a-cinema-history.blogspot.com 20 first years of cinema

by a-cinema-history | created - 10 Sep 2013 | updated - 10 Sep 2013 | Public

The 40 best films of the 20 first years of cinema (1895-1914) a-cinema-history.blogspot.com

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1. The Execution of Mary, Queen of Scots (1895)

Not Rated | 1 min | Short, History, Horror

This short film, one of the first to use camera tricks, depicts the execution of Mary, Queen of Scots.

Director: Alfred Clark | Star: Mrs. Robert L. Thomas

Votes: 1,491

2. Dickson Experimental Sound Film (1894)

Not Rated | 1 min | Short

The sound has been found in the form of an old Edisonian recording cylinder. The cylinder was repaired, then Walter Murch ACE MPSE synced the film to the correct music in (I believe) 2002. Total running time is approximately 17 seconds.

Director: William K.L. Dickson | Star: William K.L. Dickson

Votes: 1,630

3. Employees Leaving the Lumière Factory (1895)

Not Rated | 1 min | Documentary, Short

A man opens the big gates to the Lumière factory. Through the gateway and a smaller doorway beside it, workers are streaming out, turning either left or right. Most of them are women in ... See full summary »

Director: Louis Lumière

Votes: 4,949

4. Tables Turned on the Gardener (1895)

Not Rated | 1 min | Comedy, Short

A gardener is watering his flowers, when a mischievous boy sneaks up behind his back, and puts a foot on the water hose. The gardener is surprised, and looks into the nozzle to find out why... See full summary »

Director: Louis Lumière | Stars: François Clerc, Benoît Duval

Votes: 3,594

5. The Arrival of a Train (1896)

Not Rated | 1 min | Documentary, Short

A train arrives at La Ciotat station.

Directors: Auguste Lumière, Louis Lumière | Stars: Madeleine Koehler, Marcel Koehler, Mrs. Auguste Lumiere, Jeanne-Joséphine Lumière

Votes: 8,237

6. La fée aux choux (1896)

1 min | Short, Family, Fantasy

The first film directed by a female director, "The Cabbage Fairy" presents a brief fantasy tale involving a strange fairy who can produce and deliver babies coming out of cabbages. Gently ... See full summary »

Director: Alice Guy | Stars: Alice Guy, Germaine Serand, Yvonne Serand

Votes: 737

7. The House of the Devil (1896)

Not Rated | 3 min | Short, Horror

With the help of a magic cauldron, Mephistopheles conjures up a variety of supernatural characters.

Director: Georges Méliès | Stars: Jehanne d'Alcy, Jules-Eugène Legris, Georges Méliès

Votes: 2,053

8. Entre Calais et Douvres (1897)

Not Rated | 1 min | Short, Comedy

Using the same rocking effect previously employed in "Combat naval en Grèce (1897)", the director Georges Méliès recreates the illusion of a small ship in a tempest.

Director: Georges Méliès | Stars: Joseph Grapinet, Georges Méliès, Georgette Méliès

Votes: 361

9. Four Heads Are Better Than One (1898)

1 min | Short, Comedy, Horror

Much to our amazement, an elegant and masterful illusionist detaches his own head effortlessly from his shoulders for a once-in-a-lifetime performance.

Director: Georges Méliès | Star: Georges Méliès

Votes: 2,386

10. The Kiss (1896)

Not Rated | 1 min | Short, Romance

In a medium close-up shot of the first kiss ever recorded on screen, two fervent lovers cuddle and talk passionately at hair's breadth, just before the love-smitten gentleman decides to give his chosen one an innocent peck.

Director: William Heise | Stars: May Irwin, John C. Rice

Votes: 2,471

11. A Kiss in the Tunnel (I) (1899)

1 min | Short, Comedy, Romance

A humorous subject intended to be run as a part of a railroad scene during the period in which the train is passing through a tunnel.

Director: George Albert Smith | Stars: Laura Bayley, George Albert Smith

Votes: 1,020

12. L'affaire Dreyfus (1899)

13 min | Short, Biography, Drama

Dramatized re-enactments of the events of the Dreyfus-affair from 1894 to 1899.

Director: Georges Méliès | Star: Georges Méliès

Votes: 383

13. Joan of Arc (1900)

Not Rated | 10 min | Short, Drama, History

A divinely inspired peasant woman becomes an army captain for France and then is martyred after she is captured.

Director: Georges Méliès | Stars: Bleuette Bernon, Georges Méliès, Jehanne d'Alcy, Jeanne Calvière

Votes: 674

14. Grandma's Reading Glass (1900)

2 min | Short

A boy looks through glasses at various objects, seen magnified.

Director: George Albert Smith | Star: Harold Smith

Votes: 791

15. As Seen Through a Telescope (1900)

1 min | Short, Comedy

An elderly gentleman in a silk hat sits on a stool in front of a store on the main street of town. He has a telescope that he focuses on the ankle of a young woman who is a short distance ... See full summary »

Director: George Albert Smith

Votes: 527

16. History of a Crime (1901)

5 min | Short, Crime, Drama

La cella di un condannato a morte. L'uomo sta dormendo e sogna il passato che lo ha portato in prigione : vita frenetica, cattive amicizie, alcolismo, l'assassinio di un cassiere di banca. ... See full summary »

Director: Ferdinand Zecca | Stars: Jean Liézer, Bretteau, Ferdinand Zecca

Votes: 471

17. A Trip to the Moon (1902)

TV-G | 13 min | Short, Adventure, Fantasy

A group of astronomers go on an expedition to the Moon.

Director: Georges Méliès | Stars: Georges Méliès, Victor André, Bleuette Bernon, Brunnet

Votes: 35,618

18. The Passion Play (1903)

44 min | Short, Biography, Drama

1. THE ANNUNCIATION. The Angel of the Lord appears to Mary, announcing the birth of a child, which shall be called the "Son of God." 2. THE STRANGE STAR. Led by the light of the strange new... See full summary »

Directors: Lucien Nonguet, Ferdinand Zecca | Stars: Madame Moreau, Monsieur Moreau

Votes: 329

19. Life of an American Fireman (1903)

Not Rated | 6 min | Short, Action

Porter's sequential continuity editing links several shots to form a narrative of firemen responding to a house fire. They leave the station with their horse drawn pumper, arrive on the ... See full summary »

Directors: George S. Fleming, Edwin S. Porter | Stars: Vivian Vaughan, Arthur White, James H. White

Votes: 1,646

20. The Great Train Robbery (1903)

TV-G | 11 min | Short, Action, Western

A group of bandits stage a brazen train hold-up, only to find a determined posse hot on their heels.

Director: Edwin S. Porter | Stars: Gilbert M. 'Broncho Billy' Anderson, A.C. Abadie, George Barnes, Justus D. Barnes

Votes: 13,994

21. Le voyage à travers l'impossible (1904)

Not Rated | 24 min | Short, Adventure, Fantasy

Using every known means of transportation, several savants from the Geographic Society undertake a journey through the Alps to the Sun which finishes under the sea.

Director: Georges Méliès | Stars: Georges Méliès, Fernande Albany, Jehanne d'Alcy, May de Lavergne

Votes: 2,616

22. The Story of the Kelly Gang (1906)

70 min | Biography, Crime, Drama

True story of notorious Australian outlaw Ned Kelly (1855-80).

Director: Charles Tait | Stars: Elizabeth Tait, John Tait, Norman Campbell, Bella Cola

Votes: 452

23. The Talisman or Sheep's Foot (1907)

15 min | Short

A man is helped by a good fairy to conquer his beloved. Thanks to the talisman she gives him, a sheep's foot, he will triumph from all obstacles.

Director: Albert Capellani

Votes: 78

24. The Adventures of Dollie (1908)

Not Rated | 12 min | Action, Short

On a warm and sunny summer's day, a mother and father take their young daughter Dollie on a riverside outing. A gypsy basket peddler happens along, and is angered when the mother refuses to... See full summary »

Directors: D.W. Griffith, G.W. Bitzer | Stars: Arthur V. Johnson, Linda Arvidson, Gladys Egan, Charles Inslee

Votes: 543

25. Long Distance Wireless Photography (1908)

Not Rated | 6 min | Short, Sci-Fi

Into a photography studio full of large fantastic machines steps an elderly couple. The bearded proprietor explains the equipment and gives them a demonstration: he starts machines whirring... See full summary »

Director: Georges Méliès | Stars: Fernande Albany, Georges Méliès

Votes: 387

26. The Assassination of the Duke de Guise (1908)

15 min | Short, History, Drama

France, at the end of the sixteenth century. Henry III decided to eliminate his rival, the Duke of Guise, and, therefore, calls him in the castle of Blois. The mistress of the duke, warned ... See full summary »

Directors: André Calmettes, Charles Le Bargy | Stars: Charles Le Bargy, Albert Lambert, Gabrielle Robinne, Berthe Bovy

Votes: 447

27. A Midsummer Night's Dream (1909)

12 min | Drama, Fantasy, Romance

In ancient Athens, four young lovers escape into the woods. Meanwhile, tradesmen rehearse a play. All of them suffer from the shenanigans of mischievous fairies.

Directors: Charles Kent, J. Stuart Blackton | Stars: Walter Ackerman, Charles Chapman, Dolores Costello, Helene Costello

Votes: 261

28. Max's First Job (1910)

7 min | Short, Comedy

Max Linder's behavior when he applied for a job as a Pathé Frères moving picture actor, was such a good joke on him that it was decided to make a film of the event, and accordingly. Max was... See full summary »

Directors: Louis J. Gasnier, Max Linder | Stars: Max Linder, Georges Monca, Lucien Nonguet, Charles Pathé

Votes: 102

29. Dante's Inferno (1911)

68 min | Adventure, Drama, Fantasy

Loosely adapted from Dante's Divine Comedy and inspired by the illustrations of Gustav Doré the original silent film has been restored and has a new score by Tangerine Dream.

Directors: Francesco Bertolini, Adolfo Padovan, Giuseppe de Liguoro | Stars: Salvatore Papa, Arturo Pirovano, Giuseppe de Liguoro, Pier Delle Vigne

Votes: 1,611

30. Independenta Romaniei (1912)

120 min | History, War

The movie depicts the Romanian War of Independence (1877-1878).

Director: Aristide Demetriade | Stars: Aristide Demetriade, Constanta Demetriade, Constantin Nottara, Pepi Machauer

Votes: 177

31. Cleopatra (1912)

Unrated | 100 min | Drama, History

The fabled queen of Egypt's affair with Roman general Marc Antony is ulimately disastrous for both of them.

Director: Charles L. Gaskill | Stars: Helen Gardner, Pearl Sindelar, Miss Fielding, Miss Robson

Votes: 370

32. Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (I) (1913)

26 min | Short, Drama, Horror

Dr. Henry Jekyll experiments with scientific means of revealing the hidden, dark side of man and releases a murderer from within himself.

Director: Herbert Brenon | Stars: King Baggot, Jane Gail, Matt Snyder, Howard Crampton

Votes: 174

33. The Student of Prague (1913)

Approved | 85 min | Drama, Fantasy, Horror

Balduin, a student of Prague, leaves his roystering companions in the beer garden, when he finds he has reached the end of his resources. He is scarcely seated in a quiet corner when a ... See full summary »

Directors: Paul Wegener, Stellan Rye | Stars: Paul Wegener, Grete Berger, Lyda Salmonova, John Gottowt

Votes: 1,424

34. The Last Days of Pompeii (1913)

88 min | Adventure, Drama

Two love triangles intersect in ancient Pompei.

Directors: Mario Caserini, Eleuterio Rodolfi | Stars: Fernanda Negri Pouget, Eugenia Tettoni Fior, Ubaldo Stefani, Antonio Grisanti

Votes: 423

35. Cabiria (1914)

Not Rated | 148 min | Adventure, Drama, History

Three centuries before Christus. Young Cabiria is kidnapped by some pirates during one eruption of the Etna. She is sold as a slave in Carthage, and as she is just going to be sacrificed to... See full summary »

Director: Giovanni Pastrone | Stars: Italia Almirante-Manzini, Lidia Quaranta, Bartolomeo Pagano, Carolina Catena

Votes: 2,571

36. Judith of Bethulia (1914)

61 min | Drama

A religious woman seeks to save her people from destruction by seducing and murdering the enemy leader, but her plans get complicated once she falls for him.

Director: D.W. Griffith | Stars: Blanche Sweet, Henry B. Walthall, Mae Marsh, Robert Harron

Votes: 1,080

37. Making a Living (1914)

TV-G | 13 min | Short, Comedy

An out-of-work swindler takes a job as a reporter. After witnessing a car go over cliff, he grabs a rival reporter's camera and races to the newspaper office to enter the photo as his own. ... See full summary »

Director: Henry Lehrman | Stars: Charles Chaplin, Emma Clifton, Chester Conklin, Alice Davenport

Votes: 1,458

38. Kid Auto Races at Venice (1914)

Not Rated | 11 min | Short, Comedy

The Tramp wanders into and disrupts the filming of a go-kart race.

Director: Henry Lehrman | Stars: Charles Chaplin, Henry Lehrman, Gordon Griffith

Votes: 2,208

39. Mabel's Strange Predicament (1914)

Not Rated | 17 min | Short, Comedy

In a hotel lobby an inebriated Charlie runs into an elegant lady, gets tied hup in her dog's leash, and falls down. He later runs into her in the hotel corridor, locked out of her room. ... See full summary »

Director: Mabel Normand | Stars: Mabel Normand, Charles Chaplin, Chester Conklin, Alice Davenport

Votes: 1,097

40. Fantômas: The False Magistrate (1914)

Not Rated | 70 min | Crime, Drama

Fantômas has been arrested and is jailed in Brussels, but inspector Juve wants him arrested and sentenced for all his crimes in France. Thus Juve settles Fantômas' escape so he can be ... See full summary »

Director: Louis Feuillade | Stars: René Navarre, Edmund Breon, Georges Melchior, Mesnery

Votes: 809