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Life of an American Fireman (1903)

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 (uncredited), Edwin S. Porter (uncredited)
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Cast

Uncredited cast:
Vivian Vaughan Vivian Vaughan ... The Girl (uncredited)
Arthur White ... The Fireman (uncredited)
James H. White James H. White ... Fire Chief (uncredited)
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Storyline

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 scene, and effect the safe rescue of a woman from the burning house. But wait, she tells them of her child yet asleep in the burning bedroom . . . Written by Thomas McWilliams <tgm@netcom.com>

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Genres:

Short | Action

Certificate:

Not Rated
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

January 1903 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Life of an American Fireman See more »

Filming Locations:

East Orange, New Jersey, USA See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

(2004 National Film Preservation Foundation print)

Sound Mix:

Silent

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

There are actually two versions of this film. One version (the re-edit) was shown to the public as a demonstration of the earliest use of editing. It was later discovered that somebody re-edited this film in the 1930s or 1940s based on the real footage that had been salvaged. In the original version of the film, the interior point of view is shown first and completed. Then the exact same action repeating itself is shown again from the exterior. See more »

Connections

Featured in Hollywood (1980) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Depicts a fireman's thrilling and dangerous calling and emphasizes the perils he encounters when human life is at stake.
27 June 2007 | by Ziggy5446See all my reviews

At Edison's Company, he experimented with longer films, and was responsible for directing the first American documentary or realistic narrative film, The Life of an American Fireman (1903). Though it's among the earliest story films (but by no means the first as often alleged), The six-minute narrative film combined re-enacted scenes and documentary footage, and was dramatically edited with inter-cutting between the exterior and interior of a burning house. Edison was actually uncomfortable with Porter's editing techniques, including his use of close-ups to tell an entertaining story. For action, excitement, & suspense, Life of an American Fireman rates awfully high, improving on all that went before, borrowing from what came before wherever it was already thrilling.


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