See the moving Picture

See the moving  

Figure 3.15

Stop-Action History

The Execution of Mary, Queen of Scots

Thomas A. Edison, Inc.; producer, Alfred Clark; USA, 1895

The heroine is led to the block (left), but just before the axe falls (center), the camera is stopped and the actor (a male) is replaced by a dummy. The dummy is then “beheaded” (right), and when the two shots are spliced together, a relatively unobtrusive seam gives the illusion of continuous action. Coupled with its fairly elaborate treatment of a historic episode, this early instance of stop motion to enhance the subject matter of a motion picture was unquestionably innovative, but it displays little of the imaginative use to which Méliès would begin putting such devices early in the following year.

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