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The Great Train Robbery (1903 film)

The Great Train Robbery is a 1903 American silent short western film written and directed by Edwin S. Porter, a former Edison Studios cameraman. Actors in the movie included Alfred C. Abadie, Broncho Billy Anderson and Justus D. Barnes, it was filmed in New Jersey. The film was inspired by Scott Marble's 1896 stage play, may have been inspired by a 1900 train robbery perpetrated by Butch Cassidy. At twelve minutes long, The Great Train Robbery film is considered a milestone in film making, expanding on Porter's previous work Life of an American Fireman; the film used a number of then-unconventional techniques, including composite editing, on-location shooting, frequent camera movement. The film is one of the earliest to use the technique of cross cutting, in which two scenes are shown to be occurring but in different locations; some prints were hand colored in certain scenes. Techniques used in The Great Train Robbery were inspired by those used in Frank Mottershaw's British film A Daring Daylight Burglary, released earlier in the year.

Film historians now consider The Great Train Robbery to be the first American action film and the first Western film with a "recognizable form," although it post-dates the British short Kidnapping by Indians by several years. In 1990, The Great Train Robbery was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally or aesthetically significant"; the film opens with two bandits breaking into a railroad telegraph office, where they force the operator at gunpoint to have a train stopped and to transmit orders for the engineer to fill the locomotive's tender at the station's water tank. They knock the operator out and tie him up; as the train stops it is boarded by the bandits‍—‌now four. Two bandits kill a messenger and open a box of valuables with dynamite; the bandits force the passengers off the train and rifle them for their belongings. One passenger tries to escape but is shot down. Carrying their loot, the bandits escape in the locomotive stopping in a valley where their horses had been left.

Meanwhile, back in the telegraph office, the bound operator awakens. His daughter arrives bringing him his meal and cuts him free, restores him to consciousness by dousing him with water. There is some comic relief at a dance hall, where an Eastern stranger is forced to dance while the locals fire at his feet; the door opens and the telegraph operator rushes in to tell them of the robbery. The men form a posse, which overtakes the bandits, in a final shootout kills them all and recovers the stolen mail. An additional scene of the film presents a medium close-up of the leader of the bandits, played by Justus D. Barnes, who empties his pistol point-blank directly into the camera; the scene is not directly related to anything in the main narrative, is described as "Realism" by the accompanying letter from Edison Manufacturing. Although it is placed at the end, Porter stated that the scene could appear at the beginning of the film; the media historian James Chapman observed that the sequence may have inspired the gun barrel sequence from the James Bond films.

Porter's film was shot at the Edison studios in New York City, on location in New Jersey at the South Mountain Reservation, part of the modern Essex County Park system, as well as along the Delaware and Western Railroad. Filmed during November 1903, the picture was advertised as available for sale to distributors in December of that same year. Though shot in black and white, certain sections of print were hand-colored. Porter, making and projecting films for Edison since 1896, attempted to incorporate the latest trends in film editing and photography in The Great Train Robbery. Most films of the time sought to replicate the perspective of someone viewing a play from the best seats in a theater; as a result, scenes were exclusively shot directly and at eye-level with a static camera. Porter's camerawork was much more dynamic and fluid, riding on the top of a train and panning through a forest; this gave the film a realistic feel than audiences were accustomed to. Porter incorporated stop-motion photography, matte shots, painted-in coloring to make the film.

The Great Train Robbery had its official debut at Huber's Museum in New York City before being exhibited at eleven theaters elsewhere in the city. In advertising for the film, Edison agents touted the film as "...absolutely the superior of any moving picture made" as well as a "...faithful imitation of the genuine'Hold Ups' made famous by various outlaw bands in the far West..."The film's budget was an estimated $150, equal to $4268 today. Upon its release, The Great Train Robbery became a massive success and is considered one of the first Western films, it is considered one of the first blockbusters and was one of the most popular films of the silent era until the release of The Birth of a Nation in 1915. The success of The Great Train Robbery inspired several similar films; the first was a remake of the same name directed by Siegmund Lubin. It has been called the first film remake (at the time, copyright protection for motion pictures was murky and illegally copied prints and unauthorized remakes abounded.

It wasn't until the 1912 Townsend Amendment to the Copyright Act of 1909 that motion pictures

Gustave Huberdeau

Gustave Huberdeau was a French operatic bass-baritone who had a prolific career in Europe and the United States during the first quarter of the twentieth century. He sang a wide repertoire encompassing material from French composers like Gounod and Massenet to the Italian grand operas of Verdi, the verismo operas of Mascagni, the German operas of Richard Wagner and Richard Strauss, he sang in numerous premieres during his 30-year career, including the original production of Puccini's La rondine in 1917. Although possessing a rich and warm voice, Huberdeau had a talent for comedic portrayals which made him a favorite casting choice in secondary comedic roles as well as leading roles. After retiring from opera in 1927, Huberdeau remained active as a performer in stage plays and in French cinema throughout the 1930s. Huberdeau was born in Paris, studied at the Paris Conservatoire and made his professional opera début at the Opéra-Comique in 1898, he sang in smaller roles with that theater over the next ten years, which included a number of secondary roles in premières such as Charpentier's Louise, Camille Erlanger's Le Juif polonais, Massenet’s Grisélidis, Reynaldo Hahn's La Carmélite, Henri Rabaud's La fille de Roland, Guillaume in André Messager's Fortunio.

In 1908 he joined the roster of Oscar Hammerstein I's Manhattan Opera Company in New York City where he periodically sang leading roles over the next three years. He notably portrayed the Devil in the American première of Grisélidis and sang Orestes in the American première of Elektra. However, Hammerstein employed Huberdeau more in productions with the Philadelphia Opera Company with which he was active between 1909 and 1910. In 1911 Huberdeau became a member of the Chicago Grand Opera Company, remaining with that company until it closed in 1914, he appeared in several notable productions with the company including the American premiere of Wilhelm Kienzl's Der Kuhreigen and the world premiere of Victor Herbert's Natoma. In 1914 he debuted at England's Royal Opera as a visiting artist, where he sang Méphistophélès from Gounod's Faust; that same year he returned to France and served in the First World War in the French army. After being honorably discharged in 1917, Huberdeau joined the Chicago Opera Association where he sang leading roles until 1920.

He notably sang in the world premiere of Sylvio Lazzari's Le Sautériot, the American premiere of Henry Février's Gismonda, the world premiere of Reginald De Koven's Rip Van Winkle. In 1917 Huberdeau sang the role of Rambaldo Fernandez in the original production of Puccini's La rondine with Opéra de Monte-Carlo. In 1919–1920 he sang with the Beecham Opera in London where he appeared as Méphistophélès, Le Comte des Grieux in Massenet's Manon, Ramfis in Verdi's Aida, Colline in La Bohème, he periodically returned to Covent Garden appearing as Arkel and the Father in the British première of Pietro Mascagni’s Iris among other roles. In 1921 Huberdeau returned to France where he continued to sing throughout the 1920s in such cities as Paris, Monte Carlo and Brussels, he sang a wide repertory, which included everything from lead roles to character roles to mute roles. In 1922 he sang in the world premiere of Massenet's Amadis. In 1924 he left France for one year to perform in a number of productions in Amsterdam which included Zuniga in Bizet's Carmen and Golaud in the Dutch premiere of Debussy's Pelléas et Mélisande.

In 1927, Huberdeau sang his last season in Monte Carlo, which included a portrayal of Hunding in Wagner's Die Walküre. After his opera career ended, Huberdeau continued to perform as an actor on the stage in spoken plays and in French films, his first film role was in the 1931 movie Ronny. His other film appearances include Boule de gomme, Le Million, Mistigri, La Dame de chez Maxim's, Prisonnier de mon coeur, Georges et Georgette, Les Nuits moscovites, Tarass Boulba, À Venise, une nuit. With the outbreak of World War II, Huberdeau's acting career ended, he died in Paris in 1945. Huberdeau was among the first generation of musicians to be recorded, he recorded only a few arias around 1910 on Edison cylinder. His recordings show a sturdy voice, somewhat dry in quality given the limited technology of day. J. B. Steane: "Gustave Huberdeau", Grove Music Online ed. L. Macy, Leo. A concise biographical dictionary of singers. Chilton Book Co. Gustave Huberdeau biography from Operissimo.com Gustave Huberdeau on IMDb "Artists in the War", New York Times article of 19 September 1914 mistakenly reporting Huberdeau's death on the World War I battlefields along with two other French opera singers Léon Rothier and Armand Crabbé.

All of them had in fact survived. Rothier died in 1951 and Crabbé in 1947

Dick Duckfield

Richard George Duckfield was a Welsh cricketer who played first-class cricket for Glamorgan between 1930 and 1938 as a right-hand bat. Successful between 1932 and 1938, Duckfield held for a time the record high score for any Glamorgan player – 280 against Surrey, he retired from the game in 1938 after a loss of confidence in his own fielding, having scored 7,000 runs. Born in Maesteg part of Glamorgan but now lying within Bridgend County Borough, Duckfield began as a player for various local invitational XIs as well as for Maesteg Town cricket club in 1925, Glamorgan Club and Ground from 1926. From 1930 he began to feature for Glamorgan in the County Championship, by 1932 he had established himself with Glamorgan and scored 1,000 runs over one season for the first time, as well as his first century against Middlesex, he would go on to score 7,000 runs for them and for the invitational'Players' Eleven – his century during a Gentlemen v Players match drew many plaudits from Wisden in 1934. His career-high score of 280 not out, made against Surrey in 1936, was for a time the record high score for Glamorgan.

However by 1938 a loss of confidence in the field led to his retirement from the game. Glamorgan historian Dr. A. K. Hignell noted that "he started to doubt his ability in the field and found it difficult to either catch a ball in the air or field a ball running along the ground; as this preyed on his mind, Duckfield lost his place in the county's side." Dick Duckfield at ESPNcricinfo Dick Duckfield at CricketArchive