Band Drill (1894)
Here, the Kinetoscope is used to record a limited maneuver by a marching band inside the Black Maria. There’s not a lot of room, so we only get nine performers, mostly with small trumpets, marching toward the camera and falling into lines while apparently playing a jostly marching tune. I say “apparently,” because in this film more than most of the other Kinetoscope movies we’ve seen, it’s very apparent how silent the medium is. According to Charles Musser, in The Emergence of Cinema, this was one of five short films depicting Charles Hoyt’s musical comedy “A Milk White Flag.” Presumably, like the six parts of the “Corbett – Courtney Fight,” these could be purchased as a group by exhibitors who would put them into adjacent machines, encouraging the viewer to drop a dime into each one to see the whole story unfold. It’s the only one I’ve seen, however, so I can’t say how effectively this worked. As an aside, marching bands and parades became a common subject for “actuality” films in the last years of the nineteenth century, apparently because they guaranteed both movement and large, outdoor scenes of cities people were interested in seeing. This movie is not part of that tradition, strictly speaking, but it does herald it to some degree.
Director: W.K.L. Dickson
Camera: William Heise
Run Time: 29 seconds
You can watch it for free: here.