Wednesday, November 2, 2011

McKinley at Home - 1896

Country: USA
Stars: William McKinley, George B. Cortelyou and Ida McKinley
Release Date: September 1896 (USA)
Also Known As: William McKinley at Canton, Ohio
Filming Locations: Canton, Ohio, USA
Production Co: American Mutoscope Company
Genres: Documentary | Short
This view was taken upon Mr. McKinley's lawn at his home in Canton, Ohio. Mr. McKinley appears walking across the lawn in company with his Secretary, who hands him a telegram, which he reads with apparent satisfaction. The characteristic walk and gestures of Mr. McKinley will be noted with interest by his friends.
This brief film purports to show William McKinley at the moment when he receives the Republican nomination in the summer of 1896, but it's actually a re-enactment staged several weeks later. At this early point in the history of movies, most 'newsreels' were doubly phony because the kings and generals depicted onscreen were actually anonymous actors in disguise, re-staging recent events. *This* film is also a re-enactment, but at least it features the actual people it claims to depict. William McKinley's brother Abner and his mentor Benjamin Harrison (the former President) were stockholders in the Biograph Film Company, and they persuaded McKinley to appear onscreen. A two-man camera crew arrived at McKinley's home in September 1896, setting up their equipment outside McKinley's L-shaped house. McKinley comes out of the house with his secretary, George Cortelyou, who formally hands McKinley the nomination documents (actually, a prop). McKinley glances at the papers, takes off his hat to reveal his receding hairline, and mops his large forehead with an even larger handkerchief.

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