The Whole Dam Family and The Dam Dog is a popular fad which has been widely advertised by lithographs and souvenir mailing cards, and has recently been made the subject of a sketch in a New York Vaudeville Theatre. The Edison Manufacturing Co., with their usual up-to-date methods, have illustrated this popular subject in a most novel and original way in Motion Pictures. The picture opens with a close view of the individual members of the family. Each goes through a very amusing performance. Mr. I.B. Dam is seized with a severe fit of sneezing. Herself relieves her mind through woman’s sole weapon. Jimmy Dam shows how a cigarette should be smoked. Miss U.B. Dam is very proud of the marcel wave in her hair. Annie Dam, in a large picture hat, tries to look very shy and demure. Lizzie Dam chews gum in a most artistic manner. Baby Dam gives a sample of his ability at crying. A family group is seated at dinner… —IMDb
Preeminent figure among early American filmmakers and one of the first to use techniques such as closeups and intercutting for narrative purposes. Porter was a projectionist, inventor and entrepreneur before starting work in 1900 for the Edison company, where he was soon promoted to head of film production. By 1901 he was making multi-shot films such as “The Execution of Czolgosz”, a drama about the execution of US President McKinley’s assassin which juxtaposed documentary footage of the prison with a staged dramatization of the execution itself.
Porter’s first major achievement was “The Life of an American Fireman” (1902), usually considered a landmark work thanks to its sophisticated editing techniques. The film cuts back and forth between the interior and exterior of a burning building in order to heighten dramatic effect, and is thus frequently cited as the first American use of editing in order to “drive” a narrative. (An alternative print of the film was recently discovered… read more