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The Great Train Robbery (1903).rtf
The Great Train Robbery (1903) Resampled edition (SiRiUs sHaRe).avi
The Great Train Robbery (1903)
The clerk at the train station is assaulted and left tied by four men, then they rob the train threatening the operator. (They) take all the money and shoot a passenger when trying to run away. A little girl discovers the clerk tied and gives notice to the sheriff, who at once goes along with his men hunting the bandits.
John Manus Dougherty Sr. ... 4th Bandit
A.C. Abadie ... Sheriff (uncredited)
Gilbert M. 'Broncho Billy' Anderson ... Bandit / Shot Passenger / Tenderfoot Dancer (uncredited)
Justus D. Barnes ... Bandit (uncredited)
Walter Cameron ... Sheriff (uncredited)
Donald Gallaher ... Little boy (uncredited)
Frank Hanaway ... Bandit (uncredited)
Morgan Jones ... (uncredited)
Marie Murray ... Dance-hall dancer (uncredited)
Mary Snow ... Little Girl (uncredited)
Director: Edwin S. Porter (uncredited)
Codecs: DivX 5 / MP3
This film, often lauded as one of the first movies to include a linear narrative within its running time, came out of the Edison company over a hundred years ago, following their experiments in the previous decades with shorter topical pieces such as cockfighting, dancers, and other limited scenarios.
'The Great Train Robbery' is a simple enough story - a train is robbed, there is a shoot-out. The interesting scenes for me were the ones where the passengers are held at gunpoint while their valuables are collected, the shoot-out with its hand-coloured bursts of gunfire, and the famous final shot where a gun is fired directly at the audience. Not too frightening now, but back in those days this was quite an innovation.
Historically important and with a basic plot still in use today, this film holds significant interest for a wide audience (and will take less than a quarter of an hour of your time to view).
The Great Train Robbery was filmed only a couple of years into the 20th century, and when you watch it, its age is quite obvious. However, when you watch movies like this, you need to transport yourself back to the time period in which it was created and kind of watch the film through eyes that haven't been subjected to spectacularly visual films like The Matrix or Terminator 2.
Edwin Porter made a ground-breaking film with The Great Train Robbery. Sure, the scenes were very simple and the film is so blurry that you can't make out a single face (this is also a result of the total lack of close-up shots), but in 1903 people watched this film and were stunned. It was hugely successful because it was one of the first films in the world to be made that actually told a story. Previously, films were made mainly to show off the technology of the "moving picture," and the public loved them because they had never seen such a thing before. But when Porter came along with The Great Train Robbery, the path of motion pictures changed dramatically because people began to realize that these films could tell stories just as well as they could show water lapping on the beach or factory workers getting off of work or people jumping into a lake. These were the type of films that were made in the 1890s and early 1900s. The Great Train Robbery is an extremely short film, but it is an interesting story that is made even more fascinating because of the fact that everything that happens on the screen happened nearly 100 years ago. It's like looking at a piece of history.
I just saw "The Great Train Robbery" in its entirety for the first time and I was truly amazed. Its hard to believe that the film is over 100 years old.
It was shot from a stationary camera but it employs many of the cinematic techniques that have since become commonplace such as cross-cutting, the chase, the shootout etc. VCI Entertainment has released a marvelous 100 Year Anniversary Edition of the film in two versions...a completely silent version from the print owned by the U.S. Library of Congress and a second version with added music, color tints and sound effects.
The closing shot of actor George Barnes emptying his six shooter at the audience is perhaps one of the most famous shots in cinematic history. One can only imagine the effect that it must have had on the early audiences. I had always thought that this shot was at the beginning of the film. Early western pioneer "Broncho" Billy Anderson plays four roles in the film including one of the bandits.
Most of the scenes are filmed in medium to long shots. You don't really see the actors faces (except for Barnes as noted). But it is still a very good film for this or any time. It tells a complete and believable story in about 12 minutes and sets the stage for the many classic silent films that were to follow.
Arguably the first motion picture to employ the milieu of what would quickly become known as the Western genre, Edwin S. Porter's The Great Train Robbery was a smashing success with audiences (dozens of film history texts report with glee how viewers shrieked with fear and delight when a tightly-framed gunslinger pointed and fired directly at the camera) and made remarkable strides toward the establishment of longer, more narratively developed films. Porter's cutting was also among the most sophisticated to date, as multiple locations and events were suffused with a previously unseen urgency. Based on actual events, The Great Train Robbery ignited the imaginations of the scores who saw it -- making the movie one of the earliest examples of sensationalized, fictionalized screen adaptations taken from historical precedent.
* The film uses simple editing techniques (each scene is a single shot) and the story is mostly linear (with only a few "meanwhile" moments) but it represents a significant step in movie making, being one of the first "narrative" movies.
* A western filmed in New Jersey.
* The final shot of a gun being fired toward the camera had a profound effect on audiences. As cinema was in its infancy, many people who saw the film thought that they were actually about to be shot.
* The film was originally distributed with a note saying that the famous shot of the bandit firing his gun at the camera could be placed either at the beginning or at the end of the film. All known prints put it at the end.
* The original camera negative still exists in excellent condition. The Library of Congress, who holds it, can still make new prints.