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Allen Ramsey


Rupert Hughes

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26 November 2018 | boblipton
| Location Shooting
The Edison Quartet sings a chorus of "Marching Through Georgia" in this Edison Kinetophone short, and then the play begins. It's a camp of the Union Army and the officers are complaining that a spy is relaying their plans to the Rebels. A sutler who has been selling chickens is haled in as the spy, but he seems to be deaf.

The last part of this movie is missing, but it's still worth watching. It was shot outdoors -- the careful observer can see the line on the ground which defines the limits of the "stage"; outside that, the sound equipment could not pick up the voices. Even within its limits, the actors all but shout to make themselves clearly heard, and once in the frame, no of them move much while talking.

The limits of the new technology had forced the film makers back about ten years in terms of cinematic language. That was but one of the reasons why the Kinetophone was a flash in the pan. It would take more than a decade for recording and theatrical amplification to overcome the problems that sound films posed.




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