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Film / Star Theatre

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Star Theatre, aka Demolishing and Building up the Star Theatre, is a 1901 short film (two minutes!) directed by F.S. Armitage.

This early film shows the demolition of a theater in New York. The Star Theater at 844 Broadway had been one of New York's leading playhouses since 1861. When it came time to tear the theater down, Armitage placed a camera at a fixed location about a half a block away. Over a period of thirty days, he photographed the complete demolition of the theater. This film is one of the earliest ever uses of Time Lapse photography.

The site is currently occupied by an apartment building.



  • Book Ends: Some versions of the film have the footage rewound, so that the theater reassembles itself. (The Lumiere Brothers had previously done something similar, but that was only with a single wall.)
  • No Plot? No Problem!: As with many films taken at the dawn of filmmaking, there's no attempt at a story.
  • The Oner: The camera appears to have been set up at a fixed external location, possibly the Biograph office in New York.
  • Time Lapse: Trope Maker, although the Ur-Example is believed to be an 1897 Georges Méliès film called Carrefour de l'opera. Exposures were taken at a rate of one every four minutes.