Herding Horses Across a River (1904)
By 1904 the writing was on the wall for actuality films like Herding Horses Across a River. Audiences were no longer enthralled by the spectacle of moving pictures in their own right, and were growing bored with subjects which appear crushingly dull to us today, especially since Edwin S. Porter had made The Great Train Robbery, a comparatively spectacular 12-minute narrative, the year before. This film is a good example of how stale the actuality film had become. Filmed from a distance, it provides little detail and shows that some filmmakers hadn’t moved on since the inception of cinema in 1895. Film would develop at an ever increasing rate over the next ten years.
(Reviewed 25th June 2009)