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The Derby (I) (1896)

 |  Documentary, Short  |  1896 (UK)
5.0
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Ratings: 5.0/10 from 173 users  
Reviews: 3 user | 2 critic

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User Reviews

Interesting for the sports action but not really that worth seeing
3 March 2008 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

I watched this film on a DVD that was rammed with short films from the period. I didn't watch all of them as the main problem with these type of things that their value is more in their historical novelty value rather than entertainment. So to watch them you do need to be put in the correct context so that you can keep this in mind and not watch it with modern eyes. With the Primitives & Pioneers DVD collection though you get nothing to help you out, literally the films are played one after the other (the main menu option is "play all") for several hours. With this it is hard to understand their relevance and as an educational tool it falls down as it leaves the viewer to fend for themselves, which I'm sure is fine for some viewers but certainly not the majority. What it means is that the DVD saves you searching the web for the films individually by putting them all in one place – but that's about it.

Not sure if this has a claim as the first sports film ever, or sports coverage even but here Robert Paul's film takes an approach similar to Lumiere where the latter filmed across action rather than head onto it. Paul's film is interesting for this angle but sadly not for the action. We appear to be at or past the finish line and as a result we see the horses coming in at a near saunter, rather diminishing the impact of seeing the action. The crowd are more interesting though in their social make up and appearance – just a shame that the angle means we can only just seem them until the very end.

Overall then an interesting shot across action at a major sporting event but the action is surprisingly dull and while the crowd provide more of cultural interest, the framing means they are too out of shot for most of the time.


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