The Movies Begin - A Treasury of Early Cinema, 1894-1913
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A Five-Volume Boxed Set. The Great Train Robbery And Other Primary Works. The genesis of the motion picture medium is vividly recreated in this unprecedented collection of the cinema's formative works. More than crucial historical artifacts, these films reveal the foundation from which the styles and stories of the contemporary cinema would later arise. The European Pioneers. While some may consider the cinema a distinctly American invention, the most influential figures during its infancy were two brothers in France: Auguste and Louis Lumiere. In the beginning, they dominated world film production and distribution. Through the magic of cinema, such ordinary sights as the demolition of a wall, the arrival of a train, a family enjoying breakfast or workers exiting a factory were transformed into mystifying spectacles of light and motion, having their premiere on December 28, 1895. Experimentation And Discovery. More than any other decade, the first ten years of the moving picture saw the greatest amount of experimentation and development. Ranging from the ingeniously creative to the audacious, the films represented in this volume offer a sampling of the primitive masterworks that allowed the technical novelty of the cinema to so quickly flourish into an artistically expressive medium. The Magic Of Melies. Decades before the term "special effects" was coined, audiences of the newborn cinema were witnessing spectacular screen illusions, courtesy of the medium's first master magician: George Melies. The films collected on this disc offer an unparalleled view of Melies's career, introducing the viewer to the rich body of work that lies beyond A Trip To The Moon (1902), which is featured in Volume One of The Movies Begin. Comedy, Spectacle And New Horizons. By 1907 the cinema's initial growing pains had subsided and fairly distinct generic categories of production were established. This volume of The Movies Begin examines some of these integral works that begin to reflect the modern day cinema - punctuated with authentic hand-tinted lantern slides used during early theatrical exhibition.
The home-video revolution has yielded a wealth of valuable compilations, but few are as miraculously definitive as The Movies Begin. Equally suited to home or classroom viewing, this authoritative five-volume set is a vital document of film history, providing a one-stop destination for anyone wishing to witness the first two decades of motion pictures. That period--from 1894 to 1913--saw movies develop at a breakneck pace, from the earliest "actualities" of the Lumière brothers in France to D.W. Griffith's audacious development of dramatic action in the Biograph shorts of the early 1910s. Sensibly organized into pivotal stages of technical and creative progress, each of these volumes represents the priceless value of film preservation; all 133 films in the set are presented in the finest condition available, from archival prints to complete restorations, and accompanied by music that perfectly captures the spirit of each film and the time of their creation.
Under the expert guidance of film historian David Shepard, this collection is uniquely comprehensive, with fact, fiction, and fantasy represented in equal measure. All major figures are included; it's fitting that one volume is devoted to astonishing shorts by movie magician Georges Méliès, while other volumes serve as "greatest hits" compilations of movie innovations by Edwin S. Porter, Cecil Hepworth, Max Linder, Alice Guy Blanche, and many others. The breathtaking growth of movies is fully apparent by volume 5 ("Comedy, Spectacle, and New Horizons"); most viewers will find this the most entertaining, but each volume is a revelation, offering films that haven't been widely seen since they were first produced. To understand and appreciate the foundation upon which modern filmmaking is built, The Movies Begin is truly essential. --Jeff ShannonSee all Editorial Reviews
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