Grandma’s Loupe

Magnifier Grandma ( Grandma’s Reading Glass ), also entitled The Granny reading glasses , is a British film directed by George Albert Smith in 1900 .

In this film, George Albert Smith uses for the first time in the cinema the technical division in several planes to describe the same action, including a succession of close-ups , which are, another important discovery, the first subjective shots of the history of cinema .

George Albert Smith is part of the Brighton School, which forms the basis of much of the language of film.


While her grandmother is sewing, a young boy enjoys watching different objects with a magnifying glass. He looks successively at an advertisement in a newspaper (foreground of the film), the mechanism of a watch, a canary in his cage, the eye of his grandmother who riboule comically, then the head of the kitten in his basket. He wants to continue the game but his grandmother puts an end to it.

Technical sheet

  • Original title: Grandma’s Reading Glass
  • French title: Grandma’s Loupe
  • Director: George Albert Smith
  • Production Company: GAS Films
  • Country of origin: United Kingdom
  • Genre : Comedy
  • Duration: 1 minute 20 seconds
  • Release date: 1900


  • Harold Smith (the director’s son): the child

Historical Importance

Here is what the great historian of the cinema Georges Sadoul thinks of this film:

“In 1900, George Albert Smith was still with James Williamson at the forefront of cinematic art. Smith, who had by training the taste of close-ups 1 , soon found that they could not show everything; he then had the idea of ​​alternating general plans and close-ups in the same scene. The first two films in which he adopted this revolutionary style were, in 1900 , The Loupe of Grandma and What we see in a telescope … This alternation of close-up and general shots in the same scene is the principle of cutting. Through this, Smith creates the first true montage . While at Georges Mélièsthe unity of place necessarily conditioned the unity of point of view 2 . “

And what historians Marie-France Briselance and Jean-Claude Morin think :

“George Albert Smith understood that the plan is the creative unity of the film. It is not only “an image”, it is the tool that allows to create the imaginary time and space of the filmic narrative, by means of cuts in space and time each time one creates a new plan that we add to the previous one. To film is not only to record an action, it is first of all to choose the way to show this action, by various framing with different shooting axes. This operation, the cutting, provides after shooting a set of shots that are glued one behind the other, according to their spatial and temporal logic, in the operation of editing 3 . “

Here are the 10 shots of Grandma’s Reading Glass . Plans 2, 4, 6, 8 and 10 were of course shot in continuity (only one shot which was cut into 5 shots during editing).

  • “Grandma’s Loupe”. Plan n ° 1.

  • “Grandma’s Loupe”. Plan n ° 2.

  • “Grandma’s Loupe”. Plan n ° 3.

  • “Grandma’s Loupe”. Plan n ° 4.

  • “Grandma’s Loupe”. Plan n ° 5.

  • “Grandma’s Loupe”. Plan n ° 6.

  • “Grandma’s Loupe”. Plan n ° 7.

  • “Grandma’s Loupe”. Plan n ° 8.

  • “Grandma’s Loupe”. Plan n ° 9.

  • “Grandma’s Loupe”. Plan n ° 10.

Related Articles

  • George Albert Smith
  • What we see in a telescope
  • School of Brighton
  • Mounting
  • James Williamson

Notes and references

  1. ↑ George Albert Smith was spiritualist and organized sessions projections magic lanterns , where the thumbnails on glass already included close-ups, because film has adopted this framework the drawing, and not the reverse, see Georges Sadoul and historian American Charles Musser.
  2. ↑ Georges Sadoul , history of world cinema from its origins to today , Paris, Flammarion ,, 719 p. p.  42-43
  3. ↑ Marie-France Briselance and Jean-Claude Morin , film grammar , Paris, New World ,, 588 p. ( ISBN  978-2-84736-458-3 ) , p.  67

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