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L’Arrivée d'un train à la Ciotat (1895) - Louis Lumière
image sourced here.

Cinema [...]

It was in America that people were first induced to pay to watch -- in May 1895 in a store on Broadway. In Europe it was not until November 1895 in Berlin that a movie was shown in public.

The quality of the movies shown in New York and Berlin were extremely poor and used processes that had no lasting impact on movie technology. The "true" debut of the motion picture is therefore usually dated to December 28, 1895 in Paris, where at the Grand Cafe in Boulevard des Capucines the Lumière brothers had their first paying audience. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_cinema [Sept 2004]


(Louis Lumiere, France, 1895) The use of "real" (not condensed) time; an immobile camera; a tiny event -- definitions of both minimal and earliest cinema. Lumiere's 1895 train cause a riot as it neared the spectators, proving the relativity of the tabooed image and its emasculation by exposure and familiarity. --Film As a Subversive Art (1974) - Amos Vogel

L'Arrivée d'un train en Gate de la Ciotat, (The Arrival of a Train at la Ciotat Station) is a historicly significant short film produced and distributed by The Lumière Brothers.

It premiered on a large screen 28 December 1895 in Paris, France.

The audience was reportedly frightened by the image of a train coming directly at them, screamed, and ran to the back of the room. Hellmuth Karasek of Der Spiegel wrote, "One short film had a particularly lasting impact; yes, it caused fear, terror, even panic... L'Arrivée d'un train en Gate de la Ciotat (Arrival of the Train at La Ciotat Station)....". This is a story that has been repeated numerous times in many publications and by word of mouth. The story implies a primitive audience that were absolutely fooled by the realism of the black and white moving image.

This story is, however, highly suspect. The sophisticated Parisian audience, many of whom may have taken the train to the theater, were well aware that they were going to see a demonstration of a projected moving image. Film scholar and historian Martin Loiperdinger's original essay, "Lumire's Arrival of the Train: Cinema's Founding Myth" (The Moving Image - Volume 4, Number 1, Spring 2004, pp. 89-118) is a good source with which to debunk the tale.

Louis and his brother Auguste Lumiere also filmed Workers Leaving the Lumiere Factory that year. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/L%27Arriv%E9e_d%27un_train_en_gare_de_la_Ciotat [Apr 2005]

When Lumiere's immortal train first pulled into that station in 1895, moving directly towards the camera, the audience shrieked. --Film As a Subversive Art (1974) - Amos Vogel

The Yellow Kid

The Yellow Kid created by Richard Felton Outcault in 1895 is recognized as the first "comic strip" or "comic book". Outcalt was the first person to use the balloon, a space where what the characters said was written.

Oscar Wilde trial

The Queensberry scandal
Although Wilde's friends advised him to ignore the insult, Lord Alfred later admitted that he egged Wilde on to charge Queensberry with criminal libel. Queensberry was arrested, and in April 1895, the crown took over the prosecution of the libel case against the Marquess. The trial lasted three days. The prosecuting counsel, Edward Clarke, was unaware that Wilde had had homosexual liaisons. Clarke asked Wilde directly whether there was any substance to Douglas's accusations and Wilde denied that there was. Edward Carson, the barrister who defended Douglas, hired investigators who were able to locate a number of men with whom Wilde had been involved, either socially or sexually.

Wilde put on a tremendous display of drama in the first day of the trial, parrying Carson's cross-examination with witticisms and sarcasm, often breaking the courtroom up with laughter. For instance, Carson asked Wilde whether he had ever adored any man younger than himself, and Wilde quipped, "I have never given adoration to anybody except myself."

However, when Clarke found that Wilde had deceived him, he withdrew from the prosecution, and the case went against Wilde. After losing the libel suit, based on the evidence that Carson had uncovered, Wilde was charged with "committing acts of gross indecency with other male persons" under Section 11 of the 1885 Criminal Law Amendment Act, this being little more than a euphemism for any homosexual act, public or private. He and Lord Alfred Douglas were both arrested on April 6, 1895.

Imprisonment in Reading jail
Wilde was convicted on May 25, 1895 of gross indecency and sentenced to serve two years hard labor. He was imprisoned at Reading, a town some 30 miles west of London. At first he wasn't even allowed paper and pen to write. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oscar_Wilde#Imprisonment_in_Reading_jail [Jan 2005]

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