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As the kinetoscope business declined in the second half of 1895, the Edison group hired Alfred Clark to make some films of original subject matter. He produced a number of historical tableaux, including BURNING OF JOAN OF ARC. Several of these, including THE EXECUTION OF MARY, QUEEN OF SCOTS, used the technique of stop-action substitution (in which a human body is replaced by a dummy) that would later be exploited by French filmmaker Georges Mèliés. Robert Thomae played Mary, an early instance of female impersonation in the movies.

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