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Shooting Captured Insurgents (1898)

"A file of Spanish soldiers line up the Cubans against a blank wall and fire a volley. The flash of rifles and drifting smoke make a very striking picture." - from the Edison Catalog


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A contingent of soldiers marches forward with a group of prisoners. The officer in charge directs that the prisoners be lined up against a wall, to be executed. He gestures with his sword as the soldiers take aim, and then prepares to give the order to shoot. Written by Snow Leopard

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Short | War




Release Date:

August 1898 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Lázadók kivégzése  »

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

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Interesting Early Example Of How Movies Can Blur the Line Between Reality & Illusion
2 November 2005 | by (Ohio) – See all my reviews

This staged war feature - grim and a bit unsettling in itself - is an interesting early example of the power that movies have to blur the line between reality and illusion. It was based on reports of similar factual events, but the movie itself was staged. It looks quite realistic, though, especially by the standards of its day, and it would not have been surprising if its original audiences interpreted it as a factual record.

The footage depicts a stylishly dressed Spanish officer leading a firing squad in the execution of a small group of Cuban freedom fighters. There seems to be little doubt that it was intended to influence public opinion in favor of the war against Spain, and as such it would have been one of many such efforts from the press and other influential institutions of the day.

Many history books record the efforts at the time of the Hearst press and others in support of war, but moving picture footage like this - even if it is only a fictional recreation - is much more likely to be seen by future generations, in addition to whatever influence it may have had in its own time.

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