Pictures on the Move!

The Great Train Robbery 1903

Hold on to your hats, folks, because the world of entertainment has changed forever. A twelve-minute motion picture called The Great Train Robbery (shown here) is now showing in theater houses all over the country. It is the exciting true story of a train heist that happened a few years ago, when Butch Cassidy and his gang held up a Union Pacific train in Wyoming and stole five thousand dollars in cash. The man who directed and filmed the motion picture, Edwin S. Porter, is a former employee of the Edison Manufacturing Company, which builds film-making equipment and produces films and is owned by Thomas Edison.

Maybe you have seen a motion picture before, but you have not seen one like this. Mr. Porter used new technology and photographic techniques that make you feel like you are a part of the action. Each scene is made up of several shots, which were cut and pasted together. You will see a close-up of a robber and then suddenly you will see everything that is going on around him as a different shot appears on the screen. During the film, the train operator is tied up inside the station. Meanwhile, the robbery is in progress. The audience sees what happens when the operator’s daughter finds him tied up in the station. In the next shot, the director cuts back to the train robbery, which is happening at the same time. This technique of showing the action in two places has never been used before.

If you are wondering where you can see The Great Train Robbery or any other motion picture, you can go to one of the new theaters that may be in your city. Many of these large theaters are popping up all over the nation. But you won’t see any actors on the stage. Instead, there is a big, white screen. The film is projected onto the screen from the back of the theater. Los Angeles has the distinction of being the first city to have a motion picture theater. Thomas L. Tally’s Electric Theatre (sounds dangerous!) opened there last year. Rumor has it that Los Angeles is quickly becoming the center for motion pictures because of its ideal weather conditions and plentiful open spaces.

A few years ago, a company called Lumiere Brothers found a way to film outdoors. Before then, most people had to film inside a studio because their cameras were too big to carry. Lumiere Brothers films were the most inventive for a long time, as they could shoot more action outside. The competition between Lumiere Brothers and the Edison Manufacturing Company has been fierce. Until now, that is. The Great Train Robbery should put Edison ahead of all other picture companies. If you can, go see The Great Train Robbery at your nearest theater. We don’t want to ruin the ending for you, but we will just say that it goes out with a BANG!