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February 14, 1936

Some 400 students and faculty viewed classic early films in Blodgett Hall, discovering they were “the art rather than the whim of the twentieth century.” The films viewed included The Loves of Queen Elizabeth (Les Amours de la Reine Élizabeth, 1912) A Trip to the Moon (Le Voyage dans la Lune, 1898), The Great Train Robbery (1903) and Faust (1900). “It was obvious,” the writer of “Movies Acquire a Past,” in The Miscellany News observed, “that the films started early to develop a technique peculiarly their own. While Queen Elizabeth was merely a photographed play, the Trip to the Moon used every bit of available motion picture equipment including a chorus of shapely girls in tights.”

The writer suggested that the influences of stage and film techniques worked mutually. “Because Sarah Bernhardt’s exaggerated gestures [in Queen Elizabeth] showed the crying need for the close up, we can appreciate its use in modern pictures. We realize that Merrily We Roll Along [the stage version, 1934] used a very old film device when we see the first crude flash-back in Faust. To use the flash-back ourselves we like to imagine the intrepid spirits of Edwin S. Porter, Edmund Kuhn, George Méliès and William Heise, convening somewhere on a rosy cloud to sigh triumphantly because their wild brain children have come of age.”

The Miscellany News

The Years