A Trick Film Factory, ca. 1900

A Railway Collision
R: Walter R. Booth. P: Paul’s Animatograph Works. UK 1900

“The film was a collaborative effort between the pioneers of cinema, Robert W. Paul and Walter R. Booth.  Paul was an electrical engineer who exhibited  Kinetoscope films from 1894, and founded Paul’s Animatograph Works in 1897. During thirteen years of production, Paul’s studio produced 122 short films, a number of which were directed by the illusionist Walter R. Booth. From 1899 to 1906, Paul and Booth would make increasingly complex ‘Trick Films’ – a genre of short films that relied on special effects to achieve their imagery. These skills were developed  through shorts such as Upside Down or The Human Flies (1899) and A Railway Collision (1900) with each film increasing in complexity as Paul and Booth pushed the boundaries of film technology and stage magic performance.”
Emme Bell, Neil Mitchell: Directory of World Cinema: Britain. Intellect Books 2012, p. 148

“W.R. Booth’s A Railway Collision (1900) is one of the earliest examples of this technique in practice [using miniature scale models, KK], as model trains are used to simulate a train crash on an embankment. Unlike some of his other films of the period, Booth does not attempt to enhance the effect by intercutting obviously full-scale material, though his successors would undoubtedly have added a shot inside a carriage full of screaming passengers. Model trains standing in for real ones can be seen frequently in British films over the subsequent decades. Alfred Hitchcock was particularly fond of them, with Young and Innocent (1937) and The Lady Vanishes (1938) contain choice (if not always convincing) examples. By contrast, the miniature work in The Wrecker (d. Geza von Bolvary, 1928) was so effective that much of the footage was recycled in a later film, Seven Sinners (d. Albert de Courville, 1936), whose alarmingly realistic train crashes are leagues ahead of what Booth achieves in A Railway Collision. But their source is clearly visible here.”
Michael Brooke

>>> Fantômas (II) – Juve contre Fantômas, 18 min. 50 sec. – 19 min. 23 sec.

>>> The Obsessions of Walter Booth on this website