Eadweard Muybridge, Zoopraxographer (1975)

Not Rated  |   |  Documentary, Biography  |  29 September 1975 (USA)
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 7.7/10 from 142 users  
Reviews: 2 user | 4 critic

Add a Plot

0Check in
Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Documentary | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

A documentary on how Los Angeles has been used and depicted in the movies.

Director: Thom Andersen
Stars: Encke King
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

Stan works in drudgery at a slaughterhouse. His personal life is drab. Dissatisfaction and ennui keep him unresponsive to the needs of his adoring wife, and he must struggle against ... See full summary »

Director: Charles Burnett
Stars: Henry G. Sanders, Kaycee Moore, Charles Bracy
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

On a film set there are two things missing, the film material and the director. So the actors and actresses as well as the crew try to make the best out of the situation. When the director ... See full summary »

Director: Rainer Werner Fassbinder
Stars: Lou Castel, Eddie Constantine, Marquard Bohm
Sabotage (1936)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

A Scotland Yard undercover detective is on the trail of a saboteur who is part of a plot to set off a bomb in London. But when the detective's cover is blown, the plot begins to unravel.

Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Stars: Sylvia Sidney, Oskar Homolka, Desmond Tester
Action | Romance | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

Businessman Logan Stuart is torn between his love of two very different women in 1850's Oregon and his loyalty to a compulsive gambler friend who goes over the line.

Director: Jacques Tourneur
Stars: Dana Andrews, Brian Donlevy, Susan Hayward
Documentary | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  

A documentary following Kenzo Okuzaki, a 62-year-old WW2 veteran notorious for his protests against Emperor Hirohito, as he tries to expose the needless executions of two Japanese soldiers during the war.

Director: Kazuo Hara
Stars: Kenzo Okuzaki, Riichi Aikawa, Masaichi Hamaguchi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
Directors: Danièle Huillet, Jean-Marie Straub
Stars: Christian Heinisch, Nazzareno Bianconi, Mario Adorf
Red Hollywood (Video 1996)
Documentary | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

A documentary that examines the films made by the victims of the Hollywood Blacklist and offers a radically difference perspective on a key period in the history of American cinema.

Directors: Thom Andersen, Noël Burch
Stars: Paul Jarrico, Eric Johnston, Ring Lardner Jr.
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  
Director: Thom Andersen
Reconversão (2012)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

Reconversion portrays seventeen buildings and projects by Portuguese architect Eduardo Souto Moura, accompanied by his own writings. An investigation upon his architecture and his critical approach.

Director: Thom Andersen
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
Director: Jonas Mekas
Stars: Peter Kubelka, Annette Michelson, Daniel Rogosin
Documentary | Short
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

From Thom Andersen comes a miniature city symphony exposing Los Angeles' gentrification and neglect through a cheeky montage of static images set against the region's musical history. The ... See full summary »

Director: Thom Andersen


Credited cast:
Narrator (voice)
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Eadweard Muybridge ...
Himself (archive footage)


Add Full Plot | Add Synopsis


Not Rated




Release Date:

29 September 1975 (USA)  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


See  »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

Reassessing Muybridge
12 November 2013 | by See all my reviews

There was much-needed reappraisal of Eadweard Muybridge during the 1970s, which was the centennial of his instantaneous and sequential photography of horses and other animal locomotion in California. Especially considering the harm done by misinformation in such books as "A Million and One Nights: A History of the Motion Picture" by Terry Ramsaye, which belittled Muybridge's contributions or erroneously assigned them to others and which, generally, offers a false history of the invention of movies while promoting Thomas Edison as the central inventor. Besides this film, "Eadweard Muybridge, Zoopraxographer", two books that remain among the best on the subject were published: "Muybridge: Man in Motion" by Robert Bartlett Haas and "Eadweard Muybridge: the Father of the Motion Picture" by Gordon Hendricks. An exhibition and book titled "Eadweard Muybridge: the Stanford Years, 1872-1882" has been credited with initiating this series of retrospective works and probably remains the best reference on that period of Muybridge's photography. This documentary film actually doesn't cover that initial period of instantaneous and sequential photography very well and neither is it especially informative in regards to the Zoöpraxiscope projection of animated pictures, but, rather, does better at focusing on the earlier location still photography of Muybridge and his later chronophotography for the University of Pennsylvania.

Educationally and as an introduction to Muybridge, this is a valuable film. It was also an early source for animations of Muybridge's serial photography, which are now widely available on the web, as well as from other documentary sources. Critically and, occasionally, stylistically, this documentary is flawed, though. If you're an academic who subscribes to Marxist film theory, however, you'll surely disagree with me on this and, instead, concur with Thom Andersen's critical approach. The first indication of this trouble is that the film begins with a quotation from Mao Zedong. Most of the first part of the film, however, is a good biographical sketch, where zoom-ins on photographs are used to good effect. The Marxist speak and academic mumbo jumbo is largely saved for the end when discussing the University of Pennsylvania work. Here, we learn that there was "a dialectic of subject and method" and that the rectangular-grid backgrounds for the photographs "provides the most dramatic means of establishing the separateness of human beings form the physical objects surrounding them". Whatever that means—not surprisingly, this was a 16mm student film.

Stylistically, the only annoyance was the filmmakers' tendency to sometimes get carried away with some of the animations, as well as with the music, and, especially, the over use of stroboscopic effects. I'd guess that this documentary itself could possibly induce seizures among some people just as was done, as mentioned in the film, for Muybridge's photography of artificially induced convulsions.

I don't mean to be harshly dismissive of this hour-long film, though. Despite being nearly 40 years old itself now, its history remains largely accurate. Although it does make the mistake of explaining how we see motion pictures as due to the "persistence of vision"—that is, the illusion of motion is somehow fused from afterimages on our retinas; this, however, was commonly believed back then. Even today, many, if not most, continue to make the mistake of believing that this has anything to do with how we perceive motion from a succession of still images, which, in fact, is a result of our brains making sense of what we see. (By the way, for both an accessible biography of Muybridge and a good explanation of how we perceive motion pictures, read Brian Clegg's popular biography "The Man Who Stopped Time"). Nevertheless, this is, generally, a good and brief introduction to the fascinating life and work of Eadweard Muybridge, who has been properly restored to his place as one of the most important figures in the history of the invention of movies.

1 of 4 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: