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Edison - The Invention of the Movies: 1891-1918

DVD | Box Set

4.4 out of 5 stars 19 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

An Interactive History of the Edison Company and the Invention of the Motion Picture. An unprecedented collection from Kino International and the Film/Media Department of The Museum of Modern Art together with the Library of Congress

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Edison - The Invention of the Movies is a four-disc treasure trove of 140 of the first moving pictures ever seen, spanning the birth of cinema from 1891-1918. The collaboration between Kino Video and the Museum of Modern Art includes 14-second-long camera tests, early special effects, street scenes, humorous shorts, and "The Great Train Robbery," widely considered the world's first blockbuster. Arranged chronologically, the films gradually improve in technical sophistication and narrative complexity while providing riveting glimpses of American culture 100 years ago. Highlights include the slyly edited "The Gay Shoe Clerk," the phantasmagoric "Dreams of the Rarebit Fiend," and a film of social justice called "The Kleptomaniac." Contemporary sensibilities will be challenged by persistent racial stereotypes in a number of the films, as well as by a horrific short showing the electrocution of an elephant. The educational possibilities represented in this set are vast.

If Kino Video and MoMA had simply released these restored films on DVD, it would still be one of the notable releases of the year, but they have gone further by filling out the set with over two hours of interviews with scholars and archivists. The films can be watched with or without these explanatory interviews, which lend the kind of historical context and thoughtful analysis one finds on the best museum tours. We learn that Edison's first studio was a tar-papered contraption called "Black Maria" that could be rotated to take advantage of available sunlight. Patrick Loughney of The Library of Congress details how many of Edison's films survive on printed paper reels submitted to a copyright office that at the time had no way of cataloging film. Author Michelle Wallace provides insight on how the films represented--and perpetuated-- the stereotypes of the era. If viewers have any energy left after this erudite festival of moving images, there are more than 200 still images from MoMA's Edison Collection to browse. The film history buff's collection is simply not complete without this set. --Ryan Boudinot


Special features

None.

Product details

  • Actors: Thomas A. Edison, Steven Higgins, Paul Israel, Patrick Loughney, Charles Musser
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Box set, Closed-captioned, Color, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    NR
    Not Rated
  • Studio: Kino Lorber films
  • DVD Release Date: February 22, 2005
  • Run Time: 730 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars 19 customer reviews
  • ASIN: B0006Q93LA
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #81,723 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
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