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Historical Note: "The Great Train Robbery" - The First Movie Featuring Trains?

Derek Boles, TRHA's historian, publishes a daily posting on the Toronto Railway Heritage Yahoo Group List. These postings document major railway oriented events that happened on that day of the year. One of today's items is as follows:
"December 1, 1903:
The feature film "The Great Train Robbery," produced by the Edison Company, opens in the United States.
The 12-minute movie portrayed a group of desperados attacking a train and stealing the contents of the express safe, then being hunted down by a posse and killed in a shoot-out. It is still considered one of the most important films ever made. The movie was widely believed to be the first western, although it was filmed in New Jersey, and the first film to tell a story through narrative editing. It was not, however, the first projected film showing a train. That distinction belongs to France's Lumiere Brothers whose "Arrival of the Train at La Ciotat Station" in 1895 sent audiences shrieking from their seats because they thought the train was going to run them over.

The first movie in Canada showing a train (the U.S. Black Diamond Express) was presented in Ottawa in 1896.

By 1897, the Canadian Pacific Railway was showing films promoting their trains and destinations. Early in the 20th century, CP hired the Edison Company to make a series of short dramatic films whose narratives were thinly disguised pretexts to show off CPR trains, scenery, ships and hotels."
If you wish to read these daily postings from Derek, simply join the Yahoo Group by clicking here.
Posting by Russ Milland

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