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||IMDB Rating: 5.1/10 from 477 votes
||Release: 28 June 1896 (Finland) /
||Genre: Documentary, Short
||Director: Louis Lumière,
||Synopsis: Two blacksmiths are at work, facing the camera, a wall, window, and stacked boxes behind them. Both are mustachioed with dark hair. On our right, a smith in the dark clothes of a laborer continuously turns the handle of the bellows, keeping hot a small furnace in front of him. On our left, in white shirt and tie, the lead smith pounds a three-foot length of metal on an anvil and then plunges the shaft into a tub of water at his feet. He takes a metal rod and scrapes it across the shaft. Next, from our left, a man enters with refreshments. Work pauses. Written by <[email protected]>
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Watch Les forgerons - Alternative Versions.
After witnessing Edison's Kinetoscope peepshow viewer, Charles Antoine
Lumière was so impressed that he encouraged his sons to invent a system
for projecting films. This Lumière film, "Les Forgerons", makes it
apparent that one of the films that the Lumières viewed from Edison was
"Blacksmith Scene" (1893). "Blacksmith Scene" was the first motion
picture shown to the public (on 9 May 1893); it was part of the first
program at the first Kinetoscope parlor; and it remained a widely
distributed film as the medium continued in popularity. "Les Forgerons"
is a remake of "Blacksmith Scene": both films are staged scenes of
blacksmiths at work, with them interrupting their work briefly to pass
around a bottle of beer. "Les Forgerons" was one of the original ten
films the Lumière brothers screened to the public on 28 December 1895.
This has to be the most appropriately timed remake in motion picture
Factually, the Lumière brothers weren't the first to introduce cinema
(not even commercially), nor was "Les Forgerons" the first remake, as
the Edison Company had already remade Annabelle's dance films a few
times due to the prints wearing out. Nevertheless, "Les Forgerons"
remains an interesting first in film history. Unlike the Annabelle
dance films, which were essentially duplicates, this remake was by
different filmmakers who introduced some subtle variations upon the
original. Additionally, the Lumière brothers' screenings remain
significant for their system's superiority to previous inventions and
its immense success.
The Edison film is rather awkwardly filmed, with one of the filmmakers
standing within camera's view at its beginning before moving aside.
Moreover, the Black Maria studio was a confining and undecorated shack.
The Lumière remake has a somewhat more intimate framing and a more
polished mise-en-scène. One surviving print of "Les Forgerons" is even
hand colored, which does add to the picture's vivacity. It seems that
the Lumière Company added color to several films in an attempt to lend
realism. In addition to this film, hand-colored prints for "Partie de
cartes" (1895), "Mort de Marat" (1897) and "Exécution de Jeanne d'Arc"
(1898) have survived. In imitation of the Annabelle dance films, they
also hand colored their version of "Danse serpentine" (1897).
The beer break, however, has been cut out of the surviving colorized
print of "Les Forgerons". This subtracts from, as Charles Musser has
argued for "Blacksmith Scene", the nostalgia of the scenario. These
films recall a bygone era of blacksmithing practices and of when
drinking while working was commonplace--when work and leisure mixed
Remaking films became a common practice in the early days of
film-making and was an issue of a few lawsuits. If a company could get
away with it, they wouldn't even bother imitating another's film and
would just steal a print instead. Remakes have been a common practice
in the film industry since.
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