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Westinghouse Works Panorama Views - G.W. "Billy" Bitzer


Rental Format(s): Digital File

2 films:
Panorama View Street Car Motor Room, Westinghouse Works (1904) 2:15 min.
Panorama of Machine Co. Aisle, Westinghouse Works (1904) 2:55 min.
Maker: G.W. "Billy" Bitzer
Production: American Mutoscope and Biograph Company
Original format: 35mm silent films 1.33:1
Courtesy: Paper Print Collection, The Library of Congress
Technical note: Visible artifacts derived from duplication of original 35mm paper print.

Bitzer's cinematography was famous for the expressive realism it added to D. W. Griffith#s films. Before those he shot hundreds of others, this being one of his best. Gliding through space, the camera and lights suddenly halt when something jams the overhead crane. Everyone freezes; the excitement is palpable. -Bruce Posner

(Johann Gottfried Wilhelm) G.W. "Billy" Bitzer (1872-1944) was a veteran with a dozen years' experience before joining forces with D.W. Griffith. He started with the American Mutoscope Company shortly after it was formed in 1896. Learning the craft from W.L.K. Dickson, Bitzer was the company's principle cameramen until 1913 when he followed Griffith to independent production. -Paul Spehr

American Mutoscope and Biograph Company (1895-1917), the principal competitor to the Edison Manufacturing Company was established to produce films for their peepshow machine, the Mutoscope. They found that films projected in their large 68mm film format were more popular, and showed them exclusively on their own machines at Keith-Albee's and prominent family-oriented variety theaters. In 1897, Biograph formed affiliated branches in England and several European countries. After 1903, they sold films, of which D.W. Griffith directed hundreds between 1908 and 1913. -Paul Spehr

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