"Firemen in working uniform, rubber coats, helmets, and boots. Thrilling rescue from burning building. Smoke effects are fine." - from the Edison Catalog
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Thick smoke fills the air as a group of fire-fighters prepare for a rescue attempt. One of them, standing on a ladder, helps a young girl down to the ground in safety. A young boy comes next. The fire-fighter then climbs higher up the ladder to see if anyone else needs help. Written by Snow Leopard

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Drama | Short

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December 1894 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Спасение из огня  »

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1.33 : 1
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Interesting Early Example of the Genre
28 October 2005 | by (Ohio) – See all my reviews

Footage of fire-fighters in action quickly became one of the popular genres of 1890s motion pictures, and this very short feature is one of the very earliest examples. Unlike most of the later movies of similar subjects, it was filmed in the studio rather than outdoors. Yet it is still successful for its time in conveying the inherent sense of danger and urgency that made the fire-fighting genre popular to begin with.

The footage of "Fire Rescue Scene" consists of a staged enactment of a typical rescue operation, most likely using real professional fire-fighters, in which one of the fire-fighters uses a ladder to reach residents trapped in a burning building. By using children as the endangered residents, it adds extra tension and suspense. The then-standard 50 foot length of film limits how much can happen, but it fills almost the entire running time with action.

It must have been both difficult and hazardous to stage such a scene inside Edison's 'Black Maria' studio, but they were able to pull it off. The thick smoke is effective, and only the lack of any background detail limits the realism.

It was not long before film-makers realized that outdoor photography worked better for features like this, and soon many movies would be made of live fire-fighting scenes as well as staged enactments, with almost all of them being filmed outside of a studio. This pioneering effort, though, is quite creditable for its time.


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