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7/10
The Roots of Animation
boblipton22 October 2012
J. Stuart Blackton, media mogul, director and an early toiler in the field of movie animation, made his first animated movie in 1896, SKETCHES and this one, more than a decade later, a year before Emile Cohl was getting started in France. Although films were getting sophisticated, animated films were just starting out, because of the costs: each frame had to be drawn by hand. It would be another half dozen years before Bray and Hurd would begin to patent their labor-saving devices and bring down the costs. In the meantime, pieces like this one, which built upon stage caricaturists, were brief novelties. This one was only a minute and a half in length.

Modern viewers may well be offended by offensive words and images. Even worse, some one smokes a cigar.
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Well Worth Watching
Michael_Elliott6 November 2012
Lightning Sketches (1907)

*** (out of 4)

Early animation film has director J. Stuart Blackton playing the cartoonist who draws a couple sketches for us in front of the camera. The trick then becomes when he draws a wine bottle and a glass and then we see the bottle come to life and pour itself into the glass. I'm sure many people might watch this today and not see what the big deal was but animation was still at a very early age and this film at least manages to be very charming from the word go. I thought the drawings early on were rather impressive and I especially liked how Blackton would write a word and then use it to bring the character out. The animated sequence with the bottle obviously doesn't look like anything today but why would anyone expect it to? The sequence is actually quite charming and looks very well even when compared to animation from a decade later.
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