An Accidental Alibi (Edison)
100 years ago, filmmakers were just as obsessed with self-reflexivity as they are today. In An Accidental Alibi by John Adair, Joe Hardy (Augustus Phillips) is convicted of a murder he did not commit. The “accidental alibi,” a film taken of Joe on in New York City on the day that he was supposed to have committed the murder in the country, suddenly turns up and Joe is given a retrial. According to the Motography reviewer, this takes place in a “thrilling court room scene” in which “the new evidence, in the shape of the motion picture is projected before the judge and the assembled jury. It is absolutely conclusive and the jury gives a verdict of “Not guilty” without leaving their seats” (Motography, 3 May 1913, p. 334).