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The Execution of Mary, Queen of Scots (1895)

 -  Short | History  -  August 1895 (USA)
6.8
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A short film depicting the execution of Mary, Queen of the Scots. Mary is brought to the execution block and made to kneel down with her neck over it. The executioner lifts his axe ready to... See full summary »

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Cast

Credited cast:
Robert Thomae ...
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Storyline

A short film depicting the execution of Mary, Queen of the Scots. Mary is brought to the execution block and made to kneel down with her neck over it. The executioner lifts his axe ready to bring it down. After that frame Mary has been replaced by a dummy. The axe comes down and severs the head of the dummy from the body. The executioner picks up the head and shows it around for everyone else to see. One of the first 'camera tricks' to be used in a movie. Written by Sujit R. Varma

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Short | History

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August 1895 (USA)  »

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Execution  »

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1.33 : 1
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Trivia

The execution was so real to audiences that some believed a woman actually gave her life for the beheading scene. See more »

Connections

Featured in Cinema Inocente (1979) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Simple yet important
5 April 2013 | by (São Paulo, Brazil) – See all my reviews

Alfred Clark's "The Execution of Mary, Queen of Scots" is pretty much what the title says: a queen being beheaded. I discovered this while watching a strange documentary which included a clip from this film, and something in the image made me want to know more about what it was cause it seemed something real. Thankfully one can find anything on the internet and the result was knowing that it wasn't real.

So, history gets represented by the image of a queen being decapitated and having her head exposed to the crowd. The interesting aspect of this is watching a very tricky scene happening, a good editing effect which can be noticed after a couple of views with a mannequin replacing the actor (Robert Thomae) playing the queen. But what really gives away about the editing being made was that the body falls while the head stays on a sort of table (I mean, isn't it "Off with the heads!" and then it falls down? It just stayed there.) Only distracted or easily impressive viewers will think this was a real execution but it's not.

Just goes to show that some folks back in the 1800's were interested in making gory films or, perhaps the most fascinating aspect of it and the legacy such experiments gave us, was the filmmakers interest in using films to present history to audiences, retelling famous events of mankind. Gotta consider both ideas as being truly valid. 9/10


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