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Feeding the Doves (1896)

A woman and a young girl each carry containers of bird feed, and they toss occasional handfuls to the chickens and doves in the farmyard. Most of the chickens stay nearby, but the doves occasionally fly off and then return to eat more.

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A woman and a young girl each carry containers of bird feed, and they toss occasional handfuls to the chickens and doves in the farmyard. Most of the chickens stay nearby, but the doves occasionally fly off and then return to eat more.

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Short | Documentary

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23 October 1896 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Galambok etetése  »

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Early remake
22 March 2005 | by (New York City) – See all my reviews

In this Edison Company 20-second short, a woman on a farm stands in front of a building, feeding doves and chickens with grain that she retrieves from her apron. A young girl stands beside her, there is a horse and barn in the background, and at one point a woman walks across the left hand side of the frame.

Contrary to contemporary beliefs that "Hollywood is running out of ideas", and that remakes are a new phenomenon, this actuality (a cinematographic record of "real life") is one of the earlier remakes, in this case of a Lumiere film. Versions of "Feeding the Doves" were also shot by the American Mutoscope and Biograph Company and the International Film Company.

Maybe I'm already showing my bias against realism, but for my money, this short is not nearly as successful as early Edison Company shorts such as Glenroy Brothers (Comic Boxing), Annabelle Serpentine Dance, or The Barbershop, all made in 1894 (although The Barbershop is questionably from 1893). These other shorts were shot inside Edison's Black Maria studio in New Jersey, and all are "artificial" and staged.

It's significant that Edison was experimenting with his Kinetoscope camera for location shooting, to emulate the actualities that the other early film companies were producing, but aesthetically, Feeding the Doves just doesn't work as well. At this point, experimentation was more important than aesthetics, but this is somewhat odd in light of the aesthetic heights that the Edison Company had already reached.

It also doesn't help that the film is even shakier than normal (presumably due to inaccuracies in the threading mechanism), and our remaining copies are very dirty, scratched and have prominent copyright notice frames. It's interesting to note the cut in the shot coinciding with the appearance of the woman who walks through the left hand side of the frame.


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