The Great Train Robbery Silent Film Analysis

1251 Words Nov 16th, 2012 6 Pages
The Great Train Robbery was one of the earliest silent films, made in 1903. The film begins with two masked robbers bursting into a railroad station office, and binding and gagging the railway dispatcher. From the very beginning The Great Train Robbery is off to a dramatic start. It instantly engages the viewer. A person viewing this film for the first time in 1903 would have been hooked from the start. The film is about twelve minutes long and has a fully developed narrative and distinguishable character types: robbers, posse members, railway workers and supporting characters.
The robbers’ motives are obvious from the start. After forcing the dispatcher to give a false note to the conductor, the dispatcher is knocked out and, the
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They grab three bags, and leave the car through the door leading to the locomotive cab. A 1903 audience would have been surprised and delighted at the colored tints seen throughout the film beginning with this one. For the time being it was as close as they would get to color in a film.
While two of the robbers have been robbing one car, another robber holds the engineer at gunpoint. A fourth robber struggles with another man, who grabs a shovel for defense and climbs on top of the train. They engage in a fist-fight the robber takes a lump of coal and strikes the man on the head several times until he is unconscious. Then after overpowering him, he hurls the victim's body off the top of the moving train. Two robbers then force the engineer to bring the train to a stop
The Great Train Robbery maintains a simple plot but interestingly does not spare on violence as there are several shootouts, many men are killed violently, as we see with the man bludgeoned with a piece of coal. Viewers of the time were probably very surprised at the level of violence and the use of the special effect dummy being thrown off the train must have been shocking but at the same time added immense entertainment value to the film.
The train conductor is forced off the train and made to uncouple the locomotive from the rest of the passenger cars. The passengers are also forced to leave the train. All of the passengers are lined up while the robbers steal