Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Riding the rails

One of TCM's features this month has them riding the rails, as they show a bunch of movies involving trains and railroads every Wednesday in prime time in April. This week's installment looks at trains in the old west. The first movie up is one of the seminal movies: The Great Train Robbery, April 2 at 8:00 PM. The title, as you might have guessed, is descriptive of what the movie is about: bandits rob a train. And yet, this would have been revolutionary to audiences in 1903; most of the movies made to that time had been documentary subjects. Also, The Great Train Robbery has more extensive editing than anything done in the few years of film history prior. The well-known final shot, which involves one of the bandits shooting his gun -- pointed straight at the camera -- must also have been revolutionary to the audiences of the day.

It's just a 12-minute short, but it's an important movie in the history of cinema, and is well worth seeing. Kudos to TCM for showing it.

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