A stationary camera captures the hustle and bustle of Manhattan on Broadway at Union Square in Greenwich Village. As streetcars pass with rapid regularity, two police officers make sure ... See full summary »
Wintertime in Lyons. About a dozen people, men and women, are having a snowball fight in the middle of a tree-lined street. The cyclist coming along the road becomes the target of ... See full summary »
Footage shot not long after the 1906 earthquake in San Francisco is edited together so that more than one scene and more than one vantage are included. We see fire raging. We see burned-out... See full summary »
In commedia dell'arte style, an actor on a stool presents six distinct characters through speedy application of whiskers and a hat or, in one case, a wig followed by a few gestures. First ... See full summary »
A male lion, right next to bars that are about 6 or 8 inches apart, keenly watches a uniformed zoo attendant toss small morsels of food into the cage. The lion alternates between finding ... See full summary »
During the Alaska gold rush, one way to reach the Klondike was over the Chilkoot Pass. A stationary camera is placed to see a ways down the curving trail. A pack train comes into view and ... See full summary »
Auguste Lumière directs four workers in the demolition of an old wall at the Lumière factory. One worker is pressing the wall inwards with a jackscrew, while another is pushing it with a ... See full summary »
Two girls do one of their chores. Standing alongside a tree-lined farmhouse, two children who are about ten and four years old toss grain to a flock of about 50 domesticated ducks. A woman ... See full summary »
"In the opening of this film is seen the astronomer intently poring over his books. Suddenly, in a cloud of smoke, Satan appears and surprises the astronomer. At the command of the Fairy ... See full summary »
One of the greatest of black art pictures. The conjurer appears before the audience, with his head in its proper place. He then removes his head, and throwing it in the air, it appears on ... See full summary »
A stationary camera captures the hustle and bustle of Manhattan on Broadway at Union Square in Greenwich Village. As streetcars pass with rapid regularity, two police officers make sure that pedestrians who are crossing the street do so safely. Horse-drawn carriages pass as well. The men wear hats and ties; the lads wear caps; the women are in long skirts. Written by
In this approximately 35-second long Lumière Brothers short (Lumière No. 328), the camera is placed at the intersection of Broadway and 14th Street--the southeast corner of New York City's Union Square/Union Square Park. You can see the Lincoln Building prominently in the top center portion of the screen (1 Union Square W.), which had just been built 6 years before, and new construction just to the left of that. Policemen direct pedestrian and streetcar traffic along the roads, and we see a number of horse-drawn carts and carriages go down 14th Street.
The first thing that struck me as unusual about this short is how nonchalantly, even haphazardly, the three policemen are directing traffic. They seem to be somewhat arbitrarily waving everyone on, pedestrians and streetcars alike, in a manner that reminds me of the way you used to be waved into Mexico from the United States by the Mexican border guards. It's quite funny. Of course, the streetcars aren't traveling as quickly as cars do today (and that corner tends to have cars speeding by to catch the traffic light), but still everyone seems to be standing dangerously close to the tracks. I suppose this changed after a few severed feet.
As I've pointed out in my comments about a number of other Lumière Brothers shorts, we again have a visual composition of "obliques and processionals", designed to maximize the novelty of the then new medium of motion pictures. The obliques are provided by the streetcars rounding the corner at Broadway, and most of the motion in the shot is a processional.
Among the elements that are fascinating to note historically, aside from those already mentioned, such as the streetcars, are the clothing, which tends to look very formal and dour compared to today, the newspaper boy who lingers in the foreground, often staring at the camera, and the final streetcar that passes--which is designated as a "Smoking Car". I was surprised to see the separate facility for smokers this far back in time.
5 of 6 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?