The First Western in Film History
In 1903, Edwin S. Porter made the first Western, one of films to pioneer the use of cinematographic narration.
The Lumière Brother’s Arrival of a Train at La Ciotat’s effect on viewers in 1895 was historical. People panicked and thronged together in the aisles to run away from the colossal vehicle that was hurtling towards them. Our ability to differentiate moving images from reality had not yet been forged. The same thing happened during the premiere of Edwin S. Porter’s The Great Train Robbery (1903). The legendary final plane, in which the cowboy shoots his gun directly at the camera, had a similar effect to the Lumière Brother’s film. While watching the first Western of all time, the members of the audience naïvely feared for their lives.
Edwin S. Porter (1870-1941) was trained in the Thomas Edison Studios. Fascinated by the power of Meliés and Ferdinand Zecca, Porter endeavored to develop an eminently narrative film. In 1902 he shot Burning of Durland’s Riding Academy, thus capturing with his camera real sequences he organized in a parallel montage, settling the foundation for cinematographic narrative.
Porter kicked off the Western genre with The Great Train Robbery. Organized in fourteen scenes and divided in three acts, it featured eight actors and actresses and hundreds of extras. His argument is based on real events that took place on August 29th, 1900, when four members of George Leroy Parker’s gang robbed Union Pacific Railroads’ train no. 3.
For his film, Porter used innovative cinematographic techniques, such as ellipsis, outdoor scenes, parallel montage, and the use of different locations in order to give rise to a united narrative. In this manner, based on the discoveries of the Brighton School, Porter perfected the main elements of cinematographic narration that are still used by filmmakers today.
The fact that one of the first North American films ever was a Western should not surprise us. As André Bazin pointed out in his analysis of the genre, the United States found a way of forging its own national mythology in the Western. This is why Porter’s film is simultaneously a milestone in the history of filmmaking and the culture of the United States.
Some of his innovations included out of field filming, which explains a sequence without showing it directly, as well as dispensing with external narration in order and let the images speak for themselves.
For the first time ever, the screen was representing horseback riding chases, shooting and the genre’s paraphernalia —such as hats, rifles and bandanas. A man fell, for the first time, from a train’s roof. For the first time, someone was forced to dance to the beat of a revolver’s shots. Scenes that have become true clichés and that began in the founding imaginations of one of the pioneers of cinematographic art.
Pictorial spiritism (a woman's drawings guided by a spirit)
There are numerous examples in the history of self-taught artists which suggest an interrogation of that which we take for granted within the universe of art. Such was the case with figures like
Astounding fairytale illustrations from Japan
Fairy tales tribal stories— are more than childish tales. Such fictions, the characters of which inhabit our earliest memories, aren’t just literary works with an aesthetic and pleasant purpose. They
A cinematic poem and an ode to water: its rhythms, shapes and textures
Here lies One Whose Name was writ in Water. - John Keats Without water the equation of life, at least life as we know it, would be impossible. A growing hypothesis holds that water, including the
Watch beauty unfold through science in this "ode to a flower" (video)
The study of the microscopic is one of the richest, most aesthetic methods of understanding the world. Lucky is the scientist who, upon seeing something beautiful, is able to see all of the tiny
To invent those we love or to see them as they are? Love in two of the movies' favorite scenes
So much has been said already, of “love” that it’s difficult to add anything, much less something new. It’s possible, though, perhaps because even if you try to pass through the sieve of all our
This app allows you to find and preserve ancient typographies
Most people, even those who are far removed from the world of design, are familiar with some type of typography and its ability to transform any text, help out dyslexics or stretch an eight page paper
The secrets of the mind-body connection
For decades medical research has recognized the existence of the placebo effect — in which the assumption that a medication will help produces actual physical improvements. In addition to this, a
The sea as infinite laboratory
Much of our thinking on the shape of the world and the universe derives from the way scientists and artists have approached these topics over time. Our fascination with the mysteries of the
Sharing and collaborating - natural movements of the creative being
We might sometimes think that artistic or creative activity is, in essence, individualistic. The Genesis of Judeo-Christian tradition portrays a God whose decision to create the world is as vehement
John Malkovich becomes David Lynch (and other characters)
John Malkovich and David Lynch are, respectively, the actor and film director who’ve implicitly or explicitly addressed the issues of identity and its porous barriers through numerous projects. Now