Anti doesn’t like it but tobacco is an intrinsic part of culture, part of US history particularly, and of cinema history.

Two short films here: the first US copyrighted motion picture (1894) depicts a man taking a pinch of snuff, sneezing, and glancing at the camera; the second brief movie (1897) is among the earliest promotional films and depicts circus performers enjoying Admiral cigarettes: the first known cigarette "commercial." Both of these pieces were produced by a man of noted prohibitionist tendencies, Thomas Edison, who nonetheless recognized tobacco’s ubiquity and appeal.

Were Thomas Alva Edison alive today he might rethink his proscriptive nature. Every day brings a new ban on something, such as cursing in a bar, but we suspect even Edison might want to stop the anti-freedom brigade, what with the forthcoming ban on his very own patented incandescent light bulb. Of course producing cigarette commercials became illegal in the US decades ago so the 1897 film is archly criminal while the landmark 1894 production, which merely depicts tobacco use, might still get past US censors with a Restricted rating. Enjoy these cinematic evils by clicking the link below.



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