There is a first time for everything. Hence the journey of cinema began as the first motion picture came into existence. A journey spanning over a 100 years proving it’s prominence and improving day by day. Today we Cinephiles get to walk among the firsts, the ancestors of today’s cinema. Lets crack the fingers and brace as the hands of the clock move in reverse.
The First Recorded Film Ever
Workers leaving the factory (1895)
Credit – Lumiere Brothers
Credited with the invention of the first motion picture camera, The Lumiere brothers in France recorded the first moving image of the workers leaving a factory. They went on to make films such as the arrival of a train which made viewers jump their chairs as they thought the train was actually going to arrive.
The first Edited Film
The Great Train Robbery (1903)
Credit – Edwin S. Porter
Made for Edison and Company. The Great Train Robbery involved the first known use of cuts. The story depicts a group of man who successfully rob a steam engine locomotive and flee into the mountains but they are finally defeated by the sheriff and some locals.
The First Film to Include Recorded Sound
The Jazz Singer (1927)
Director – Alan Crosland
The first film to ever include parts of recorded sound is The Jazz Singer. Released in 1927, The Jazz Singer was a groundbreaking addition to the field of cinema. Before that theatres had to hire organ bands who played the music on cue given by the original makers of the film. This also marked the arrival of recorded dialogue in cinema. The story follows when Jakie’s (Played by Al Jolson) father gives him a hard time for trying to sing in a saloon. Jakie reveals his utmost desire to be a singer to his mother and runs away.
The First Science Fiction
A Trip to the Moon (1902)
Director – Georges Méliès
Known as the earliest example of science fiction, A Trip to The Moon was the first film to ever include Special Effects. All of this came from the brilliant mind of the filmmaker Georges Méliès, who thought to use the CUT in a more innovative way than any other. The film follows an adventure where some humans blast off to the moon in a bullet-shaped capsule and the landing in the moon’s eye has become one of the most highly recognized images in the history of cinema. However, the humans with Professor Barbenfouillis (Georges himself) as their leader encounter Selenites (lunar inhabitants) and have to escape from them.
The First Color Film
A Gulf Between (1917)
Director – Wray Bartlett Physioc
This Technicolor’s production is the first-ever film to have colors in it. Again a major breakthrough in the respective field. The Gulf Between marked a new beginning for the upcoming films. Like The Wizard of Oz who embarked their audiences into a fantastical journey that was full of colors. And has been appreciated in a separate column in every book written on cinema. Most of the footage of the film has been lost to chemical decay. But the story is about a girl who falls into the sea and is found by a sea captain. And he leaves her in the care of his sister. The girl falls in love with a boy who is discouraged by her newfound parents. But later she discovers that the boy is none other than the one her original parents adopted him to fill the gap that her departure had caused in their lives.
The First Film to be Banned
Birth of a Nation (1915)
Director – D. W. Griffith
As we talk about the firsts of the cinema. Why leave the one who earned its fame in the quirkiest manner. Known as the father of continuity, D. W. Griffith with the production of the film showed the world. That the films through the magic of continuity could be seen for more than just a few minutes. By setting the length of the film to a whopping 3 hours. Also, leading to his infamously banned first film title. The film was regarded as highly racial as it depicted African-Americans as wrongdoers. And glorified the doings of the Ku Klux Clan by representing their doings as an act of heroism. Leading to a series of nationwide protests and getting the film banned ultimately.
This seems the perfect end to our First Film Ever article. Hoping to benefit all the ‘Know It All’s out there and hopefully some trivia enthusiasts too.