Dickson Greeting (1891) Poster

User Reviews

Review this title
12 Reviews
Sort by:
Filter by Rating:
The Dawn Of An Industry
MrCritical11 November 2003
Thomas Edison, the father of many inventions, combined the phonograph and the zoopraxiscope to create the Kinetoscope.

This incredible invention began Edison Motion Pictures and the first of its creations, "Dickson Greeting".

This 18 sec. short (which loops 3 sec of footage 6 times at 30 fps) inspired the world to the endless possibilities of film.

Although this film is very short and simple it is awesome to see the industry at its infancy and a gives you greater appreciation for where we are today.

10* (10* Rating) This film deserves a perfect score for its imagination and what it represents.
13 out of 18 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
William K.L. Dickson greets the world for the very first time.
Boba_Fett113815 October 2007
This is of course not the first film in history and presumably the Edison Manufacturing Company did dozens of test before actually shooting this and of course also shot "Monkeyshines, No. 1", 2 and 3 prior to this but it is the first film that was shown to a wide audience and press, at The National Federation of Women's Clubs, through a motion picture exhibition device the Kinetoscope, an invention of mostly William K.L. Dickson that let a strip of several images passing front of an illuminated lens behind a spinning wheel. Therefor this 3 second short plays an important part in movie history, as being the very first to be shown to an audience.

The motions are perfect, though because of the shooting speed it all seems to occur in slow motion. There are no jerky movements and also the images is surprisingly clear. The film was shot with a Kinetograph, another William K.L. Dickson invention. He therefor is also credited as the inventor of the motion picture camera. The color white is shiny and the less dark colors of Dickson's clothing distinct itself well from the pitch black background used to film this. You can clearly see Dickson's face and also the more detailed look of his hair.

Still I feel they could had done a bit more with the movement in this film. Show the audience some more of the possibilities of moving images. Instead now basically all Dickson does, is bring his hat from his one hand to the other, as a sort of wave toward the audience and he moves his head slightly, supposedly as a small nod toward the audience but that isn't all too clear to see.

In a way this movie is a great metaphor for William K.L. Dickson and Thomas A. Edison literal greeting and welcoming us to the world of film. It perhaps provides the movie with just as much impact and significance, as it did 116 years ago.


6 out of 7 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
An Enormous Step Forward In Its Time
Snow Leopard9 January 2006
As simple and brief as it is, this mini-feature is one of the most important steps in the development of moving pictures. In its time, it was an enormous step forward from previous experiments (at least from those of which records still exist), and it shows a complete success in getting past some of the difficulties with the Edison Company's earlier "Monkeyshines" experiments.

The footage simply shows Edison's associate W.K.L. Dickson, performing a jaunty motion of greeting, which is then repeated more than once. The image is very clear, with only a slight suggestion of minor distortion around the edges. The illusion of motion is smooth and completely convincing. It has also survived in good condition, which is fortunate given its significance.

It is also appropriate that such a significant step forward would preserve the image of Dickson, who was so instrumental in developing the new technology. While the exact amount of credit rightfully due to Edison, Dickson, and other individuals can now no longer be determined accurately, it seems apparent from all accounts that Dickson probably deserves as much credit as anyone in the early development of motion pictures.
5 out of 6 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
A shot of the a pioneer
kobe141321 February 2014
W.K.L. Dickson and William Heise made this very short film. In it, Dickson stands in front of the camera. He moves his hat from one hand to another. It is famous for being the first film presented to the public, when it was shown to the National Federation of Women's Club, at the behest of Mrs. Edison.

This film was much smoother and clearer than the previous output of Heise and Dickson. Dickson's movement that we see is a shorter piece of the longer film that was displayed in 1891.

I gave the film 2 out of 10, but it has a strong value as a visual of the film pioneer W.K.L. Dickson.
2 out of 2 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
The era of Kinetoscope begins...
jluis19844 May 2007
When during an afternoon in Leeds, England, french inventor Louis Le Prince tested his latest invention and shot the first movie in the world, he didn't realize the magnitude of what was just starting that long lost day of 1888. Sadly, Le Prince would not live to see the results of his experiments, and it would be other people would be the ones in charge to improve on his idea and create what we now know as cinema. One of those who would become the first filmmakers would be the Scottish inventor William K.L. Dickson, who while working in America along Thomas Alva Edison invented the Kinetoscope in 1890. The Kinetoscope was a device that showed short movies individually through the window of a cabinet housing its components, in a manner that would earn it the nickname of "peepshow machine". However, the birth of Kinetoscope wasn't easy, and many experiments had to be done before its public release in 1893.

The first experiments were of course the famous "Monkeyshines" films, three movies where the camera captures (or tries to capture) the images of Edison's workers as they move in front of it. While not exactly successful (image looks pretty bad), those movies were the very first films shot in America and showed Edison the enormous potential of Dickson's invention. After many experiments, Dickson achieved the quality he desired and made the movie that would be shown to the press and 150 members of the National Federation of Women's Clubs in a private demonstration of the invention that took place on May 20, 1891. The first movie shown was this one, nowadays aptly titled "Dickson Greeting" because it consisted of a short 3 seconds scene where William K.L. Dickson appeared bowing and smiling, as if he was indeed greeting the first audience of his Kinetoscope.

Watching how Dickson's work improved from the "Monkeyshines" experiments to this movie is an amazing experience, as the quality of his movies improved drastically from bizarre images without any shape that appeared in his first three films to the high quality of his image moving gracefully in "Dickson Greeting". The fact that all this improvements took him less than a year is certainly a testament of the enormous genius of this man, who singlehandedly put Edison's company on the race towards motion pictures. On that day of May, this along with two other Kinetoscope movies (probably the two shorts about boxing) were shown to an audience for the first time, in what would mark the birth of the first device invented to watch movies. Kinetoscope, cinema's "granddaddy" had just been born. 8/10
3 out of 4 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Say hello to your host
Horst_In_Translation4 September 2013
Warning: Spoilers
This one shows us the one of the most important figures in early American cinematography. William K.L. Dickson greets the audience that has come to take a look at that wonderful magical new thing called film. I personally find this one less interesting than his Newark athlete from the same year, maybe also because it's considerably shorter and less spectacular. Basically he's just pulling a hat.

It's another fine example, however, how much he has improved his craft since working on his maiden project Monkeyshines. The people who he's recording are now clearly visible and not just anonymous ghostlike contours.
2 out of 3 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Good Quality Image, With An Enjoyable Few Seconds Of Nothing
ArmandoManuelPereira12 June 2020
A little more enjoyable then some of the other early film experiments I have viewed recently. Partly because of the quality of the image, partly because of the surreal vibe, (though its a few seconds of nothing really) and partly because you get to see the handsome face of the filmmaker himself.
1 out of 1 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Great History
Michael_Elliott29 April 2008
Dickson Greeting (1891)

**** (out of 4)

This Edison short was at one time believed to have been the first movie ever made in America but it turned out to be the second behind Edison's three versions of Monkeyshines. In this film, running eighteen seconds, we see a man facing the camera with a hat in one hand and moving that hat to the other hand. This might not sound like much today but this is a very important film in the history of movies because this is the film that showed people moving pictures were possible. The act of the man moving the hate is done six times with three separate shots. This film is also important as we get a visual image of Dickson who is a silent partner in creating this new technology. There's nothing here that's going to blow people away but from a historic viewpoint there aren't many films more important.
3 out of 6 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Improving the Kinetograph
Tornado_Sam19 June 2017
After the previous year of filmmaking for the Edison company, in which they had innovated the Kinetograph and used to shoot the first movies in America (that is, the first attempted ones), the famous producer Thomas Alva Edison finally proved himself successful at improving the quality of the picture in order to produce a much clearer film. Continuing to experiment in 1891, his camera tests were now much more viewable, and with much smoother movement. While I would disagree that this film "Dickson Greeting" was really the first commercially exhibited film (since when he showed it to the women's convention, it was merely a private showing and was not publicly shown) it does show how Edison continued to explore filmed movement with his camera. In the same year, he would also record more moving subjects with the camera, and even create a comical variation on "Men Boxing" (in "Monkey and Another, Boxing").

"Dickson Greeting", like all the earliest Edison movies, was filmed what I suppose is the inventor's laboratory and shows a medium closeup of the great man W. K. L. Dickson himself, Edison's right-hand man, greeting the audience with a gesture of his hat. (Why his eyes are closed, I have no idea). Because of how early it was in the filmmaking industry, I think it's also safe to say that this is the first instance in motion pictures to have an actor break the wall (although in the Monkeyshines shorts the factory worker posing could have been looking at the camera and we'd have no way of knowing). As Dickson moves his hat and greets the audience, he thus involves the audience in the action, a concept later to be explored by Cecil Hepworth and James Williamson.

Edison would later experiment with various other subjects on film: a certain James C. Duncan smoking before the camera, a Newark athlete swinging Indian clubs, etc. For now, however, he was merely trying to find good subjects that moved to test the boundaries of his camera and would have to experiment a couple more years before introducing his invention to the general public.
0 out of 0 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
First public movie
vukelic-stjepan10 February 2016
It is wrong credited as a first movie filmed in United States. First movies filmed in US are Monkeyshines 1, Monkeyshines 2 and third part of Monkeyshines which is losted and you will not see it ever, unfortunately.

I read somewhere that is first film which is shown in public, and i think that this fact is true. Quality of this movie is lot better than quality of 2 parts of Monkeyshines and we have clear view on person standing in front of camera. We can clearly see his face and it is positive side of this movie. Negative side was a fact that we can't see anything interesting and it is pretty much boring.
1 out of 2 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
This is a test, only a test.
cnevel6 July 2007
This is a test, only a test.

This film is a short sequence used to show off a brand new machine called a Kinetoscope.

There is no plot, no clichés, no hamming it up, no stereotypes, no awards, no acting, no directing, no writing, no producing, no nothing.

Commenting on this film like it was a feature with a script, actor, and director, or commenting on Dicksons acting is ridiculous.

He was an inventor not an actor.

Commenting on the movie industry, which didn't yet exist, is even more ridiculous.

They just wanted to welcome the people who viewed the film on the Kinetoscope. So they told Dickson, who helped invent the thing, to stand in front of the camera and bow and take off his hat. You know, like a greeting.

The reason that it was repeated 6 times is because it was only 3 seconds long.

None of this matters as it was only used to show off the machine, not the film.

I repeat, this is a test, only a test.

2 out of 7 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
"When I became a man . . .
cricket3018 July 2013
Warning: Spoilers
. . . I put away childish things. For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then, face to face." 1 Corinthinians 13: 11-12 perfectly sums up what is going on with DICKSON'S GREETING following up MONKEYSHINES Nos. 1-3 at the dawn of humankind's Age of Playing God. No one could mistake the MONKEYSHINES trilogy from Edison Manufacturing Company as anything other than "a childish thing." However, DICKSON'S GREETING merits shouts of "It's alive, it's alive!" to echo Henry Frankenstein from the 1931 Universal Studio horror classic. DICKSON'S GREETING features a level of deceptive verisimilitude in the same ballpark as any movie which has followed, from Edison's ANNABELLE SERPENTINE DANCE to Clive Barker's HELLRAISER. And, just as the "man" Henry created was taken by most for a "monster," so the Sixth Day creation of Thomas Edison (with the aid of henchmen such as W.K.L. Dickson, pictured here) merited a similar label within a few short months of its "creation." Separating light from darkness on Edison's first day with the electric light bulb did not require the finesse and morality necessary to bring about an artificial world order to replace such now outdated guidelines as "The Holy Bible" as humanity's most often used guide to living in a "modern" world. Edison, who spent the nights of his inventing days "wilding" with his cohorts in the vice districts of New York City, recreated mankind in his own image. This sight was not always as pretty as DICKSON'S GREETING (watch LITTLE NICKY or THE HUMAN CENTIPEDE if you need illustrations of this point).
0 out of 1 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.

See also

Awards | FAQ | User Ratings | External Reviews | Metacritic Reviews

Recently Viewed