The Jaw-Dropping Showcase Of Cinema At the 1900 Paris Exposition

If I had a time machine and a list of events I’d like to witness, the 1900 Paris Exposition just might be in the top ten. (Or at least the top 25..there’s a lot of things I’d like to see!) If you haven’t heard of it, it was…well…just look at this:

:-O

As I took in the wonders of that fabulous Art Nouveau architecture–dressed in a lovely Parisian summer frock and my best hat, of course–I’d hightail it straight to the Festival Hall. For this is where the Lumières had an exhibit demonstrating moving pictures. On a 70-foot wide screen suspended in that vast, beautiful hall. Yes, a screen of that size in the year 1900! For whatever reason, this momentous occasion has practically been forgotten by history–you’re lucky to even find a picture of it.

I found one! (From Emmanuelle Toulet’s book Birth of the Motion Picture.)
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Obscure Films: “The Merry Skeleton” (1898)

The Merry Skeleton (S) (1898) - Filmaffinity

It’s less than minute long, was filmed over 120 years ago and simply shows a dancing skeleton who keeps falling to pieces and magically reassembling itself. Silent film fans, any guesses about the director?

Georges Méliès - Wikipedia
“…Duh?”

Nope! It would actually be these staid gentlemen:

Auguste and Louis Lumière - Wikipedia
“…Oh.”

Who probably never pictured themselves being part of a Halloween-themed month, gravitating more towards the documentation of departing factory workers, arriving trains and the like. But they filmed a skeleton, and skeletons are great Halloween decorations, so if you ask me that counts.

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