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The Kiss in the Tunnel
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The Kiss in the Tunnel

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In 1899, the filmmaker George Albert Smith filmed a train as already shown in The Arrival of a Train (1896) by Louis e Auguste Lumière, enriching it with some brilliant insights.

First of all he tries to articulate the narrative, breaking down the sequence into three scenes: 1) the train enters the tunnel, 2) the two passengers (played by Smith himself and his wife Laura Bayley) are kissing taking advantage of the dark, 3) the train comes out from the tunnel.

Second, instead of filming the train from the outside, he mounted the camera directly on the moving train, capturing its entry (Scene 1) and its exit (stage 3) from the tunnel, creating a popular tracking shot technique, currently known as Phantom Ride that will be used by many directors in the following decades.

Facts

  • Some people, among them the film maker David Fisher, consider this movie as the "beginning of narrative editing".
  • Smith's work was imitated by many other directors of the time, including in particular the famous film maker Edwin S. Porter in What Happened in the Tunnel (1903).