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Life of an American Fireman is a short, silent film running approximately 5:30 made by Edwin S. Porter for the Edison Manufacturing Company. Shot in 1902 and released 1903, Porter’s Fireman is one of the earliest American narrative films, telling the story of the rescue of a woman and child from a burning building. Porter creates a continuous narrative over seven scenes using a total of nine shots. The film was considered important for its ground-breaking editing style, thought to be the earliest example of cross-cutting, notably during the final scenes of the rescue of the woman and child, and Porter was hailed as the innovator of this editing language. Later research by the paper print project at the Library of Congress suggested that the cross-cut version was re-edited at some unspecified time after the film’s 1903 release, and that in its original form it used few, if any, of the pioneering edits claimed. Charles Musser, the super-cool historian of the silent era, has chronicled the history of this controversy in his book Before the Nickelodeon and concluded that the paper-print version containing the repetitive action was the one released in 1903. While the cross-cutting construction of time and space was not invented by Porter, he did further use and develop it in his more famous film of 1903, The Great Train Robbery.
Filmakr Preset Porter’s Fireman Cocktail
FILTER SET: Black and White
FILTER: Paper Moon
FILM LOOK: Small Vignette 50%, 16mm Film Grain 50%
ASPECT RATIO MASK: None. HD 16:19
SPEED: 3-Frame-Strobe Motion, 24 fps
TITLE FONT: Superclarendon
INTRO: 2 Title Clips
OUTRO: 1 Title Clip
FORMAT: 720p, 24 fps