Film: Roundhay Garden Scene
This very short clip is perhaps only noteworthy for being the oldest surviving film. French inventor Louis Le Prince shot this at the home of his parents-in-law, Joseph and Sarah Whitley, on October 14, 1888. The Whitleys appear in the film, along with Adolphe LePrince (Louis' son) and Harriet Hartley.Can be viewed here or here.On a sadder note, Sarah Whitley died only 10 days after the film was made and Louis Le Prince mysteriously disappeared from a train in 1890. Le Prince's body and luggage were never found, but, over a century later, a police archive was found to contain a photograph of a drowned man who could have been him. His disappearance allowed Thomas Edison to take the credit for the invention of motion pictures, but he has been heralded as 'The Father of Cinematography', in current times.Shot at 12 fps, playback at modern speeds of 24.64 fps gives a runtime of 2.11 seconds, almost making this work too short to include any tropes.
The tropes it does manage to have:
- La Belle Epoque: Filmed right at the beginning of these times.
- Deliberately Monochrome: The images are in black-and-white, since color film did not yet exist.
- Epic Movie: The fact that it's one of the earliest films ever is epic enough. A rare inversion that does not qualify as a B-Movie.
- Exactly What It Says on the Tin: It's a scene in Roundhay Garden.
- Follow the Leader: This successful experiment would lead to more attempts to make movies.
- Minimalist Cast: Only four people are seen.
- Mundane Made Awesome: It's just some people in a garden and it's only two seconds long, but it's the oldest surviving movie in existence, which makes it enormously fascinating!
- No Plot? No Problem!: It was just an experiment to see whether the movie camera worked and it did!
- The Pre Hollywood Era: There wasn't even a film industry yet!
- Public Domain: The copyright has expired.
- Short Film: It's only two seconds long.
- Silence Is Golden: Since movies with sound were impossible at that time.
- Slice of Life: The film features people walking around in a garden.
- The Tropeless Tale: Closest possible. Wait, that makes a trope itself.
- Ur-Example: Where to start? It's the first movie, the first amateur movie, the first black-and-white movie, the first Silent Movie, the first Short Film, the first documentary, the first film with a Minimalist Cast, ...