|The first movie poster, 1895. Actually, the headline was not the |
name of the movie but that of the movie camera.
|Auguste and Louis Lumiere, here|
photographed in color in 1914. The
Lumiere company later became
pioneers in color film development.
|A recreation of the Lumiere brothers making their film debut in the basement |
of Paris's Salon Indien du Grand Café, December 28, 1895.
|Cinematographie Lumiere. A huge light |
source attachment and some reconfiguration
turned the camera into a projector.
|The Lumiere Cinemagraphie projector. The wooden box in front is also part of the camera.|
|The Lumiere Cinemagraphe camera|
like that used to shoot the workers
leaving the Lumiere factory, 1895.
The film itself (click below to view a portion of it) might best be termed "uneven." The first segment of Lumiere employees leaving work is fascinating for the first fifteen seconds or so but is overlong, and repeated twice. The second segment of the men disembarking a ferry is no better except in that it's blessedly short. The charming family scene as mom and dad feed their messy offspring would be considered cutesy and trite but for the fact it had never been done before. The comedic feature presentation, Sprinkler Sprinkled, is nothing short of a film classic. The guys playing poker are ho-hum except for the chaplinesque little waiter who, in what has to be the worst case of overacting ever filmed, nonetheless steals the show. The train arriving in the La Ciotat station is said to have been the first movie scene ever shot (March, 1895). Unaccustomed to such realism, legend has it the sight of the train appearing to bear down upon them, sent those in the front rows scrambling from their seats (probably apocryphal). Otherwise, the scene at the train station in is not much more than a Paris fashion show. Perhaps most interesting from a cinematic point of view is the segment of the workers breaking down a masonry wall. The Lumiere brothers also ran it in reverse. The wall pops back up. Six other segments have been eliminated from the clip below.
So, what did the talented Lumiere brothers do with their camera/projector and their highly successful movie debut after taking their show on the road. They dropped the ball. They decided that commercial film-making had no future, and instead, turned their attention to developing color photography. In 1903 they patented a process they called "Autochrome Lumière" (used in the portrait photo at top, left). Louis Lumiere died in 1948, Auguste in 1954. Their company continued making photographic products until its merger with the British firm, Ilford, in 1990. Ilford went bankrupt in December, 2013.
|The Lumiere Maison in Lyon is now home to the Institute Lumiere, |
a museum housing early films and motion picture artifacts.