If you’ve ever studied an antique photograph and wondered what the people from another time were really feeling, “Electric Edwardians” is my pick of the week for you. The CD consists of a series of crowd sequences, all shot more than a century ago. The cameras get as up close and personal as was technically possible in the early 20th century and you can see the joy and hijinks of all these faces in the crowd. It’s so clear that, if you could lip-read, you could also understand what they were saying. Unlike still photography, which once required camera subjects to be stiff and formal, the movies captured emotions in flight. These long ago faces are not jaded by the presence of the camera, they are filled with fascination and curiosity. “Look at that cool new invention! Taking our pictures? While we march and do our exercises and go to work! Yay! There is a huge difference between the upper class subjects, who are evidently used to constant scrutiny and therefore feign extreme nonchalance, and the working classes, who are clearly tickled pink to receive such special attention. “Electric Edwardians,” lovingly restored by 21st century preservationists, are not idealized in any way: they are simply there for us to enjoy as we engage in a unique form of time travel. I found myself making up stories about the more rambunctious participants. Did any of the adorable little boys survive The Great War? What happened to the many female graduates at a diploma ceremony? Were any of the faces destined for fame or infamy? See if “Electric Edwardians,” from Milestone Films, has the same effect on you!
© 2006 - Monica Sullivan - Air Date: 8/23/06