The Sneeze of Fred Ott

The Sneezing Fred Ott ( Edison Kinetoscopic Record of a Sneeze or Fred Ott’s Sneeze ) is a film American directed in 1894 by William KL Dickson , with Fred Ott .

Produced by the Edison Manufacturing Company (also named in 1890: Studios Edison ), under the direction of William KL Dickson , the first director in history and one of the great pioneers of cinema , the film was shot in inside the Black Maria at Orange in New Jersey , who was the first movie studio to be built.

Edison Kinetoscopic Record of a Sneeze was shot between January 2 and 7, 1894 .


Fred Ott takes a pinch of snuff , which makes him sneeze .

Technical sheet

  • Original title: Edison Kinetoscopic Record of a Sneeze
  • Original title: Fred Ott’s Sneeze
  • French title: The Sneeze of Fred Ott
  • Director: William KL Dickson
  • Photography: William Heise
  • Release date: January 9, 1894
  • Genre: Grotesque Comedy
  • Format: 35 mm double set of 4 rectangular perforations Edison by frame , black and white, silent
  • Duration: 5 seconds


  • Fred Ott


For this film , Laurie Dickson uses a framing different from the framing he used since the first films of the cinema, in 1891 , plan in foot or plan to mid-thigh ( American plan ). Indeed, he frames Fred Ott in close-up , cut mid-chest. It is a framing that primitive cinema avoids carefully because it “cuts” the characters and highlights the grotesque situation. It also has an indecent scent, especially when the film is projected on the big screen (Edison films will be from 1896 ). Later, Louis Lumière , Georges Méliès ,Alice Guy , will abstain from getting as close to the subject, preferring the framing in foot (medium shot), a classic of photography and the point of view of a spectator of music hall . Laurie Dickson is also a forerunner in what is today called “the scale of plans”.

Fred Ott was an employee of Thomas Edison’s company . His performance made him say that “he was the first star of American cinema 1 . ”

This film was shot in connection with an advertisement proposed by Harper’s magazine . It is perhaps the first American film to have obtained royalties . It is now part of the public domain , since these copyrights have expired.


  1. ↑ Marie-France Briselance and Jean-Claude Morin , film grammar , Paris, New World ,, 588 p. ( ISBN  978-2-84736-458-3 ) , p.  25

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