The Story of Film: An Odyssey: Season 1, Episode 1

Birth of the Cinema (3 Sep. 2011)

TV Episode  |   |  Documentary, History
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Ratings: 7.9/10 from 132 users  
Reviews: 4 user | 2 critic

The Story of Film looks at the birth of cinema. It examines the period 1895-1918 where early film pioneers created the first moving pictures. It also look at the period 1903-1918 and the ... See full summary »



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Episode credited cast:
Himself - Narrator (voice)
Jean-Michel Frodon ...
Himself - Film Historian
Herself - Niece of Cecil B. DeMille (archive footage)
Cari Beauchamp ...
Herself - Film Historian
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Narrator (voice)


The Story of Film looks at the birth of cinema. It examines the period 1895-1918 where early film pioneers created the first moving pictures. It also look at the period 1903-1918 and the early years of silent film. It examines the development of film techniques including special effects, tracking shots, close ups, wide-screen editing, continuity cutting, parallel editing, reverse angle, and back-lighting. Written by Shatterdaymorn

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Release Date:

3 September 2011 (UK)  »

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Did You Know?


When Life of an American Fireman is mentioned, the narrator says that the actress was known some years later has Florence Lawrence, but the actress of this short film was actually Vivian Vaughan. See more »


Himself - Presenter: A lie to tell the truth. This is film making. The art of making us feel that we're there.
See more »


Features Cabiria (1914) See more »

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User Reviews

A Very Intelligent Beginning
30 March 2015 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

This is a fine beginning to a really intellectual history of film. Some have criticized it because it doesn't give Americans their due. But the fact of the matter is that they truly are. It's just that cinema did begin in France. At least the fundamental technologies began there. With Lumiere and Melies and others, we have the foundation. This first offering shows us the early use of techniques we take for granted today. For instance, leaving the stage for the beginnings of editing. The playing off of characters by their placement in the scene. Dolly shots and isolation of people. Turning the back on the camera for effect. The use of the scene change and the beginnings of special effects. The wonderful scene where Buster Keaton moves from scene to scene. The eeriness of double exposure where characters can leave their bodies in a dream sequence. The use of horizontal structure in a scene. We get introduced to the great women writers and directors. It was said that the women were on an even playing field with the men because of the circumstances within the movie industry. The progress of the film camera and its companion, the movie projector. It also does a nice job of comparison the foundation of cinema with contemporary offerings. I enjoyed the narration. Sometimes when Americans don't get all the credit for everything, we diminish those that try to show a more balanced historical perspective. Let's face it. We have the big money to do big films. Those are often devoid of substance. The films of other countries force creativity to come to the fore. Nothing wrong with blockbusters but it sometimes emasculates the product.

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