Hyde Park Corner (partially found early celluloid actuality film; 1889)
Hyde Park Corner (also known as Leisurely Pedestrians, Open Topped Buses and Hansom Cabs with Trotting Horses) is an 1889 silent actuality film produced by inventor and film pioneer William Friese-Greene. The film depicts life at Hyde Park Corner in London. Hyde Park Corner is claimed to be the first film set in London, as well as the first to be filmed on celluloid.
Background[edit | edit source]
In 1888, photographer William Friese-Greene began experimenting with celluloid. Prior to that, photographic materials often utilized glass plates. While paper with photographic chemicals was used, these proved unpopular compared to glass plates. However, celluloid, which had existed since the 1850s, began to receive traction upon the invention of flexible film, and was beginning to be viewed as an alternative to glass plates. Friese-Greene's experiments led to him inventing and patenting the chronophotographic camera in 1889. The camera utilized celluloid film, and with it could take ten photographs per second.
Friese-Greene's experiments led him to take several photographs of Apsley Gate's surroundings near Hyde Park Corner, which were used for the film. Exactly when he took the photographs is disputed; The Royal Parks and Stuff About London claimed he did so in January 1889. However, Science Museum Group states he took the photographs in October that same year. Regardless, the film was completed in 1889, and was first shown to a public audience at Chester Town Hall in July 1890. While the film is not the first to ever be made, with Louis Le Prince's Roundhay Garden Scene being recorded in 1888, it is claimed to be the first celluloid film in existence as well as presenting the first moving pictures in London.
Ultimately, Hyde Park Corner was not positively received in 1890. Since flickering imagery can only be perceived by the human brain as one fluid moving frame from about 16 frames per second, the low 10 frames per second of the chronophotographic camera were deemed to be the cause of the underwhelming audience reaction. Additionally, some film historians dispute the time frame of the film's recording, claiming that these projections could not have been possible during this time period.
Availability[edit | edit source]
Hyde Park Corner is now considered a lost film. Some people have uploaded videos of what they claim to be Leisurely Pedestrians, Open Topped Buses and Hansom Cabs with Trotting Horses, but ultimately these are reuploads of 1896 film Piccadilly Circus. Nevertheless, some film frames may have resurfaced as part of the Jonathan Silent Film Collection. These include six images from an original paper strip sequence. They depict a man and a child walking in Hyde Park, with what appears to be Marble Arch in the background. According to Friese-Greene in The Moving Picture News, his cousin Alfred Carter and his three-year-old son Bert are the individuals in question. As of now, the photos are the only known possible remnants of the film. According to How & Why Bumper Wonder Book No. 2, Friese-Greene also filmed horse riders at Hyde Park during the same time period. However, no remnants of these frames have resurfaced.
Gallery[edit | edit source]
Video[edit | edit source]
External Links[edit | edit source]
- IMDB page for Hyde Park Corner.
- IMDB page for Leisurely Pedestrians, Open Topped Buses and Hansom Cabs with Trotting Horses. Based on the descriptions of both IMDB pages, it can be assumed that both descriptions are discussing the same film.
References[edit | edit source]
- Daniel Slack DSU blog post discussing Hyde Park Corner and the story behind celluloid film. Retrieved 01 May '21
- Royals Parks, which claimed filming took place in January 1889. Retrieved 01 May '21
- Stuff About London blog post, discussing Hyde Park Corner and the history it made. Retrieved 01 May '21
- Science Museum Group, which claimed filming took place in October 1889, and detailing how some film historians dispute the testimony. Retrieved 01 May '21
- IMDB page for Piccadilly Circus, a film sometimes mistakenly believed to be Hyde Park Corner. Retrieved 01 May '21
- Film frames of Hyde Park Corner as part of the Jonathan Silent Film Collection. Retrieved 01 May '21
- The Optilogue detailing the surviving images of the film. Retrieved 27 March '22
- The Moving Picture News where Friese-Greene identifies the man and child as being Alfred and Bert Carter respectively. Retrieved 27 March '22
- Stereoscopic Cinema and the Origins of 3-D Film, 1838-1952 detailing the found segment. Retrieved 27 March '22
- How & Why Bumper Wonder Book No. 2 claiming Friese-Greene filmed riders at Hyde Park (quote found in The Optilogue). Retrieved 27 March '22