Monday, November 16, 2015

The First Movie Villain

Justus D. Barnes, leader of the outlaw band, taking aim and
firing point blank at the audience.

Justus D. Barnes was an American stage and silent film actor, best known for his role as an outlaw in the 1903 short silent Western, The Great Train Robbery. He played a scoundrel who committed some truly heinous acts but this one took the cake:
When he pointed a Colt revolver at the camera and fired six shots point-blank, audiences screamed and dived for cover. “Men shrieked and women fainted,” one newspaper said.
Director Edwin S. Porter is said to have introduced a number of film-making techniques in this movie, including panning, cross-cutting, extensive location shooting, a train-mounted camera and some previously unseen special optical effects. In 1990, The Great Train Robbery was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant". You can see the film here. The famous scene occurs at the end.

Read more about Barnes and The Great Train Robbery at Nosey Parker

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