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.
"A little while ago there was a great convention of women's clubs of America. Mrs. Edison is interested in women's clubs and their work and she decided to entertain the Presidents of the ... See full summary »
The cartoon was hand drawn on hundreds of sheets of glass, each inlaid in a leather strips, through which a light was shone projecting the figures on a backdrop, as it was spooled from one reel to another, much like a modern film reel. See more »
Charming, fascinating immediate predecessor to the animated cartoon film
It's cheating a little to list this as a film as strictly speaking it's not one, though its maker Émile Reynaud pushed pre-cinema technology as far as it could go to achieve an experience practically indistinguishable from that of watching a theatrical presentation of an animated cartoon film. His Théâtre Optique featured his Praxinoscope, a radical development of old-established animation toys like the Zoetrope. This used rotating faceted mirrors and lenses that could project a succession of hand-drawn images from a paper strip with sprocket holes, allowing much longer sequences of continuous action than the short loops hitherto used in such devices. These images were then superimposed on a static background projected from a conventional magic lantern slide, prefiguring later cel animation techniques in which the image is broken down into a succession of layers with the minimum of movement in each one. The exhibition was completed with live narration and music.
Some of Reynaud's original elements survive (others he later threw in the Seine) and their affinity with film is demonstrated by the ease with which they can be reconstructed on modern film or video. Pauvre Pierrot was the first such production and is among the most charming, a simple tale featuring the traditional characters Pierrot, Arlequin and Colombine acting out their ancient love triangle. Some reconstructions replicate the translucent, slightly ghostly quality the characters would have had at the time. Sadly Reynaud's work was overtaken by the arrival of the cinema proper and he died a poor and unhappy man.
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