On this day in 1894, Fred Ott sneezed. Or he sneezed at least once. He did take a puff of snuff before sneezing, and I imagine snuff must be hell on the nasal passages. So maybe Fred Ott sneezed 100 times on January 7, 1894 – we’ll never know. But we do know he sneezed at least once. How do we know this? Because Fred Ott sneezed while in the employ of the Edison Manufacturing Company, where apparently even your sneezes belong to the boss. Read the rest of this entry
Who doesn’t want to jump on the exciting Melies revival bandwagon? No one, that who’s, and I count myself in those ranks. Here’s a Melies primer I wrote for The Toronto Film Scene.
French cinema pioneer Georges Méliès is having a moment. Martin Scorsese’s recent 3D release Hugo pays homage Méliès. The electro-pop duo Air just announced the release of a new album, La Voyage Dans La Lune, inspired by Méliès. The title not only refers to Méliès’s most famous film, but a limited edition of the album will be co-packaged with the movie. And, of course, a production still from that same film, a very annoyed moon with a rocket ship embedded in its eye, remains the most iconic image of the silent era, gracing t-shirts, coffee mugs, and the covers of countless film studies books. Click to read the rest of the piece at TFS.
The 1910 Edison Studios production of Frankenstein is the first film adaptation of Mary Shelley’s novel. Believed to be lost for many years, the film later turned up in the hands of a private collector who proved unwilling to share. By the time BearManor Media released the restored public domain print in 2010, the film was badly deteriorated (yet still watchable). Silent film fans are in for a thrill with Frankenstein, because of some rather dazzling special effects and an innovative visual narrative technique. While Frankenstein displays much of the visual grammar common to circa 1910 films (static camera, medium distance shots with nary a close-up to be found), the film does deliver some sophisticated techniques. Read the rest of this entry