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"New Attack on Deerfield. By Moving Picture Red Skins."
(c) Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association, Deerfield MA. All rights reserved.
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The motion picture camera, invented in 1895, was still a phenomenon when Thomas A. Edison's motion picture company came to Deerfield, Massachusetts, in March of 1910. The company used motion picture actors from New York as well as local recruits to film a reenactment of the legendary 1704 raid on the English settlement of Deerfield during Queen Anne?s War. The rapid changes in technology and population at the turn of the 20th century had led many New Englanders to a heightened interest in their Colonial history, and this "Springfield Republican" article nicely portrays how the new moving picture technology was used to retell one of Colonial Deerfield?s most dramatic events. "History has a strong appeal to motion picture audiences," the article noted, "provided it is selected carefully with a view to leaving out the dry parts and presents the high colors and hair-raising thrills." The article also illustrates the changed landscape of rural Deerfield. It notes that the cameras had to avoid details such as modern buildings and telegraph and telephone poles, and that "the shriek of a locomotive" briefly delayed filming of a battle scene to avoid catching the train that would soon appear on the Baltimore and Maine railroad tracks along a side hill. The interior scenes were filmed at the New York studio of the Edison company, and the total cost of the production, called "Ononko's Vow," was estimated by the press to exceed $2000.
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