A short guide to filmic firsts
Number 1. Numero uno. #1. No matter how you say it, having the word ‘’first’’ tied to your name indicates success, and film firsts are no exception.
Legendary British filmmaker Alfred Hitchcock had many ‘firsts’ in his six decade career as he mastered the art of suspense and psychological thriller. Directing more than fifty films, Hitchcock’s distinctive directorial style is regarded as one of the best in history.
Much anticipated film Hitchcock (trailer HERE) looks at the director’s life during the making of controversial yet renowned horror film, Psycho. Check out these famous film firsts that are known for much more than being number 1.
The First Film in the US - Monkeyshines No.1 (1889-1890)
Let’s start at the beginning, sometime between 1889-1890, no one is quite sure of the exact date. We are more certain however, that Monkeyshines No.1 was the first film shot in the U.S. Historians think it was filmed purely for the use of a camera test and never intended for commercial use. Despite some questions, it is widely believed that Monkeyshines was in fact the first movie shot with a continuous strip of film. The rest is cinematic history.
First Montage Film - Battleship Potemkin (1925)
Through an absence of words, Sergei Eisenstein’s Battleship Potemkin dramatizes the 1905 mutiny and police massacre that ensued as Russian battleship crewmembers protested against the Tsarist regime. The technique of montage was used for the first time, as a group of short shots were edited to appear in sequential order on screen. This use of montage known in film editing today as ‘‘cutting’’ led to Battleship Potemkin being named the ‘‘greatest film of all time’’ at the 1958 Brussels World’s Fair.
First Feature Length Talkie - The Jazz Singer (1927)
As moviegoers grew tired of seeing films without dialogue, American musical The Jazz Singer provided relief as the first feature length film with sound, commonly referred to today as ‘‘talkies.’’ American singer Al Jolson leads as Jack Robin, the son of a Jewish cantor who defiantly leaves home to chase his dream of becoming a jazz singer. The Jazz Singer breaks the silence for all films to come. Need I say more?
First Colour Film - Becky Sharp (1935)
Based on the novel Vanity Fair, historical drama Becky Sharp is best known for its use of Technicolor tri-strip production, creating the first colour film before our eyes. Miriam Hopkins stars as Becky Sharp herself, as she attempts to become part of an upper class family, at the expense of leaving her lower class show biz family behind. Becky Sharp proves that life really is better in colour.
First Flushing Toilet on Screen - Psycho (1960)
There are a great many firsts in Alfred Hitchcock's suspense masterpiece 'Psycho' but revealing them here would ruin the surprises of the narrative. However, one which won't give anything anyway is an interesting little bit of film trivia - 'Psycho' shows the first instance of a real toilet being flushed on mainstream American screens!
The First in Series - Dr. No (1962)-The First James Bond
"Shaken, not stirred." Why yes, we are talking about "Bond, James Bond." Dr. No introduced viewers to the original and arguably best incarnation of Bond throughout its 23 films, Sean Connery. Dr. No marks the first British spy film in which 007 is dispatched to Jamaica to investigate the death of a fellow agent. This was of course the first of Ian Fleming’s novels to be transformed into a movie ('Casino Royale' was made into a seldom seen one-hour TV special a decade previous), leading to a successful series of 23 films. Viewers entered the world of Bond, from his nightly rendezvous with the infamous 'Bond girls' to his notorious cars and weaponry. More than fifty years later, The James Bond series continues today and is heralded as the longest-running continuous film franchise, revealing its timeless nature. It certainly wasn't the first franchise but it's the most enduring.
First Summer Blockbuster - Jaws (1975)
Directed by legend Steven Spielberg, Jaws reigns as not only one of the greatest films of all time, but as a film that is famous for producing many firsts. Following two shark attacks in resort town Amity Island, a marine biologist, professional shark hunter and the local police chief team up to purse the mysterious shark’s demise. Truly a moment in motion picture history, this horror thriller set the stage for films to be deemed as a ‘‘Blockbuster.’’ This was also the first time a motion picture was widely released across the U.S. after heavy promotion through TV advertising, creating the modern Hollywood business model used today. Upon its release, Jaws was the highest grossing film at the time and remains the prototypical blockbuster hit.
Hitchcock (2012) - First Biographical Film about Alfred Hitchcock
Since his death in 1980, the Hitchcock style continues to be adopted and evolved by many in the industry today. One such tribute is seen in upcoming film Hitchcock, which examines the director’s relationship with wife Alma Reville during the making of controversial yet renowned horror film, Psycho. Watch the trailer for Hitchcock HERE!
Be sure to catch the thrill and suspense when Hitchcock comes to cinemas 8 February.
Other film news
To celebrate the release of Deepwater Horizon, based on the true story of the devastating 2010 incident and starring Mark Wahlberg, Kate Hudson, Dylan OâBrien, Gina Rodriguez, Kurt Russell and John Malkovich, weâve taken a look at some of the greatest true stories ever told on film.
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Saul Bass: 20 Iconic Film Posters book review
By Jennifer Bass and Pat Kirkham
Laurence King Publishing
September 2016, Â£19.95
You know when you're looking at a Saul Bass design (or someone ripping him off). The deceptively simple style, the direct focus, the twisted shapes, the solid colours, the striking fonts, the fact that you've been staring at it for way too long as the story within creeps out to greet you... Yes, this is the work of a master.
Starring Kevin Conroy and Mark Hamill, Batman: The Killing Joke arrives on Blu-rayTM, DVD & Steelbook on August 8, is available on EST from July 26 and comes to Vue Cinemas for one night only July 25.
Tale of Tales tells the story of a bitter quest of a Queen, two mysterious sisters who provoke the passion of a king, and a King that marries his daughter off to an ogre. These tales are inspired by the fairytales by Giambattista Basile and stars Salma Hayek, John C. Reilly, Vincent Cassell, and Toby Jones
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Fargo: Year 2 is out now on Digital HD and on DVD from 25th April, courtesy of Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment. To celebrate the release, we've got an exclusive "Dancing" scene clip from the brilliantly thrilling and darkly funny offshoot of the Coen Brothers' Oscar winning film classic.
JASON BOURNE sees original actor and director, Matt Damon and Paul Greengrass, return to the iconic series they created along with Alicia Vikander, Julia Stiles, Vincent Cassel and Tommy Lee Jones. Check out the first official, full length trailer here!
JOY is available on Digital HD, Blu-rayâ¢ and DVD from April 25, courtesy of Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment. To celebrate the release, we reveal the most famous female inventions in entrepreneurial history!
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, is the first film in the new series of standalone Star Wars movies from Lucasfilm. It tells the story of how a group of unlikely heroes unite to undertake a daring and seemingly impossible mission to steal the plans for the Death Star.
Her latest role in Welcome to Me sees her as Alice, an extraordinary woman who after winning the lottery, buys her own TV talk show to broadcast her dirty laundry as both a form of exhibitionism and a platform to share her peculiar views on everything from nutrition to relationships to neutering pets. As her national audience rapidly grows, her family, friends and colleagues all become increasingly entangled in Alice's show.
To celebrate the release of Black Mass on Blu-ray and DVD on March 21st and on Digital HD March 19, we take a look at a selection of films based on crime stories.
Love triangles are the stuff of Hollywood legend, with many a classic film basing its premise on the agonising choice between two very different lovers. The wonderfully romantic BROOKLYNperfectly portrays the dilemma of choosing between two futures, with standout performances from the three young leads (Saoirse Ronan, Emory Cohen and Domhnall Gleeson) â so, to celebrate its release on EST, Blu-ray and DVD on the 29thFeb, weâre taking a look at some of the other greatest love triangles on film...
His latest performance as the shady Columbian operative known only as Alejandro in SICARIO (out on Blu-ray, DVD and digital platforms NOW) is nominated for a Supporting Actor BAFTA, yet controversially snubbed by the Academy this year amongst a number of non-white omissions. Never mind the Academy, letâs take a look at some of Del Toroâs most impressive performances to date...
In celebration of Sicario being released on Blue-ray, DVD, and digital platforms from February 1st, 2016 courtesy of Lionsgate Home Entertainment we honour Benicio Del Toroâs performance as the ethically questionable Alejandro by examining other characters that fall into the realm of moral ambiguity...
A man of many talents, Antonio Banderas is best known for his suave Hispanic charm. From his early collaborations with acclaimed Spanish filmmaker Pedro AlmodÃ³var, Banderas then broke into Hollywood in the early 1990s despite at first having to learn his lines phonetically. After a string of small but strong performances in the likes of Philadelphia and Interview With A Vampire, he began to be cast in starring roles that demonstrated his incredible skill-set and made him one of the most unique actors in the world.