(Review originally written at 15 October 2007)

This is of course not the first film in history and presumably the Edison Manufacturing Company did dozens of test before actually shooting this and of course also shot "Monkeyshines, No. 1", 2 and 3 prior to this but it is the first film that was shown to a wide audience and press, at The National Federation of Women's Clubs, through a motion picture exhibition device the Kinetoscope, an invention of mostly William K.L. Dickson that let a strip of several images passing front of an illuminated lens behind a spinning wheel. Therefor this 3 second short plays an important part in movie history, as being the very first to be shown to an audience.

The motions are perfect, though because of the shooting speed it all seems to occur in slow motion. There are no jerky movements and also the images is surprisingly clear. The film was shot with a Kinetograph, another William K.L. Dickson invention. He therefor is also credited as the inventor of the motion picture camera. The color white is shiny and the less dark colors of Dickson's clothing distinct itself well from the pitch black background used to film this. You can clearly see Dickson's face and also the more detailed look of his hair.

Still I feel they could had done a bit more with the movement in this film. Show the audience some more of the possibilities of moving images. Instead now basically all Dickson does, is bring his hat from his one hand to the other, as a sort of wave toward the audience and he moves his head slightly, supposedly as a small nod toward the audience but that isn't all too clear to see.

In a way this movie is a great metaphor for William K.L. Dickson and Thomas A. Edison literal greeting and welcoming us to the world of film. It perhaps provides the movie with just as much impact and significance, as it did 116 years ago.


About Frank Veenstra

Watches movies...writes about them...and that's it for now.
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