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The History of Cinema: 1903







China - Japan


Henrettelsen (Denmark, 1903)

    Lin Zhusan holds cinematograph projections at the Tien Lo tea house in Peking. [MORE]
    Henrettelsen (1903)
    – Denmark’s first fiction film, Henrettelson (Capital Execution) by royal photographer Peter Elfelt is released. [MORE]


  18/1 - Lumiere launches footage of phantasmagorical, genre and transformation scenes. [ADD]
  1/3 - 1st issue of le Fascinateur, a magazine for movie lovers, is published. [MORE]
  5/4 - Ferdinand Zecca’s la Vie d’un Joueur is released by Pathe[MORE]
  12/9 - The Lumieres apply for a patent for Autochrome, a trichromatic method of processing colour photographs.  The patent is passed on 17th December 1903. [MORE]
    Georges Melies
  Oct - Georges Melies begins shooting Faust aux Enfers.   He plays a leading role in the film, which has 15 scenes. [MORE]
    Pathe introduces stencil-coloured prints of its films. [ADD]
    Oskar Messter
  29/8 - Oskar Messter presents a series of talking films (Biophon Tonbilder) at the Apollo Theatre in Berlin. [MORE]

Gt. Britain

    George Albert Smith
  Feb - G. A. Smith releases Mary Jane’s Mishap, which features relatively sophisticated editing techniques such as establishing shots, medium close-ups and wipes. [MORE]
    Charles Urban
  2/11 - Charles Urban opens The Urban Trading Company and begins filming all over the world.   His new company also distributes the films of Georges Melies and manufactures cameras. [MORE]
      Cecil Hepworth’s production company releases cinema’s first literary adaptation, a version of Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland, starring May Clark and directed by Hepworth and Percy Stow. [MORE]
    Alfred Collins makes the first British chase movie: The Runaway Match (AKA Marriage by Motor) and The Pickpocket.


  1/1 - Bhatavadekar and American Biograph film Lord Curzon’s Delhi Durbar. [ADD]
  8/2 - Gaumont, Pathe, Georges Mendel and Warwick all release films simultaneously about Edward VII's coronation durbar in Delhi. [ADD]


  Oct - The country’s first cinema opens in Asakusa, Tokyo.   Cinemas became known as denki-kan (Electric Theatre) [MORE]
    Komatsu, the country’s first production company, begins trading. [ADD]

Other Films of Note

    Le Melomane (1903)
    La Belle au bois dormant (Pathe)
    Don Quichotte (Pathe)
    Erreur de porte (Ferdinand Zecca)
    La lanterne magique (Georges Melies)
    Le Melomane (Georges Melies)
    Le vie et la passion de Jesus Christ (Lucien Nonguet, Ferdinand Zecca)
    Le Royaume des fees (Georges Melies)
    Le Voyage dans la Lune (Lucien Nonguet, Ferdinand Zecca) [ADD]
    Akt-Skulpturen (Oskar Messter)

Great Britain

    A Daring Daylight Robbery (1903)

Bloodhounds Tracking a Convict (R. W. Paul)


A Daring Daylight Burglary (Frank Mottershaw)

    Desperate Poaching Affray (William Haggar)

Dorothy’s Dream (G. A. Smith)

    The Great City Fire (Warwick)

The Servian Tragedy (Dicky Winslow)


Weary Willie and Tired Tim – The Gunpowder Plot (William Haggar)


Welshed – a Derby Day Incident (Alf Collins/Gaumont)

    New Zealand - USA



1903: New Zealand - USA







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