Eyewitness Reports First Major Movie The Great Train Robbery Part 3

An eyewitness account of the the first major movie The Great Train Robbery.

The First Major Movie--

The Great Train Robbery

Eyewitness Report: In 1903, the art of movie reviewing hadn't even begun to develop. What notices were printed were mainly synopses of the film. This short "review" appeared in the Philadelphia Inquirer of June 26, 1904:

"The Great Train Robbery has proved a 'thriller' in nearly all the larger cities of the United States....

"The picture play begins with a view in the lonesome telegraph station, in which an operator, receiving train orders, is overcome, bound hand and foot, gagged and left unconscious on the floor by the desperadoes; proceeds with the capture of the train, murder of the fireman, killing of the express messenger, blowing open the safe, holdup of the passengers, and shooting of one who attempts to escape; and winds up with a horseback ride through the mountains with the bags of booty, a wild weird dance in a log cabin, pursuit by the sheriff's posse and the death of all the robbers.

"There is a great amount of shooting. The smoke of the pistols is plainly seen, and men drop dead right and left, but no sound is heard. Nevertheless, while witnessing the exhibition, women put their fingers in their ears to shut out the noise of firing.

"...The desperadoes are a tough-looking lot. The horses look like some of Colonel Cody's broncos. They dash through the [mountains] with the surefootedness of burros. The men are good riders. In the pursuit by the sheriff one is shot in the back as he dashes madly downhill, and the way in which he tumbles from his horse and strikes the ground leaves the spectator wondering if he is not a dummy, for it does not seem possible that a man could take such a fall and live."

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