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The Execution of Mary, Queen of Scots (1895)

This short film, one of the first to use camera tricks, depicts the execution of Mary, Queen of Scots.

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Cast

Credited cast:
Mrs. Robert L. Thomas ...
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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 After that frame Mary has been replaced by a dummy.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 | Horror

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Release Date:

August 1895 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Execution  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?

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 Edison: The Invention of the Movies (2005) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Wow...not a whole lot to this one!
19 February 2014 | by (Bradenton, Florida) – See all my reviews

I would consider "The Execution of Mary, Queen of Scots" to be one of the earliest exploitational films. It has very little merit or substance and was made simply to shock audiences--and according to IMDb, it did!

The film is only about 15-20 seconds long! It consists of a lady laying her head on the chopping block and the executioner hacking her head off and showing it to the onlookers. However, it isn't at all historically accurate--as they did not use an axe but a French Sword for such executions and it would have been done on the grounds of the Tower of London and there would have been a scaffold. Additionally, it took a couple swings to mostly sever her head and the remaining sinew needed to be cut with a sharp knife!! In the film, there was just a quick swing of the blade.

So, what we have is a mostly historically inaccurate production. In some ways, being inaccurate was better as the real execution was a bloody mess! But it's interesting simply to see what passed as entertainment in the very early days of cinema.


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