Soldiers of the Cross

Soldiers of the Cross (Joseph Perry & Herbert Booth, 1900) not as a whole a feature film, but a show with lantern slides, motion pictures, hymns and a spoken commentary; included here because of obvious historical importance: the world's first drama film; premiered 13 September 1900; the film sequences have been lost

Credit for the creation of Soldiers Of The Cross cannot be apportioned with certainty, but it is likely that Booth and Perry wrote the scenario together and that, because of Booth's ill-health and heavy administrative workload, Perry had effective control over the making of the films. Thirteen short films (possibly including some items from the Passion Films) were prepared. Shooting took place in June, July and August 1900, mainly in the grounds of a Salvation Army girls' home at Murrumbeena, on the outskirts of Melbourne. Canvas backdrops were hung from the fence around the tennis court, and girls from the home made the costumes and acted in the films, along with volunteers from the Army's male cadets. No one in the cast was a professional actor. Other scenes were shot at the Richmond baths (for the drowning of a Christian martyr in the River Tiber) and in the bush at Murrumbeena. Pike & Cooper: 4-5.


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