of someone a hundred years ago, and, given the short lengths of these pieces, thirty seconds can give us a complete film.... and is that such a great investment? If we can appreciate the works of Sophocles and Plautus and Shakespeare, why can we not admire the work done by Mr. G.A. Smith?
And, speaking from a historical viewpoint, Smith's work is amazing, since he seems to have invented the 'grammar of cinema' as Lilian Gish claimed D.W. Griffith did, ten years before Griffith set foot on a movie stage! True, his compositions are not as sophisticated as Griffith's, but Smith was an experimental film-maker, while Griffith was trying to use the results of those experiments. He tells little stories that, because of their subject matters, often do not age well. Well then, they are stuck in their times. This year (2002) saw a new film production of THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING ERNEST, filled, as comedies of manners usually are, by people who would be spending their time in medical wards under heavy dosages of drugs in today's world. Yet we can laugh at Oscar Wilde's comedy and can, I hope, take pleasure from Mr. Smith's.
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