The Gay Shoe Clerk (1903)

This film is significant as a precursor to Porter's groundbreaking classic The Great Train Robbery, which combined state of the art editing techniques to tell a 12 minute narrative story and is notable for its early use of matched shot editing, with a close-up of a female customer's ankle and a longer establishing shot used in combination with each other. This close-up insert is an example not only of the visual pleasure afforded by the 'cinema of attractions' but of the early cinema's voyeuristic treatment of the female body. Despite the fact that their primary purpose is not to emphasize narrative developments, these shots' attribution to a character in the film distinguishes them from the totally unmotivated close-up we viewed in The Great Train Robbery.

The pre- 1907 'cinema of attractions' were primarily designed to enhance visual pleasure rather than to tell a coherent, linear narrative. But many of these films did tell simple stories and audiences undoubtedly derived narrative, as well as visual, pleasure: a shoeshop assistant flirts with his female customer.
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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I had a good time here but will return to google now.