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Philadelphia Express, Jersey Central Railway (1897)




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Documentary | Short




Release Date:

July 1897 (USA)  »

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Don't Use the entire frame by Any Means
2 July 2011 | by (New York City) – See all my reviews

This early train film by James White, the Edward Wood Jr. of the 1890s, is a typically inept effort. First, he doesn't bother to fill the frame with motion. Instead, the camera is placed in such a position that only about a quarter of the frame is used, on the left side. If the purpose is to make the the audience jump for fear they are about to be struck by a locomotive engine, well, those stories about people who mistook motion pictures for reality were the work of publicity men.

The effect is varied somewhat in the last ten seconds, after the first train has gone. Another train goes by on the bridge from left to right. This uses the upper quarter of the screen.

Was there some belief that no one could turn his head in the 1890s?

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