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The Arrival of a Train (1896)

L'arrivée d'un train à La Ciotat (original title)
A train arrives at La Ciotat station.
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Cast

Credited cast:
Madeleine Koehler Madeleine Koehler ... Herself
Marcel Koehler Marcel Koehler ... Himself
Mrs. Auguste Lumiere ... Herself
Jeanne-Joséphine Lumière Jeanne-Joséphine Lumière ... Herself
Rose Lumière ... Herself
Suzanne Lumière Suzanne Lumière ... Herself
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Storyline

A group of people are standing in a straight line along the platform of a railway station, waiting for a train, which is seen coming at some distance. When the train stops at the platform, the line dissolves. The doors of the railway-cars open, and people on the platform help passengers to get off. Written by Maths Jesperson {maths.jesperson1@comhem.se}

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Documentary | Short

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

France

Release Date:

25 January 1896 (France) See more »

Also Known As:

The Arrival of a Train See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Lumière See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Silent

Aspect Ratio:

1.31 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

One of the first public exhibitions of motion pictures occurred on 28th December 1895 when Auguste Lumière and Louis Lumière (the Lumière Brothers) exhibited a selection of ten of their single-reel films to a paying audience at a Parisian café. Popular legend has it that, when this film was shown, the first-night audience fled the café in terror, fearing being run over by the "approaching" train. This legend has since been identified as promotional embellishment, though there is evidence to suggest that people were astounded at the capabilities of the Lumières' cinématographe. See more »

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User Reviews

 
Not the Last Stop, but the First
8 January 2009 | by Badwolf57See all my reviews

At just under a minute, L'Arrivée d'un train à La Ciotat (1895) is one of Louis Lumiere's earliest excursions into film-making. As was formulaic with what he called "actualités," or non-narrative shorts, Louis Lumiere set up his cinematographe (a portable crank-handled camera that triples as a film projector and developer) at such an accomplished angle as to catch the arrival of a train at La Ciotat, where it captures the bustling comers-and-goers of the station who happen to stray in front of the lens, looking altogether curious, or else wary of the unfamiliar contraption. The crowd seems lively enough, but just for good measure, Lumiere's refined wife and mother-in-law can be seen actively searching for an imaginary, but eagerly expected passenger.

As uninteresting as it is (and it IS, even for the most pretentious film buff), L'Arrivée d'un train à La Ciotat's historical appeal is undeniable, if not legendary. The film's effect upon its first public viewing is a well-worn myth told to enthusiastic film students by their professors. Apparently, initial audiences, unaware of film's capacity to fully imitate reality, fled in fear of the image of a train barreling down upon the screen. The French newspaper, Le courrier du centre, (July 14, 1896) alleged the advancing locomotive made "spectators draw back instinctively fearing they'd be run over by the steel monster." Nevertheless, such a widespread and instantaneous physical response seems foolish or naïve even then, especially when the projector would have been visible and the sound audible to all seated in what at that time passed as a "theater." In reality, it is far more likely that this incident was limited to a few isolated cases, and was later exaggerated to enhance its appeal and boost the film's reputation. Consequently, the commerciality of the venture succeeded with tremendous results. Over a hundred years later, not only is L'Arrivée d'un train à La Ciotat a cinematic icon, but proof of how powerful and impressionable moving pictures could (and would) become.

Recommended for those with an interest in film as an art form, or for those looking for early examples of film in history.


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