Facial Expression

Old Man Drinking a Glass of Beer
R: George Albert Smith. D: Tom Green. P: George Albert Smith Films. UK 1897

Tom Green born in 1852. a popular stage comic and stage manager from the late 1870’s, became a well-known pioneering film actor and director of many early short comedies for the George Albert Smith Film Company from 1897. He also directed many short dramas and trick films for other film studios from 1902 until 1906.”

George Albert Smith was a British filmmaker, among the earliest class of experimenters in the nascent art form in England. Later dubbed part of the loosely defined ‘Brighton School‘ (which included James Williamson, Esmé Collings, Alfred Darling, William Friese-Green, and Charles Urban), Smith only briefly actively made films. (…) Smith was a pseudo-scientist inventor, an entertainer that was kind of a blend between the Lumière brothers and Georges Méliès. In fact, Smith was a pen pal of sorts with Méliès. But Smith also pioneered cinematic language in a way Méliès never did. Smith’s hallmarks were more elaborate continuity editing, close ups, and a non-hand-tinted color film process. He actively made shorts from 1897 to 1903, and again for a couple years from 1906 to 1908 for his Kinemacolor experiments, but he left behind an important legacy. Smith may just be the earliest important British filmmaker besides Robert W. Paul, who influenced the movie business a bit more than the technical or artistic aspects of the medium.”
Tristan Ettleman
The Ranks of the Auteurs: George Albert Smith

“British filmmakers were continuing to experiment. George Albert Smith continued to explore the use of close-ups as a means of clarifying detail and inceasing audience involvement in the action. Films featuring close-ups of faces had been common in Smith’s work: Comic Faces – an Old Man Drinking a Glass of Beer (1898); Grandma Threading Her Needle (1900) (…). These short films used close-ups to parody character types and were intended to be little more than entertaining vignettes. Grandma’s Reading Glass and As Seen through a Telescope had been successful at integrating close-ups with wider shots, but in both instances the use of the close-up had been ‘justifyed’ by using an optical enlarging device to explain the inclusion of the closer detail.”
Don Fairservice: Film Editing: History, Theory and Practice: Looking at the Invisible. Manchester University Press 2001, p. 32

Tom Green – one of the earliest film actors:
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