Monday, May 13, 2013

1913 - Suspense

Reading Lois Weber's Wikipedia page was like reading Grace Murray Hopper's. Each successive sentence in the summary makes your jaw drop a little bit farther. In Weber's, I got as far as "the first full-frontal female nude scene in 1915" and just gave up. This person can't exist.

But here she is on film, in the top-right of the split-screen shot that people seem most interested in:

It wasn't the first split-screen shot, by about 10 years, but it's an effective one. It wasn't the most striking shot, either. I'd give that title to this overhead shot of the villainous hobo:

Oh, and there's a CAR CHASE. Apparently filmed from both cars. The shot from the rear car seems straightforward:
... at least until you remember that it was filmed from the back of a car, using technology developed at least half a decade before the Jazz Age had even started.

The shot from the front car...... well, look:
All of the... action? Plot? Foreground... something? Somebody who knows something about film, please tell me what word I'm looking for to describe this: The portion of the screen in which the story is being told. Anyway, in this case, it's the side mirror of a moving car. For f*ck's sake.

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