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Sunday, 1 February 2015



In 1882, French inventor Louis Lumière developed a method of making photographic plates. By 1894, he and his brother August were producing 15 million plates a year.

Early motion picture experiments were performed using a fragile paper roll film, with which it was difficult to view a single, continuously moving image without a complex apparatus.

In 1887 The Reverend Hannibal Goodwin, an Episcopal Priest at the House of Prayer in Newark, New Jersey devised a pliable and rollable film. He planned to launch a film manufacturing business in order to make biblical films for children but the patent was not granted until September 1898. In the meantime, George Eastman's Kodak company had already started production of roll-film using his own process.

Roundhay Garden Scene is an 1888 short silent film directed by French inventor Louis Le Prince. The film was made at Oakwood Grange, the home of Joseph and Sarah Whitley, in Roundhay, Leeds, England, on October 14, 1888. It was recorded at 12 frames per second and runs for 2.11 seconds. It is the oldest surviving film in existence, noted by the Guinness Book of Records.

A screenshot of en:Roundhay Garden Scene Wikipedia

Le Prince made two other motion pictures around the same time, one of traffic on Leeds Bridge and the other of his son playing the accordion. Then he disappeared and was never heard from again.

In January 1889 Thomas Edison assigned Scotsman William Dickson, an assistant at his lab at West Orange, New Jersey to work on the development of what was to become the kinescope, a film viewing machine designed for use in amusement arcades.

The Lumière brothers worked on improving Thomas Edison's kinetoscope, and, in 1895, patented their combination movie camera and projector, the Cinématographe. They recorded their first footage using their newly patented cinematograph on March 19, 1895. It showed mainly female workers leaving the Lumière factory on the outskirts of Lyon, France, as if they had just finished a day's work.

Cinématographe Lumière at the Institut Lumière, France. By Victorgrigas -  Wikipedia

The first screening of the 46-second movie Workers Leaving The Lumière Factory took place on March 22, 1895 in Paris, at the "Society for the Development of the National Industry", in front of an audience of 200 people.  It is often referred to as the first real motion picture ever made.

In 1900, the Reverend Goodwin set up the Goodwin Film and Camera Company, but before film production had started he was involved in a street accident near a construction site and died on December 31, 1900 from his injuries.

The boss of the Motion Picture Producers and Distributors of America, William Hays, established a code of decency that outlined what is acceptable in films in 1930. His group was called the Hays Commission.

In the 1951 film, African Queen, worldwise, cynical Humphery Bogart and missionary Katherine Hepburn were stuck in the reeds whilst sailing up the Congo. They were exhausted and at the end of their tether having fought for hours to free their boat and get it moving again. Whilst Bogart collapsed with exhaustion, Hepburn prayed that God would send a release from Heaven. It started to rain, a torrential downpour, the reeds were flooded over and the boat sailed to the freedom of the nearby lake. Sadly in the ensuing decades it would become increasingly rare for the movie industry to portray spiritual matters in such a positive, non-cynical way.

When The Gospel According to St Matthew was released in 1964 it was was recognized by film aficionados as the greatest depiction of Christ's life on film so far. Remarkably the director, Pier Paolo Pasolini was a militant atheistic Marxist, and a promiscuous homosexual whose personal life was the antithesis of biblical teaching. In spite of this it appears God's grace and anointing mysteriously rested powerfully on him to produce a film of much spiritual magnificence.


Dickson Greeting is credited as one of the world's first films. Directed, produced by and starring Edison's assistant William Dickson, it displays a three-second clip of him passing a hat in front of himself, and reaching for it with his other hand. It was filmed on May 20, 1891 in the Photographic Building at Edison's Black Maria studio. The film was played for viewers at the National Federation of Women's Clubs, the first public presentation of a motion picture in America.

Film still from Dickson Greeting, the oldest American film shown to a public audience (in 1891)

Thomas Edison finished construction of the first motion picture studio, the Black Maria in West Orange, New Jersey in 1893.

Thomas Edison shot the one-and-a-half second film The Edison Kinetoscopic Record of a Sneeze, which showed comedian Fred Ott sneezing. Filmed at his Black Maria studio in January 1894, it was the first film to be registered for a copyright.

William Dickson invented the first practical celluloid film for Thomas Edison's motion picture device, the Kinetoscope. He received a patent for his film on January 7, 1894 after demonstrating it by showing Record of a Sneeze.

Dickson received little thanks for his work and left Edison in 1895 following a dispute with him. His former employer refused to concede that anyone but himself was responsible for bringing the invention to fruition.

Thomas Edison was responsible for the first film of a sporting event, a six round boxing match between Mike Leonard and Jack Cushing on June 14, 1894 (see below).

The Lumière brothers' 1895 46-second film La Sortie des ouvriers de l'usine Lumière is considered the first real motion picture and was one of ten included in their first public film screening.

Queen Victoria became the first British monarch to be captured on moving film on October 3, 1896. She was shown taking a pony-and-trap ride at Balmoral Castle.

In 1897, the Lumière brothers filmed the city of Liverpool, including what is believed to be the world's first tracking shot, taken from the Liverpool Overhead Railway.

The first science fiction film, titled A Trip to the Moon and based on From the Earth to the Moon by Jules Verne, was released in France in 1902.

Edison produced the first story in a dramatic setting, The Great Train Robbery, in 1903 which cost $100 and earned $20,000.

The 1906 movie The Story of the Kelly Gang was the world's first full-length feature movie. The film ran for more than an hour with a reel length of about 1,200 metres (4,000 ft), and was first shown at Melbourne's Athenaeum Hall on December 26, 1906.

The first successful color motion picture process was Kinemacolor. On February 26, 1909, the general public first saw Kinemacolor in a program of twenty-one short films shown at the Palace Theatre in London.

The first German Expressionist film and early horror movie, Robert Wiene's The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, premiered in Berlin in 1920.

The Toll of the Sea debuted at the Rialto Theatre in New York City on November 26, 1922. It was the first general release film to use two-tone Technicolor, (The Gulf Between was the first film to do so, but it was not widely distributed),  and the first Technicolor color feature anywhere that did not require a special projector to be shown.

The first in-flight movie was shown on April 6, 1925; it was a silent film on a Deutsche Lufthansa flight.

The 1926 film Don Juan was the first feature film with a musical soundtrack (but no dialogue).

The Jazz Singer, the first prominent talking movie, opened on October 6, 1927. There were only two talking sequences, during which 354 words were spoken. The film’s star, Al Jolson, said 340 of them. One of his lines was the famous: "You ain’t heard nothing yet."

In Old Arizona was released on January 20, 1929. The movie was the first major Western to use the new technology of sound and the first talkie to be filmed outdoors. It made extensive use of authentic locations, filming in Bryce Canyon National Park and Zion National Park in Utah and the San Fernando Mission and the Mojave Desert in California.

On with the Show debuted on May 28 1929. An American Pre-Code musical film released by Warner Bros, it was filmed in Two-strip Technicolor and is noted as the first all-talking, all-color feature length movie.

Wikipedia Commons

The 1932 spoof western Destry Rides Again boasted cinema's first pre-credits sequence, with nearly a minute of action before the credits.

The text "This is a work of fiction. Any similarity to actual persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental" at the end of films came about because the Russian prince who killed Rasputin sued MGM for not accurately depicting Rasputin’s murder in their 1932 movie Rasputin and the Empress.

The first X-rated film in Britain was the 1951 French movie La Vie Commence Domain.

The first regularly scheduled in-flight movie, By Love Possessed was shown on a TWA flight on July 19, 1961.

The 1966 film Georgy Girl, starring Lynn Redgrave and James Mason, was the first movie in America to be rated for a "Mature Audience Only."

The film Jaws was released on June 20, 1975. It became the prototypical summer blockbuster and establishing the modern Hollywood business model.

The 1981 motion picture Roar, was the most dangerous movie ever made. The movie had 110 untrained cheetahs, cougars, jaguars, lions and tigers, which led to 70 cast and crew members being injured. The injuries ranged from broken bones to scalpings and gangrene.

Toy Story was released on November 22, 1995 as the first feature-length film created completely using computer-generated imagery. 

By From impawards., Wikipedia Commons

Furious 7 broke box office records to become the fastest film to take more than $1 billion worldwide. The seventh film in the Fast and Furious franchise took just 17 days to break the $1bn barrier, compared to 19 for Avengers and the final Harry Potter.


The record for most kisses in a movie is 127 by Lionel Barrymore in the 1926 film Don Juan. The recipients were Mary Astor and Estelle Taylor.

The shortest ever film review was given by critic Leonard Maltin to the 1948 movie Isn't It Romantic. His review read simply: 'No.'

Most extras assembled for a single scene: 300,000, for the two-minute funeral scene in Gandhi.

The movie 300 has the most on screen deaths with 5.13 per minute.

By Source, Fair use, Wikipedia Commons

The blockbuster 3D film Avatar made its world debut on December 10, 2009. The James Cameron-directed feature went on to become the highest ever grossing movie ever, taking $2.8 billion at the box office. Some claim the accolade should really go to Gone With The Wind, which would have made $3.4 billion when ticket sales are adjusted for inflation.

The lowest-grossing U.S. movie of all time is the 2006 film Zyzzyx Road. It played in only one theater for a week and made $30.

Logistics or Logistics Art Project is a 2012 experimental Swedish art film conceived and created by Erika Magnusson and Daniel Andersson. At 51,420 minutes (857 hours or 35 days), it is the longest movie ever made. The 5-weeks long film was screened at Uppsala City Library between December 1, 2012 –  January 6, 2013, at the The House of Culture, Stockholm, and had its world premiere at the 2014 Fringe Film Festival Shenzhen.

American-born Nigeria-Mauritius female education activist Zuriel Oduwole is the world's youngest filmmaker to have a self-produced work screened commercially. In 2014 at age 12, her self-produced documentary film titled A Promising Africa was screened in five countries.


H.B. Warner took the role of Jesus Christ in Cecil B. DeMille's 1927 biblical cinematic epic King Of Kings. DeMille forbade the actor from pursuing such non-biblical activities as playing cards, riding in convertibles or swimming during the film's shooting.

When the Biblical epic about Genesis called The Bible, was released in America in 1965 a New York bookseller made a fortune by filling his window with Bibles and a notice proclaiming "Book of the Film".

The 1981 film Roar is considered the most dangerous movie shoot in history. Over 70 crew members who worked with the predatory animals suffered injuries like bone fractures, scalpings and gangrene.

John Hughes, the American director of many successful coming-of-age films, took only two days to write the screenplay of the 1985 hit flick The Breakfast Club.

Only three of the 15 highest grossing movies from the 1980s haven't been given a sequel, prequel or turned into a franchise. Those movies are E.T, Tootsie, and Rain Man.

The most-used snippet of dialog in movie history is “Let’s get out of here.” Some of the many films its been used in include:  A Fistful of DollarsChinatown, Little Miss Sunshine, The Rocky Horror Picture Show, Star Wars, Saturday Night Fever and Sunset Boulevard.

Researchers at London's University of Westminster discovered that watching 90 minutes of a scary movie can burn up to 113 calories — the equivalent of a chocolate bar.

Film trailers were originally shown after the movie, which is why they were called “trailers.”

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