Jeffries-Sharkey Contest




Jeffries-Sharkey Contest

"This is the greatest and longest moving picture film ever made, covering as it does the entire period of the 25 rounds and intermissions of this bruising contest for the championship of the world between the champion Jim Jeffries and Tom Sharkey. It was taken by artificial light, thousands of dollars having been spent upon the electrical equipment and arrangements. This film may be ordered by rounds of 200 feet in any lengths desired. The introductory ceremonials take up 600 feet and the scenes the fight 25 feet. It is magnificent photographically throughout, the fighters being clear and sharp in every movement, and the crowd is shown to a considerable distance on each side of the ring." (AMB, Catalogue 1902 )


1 American Mutoscope & Biograph Company  
2 n.c.
After dinner the champion lay down for a short nap but his dreams were disturbed by the arrival of the American mutascope and biograph men who are to take the pictures of the fight. They brought a wagon-load of paraphernalia with them and they took pictures of Jeffries and his trainer in different groups and the champion and his trainers at different exercises. The afternoon was practically given up to the picture men and to entertaining a crowd of New York sporting men who took a run down here to look the champion over. Among the visitors were Con McVey, Dan O'Rourke. Jack Costello, Will Kennedy, John Reagan, Wallace McCutcheon and Arthur Mann. They were well pleased with Jeffries' condition, and Dan O'Rourke remarked that he was in far better shape than when he fought Fitzsimmons.
"Yes," said Trainer Billy Delaney, "he is a wonder. Jim's improvement has been remarkable., and while he has pulled off about fifteen pounds of flesh, he seems to grow stronger with each day.
The Philadelphia Inquirer, Philadelphia, 31 Oct 1899, p. 6.
3 03/11/1899  
4 États-Unis, Coney Island  


<13/11/1899  États-Unis, New York Arthur E. Johnstone  Jeffries-Sharkey Contest
Reproduction of Jeffries-Sharkey Contest all that was Hoped For. "The pictures don't lie. I'll leave it to the public to decide which man won," cried Tom Sharkey ecstatically, says the New York Telegraph, as he saw himself slashing at champion Jeffries in the testing room of the American Mutoscope and Biograph Company at Nº. 841 Broadway, where a private exhibition of the moving pictures taken at Coney Island on the night of Nov. 3 was given.
It was a marvelous picturing of the championship battle. The screen was only half the size to be used in the public exhibitions, but each detail of the rounds shown stood out as plainly as though the men who looked on in the flesh were really in the place of the intangible figures which represented them.
The muscle play appears in the minutest detail. Every shift in expression is shown, and there are times when the champion's face is a study in perplexity. The water thrown on the men showers like sliver in the air, and the emotions of the managers and seconds are portrayed perfectly A large section of the box area appears, and it, too, is vastly interesting.
Brady, Julian, Sharkey and the favored few who saw the pictures projected on the screen were speechless during the exhibition.
Fighters and Managers Present.
Arthur E Johnstone, who devised the method by which the pictures were taken, handled the mutoscope. He was assisted by Wallace McCutcheon, Those who saw the exhibition were Thomas Sharkey, one of the principals in the pictured contest; Tom O'Rourke. manager of Sharkey, and part owner of the pictures; William A. Brady, manager of Jeffries, also interested in the pictures; Lee Harrison, Max Rogers, Gus Rogers and a representative of the Morning Telegraph.
When the party met there was considerable jollying back and forth, made interesting by sharp dashes of sentiment not at all humorous, but meant very seriously. The company had a series of enlarged photographs showing critical moments and clean hits, which were examined while the mutoscope was being prepared for the exhibition.
Nothing as good as the enlarged photographs of the fight have ever been shown since the camera began to play a part in ring history. In one Sharkey lifts Jeffries clean off his feet with a left jolt on the front of the jaw. The champion is shown clearly off the canvas with his head back and Tom's powerful arm lifting him up. In another Sharkey lands a tremendous righthand punch flush on the jaw. Every Muscle in Blow.
The Buffalo Review, Buffalo, 13 nov. 1899, p. 2.
20/12/1899 Cuba, La Havane  Henderson Amusement Company  El [encuentro] de los célebres pugilatos Jeffries y Sharkey 


jeffries jeffriessharkey
Biograph's production team for The Jeffries-Sharkey Fight. The four cameramen are (left to right) Frederick S. Armitage, G. W. Bitzer, Arthur Marvin, and possibly Wallace McCutcheon. Harry Marvin stands in left foreground.
(repr. MUSSER, 1990: 204)

© Museum of Modern Art
Jeffries-Sharkey Contest, affiche, 1899
© Library of Congress


MUSSER Charles, The Emergence of Cinema-The American Screen to 1907, New York, Charles Scribner's Sons, 1990, 614 p.