1901

1. The Pan-American Exposition By Night – Directed by Edwin S. Porter and James Blair Smith, working for the Edison company, this one minute film consists only of a slow pan across the eponymous exposition.  Midway though, the shot fades to black and returns, only now it is nighttime and the exposition is lit by the wonder of electric light.  As cinematic miracles go, this is about as simple as it gets, but it’s a miracle nonetheless.

2. Excelsior! The Prince of the Magicians – Magician Georges Méliès uses the power of editing to create a magic routine greater than any possible in continuous reality.  Some of the edits are pretty obvious, but the speed and abandon with which Méliès commits himself makes it all work.

3. What Happened on Twenty-Third Street – A cute little joke movie, anticipating a certain iconic Marilyn Monroe image by over 50 years.  Edwin Porter directs what appears to be a documentary street scene that turns risqué when an actress comes onscreen.

4. The Devil and the Statue – Another Méliès magic movie, though much clunkier and pedestrian than Excesior!.

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