There was really only one choice for 1902. Put it this way… the movie Hugo is basically a love letter to this film. This is a movie that came within about twenty feet of Best Picture, and the reason it exists (well… the reason the book the movie is based on exists) is because of this movie. Essentially.
And it’s iconic and all of that. You can’t make it out of a film history class without seeing this image. Hell, you probably can’t make it through life without seeing this image. (Because if you’ve seen The Honeymooners… they got that from this.) I knew this image from when I was like, 8, or something. I got a puzzle of all famous movie people and images and stuff, and right at the top was this.
So, if you’re going to talk about the early silent era, that is, pre-1908, you’re going to come up with about four or five names. Edison, Lumiere, William K.L. Dickson, and Georges Méliès are the immediate four that you will always come up with. The others are important, but not as important as these four. Plus, given what little survives of this era, I’m pretty sure at least 80% of all surviving films from 1895-1903 are entirely Edison, Lumiere or Melies films. It’s astounding how many Melies movies have survived. I must have seen at least fifty of this dude’s films. (more…)