First Success (1907)
"Premier Prix de violoncelle" (original title)

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Plot Keywords:

musician | bad music | cello | cellist | See All (4) »


Short | Comedy




Release Date:

10 August 1907 (USA)  »

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First Success  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Bad Music, Good Filmmaking
25 May 2012 | by See all my reviews

In this early four-scene Pathé short film, "First Prize in Cello", a bad cellist playing on a street is greeted by occupants of the apartments above with their belongings and other things being thrown at him. The comedy here is the usual, violent, primitive variety of early cinema. A couple things in it stand out, though. This is one of surprisingly many silent films that emphasize music. The sets are rather good and realistic for the time, including the use of linear perspective.

Additionally, there is the most primitive of crosscutting. The film cuts from the outside view of the cellist on the street with stuff being tossed on him, to a view of the occupants inside gathering and throwing it out the window and, then, cuts back to the view of the cellist. That continuity of shots A – B – A is the most basic crosscutting. The year 1907 is quite early for the history of crosscutting (or parallel editing). According to film historians, Pathé, however, was one of the first to employ the technique, and they started to do so around that time. For two other examples of Pathé's early use of crosscutting available on home video, see "The Runaway Horse" (Le cheval emballé, 1908) and "The Physician of the Castle" (Le médecin du château, 1908)—both of which had a demonstrative influence on D.W. Griffith's use of extended crosscutting in his short films.

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