Electric Tram Rides from Forster Square, Bradford (1902) is a classical film that shows the architectural revolution in the Bradford city. The film was successful in the exhibiting of “display” which is one of the major traits or elements of early cinema. As the movie begins, there is a scene of men wearing knee-length black coats. They talk to a group of ladies dressed in smart trench coats before they hurriedly move back for them to be filmed again.
Tom Gunning mentions that display is an important aspect that characterized the early cinema. This trait involves the movie director focusing more on showing the movie stars alongside the nature and other objects and activities around them when shooting the film (Gunning, 1989). It is a feature that is in contrast with storytelling because it ensures that the audiences see more and hear less. The audience learns the story or the message of the film by looking at the various things shown in the video.
The film Electric Tram Rides from Forster Square, Bradford (1902) was released a few years after the industrial revolution began. Two film directors of the Mitchell and Kenyon operatives successfully incorporated the display trait of early cinema by filming the street and showing the activities the audience were involved in as well as the poor living conditions they faced. They walk on the streets and encourage audiences to react or perform in front of the camera. In one instance Just as the film begins the directors are seen encouraging a group of ladies to walk back past the electric tram so that they can be filmed with it. This gives an opportunity for the viewer to see how the people at the time interacted with the industrial revolution as well as the new developments it brought along with it.
This trait is also successfully incorporated in this film by capturing the houses on the other side of the fence along the street that the film was taken. This feature helps the audience to see the creativity, art and architectural designs of the time the film was shot. The directors do all the planning and staging of activities and images. They walk in front of the camera and encourage people to pose so that they can be filmed.
Another important feature of the early cinemas is the aspect or element of narrative. This is the feature that allows a film to tell a story thus making it more attractive and interesting. Narration, when incorporated in the early films, sparked the interest of the audience. It made the audience come up with questions. The audience would, therefore, continue watching the film with the hope that the parts to follow will answer his or her questions. This aspect has not been successfully exhibited in this movie. Consequently, the film seems to be boring. It makes the film not to invoke the spectator’s or viewer’s interest into watching it (Gunning, 1989).
Gunning, T. (1989). ” Primitive” Cinema: A Frame-up? Or the Tricks on Us. Cinema Journal, 28(2), 3-12.