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"The Execution of Mary, Queen of Scots," a flickering forty-three years old photoplay, which was over almost before the audience was seated, was the first movie of the series of American Primitives presented by the film society at the Institute of Geographical Exploration yesterday. James B. Munn, professor of English, gave a short talk before the performance.
Other revivals in yesterday's installment included "A Trip to the Moon" produced in 1902, "The Great Train Robbery" of 1903, "Faust" of 1907, and Sarah Bernhardt in "Queen Elizabeth" released in 1911. This series gave some idea of the beginnings of the film industry, when the camera was held in one position, and the characters moved back and forth in front of it, never approaching or receding, thus giving the effect of the legitimate stage. "Queen Elizabeth" was the last and most highly developed of this type and since it was smoother and clearer the acting technique could be watched. Without voice or closeups the players had to resort to violent pantomime, grimacing, brow puckering, and the frightened clutch at throat or bosom.
Eight years earlier but more advanced in technique was "The Great Train Robbery," genesis of all wild westerns. For the first time the possibilities of the camera are exploited and it is allowed to move about and follow the characters' actions. This was one of those first films where some audiences were known to get up and run from in front when a train was seen approaching.
Eight years earlier but more advanced as "The Development of Narrative," to be followed on February 9 by some made just before the war. The original negatives have been transferred to new film, but the audience is assured that gaps and poor focuses are included for purposes of historical accuracy.
Both afternoon and evening performances have been sold out for the series and about 150 people have had to be turned away
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