See the moving picture


The Stop-Action Accident

The Extraordinary Cab Accident

R.W. Paul, Great Britain, 1904

R.W. Paul’s The Extraordinary Cab Accident is ostensibly a one-shot scene. A gentleman who’s been conversing with a lady on the curb backs carelessly into the street, where he’s run over and mangled under the wheels of a passing carriage. The effect is achieved by stop motion: The carriage approaches a live actor as he lies in the street. Then both the carriage and the camera are stopped and a dummy substituted for the actor. The camera is cranked again as the carriage rolls over the dummy’s legs. Both carriage and camera are stopped a second time, and the live actor resumes his place on the street so that the carriage appears to have passed over his legs. Often, the actor in such scenes would perform an overt gesture or two to heighten the illusion that a real person, rather than an inert prop, had suffered the corporeal bisection. In Cab Accident, the victim, though pronounced dead, scrambles to his feet and runs away with the woman in tow.

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