|Few lights, one camera, but lots of ACTION!
Once there is little doubt as to the first "first"...whatever...the next step is to trace a long chain of developmental firsts. In cinematic history that means everything from the first kiss in a film (The Kiss, 1896) to the first nude scene (After the Ball, above, from 1897). Due to the limits of technology, films of the 1890s were mostly under a minute long and, until 1927 motion pictures were without sound. The first decade saw film moving from an experimental novelty to becoming an entertainment industry. Films became several minutes long consisting of several shots making up sequences (as with scenes in a play). In talking about technological firsts, the first rotating camera allowing panning shots arrived in 1897. The first film studios were built about that time. Special effects were introduced and film continuity, involving action moving from one sequence into another, began to be used in the late 1890s. In the 1900s, continuity of action across successive shots was achieved and the first close-up shot was introduced (some claim by D. W. Griffith). Most films of this period were what came to be called "chase films." Edwin S. Porter's classic The Great Train Robbery, released in 1903, set the early standards for this genre.
|Producer-director, Edwin S Porter
|A century later, still a classic.
|Justus D. Barnes: BANG...BANG...BANG, you're all dead.
|Broncho Billy Anderson,
the chief thief.