The Great Train Robbery Silent Film Analysis Essay

1252 Words Nov 17th, 2012 6 Pages
The Great Train Robbery was one of the earliest silent films, made in 1903. The film begins with two masked robbers bursting into a railroad station office, and binding and gagging the railway dispatcher. From the very beginning The Great Train Robbery is off to a dramatic start. It instantly engages the viewer. A person viewing this film for the first time in 1903 would have been hooked from the start. The film is about twelve minutes long and has a fully developed narrative and distinguishable character types: robbers, posse members, railway workers and supporting characters.
The robbers’ motives are obvious from the start. After forcing the dispatcher to give a false note to the conductor, the dispatcher is knocked out and, the
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The robbers then make their escape to the locomotive at the front of the train. Of the whole film this scene was the dullest excluding of course the man being shot in the back. The whole scene seemed too take too long and felt as though it could have been shortened. By 1903 standards though, it might have added suspense and tension as the audience waited to see what would happen next.
Farther along on the tracks, the four robbers force the engineer to stop the locomotive. They jump from the train and escape down the side of a hill. The robbers run through a valley and cross a narrow stream. This scene was filmed outdoors and makes the movie that much more realistic. The camera slowly pans to the left where they mount their tethered, horses and ride off into the wilderness.
The film then cuts to the railroad office from the beginning of the film. A young girl enters, her dress is tinted purple, to find the railway dispatcher bound and gagged. After she throws a glass of water in his face he wakes up and gets to his feet. The film then cuts to an interior of a Western dance hall. Couples are in the middle of a square dance while others watch standing against a wall. Some of the ladies' dresses are tinted yellow and red. One male dancer is pushed to the center of the floor and forced to do a jig. Bystanders are amused and shoot their six-shooters at his feet, the shots leave small clouds of colored smoke, to make him dance faster. This scene has been copied many

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