New Media around 1900 – 07

How a French Nobleman Got a Wife through the New York Herald Personal Columns
R: Edwin S. Porter.  P: Edison Manufacturing Co.  USA 1904

Edison‘s principle domestic rival in 1904 was once again the American Mutoscope & Biograph Company. Biograph was then producing a series of popular story films, which it used as exclusives for its exhibition circuits. Edison affiliated renters and exhibitors were deeply frustrated that they could not acquire these films. Taking advantage of this demand and eager to harm its competitor, the Edison Company had Edwin S. Porter remake several of Biograph’s hits. This one was a remake of Personal. Ultimately, Biograph had to sell its story films as soon as they were shown in theaters, undermining its exhibition service. Biograph sued Edison for copyright infringement on this film, but lost.”

R: Wallace McCutcheon. P: American Mutoscope & Biograph. USA 1904

“Although the chase is implied throughout most of The Great Train Robbery , it only becomes explicit for a single shot. The Escaped Lunatic , in contrast, makes the chase the dominant element of the film, as it would be for subsequent Biograph subjects such as Personal (June 1904 next hit) and The Lost Child (October 1904). As used by Biograph, the chase encouraged a simplification of story line and a linear progression of narrative that made the need for a familiar story or a showman’s narration unnecessary. These chase films locate the redundancy within the films themselves as pursuers and pursued engage repeatedly, with only slight variation, in the same activity. Rather than having a lecture explain images in a parallel fashion, rather than having the viewer’s familiarity with a story provide the basis for an understanding, chase films created a self-sufficient narrative in which the viewer’s appreciation was based chiefly on the experience of information presented within the film.”
Charles Musser: Before the Nickelodeon. Edwin S. Porter and the Edison Manufacturing Company. Berkeley / Los Angeles / Oxford 1991, p. 240

Getting Evidence
R: Edwin S. Porter. D: Paul Panzer. P: Edison Manufacturing Co. USA 1906

“This movie has a lot in common with Mr. Flip, that came out a few years later. The comedy hinges on a man being a persistent pest, and not taking the hint when he is upbraided for his behavior. The seltzer spritz* and wheelbarrow scene are also similar to some of the punishments Ben Turpin suffers in that film. Unlike Turpin, however, this comedian doesn’t really add much to his pratfalls, he just takes the abuse when it comes. He isn’t funny in himself, it’s just that some of the things that happen to him are funny. The car running over him is pretty convincing, although I think it was done with jump cuts and a dummy.”
Century Film Project

*Wine Spritzer vs. Hard Seltzer

Max fait de la photo
R: Lucien Nonguet. D: Max Linder. P: Pathé. Fr 1913
Engl. version

TRAUM UND EXZESS, S. 242 and S. 245