The Great Train Robbery (film)
From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia
The Great Train Robbery is a 1903 western film by Edwin S. Porter. The film is only twelve minutes long, but is a milestone in film making, expanding on Porter's previous work Life of an American Fireman. The film used a number of innovative techniques including cross cutting, double exposure composite editing, camera movement and on location shooting. Cross-cuts were a new, sophisticated film editing technique. Some prints were also hand colored in certain scenes. None of the techniques were original to The Great Train Robbery, and it is now considered that it was heavily influenced by Frank Mottershaw's earlier British film A Daring Daylight Burglary. The film uses simple editing techniques (each scene is a single shot) and the story is mostly linear (with only a few "meanwhile" moments), but it represents a significant step in movie making, being one of the first "narrative" movies of significant length. It was quite successful in theaters and was imitated many times.
The movie was directed and photographed by Edwin S. Porter, a former Edison Studios cameraman. Actors in the movie included A. C. Abadie, Broncho Billy Anderson and Justus D. Barnes, although there were no credits. The film has been selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry.