The X-Rays (1897)

The X-Rays (1897)

Building on the work of Alfred Clark's The Execution of Mary Stuart, illusionist George Albert Smith (who would later exhibit the first colour film) created a film containing two jump cuts.

The X-Rays has a man courting a woman (played by Smith's wife Laura Bayley) before the film comedically jumps to "x-ray vision" and later switching back. It has been described by the BFI has one of the first examples of special effects in Britain.

While The X-Rays is not the first example of a jump cut, Smith did pioneer another type of special effect - the superimposition - in the (lost?) 1898 film The Corsican Brothers, the first film adaptation of Alexandre Dumas's novel of the same name. Superimposition meant exposing the same piece of film twice, allowing Smith to create a ghostly hologram within another scene.

Another interesting fact about The X-Rays is that x-rays themselves had only been discovered by Wilhelm Röntgen less than two years before the production of Smith's short film, displaying the contemporary fascination with scientific advancement.

You can watch The X-Rays in full below.


  1. Very cool! That's stuff I didn't know before.

    I love letter X posts! Always such variety.
    It's hard to believe the alphabet part of the blogging challenge is over for 2021. Down to the after survey, reflections, and the road trip sign-up.
    Plus, I'm taking part in the Bout of Books read-a-thon in May. So much excitement!
    J Lenni Dorner~ Co-host of the #AtoZchallenge, OperationAwesome6 Debut Author Interviewer, Reference& Speculative Fiction Author


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