Celebrating the History of Motion Pictures from 1890 to 1960

First Actor to be Filmed Doing a Death Scene

The Roaring Twenties 1939

The very first death scene we can find on record was filmed by Thomas Edison’s production company between May 10–19, 1895. Unfortunately, the catalogue entry does not list the cast. It is possible that David Henderson played Svengali. The scene was from David Henderson’s Burlesque that recreated an episode from “Trilby”, the 1894 novel by … Read more

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The History Of “Aspect Ratio” In Movies

TV Aspect Ratio 4:3

Why the original 4:3 aspect ratio was chosen from the very earliest stage of motion picture development remains something of a puzzle. Although the 4:3 ratio had been used often for 19th Century lantern slides and photographs, there was no “standardized” format at that time.

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James Dean – Hollywood’s Rebel

James Dean 1954

James Dean is one of only five people to have been nominated for a “Best Actor” Academy Award for their first feature role, and the only one nominated posthumously for an Academy Award twice.

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Understanding Film Restoration

Film Negatives in Storage

During the silent era, a film company would usually produce two camera negatives, placing two cameras next to each other to shoot a scene. One negative was usually used for domestic prints, and the second, often inferior negative (since the camera position was not perfect), used for foreign prints. When this was done, an internegative, a “printing negative”, was not used.

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When and Why did 35mm Film Become the Standard?

William Kennedy Laurie Dickson

Most commercial movies were, and some still are, shot using film that is 35 millimeters wide. When Thomas Edison and his team of inventors, headed by William Kennedy Laurie Dickson, finally introduced the Kinetoscope in April 1894, it used a film that was almost identical with the 35mm film used today – the same width … Read more

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