THE HOUSE THAT JACK BUILT (1900)
Article 4884 by Dave Sindelar
Directed by George Albert Smith
Featuring Dorothy Smith and Harold Smith
What it is: Simple trick short
A little girl builds a house with blocks, but becomes upset when her brother knocks it down piece by piece. However, thanks to the magic of reverse motion, all is made well.
This is a very simple trick short illustrating the effect of running footage in reverse. We see the house being knocked down, and then it rebuilds itself when the footage is reversed. As such, the action is well-suited to demonstrate the technique, and the house rebuilding itself does look like magic, hence its fantastic content. The short runs about thirty seconds long. Yes, it looks primitive nowadays, but it’s fun to imagine what it must have been like in the early days of cinema to discover these tricks and techniques.