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A Trip to Salt Lake City
Production Company: American Mutoscope and Biograph Company
Premiere Date: June 5, 1905
Length: 1 reel (3 min.)
 

Genre:   Film
Production Type:
Non-Mormon Production
Content Types:
Minor Mormon Elements
Narrative Film
Distribution Types:
Commercial Theaters

Subjects: Mormonism; polygamy;
Summary:
Inside a railroad's pullman sleeping car several women in succession deposit children in their berths. A single husband arrives and is overwhelmed as all the children play with and climb on him at once, apparently begging for a drink. He exits to retrieve a large canister of water, giving a drinking tube to each bunk. A railroad employee congratulates the beleaguered polygamist on his ingenuity.

Annotations:
See Mormon Film: Key Films of the First Wave

This film, which is extant, is believed to be the first fiction film dealing with Mormonism (the first known film with any LDS content is the 1898 Salt Lake City Company of Rocky Mountain Riders). It was also the first comedic film on Mormonism, something in which it would generally not be followed by successive productions of the silent era, which were more vitriolic and sensationalist in their approach. It appeared amidst a slew of films in 1905 made to fill the demand of the nickelodeon boom. Exact release and distribution information remains unknown, but information on a surviving (not original) print from Blackhawk Films indicates it was copyrighted on June 5 of that year. Again, the extent of its distribution is unknown, but it probably showed in all major American cities, although there is no record of it coming to Salt Lake City itself, and there is no record of a response, official or grass-roots, from the LDS Church. Finally, it is one of the few films from this era which has been preserved, and though it is not available on video this is a vital resource for early LDS film history. --Randy Astle

HBLL Call No: on DVDLMM 27
Medium: black and white 35mm film, silent
Country: USA
Language: English (silent)
Distributor: American Mutoscope and Biograph Company

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