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Martin Scorsese’s Hugo wove the spirit of film and cinema’s history together into a narrative that gave everyone the warm fuzzies about the power of movies and magic and good old-fashioned celluloid I’m not sure what the opposite of that film would be, but the film we’re about to talk about may fit the bill. Hopefully in a positive way.
Variety reports Cohen Media has acquired the rights to The Inventor and the Tycoon: A Gilded Age Murder and the Birth of Moving Pictures, a biographical look at the eccentric and innovative Eadweard Muybridge, often called “the Father of the Motion Picture.” The book, written by Nonfiction National Book Award winner Edward Ball (Slaves in the Family) was published earlier this year, and goes far deeper into Muybridge’s life than anything before it, and the more notorious aspects are definitely what the film will be focusing on.
Muybridge was a talented and famed photographer whose projection work built the motion picture industry as we know it, even though it’s far different now. But he was also something of a dirty-haired oddball, and he was tasked by the wealthy railroader and politician Leland Stanford to prove whether or not all four of a horse’s hooves leave the ground when the horse is in mid-gallop. The theory was proved, thanks to Muybridge’s newly-developed projector.
That’s all quite interesting, but it would still make a boring movie. However, Muybridge was married to a divorcee half his age, and when he discovered that his baby son was possibly fathered by another man, he found the guy and shot him in cold blood. Thanks to a defense team hired by Stanford, Muybridge was acquitted on grounds of “justifiable homicide,” which was not the most popular decision, and the trial was one of the first full-fledged media sensations. Thank goodness they didn’t have Twitter back then.
No word on whether or not this has anything to do with the Andy Serkis-directed Muybridge project that was supposed to be in the works.