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The Great Train Robbery (1903)



The Great Train Robbery

(1903)

10:32 minutes

Silent / Western

Directed by Edwin S. Porter

Cast:

A.C. Abadie as Sheriff   
Gilbert M. 'Broncho Billy' Anderson as Bandit
Justus D. Barnes as Bandit 
Walter Cameron as Sheriff  
John Manus Dougherty Sr. as Bandit   
Donald Gallaher as Little Boy 
Frank Hanaway as Bandit  
Adam Charles Hayman as Bandit 
Tom London as Locomotive driver   
Marie Murray as Dance-Hall Dancer 
Mary Snow as Little Girl  
Morgan Jones
George Barnes 

The Great Train Robbery is an American Western film by Edwin S. Porter. Ten minutes long, it is considered 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 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. Though a Western, it was filmed in Milltown, New Jersey. The film has been selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry .        




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