Sunday, April 10, 2011

The Land Beyond The Sunset (1912)

I'm racing along trying to finish Part Five of my essay covering the years 1906-1914, which I absolutely must post by tomorrow so I can post my essay about The Birth of a Nation on the 150th anniversary of the beginning of the American Civil War, which is Tuesday, in case you didn't know.

In the meantime, here's another short I think you should see, which unfortunately I'm only otherwise going to mention in passing. The Land Beyond The Sunset, written by Dorothy G. Shore and directed by Harold Shaw, is a touching tragedy that goes right to the heart of what storytelling is all about. It also boasts a couple of film techniques common today but nearly unheard of in 1912—the lap dissolve, which is where the end of one scene fades out as the next scene fades in; and the double exposure to show a character's thoughts.

At the time, these effects had to be created in the camera, by filming a scene then cranking the film back and double exposing it. The lap dissolve was especially difficult because the cameraman had to gradually close down the lens to create the fading out effect, and gradually open it up to fade in. And of course no one would know until the film was developed whether the effect had been successful.

Land Beyond the Sunset, The (1912)
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