Le charcuterie mecanique (1895)

aka The Mechanical Butcher
Article 3500 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 2-17-2011
Posting Date: 3-15-2011
Directed by Louis Lumiere
Cast unknown
Country: France
What it is: Early science fiction

A pig is fed into a machine and pork products come out the other side.

One of the first names you’ll encounter in any comprehensive history of film is that of the Lumiere brothers, whose filmed snippets of everyday life were the the very first movies ever made. Most were plotless, and did little more than capture everyday events; people walking out of a factory, babies being fed, children playing, men at work…that sort of thing. I do remember reading somewhere that these films weren’t always quite as spontaneous as they seemed; the action was sometimes rehearsed to make for an interesting visual sensation. A few were obviously contrived; there’s one involving a prank with a hose that was obviously being acted, and in this one, the machine in question is obviously made up. This is the first science fiction movie, and, unless the machine counts (it’s a box with a spinning wheel in back), there’s no special effects; they put a pig in one end and pull out pork products from the other, all in one take. Oddly enough, there would be a trend of similar films, usually involving dogs being turned to sausages. This is now officially the earliest film I’ve seen for this series.

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