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Martin Scorsese On William Friese Greene

He picks five characters who laid it all on the line for their artistic vision.

Played by Robert Donat
The Magic Box (1951)
Director: John Boutling

The life story of Friese-Greene, one of several men who could claim the mantle of "inventor of the motion picture."

"He had this obsession with movement and color, and risked his health and two families for his dream. I learned about the theory of the moving image from a flip book that he does. I would make my own flip books, when I was at home alone after walking home from school, which was just around the corner. My mother and father went to work, and we had this third-floor walk-up on Elizabeth Street that's still there. The most special time was between 3:30 and 5:30, when I would do little drawings, make little movies by myself on paper before they all came home."

A version of this article appeared in the December 2011/January 2012 issue of Fast Company magazine.