The Execution of Mary Stuart

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The Execution of Mary Stuart
Screen capture of a digitized version of the film
Directed by Alfred Clark
Produced by Thomas Edison
Starring Robert Thomae
Cinematography William Heise
Distributed by Edison Manufacturing Company
Release date
August 28, 1895
Running time
18 seconds
Country United States
Language Silent film
The earliest known use of the stop trick.

The Execution of Mary Stuart is a short film produced in 1895. The film depicts the execution of Mary, Queen of Scots. It is the first known film to use special effects, specifically the stop trick.

The 18-second-long film was produced by Thomas Edison and directed by Alfred Clark and may have been the first film in history to use trained actors, as well as the first to use editing for the purposes of special effects. The film shows a blindfolded Mary (played by Mrs. Robert L. Thomas) being led to the execution block. The executioner raises his axe and an edit occurs during which the actress is replaced by a mannequin. The mannequin's head is chopped off and the executioner holds it in the air as the film ends.


This film is in the public domain.

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