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Dissolving the Problem of Continuity

Life Rescue at Long Branch

Edwin S. Porter (?), Edison Mfg. Co., USA, 1901

Originally copyrighted as Life Rescue at Atlantic City, this film was either shot by Edwin S. Porter or made under his supervision. These two shots are separated by a dissolve rather than by a direct cut, which would have preserved continuity only if the two components of the action had been sequentially close enough for the cut to suggest that no time elapsed between them. In this case, however, the filmmaker is more likely to have regarded each component as self-contained, so that the narrative function of each would have been fulfilled in being filmed by a fixed camera at long-shot distance. (Both shots are long shots; one simply isnít quite as long as the other.)

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