Noted film historian Charles Musser (author of "The Emergence of Cinema") co-wrote and directed this definitive tribute to Edwin S. Porter, Thomas Edison’s mechanic and cameraman, who is now recognized as America’s first important filmmaker and a major contributor to the evolution of film structure. Porter was the first U.S. filmmaker to successfully explore the possibilities of making films with continuous action from shot to shot, instead of single scene films that the showman arranged at the point of exhibition. From the time of his hugely successful THE GREAT TRAIN ROBBERY (1903) until D.W. Griffith started at Biograph (in 1908), Porter held center stage in early American cinema. Sadly, however, Edison quickly discarded Porter once his approach to filmmaking seemed to have become old-fashioned. Narrated by silent-movie actress Blanche Sweet, BEFORE THE NICKELODEON is a treasure trove of rarely seen material, including hand-colored photographs and sixteen complete Porter films, among them THE MAY IRWIN KISS (1896), THE SUNKEN BATTLESHIP ‘MAINE’ (1898), JACK AND THE BEANSTALK (1902) and LIFE OF AN AMERICAN FIREMAN (1902-3).
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Interesting and informative. A must for film historians.
Before the Nickelodeon is a perfect retelling of the life of Edwin S. Porter. The film shows continuous clips from silent movies made in the late 1800's and early 1900's while a voice over narrates Porter's impact on early cinema. The film was well constructed, and left no pause in interest for it's audience. A wonderful look into the birth of american cinema and it's creative and talented creators.
Fascinating and informative documentary about one of the most prolific and innovative directors of early film. Before there was D.W. Griffith, there was Edwin S. Porter. Before there was "The Birth of a Nation," there was "The Great Train Robbery." Narrated by silent film actress and Griffith alum Blanche Sweet, this documentary does much to bring much-needed attention to this early film titan.