KINO ON VIDEO TO RELEASE A FOUR-DISC SET TRACING THE IMPACT OF THE EDISON COMPANY ON THE ART OF THE MOTION PICTURE
Kino on Video is proud to announce the release of a four-disc box set named Edison: The Invention Of The Movies, made possible by an unprecedented collaboration between The Museum of Modern Art and Kino International, the leading distributor of silent and early cinema on DVD. This groundbreaking box set comes chiefly from the extensive Edison collection of the Department of Film and Media at The Museum of Modern Art, in New York, with additional footage provided by the Library of Congress, and includes over 140 films produced by the Edison Company between 1891 and 1918. Prior to this release, the majority of these films have been unavailable for viewing in a high-quality format except for 35MM projections at The Museum of Modern Art in New York and Library of Congress in Washington DC.
In addition to the original motion pictures themselves, EDISON: THE INVENTION OF THE MOVIES brings two hours of interviews with seven Edison and silent cinema scholars and over 200 scans of rare photographs, scripts, promotional pamphlets and internal correspondence by the Edison staff. These interviews are interspersed among the 140+ films, creating a unique study tool of this groundbreaking moment in the history of cinema. Each film on this series will be accompanied by a text description (also available for download) written by the world's leading expert on the Edison films, Charles Musser, Yale University Professor of Film and American Studies.
Edison: The Invention Of The Movies will prebook on January 4, 2005, with a street date of February 1, 2005, at a suggested retail price of $99.95.
Responsible for developing the technical apparatus of commercial motion picture between the years of 1888 and 1893,a camera, a viewing machine, systems for printing, the developing of long strands of film, The Edison Company, owned by Thomas Edison, also produced hundreds of films. In order to feed its circuit of Kinetoscopes, the arcade peepshow device that had been developed by W.K. Dickson, Edison and his staff started to produce short films that were duplicated and used for exhibition throughout the world.
In 1894, The Edison Company was the world's sole producer of commercial motion pictures. A year later, the Lumiere Brothers introduced their Cinematograph and a battle ensued for dominance of the newfound film industry. Edison struggled not only to maintain technical superiority over his competitors (through a series of mechanical patents) but to also remain artistically innovative. As a result, for twenty years the Edison company reigned supreme over the American film industry.
Thomas Edison's enterprise also allowed talented filmmakers like Charles Brabin (A WICKED WOMAN, 1934) and J. Searle Dawley (THE HARVEST MOON, 1920) to have their first directing jobs and in hindsight, was essential in enabling the career of Edwin S. Porter, the man who developed the concept of continuity editing and paved the way to Griffith's THE BIRTH OF A NATION.
Digitized from MOMA's 35mm restored print, Kino's version of Porter's THE GREAT TRAIN ROBBERY (1903, 10 min.) brings the first appearance of parallel editing two separate lines of action cut together as to indicate simultaneity as well as the first pan shot and camera movement ever captured on film. EDISON: THE INVENTION OF THE MOVIES also makes available several other films directed by Mr. Porter, like THE LIFE OF AN AMERICAN FIREMAN (1903, 6 min.), THE GAY SHOE CLERK (1903, 1 min.), EUROPEAN REST CURE (1904, 13 min.), THE LITTLE TRAIN ROBBERY (1905, 11min.) and COLLEGE CHUMS (1907, 11 min.).
The new Kino series also includes an 1895 film with synchronized sound ("Dickson Experimental Sound Film"), a hand-colored 1906 film ("Three American Beauties"), and some of the first appearances of stop-motion animation ("The Teddy Bears"), tracking shots ("The Passer-by"), and outlandish special effects ("Dream of a Rarebit Fiend").
The earliest material in the collection is MONKEYSHINES (1889). This crude photographic experiment of late 1880s was considered unsuccessful and was never viewed by anyone outside the Edison laboratory. It has been carefully reanimated for this Kino box set and represents a true world premiere. EDISON: THE INVENTION OF THE MOVIES also encompasses a wide array of genres, including early comedies ("How a French Nobleman Found a Wife..."), educational films ("The Wonders of Magnetism"), fantasy ("Jack and the Beanstalk"), documentary ("The Public and Private Care of Infants"), western ("At Bear Track Gulch"), crime drama ("The Great Train Robbery"), and even examples of early product placement ("Serenade by Proxy").
Presented in chronological order, interspersed with introductions by a panel of historians and archivists, the first disc of this set covers the early years of Edison's films, between 1891 and 1905, and includes 100 early shorts. The second and third discs, respectively, collect Edison shorts from the periods of 1905 to 1907 and 1908 to 1913, while the last disc, covering the period between 1913 and 1918, brings seven short films and one feature film, the rousing war epic THE UNBELIEVER (1918, 80 Min.), featuring Erich Von Stroheim and directed by Alan Crosland (THE JAZZ SINGER, 1927).
More than an indispensable source of historical information on the history of the cinematic medium, the EDISON box set also represents a unique film record of urban and rural life in late 19th century and early 20th century North America.
Following is a list of the film scholars featured in video interviews on this all-new EDISON box set:
* Steven Higgins -- Curator, Department of Film and Media, The Museum of Modern Art.
* Charles Musser -- Professor of Film and American Studies, Yale University. Author of "Before the Nickelodeon," and "Edison Motion Pictures, 1890-1900," among others.
* Patrick Loughney -- Head, Moving Image Section, The Library of Congress
* Michele Wallace -- Professor of English, The City College. Author of "The Black Macho and The Myth of The Superwoman," among others.
* Eileen Bowser -- Curator Emerita, The Museum of Modern Art.
* Paul Israel -- Director and editor of the Edison Papers; among others.
* Richard Koszarski -- Associate Professor of English, Rutgers University. Author of "An Evening's Entertainment: The Age of the Silent Feature Picture 1915-1928," among others.
Edison: The Invention Of The Movies (DVD)
U.S. 1889 - 1918 14(+) Hours
Black and White 1.33:1
In English subtitles
Produced by Thomas Edison
Interviews with Charles Musser, Steven Higgins and Paul Israel
UPC# 7 38329 03832 8
PREBOOK: January 4, 2005
STREET: February 1, 2005
End Of Release