Classic Movie History Project: The Muybridge Experiment (1880)

If you follow my blog closely you’ll note that in trying to cover the depth and breadth of the cinematic experience I often gone very early into the origins of film. Most recently I posted on a very early film I first saw on Movies Silently. When trying to select a topic for the Classic Film History Blogathon the easiest way for me to narrow down potential topics was to go very early and very specific.

This brings me to the Muybridge Experiment. They were the most significant photographic experiment prior to the advent of motion pictures (1880), as we knew them for more than a century. It is also further evidence that nothing comes from nothing and these things can always be traced, and it is my firm belief that knowing these things is highly important. While these rapid-fire stills have been shown in a simulation of motion, they were taken as stills in 24 triggered cameras solely to prove whether or not all four of a horse’s hooves leave the ground at full gallop (they do):



Mast & Kawin in A Short History of the Movies underscore many things worth noting about the experiment itself:

In fact they were not motion-picture photographs but serial photographs; Muybridge himself called them “serial pictures.” But they were major advances over a series of drawings and posed stills. Continuous motion had been divided into distinct frames, but it had not yet been photographed by a single camera.

The intent was not to create a pre-cursor to the motion picture, but it was quickly realized that that is just what happened.

After having projected the images he proceeded to advance the photographic science and arts:

In 1880, Muybridge first projected moving images on a screen when he gave a presentation at the California School of Fine Arts; this was the earliest known motion picture exhibition. He later met with Thomas Edison, who had recently invented the phonograph. Edison went on to invent the kinetoscope, the precursor of the movie camera.

The relationship between Muybridge and Stanford became turbulent in 1882. Stanford commissioned the book The Horse in Motion: as Shown by Instantaneous Photography, written by his friend and horseman J. D. B. Stillman; it was published by Osgood and Company.The book claimed to feature instantaneous photography, but showed 100 illustrations based on Muybridge’s photographs taken of Stanford’s mare Sallie. Muybridge was not credited in the book except noted as a Stanford employee and in a technical appendix based on an account he had written. As a result, the Britain’s Royal Society of Arts, which earlier had offered to finance further photographic studies by Muybridge of animal movement, withdrew the funding. His suit against Stanford to gain credit was dismissed out of court.
Muybridge soon gained support for two years of studies under the auspices of the University of Pennsylvania. The university published his current and previous work as an extensive portfolio of 781 collotype plates, under the title Animal Locomotion: An Electro-photographic Investigation of Consecutive Phases of Animal Movements, 1872–1885. The collotype plates measured 19 by 24 inches, each were contained in 36 by 36-inch frames; the total number of images were approximately 20,000. The published plates included 514 of men and women in motion, 27 plates of abnormal male and female movement, 16 of children, 5 plates of adult male hand movement, and 219 with animal subjects.

Muybridge’s experiments lead to Marey’s advances in France in 1882 where the images where shot through a Chronotograph process, all in one camera. Then in 1884 George Eastman began experimenting with celluloid and paper-roll film. None of these things occurred without Muybridge’s experiment though.

It’s also interesting to note that while silent films were shot at variable frame rates sound synchronization required a standard; that compromised rate ended up being the same number Muybridge shot trying to prove a simple point.

Blondie Brings Up Baby (1939)

Free Movie Friday: Blondie Brings Up Baby (1939)


I wanted to start this series back in January. Basically, there are a lot of good movies out there that you can watch free and clear. Meaning you don’t have to pay for them and by streaming it free you’re not stealing it because they are in the public domain. Also, in some cases, these films are not all as ancient as copyright laws usually call for.

Blondie Brings Up Baby (1939)

As mentioned before, Larry Simms played “Baby Dumpling” a.k.a Alexander Bumstead for quite a few years. Unusually articulate for his young age his cadence and delivery add to the laughs. This is the first film in the series wherein he features more prominently.

Marius Sørvik (Søren Rønholt)

In Anticipation Of: Who’s Your Daddy and the return of the Radar


The In Anticipation Of posts have been a bit too infrequent on this site. However, I have created them both for films I eventually saw, like Mercy, and those that have not yet come to fruition, like The Necroscope.


Usually after I release my BAM Awards on an annual basis I try my best to keep tabs on who was nominated so that I can see what they follow-up with. This is usually the case with directors, writers, and actors. Especially when they happen to be involved in foreign (to the US) productions, as you typically do have to be more proactive to watch them in something else.

Barring being overly-proactive you can only find new projects almost entirely by accident, which is how I learned about Who’s Your Daddy having just started pre-production.

Who’s Your Daddy

Who’s Your Daddy tells the tale of

Nineteen year old sweethearts Simon from Denmark and Ida from Norway has just come together and moved in an apartment in Oslo. To celebrate, they open a few bottles of red wine and decide to inaugurate the bedroom, which ends in a not-so-planned pregnancy. In Ida’s eyes, there must be changes in the house for her to want to keep the baby. He must begin to take more responsibility and stop spending all day playing Playstation and smoking weed with his buddies. He needs to get a better job, join the couples therapy: anything that can get the relationship on a new level. He must grow up. Ida moves out, and Simon embarks on a journey with buddies, a journey to learn responsibility, love and change his personality. A comedy about friendship, love and dead dogs.

and stars William Jøhnk Nielsen, Nikolaj Groth and Aurora Nossen. I’d previously seen Nielsen in In a Better World which he earned a BAM Nomination for in the first year I expanded the young acting categories.

Here were my thoughts on Nielsen’s performance in summation at year’s end:

William Jøhnk Nielsen has perhaps the most impressive “simmer” of these actors. He has a lot of anger and frustration to play and he has to work up to a boil frequently. It’s a different kind of emotion than most of these actors had to work which is why this is one of the few categories I decided to expand this category to six nominees, which was unprecedented until this year in three instances.

Later, Nielsen also played a small role in A Royal Affair, a tremendous film that brought Alicia Vikander to my attention, as well as inciting my fandom of Mads Mikkelsen.William Jøhnk (Clinton Gaughran)

However, since that brief appearance I had not seen him in anything. Fast forward a few years to where I serendipitously learned of his next project.


This movie sounds like a good one, and it’s great when actors in their late-teens/early-twenties are afforded roles true to their age and their transitory life stage, as opposed to playing down in age a few years merely to simplify production. So I look forward to what writer/director Marius Pinnås Sørvik (pictured in the header) brings to cross-cultural comedy of today’s youth.

I await this film eagerly, and will update this post as necessary. Overall I’ll not rest on chance too much anymore, so I will also begin a Watchlist on Letterboxd and take fuller advantage of Go Watch It from now on in lieu of the My Radar feature I once had here.

Still (2014, Omnibus Entertainment)

Review: Still (2014)

One thing I will always aim to do is examine the film in and of itself and try as much as I can to avoid the cinematic pre-life (the interaction, impressions, and ideas I may have had with and about the film before seeing it) having any influence on my writing on it. However, that is not always possible. One way in which that’s true is when you’re watching an actor who has become very well known for a role, particularly one on television. In this case I refer to Aiden Gillen, best known to most as Petyr Baelish a.k.a. Littlefinger on Game of Thrones.

Specifically to the large cast on Game of Thrones I’ve noticed a few interesting things: first, you can almost forget how deep and talented the cast is because you see them on a weekly basis, usually in small but strong snippets. Then when you see the same actor in a film, where they get to dominate a lot more screentime you are almost taken aback. This has proven true with Isaac Hempstead-Wright in The Awakening, Art Parkinson in Dracula Untold, but this extends past house Stark too one example being Nicolaj Coster-Waldau in Headhunters. Another interesting thing is that it can affect your view of the title some: Lena Headey was in 300 before Game of Thrones, then returned for the sequel. That sequel had a lot more issues than the original and the lack of her involvement, because I know knew her better, was one of them.

However, one thing I don’t expect these actors to do is to be static or settle into a type. I relish seeing them stretch and test their mettle, which is usually why actors are drawn to indies in the first place. It’s also a testament to my blank slate theory as I had forgotten the synopsis by the time I went to check this film out.

If you’re interested here it is:

A gritty and atmospheric thriller about the traumatic disintegration of a man and father, STILL is the haunting, deeply moving story about a journey every parent hopes they will never have to make. Tom Carver (Aidan Gillen, Game of Thrones and The Wire) is a man stumbling blindly towards a crossroads in his life, recently thrown out of focus following the unexpected, tragic death of his teenage son in a car crash. After a seemingly harmless encounter with a neighborhood kid, he finds himself involved in a feud with a teenage gang that quickly intensifies to more disturbing and horrifying heights. With Tom’s personal life unraveling before his eyes, and the threat of gang violence escalating out of control, the world he is so desperately trying to rebuild may disintegrate all together.

What that set-up moves puts in play is a scenario wherein the stakes are ever-rising and the spiral is potentially ever-downward, and allows for an arc of such power that its positively captivating. That’s not to say this film is merely an actors’ showcase. That would be incorrect and unfair for this is a great film that is compelling because of the characters it builds. One you get to know very well and see how he responds to getting pushed. Some you assume you know and get to know better as the film progresses.

Nor is Gillen alone in his strong showing here. Joining him as being of note are Elodie Young, who as a pained but distanced ex-wife, and Sonny Green, who plays his one-note expertly and surprisingly adds quite a few towards the end.

This film is one that starts small and slowly but mushrooms and truly earns its tragic arc that makes it worth investing time in. It’s simple in conception but not easy to execute by any means.

Still is hypnotic and most effective because of how it manages to reverse fortune in its closing act, as well as have you dole out your empathy to many of the concerned parties, leaving your jaw agape at its conclusion. This is a film I’d recommend to anyone looking for a drama with a tragic arc, and serious real world stakes.


Still will be available on DVD on June 30th.

Telephone (2009, Interscope)

Music Video Monday: Lady Gaga (feat. Beyoncé) – Telephone


I’ve debated starting this theme for a few weeks, and I ultimately decided I would as it would encourage me to looks for options that actually fit what I’m aiming for. If one pays too much attention to Top 40 type music you tend to see a dearth of creativity in the music video form. The music video is spawned from short films and can be as creative if not more so than their predecessor. Far too often it does just become singing heads. I want to try and buck that trend and find ones both new and old that do something somewhat outside the box, at the very least have some sort of visual narrative. Here we go.

Lady Gaga (feat. Beyoncé) – Telephone

Here is a more recent video that fit here for a number of reasons, not the least of which is the fact that this video co-stars a very famous vehicle from the Kill Bill films.

Yeah Kowalski (2012, Evan Roberts)

Short Film Saturday: Yeah Kowalski! (2012)


For June, at least in the short film department, I will be featuring gay-themed films for Pride month.

Yeah Kowalski! (2012)

I wanted at least one of these short films to be a bit more of a conventional tale. The fact of the matter is a great number of gay-themed films aren’t just themed but predominantly about sexual identity and awareness. Here you have a fairly common concern to adolescents: seeming to develop slower than contemporaries, but told from a slightly different perspective. Until representations are varied and widespread enough, such that LGBT cinema is no longer a subgenre of its own, representative stories are necessary. However, when the tone is lighter and the conflicts are more universal there is an added ability to reach a vaster audience aside from the built-in one who will inherently “get it.”


Blondie Takes a Vacation (1939)

Free Movie Friday: Blondie Takes a Vacation (1939)


I wanted to start this series back in January. Basically, there are a lot of good movies out there that you can watch free and clear. Meaning you don’t have to pay for them <em>and </em>by streaming it free you’re not stealing it because they are in the public domain. Also, in some cases, these films are not all as ancient as copyright laws usually call for.

Blondie Takes a Vacation (1939)

Here the Bumsteads take their particular brand of lunacy on the road. The first two films, and other selections can be found here.

Announcement: The Wonderful Ingrid Bergman Blogathon


The last of three blogathon announcements for today: following up the Bergman theme from the last one here I will be covering the one collaboration between Ingmar and Ingrid Bergman (no relation) Autumn Sonata.

Originally posted on The Wonderful World of Cinema:

150627-frederika1 It’s not without reasons that Ingrid Bergman is on this year Cannes Festival’s official poster. That’s because, on August 29th 2015, we’ll celebrate her 100th birthday. Of course, Ingrid Bergman is unfortunately no longer with us, but that’s not a reason why we shouldn’t celebrate her. For the occasion, I decided to host my very first blogathon: The Wonderful Ingrid Bergman Blogathon. So, that’s a new step for me as a blogger. Ingrid Bergman is my personal third favourite actress, but she’s also, for me, most talented of them all. She was also a fascinating lady. Of course, this is my personal opinion. I’m sure many of you like her too, so I’m hoping for a high level of participation! The event will take place from August 27th to August 29th 2015. Rules for the blogathon: The rules for this blogathon are quite simple.

1- Pick a subject. You can…

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Announcing the “…And Scene!” Blogathon!


Second reblogged announcement of the day. At the same time I will be partaking in The Classic Movie History Blogathon I will also be contributing to the great “…And Scene! Blogathon” where I will be discussing the repeated scene in Persona.

Originally posted on Sister Celluloid:

Breathes there a classic movie lover who has never burst forth with those immortal words…


Well, here’s your chance to sing it loud and proud!

Sister Celluloid presents the “…And Scene!” Blogathon—your chance to go into excruciating detail about your favorite classic film scene (or one of them, anyway—I’d never be so cruel as to ask you to narrow it down any further). The one you replay over and over, so the DVD ( or VHS tape—c’mon, you know you still have them!) has a little groove in it. The one you catch yourself mouthing the words to. The one where your loved ones tiptoe out of the room because they know you’re going to get all weepy or crazy or giddy again. Yeah. That one. Share it here, with your movie people… we know just how you feel!

And just think of it—you don’t even…

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Announcement: The Classic Movie History Project (2015)


I’ve been meaning to keep up on the blogathons I will be a part of by re-blogging for some time. It’s a habit I was not in long enough.

Anyway, this is one I’m very excited to be involved in. I’m taking a small, but very important topic that paved the way for the motion picture before cameras even started rolling: The Muybridge Experiment.

Originally posted on Once upon a screen...:

I thank you so much for your interest in this historical blogging event!  Be aware that new and exciting additions have been made to this event.  For complete details please visit the updated announcement.
One of my favorite blogging events of 2014 was the Classic Movie History Project, which was the brainchild of Fritzi Kramer at Movies, Silently.  I, along with Ruth of Silver Screenings, co-hosted the event with Fritzi and we’re all back for a bigger and better second edition.

Following is the official announcement, which was written by Fritzi.  Included throughout this post are the gorgeous event banners – designed by Fritzi.  Ruth has done lots of behind-the-scenes work already and I’ve…uh…been sitting on the sidelines looking pretty.  Or…looking in any case.  But really, I couldn’t be more honored to be a part of this and will promote the heck out of it in hopes you’ll join us…

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