The Martyred Presidents (1901) Poster

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It's just a slide show!!!
MartinHafer19 February 2014
I would like to nominate "The Martyred Presidents" for the award for the Worst Use of New Technology. This is because although motion pictures had been around for about a decade, this 'film' is pretty much a slide show that's been put on film! This is nuts! The film simply consists of two scenes--neither of which have any real action of any sort. The first shows a giant fancified headstone with the statue of a mourner on the steps leading up to it (this style was quite popular in the 19th century). Then, VERY slowly, the portraits for the three assassinated US presidents to that date were projected on the headstone (Lincoln, Garfield and McKinley, if you care). Then, in the next scene, someone is bowed down at the feet of the statue of justice. I have no idea if this is a mourner, a metaphor, John Wilkes Booth (the fink who killed Lincoln), Charles Giteau (the crazy guy who iced Garfield), Leon Czolgosz (the anarchist who shot McKinley) or just some random knucklehead. What a terrible and boring use of film stock!!
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Surreal Short
Michael_Elliott20 June 2009
Martyred Presidents, The (1901)

*** (out of 4)

Extremely bizarre short from Edison has a woman sitting in front of what appears to be a tombstone. After a few seconds a picture of Lincoln, Garfield and McKinley (assassinated Presidents) appear and then the woman ends up begging for forgiveness. I'm not really sure what the point of this film was but it runs just over a minute and is pretty surreal. The images of the death Presidents is rather unsettling but I'm really not sure why the woman is wanting forgiveness. It's not as if she committed the crimes but perhaps Porter was wanting to say something else. If so it really doesn't come off too well but this is still a very interesting short and well worth watching.
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A Very Plain, But Obviously Sincere, Short Feature
Snow Leopard26 August 2004
This is a very plain but obviously sincere short feature devoted to the memory of the Presidents in US history who had been assassinated, up through the time when the film was made. With the memory of President McKinley still very much in the nation's mind, it was probably effective at the time, even though there isn't anything particularly creative about it.

The movie starts with the figure of Columbia in the foreground, as the tribute to the "Martyred Presidents" then begins. There is some detail that is rather obscured by the physical deterioration of the film, but otherwise the message is clear enough. It's much too simple to be of general interest now, but it probably served a useful purpose at the time.
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