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100 years ago the 100-minute standard length in the cinema was "found." Isn't it time now to lose it? The possibilities for long or short movies are wide open

By Mark Cousins   May 2006

Exactly 100 years ago, an Australian director, Charles Tait, made the world’s first feature-length film, The Story of the Kelly Gang. Before 1906 there had been short and medium-length films, but nothing approaching 100 minutes, the length we in the west now associate with cinema. Judging by the surviving reactions to it, Tait’s 1906 film was no masterpiece, but it had “found” the running time that is now the industry standard, the commercial norm and the duration for which most movie-goers seem willing to escape real life.

The more you think of Tait’s feature ideal, however, the less clear it…

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