American Mutoscope and Biograph Company, G. W. Bitzer, F. A. Dobson Interior N.Y. Subway, 14th Street to 42nd Street 1905

  • MoMA, Floor 5, 502 The Alfred H. Barr, Jr. Galleries

When New York's Interborough Rapid Transit system opened in October of 1904, it was hailed as an engineering marvel, and people across America expressed wonder and curiosity about what it was like to move swiftly below the surface of the nation's biggest and busiest city. Within seven months of the subway's opening, G. W. Bitzer provided an answer, taking a Biograph camera underground to film this "actuality" film. The bulky photographic apparatus was mounted on the front of a train trailing just behind the one being filmed, while a flatcar filled with lights traveled on a parallel track, providing illumination in the dark tunnel between Union Square and the old Grand Central Station. The result was an unprecedented view of the future of urban travel in the new twentieth century. Although copyrighted and exhibited on its own, footage from Interior was included in another American Mutoscope and Biograph Company release of 1905, the comic farce Reuben in the Subway.

Publication excerpt from In Still Moving: The Film and Media Collections of The Museum of Modern Art by Steven Higgins, New York: The Museum of Modern Art, 2006, p. 29.
Production
USA
Medium
35mm film transferred to video (black and white, silent)
Duration
4 min. at 18 fps
Credit
The Museum of Modern Art, New York, 1939
Object number
W5030.12
Department
Film

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