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.
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:
- Early Installment Weirdness: Given it was the first film ever made, it is this to cinema as a whole. There is no story or narrative, no characterization, no acting, no color, no attempt at film language, no special effects, it's shot at 12 rather than 24 frames per second, and the film is only two seconds long.
- Exactly What It Says on the Tin: It's a scene in Roundhay Garden.
- The Gay '90s: Filmed right at the beginning of these times.
- Gender-Equal Ensemble: Two men, two women.
- Minimalist Cast: Only four people are seen, none of whom are given names or characterization.
- Mohs Scale of Violence Hardness: A firm 0 on the scale.
- 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!
- Public Domain: The copyright has expired.
- Reality Has No Soundtrack: The film has no sound at all, as it was made long before sound on film was invented.
- Short Film: It's only two seconds long.
- Slice of Life: The film features people walking around in a garden.
- Sliding Scale of Idealism vs. Cynicism: What little we do see seems to land on the idealistic end of it.