R: Giovanni Pastrone. B: Gabriele d’Annunzio (Titel). K: Giovanni Tomaris, Natale Chiusano. Spezialeffekte: Segundo de Chomon. Bauten: Romano Luigi Borgnetto, Camillo Innocenti. D: Lidia Quaranta, Umberto Mozzato, Bartolomeo Pagano, Dante Testa. P: Itala. It 1912-1914

“This is the day of the new masters. We are witnessing a new style in dramatic kinematography.
Within the last four weeks there have been splendid manifestations of a new art on the screen. The skill and the inspiration of the director, the skill and the patient striving of the cameraman, a deep and conscientious study of screen possibilities, a new school of actors who have fathomed the mysteries of unspoken language – all these elements working toward the harmony of the whole have in part been responsible for the new school, which is opening the eyes of the world. (…) The tremendous moral of the play, the keenly dramatic and broadly humerous, the historic facts are all absorbed in an incredibly short time. Of course the spectacular features help; with all due respect to its classic predecessors I must confess that in the portrayal of the spectacular this film creates new records. (…) It would be a grave mistake, however, to emphasize the spectacular in this film above the dramatic. The spectacular is all the more impressive because an artistic masterhand has subordinated it to the dramatic and poetic moments of the play. (…)”
W. Stephen Bush in: The Moving Picture World (New York), 23.5.1914

Pastrone‘s position and role illustrate Itala’s peculiar internal organization. He was a co-owner, really a minority shareholder, yet in contrast to American producers à la Griffith, he could exercise direct control over the capital invested. More precisely, Pastrone’s role was similar to the one played by Thomas Ince: he overviewed the preparation and production of all Itala’s films in detail. With reference to the American model, Pastrone furthered the distinction between central producer and director in his relationship with other directors at Itala. As for his own professional profile, however, such distinction was meaningless. He was both central producer and director until the end of his career in 1923.”
Silvio Alovisio: The “Pastrone System”: Itala Film from the Origins to World War I. Università degli studi di Torino 2013, p. 6

R: George Nichols. B: H. Rider Haggard (novel), Theodore Marston (scenario). D:Marguerite Snow, James Cruze, Viola Alberti. P: Thanhouser Film Corporation. USA 1911

“The tale of She proved to hold an irresistible attraction for the embryonic motion picture industry, being filmed no less than eight times worldwide during the silent era, as well as being spoofed in 1915’s His Egyptian Affinity. It was first the basis for a short film made by Georges Méliès in 1899, La Colonne De Feu, which concentrated upon the visual possibilities of the eternal flame that sustains and ultimately destroys Ayesha. The first American version was made in 1908 by Edwin S. Porter for the Edison Company; sadly, this appears to be a lost film. The story was next tackled by the Thanhouser Company, and it is this production, released in December of 1911, that is the oldest surviving version of the tale. Thanhouser was one of the most important production houses during the development of the cinema in America. Based in New Rochelle, New York, the company turned out over a thousand films in the period between its founding in 1909 and 1917, when it ceased operation. Between these bookends, the company’s original owners sold their interest in it to the Mutual Film Corporation, famous firstly for being the home of the Keystone Cops and Charlie Chaplin during this period, and secondly for in 1915 being on the receiving end of the Supreme Court ruling that declared film to be a business and not an art form, and therefore not protected by the First Amendment; a ruling not overturned until 1952. (Today, Thanhouser Company Film Preservation, Inc., run by the grandson of the company’s founders, is even more important, being devoted to the acquisition and preservation of silent films.)”
And You Call Yourself a Scientist!