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Hollywood Stuntmen Dead

from Salon.com

How Hollywood killed the movie stunt

Computers and editing tricks have obliterated one of cinema’s great pleasures: Seeing real people in real danger

BY MATT ZOLLER SEITZ

A still from

On Nov. 12, 1910, a hundred years ago today, a man jumped out of a burning-hot air balloon into the Hudson River while a movie camera rolled. The vast majority of silent films are lost to history — vanished, destroyed or somehow rendered invisible — and this, it would seem, is one of them; I’ve seen the burning balloon gag cited as the first movie stunt on a number of sites, some quite thorough and authoritative, yet none list the film’s title or the name of the stuntman. Photographic evidence of the balloon man’s deed lives on in the Topps bubblegum card pictured here, and his legacy can be seen on any screen that shows moving images.

But what happens when movies change, and stunts become devalued?

I ask because in looking at that image of the stuntman diving into the Hudson, and running through a mental checklist of my favorite movie stunts, I realized that almost none of them occurred in films released during the last 10 years.

[ click to continue reading at Salon.com ]

Posted on November 12, 2010 by Editor

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