Tonbilder

Rauschlied aus “Künstlerblut”
R: Oskar Messter. D: Alexander Girardi. P: Oskar Messter Film Berlin. D 1906
Kopie: Filmarchiv Austria, Wien

Ein Beispiel für Messters “Biophon”-Technik: Kamera bzw. Projektor und Grammophon werden gekoppelt, um Sprache und Geräusche, vor allem aber Gesang und Musik synchron mit dem Bild aufzunehmen bzw. wiederzugeben.

“Ihren Höhepunkt erreichte Messters Tonbildproduktion in den Jahren 1906 bis 1908. Wegen des guten Absatzes konnte Messter drei- und vierstellige Gagen für prominente Tonkünstler zahlen. So engagierte er zum Beispiel Otto Reuter, Joseph Giampietro, Alexander Girardi und sogar internationale Stars des Tanztheaters wie die Saharet und die Otero. Allerdings holte die Konkurrenz auf und machte Messter sein Tonbild-Monopol streitig. Für 1908 kann in Deutschland von einem regelrechten Tonbild-Boom gersprochen werden.(…) Tonbild-Serien aus einer Oper oder Operette kompensierten die kurze Dauer des einzelnen Tonbilds, das durch die Schallplatte auf zwei bis drei Minuten begrenzt war. 1910 bot die Firma Vitascope eine Serie von zehn Tonbildern aus der Operette ‘Der Graf von Luxemburg’ mit einer Gesamtlänge von 500 Metern an, was immerhin einer Spieldauer von einer knappen halben Stunde entspricht.”
Ennio Simeon: Messter und die Musik des frühen Kinos. In: Frank Kessler u.a. (Hrg.): KINtop Schriften 2. Oskar Messter – Filmpionier der Kaiserzeit. Basel / Frankfurt am Main 1994, S. 140 f.

Willst du mein Cousinchen sein?
D: Brunhilde Ellis, Max Walden (?) P: Alfred Duskes. D 1907
(lt. Murnau Stiftung:  P: Deutsche Bioscop GmbH. D 1909)
Duett-Schlager aus der Victor Hollaender-Revue “Der Teufel lacht dazu”
Soundtrack nicht original!
Print: Deutsches Filminstitut – DIF

“Bei Der Teufel lacht dazu: Willst Du mein Cousinchen sein? handelt es sich um ein Tonbild. Tonbilder ist die Bezeichnung für frühe Kinofilme mit Synchronton (aufgezeichnet und abgespielt im Nadeltonverfahren). In Deutschland begann die Produktion der Tonbilder um 1903: Die Kamera filmte Schauspieler im Playback-Verfahren zu einer auf Schellackplatte vorliegenden Tonaufnahme. In der Kinovorführung wurde der (normalerweise noch handgekurbelte) Projektor mit dem Grammophon synchronisiert. Die kurzen Filme zeigten vorzugsweise beliebte Musikstücke aus Oper, Operette und Revue. Es entstanden sogar spezielle Tonbild-Theater für das extrem populäre Genre. Noch vor Beginn des Ersten Weltkriegs 1914
endete die kurze Ära des Tonbildes wieder.”
http://www.filmportal.de/video/willst-du-mein-cousinchen-sein

Alfred Duskes:

“Duskes stellte in den Jahren zwischen 1907 und 1912 zahlreiche Tonbilder mit Szenen und Liedern aus Opern, vor allem aber aus damals populären Operetten (wie “Die Fledermaus” von Johann Strauss, “Ein Walzertraum” von Oscar Strauss, “Die Dollarprinzessin” und “Der fidele Bauer” von Leo Fall und Revuen (z.B. “Der Teufel lacht dazu” oder “Das muss man seh’n” von Victor Hollaender) her, in denen z.T. namhafte Interpreten der 1910er Jahre zu sehen und zu hören waren. Neben Spielfilmen und Tonbildern produzierte Duskes auch Aufnahmen von Aktualitäten wie Staatsbesuchen, Sportereignissen, Luftschiff- und Hochbahnunglücken; bekannt geworden ist sein Film mit dem Schuster Wilhelm Voigt, “Hauptmann von Köpenick” (1908). Bereits 1906 hatte er dessen Geschichte mit dem Theaterbesitzer Ernst Baumann in der Titelrolle als Spielfilm realisiert, nachdem der Kinematographen-Fabrikant Carl Buderus ebenfalls 1906 eine kurze Stummfilm-Satire auf den Fall gedreht hatte.”
http://www.linkfang.de/wiki/Alfred_Duskes#cn-13


Georges Mendel in Frankreich:

La Marseillaise
R / P: Georges Mendel. D: Jean Noté. Fr 1907

Nadeltonanlage nach dem System Mendel:

“Die Anlage besteht aus einem Projektor Typ Pathé, englisches Modell, einem Grammophon, einer Luftpumpe zur Schallverstärkung sowie einem Synchronregler zur Anpassung der Laufgeschwindigkeiten von Projektor und Grammophon. Der Synchronregler vergleicht die auf elektrischem Wege übertragene Laufgeschwindigkeit des Grammophons mit der mechanisch übertragenen Laufgeschwindigkeit des Projektors. Bei Geschwindigkeitsdifferenzen wird die Spannung des Antriebsmotors für den Projektor so geregelt, dass wieder Gleichlauf erreicht wird. Mangelnde Lautstärke sollte durch Schallverstärkung über einen zusätzlichen Luftstrom mittels einer Pumpe behoben werden. Hergestellt wurden solche Tonbilder im Playbackverfahren: Im Atelier wurde die vorher produzierte Schallplatte abgespielt, die Darsteller agierten entsprechend der Musik, und die mit dem Grammophon im Synchronlauf gekoppelte Kamera zeichnete die Bilder auf. Bedingt durch die Platte als Tonträger waren immer nur relativ kurze Szenen als Tonbilder möglich. Auch war eine ausreichende Wiedergabequalität nicht immer zu gewährleisten.”
http://www.filmmuseum-potsdam.de/Nadeltoneinrichtung-nach-Georges-Mendel.html

>>> Farbe und Ton: 1900: Color and Sound

TRAUM UND EXZESS, S. 215

Mitchell & Kenyon

Electric Edwardians: The Films of Mitchell & Kenyon
R & P: Sagar Mitchell / James Kenyon. UK 1901-1905
Print: BFI National Archive, London

Including:
Audley Range School Backburn / Morecambe Church Lad’s Brigade at Drill / University Procession on Degree Day Birmingham / Torpedo Flotilla Visit to Manchester / Lord Robert’s Visit to Manchester / Lieutenant Clive Wilson and the Tranby Croft Party Hull / Opening of the Drill Hall in Accrington by General Baden-Powell / A Sneaky Boer / Messrs Lumb and Co Leaving the Works Huddersfield / Pendlebury Colliery / Parkgate Iron and Steel Co. Rotherham / North Sea Fisheries North Shields / Cunard Vessel at Liverpool / Whitsuntide Fair at Preston / Manchester Band of Hope Procession / Blackpool Victoria Pier / Leeds Athletic and Cycling Club Carnival / Dewsbury vs Manningham / Sedgwick’s Bioscope Show Front / The Great Local Derby: Accrington v Church Cricket Match / Halifax Catholic Procession / Burnley v Manchester United / Sheffield United v Bury / Preston Egg Rolling / Living Wigan / Tram Ride into Halifax / Electric Tram Rides from Forster Square Bradford / Jamaica Street Glasgow / Ride on the Tram Car through Belfast / Wexford Bull Ring / Manchester Street Scene / Panoramic View of the Morecambe Sea Front

Visual tour of a snowy, cold Halifax
R & P: Sagar Mitchell / James Kenyon. UK 1902
Print: BFI National Archive, London

“The firm of Mitchell and Kenyon, founded in Blackburn in 1897 by Sagar Mitchell and James Kenyon, released films under the trade name of Norden and were one of the largest British film companies in the 1900s, producing a mixture of topicals, fiction and ‘fake’ war films. (…) Until recently the company were more famous for their dramatised war films, ten of which were known to have survived and included titles such as The Dispatch Bearers (1900), Winning the VC (1900) and Attack on a China Mission (1901). However, the discovery of approximately 800 negatives in the original premises in 1994 by Peter Worden and their acquisition by the British Film Institute in 2000, has led to a major revaluation of their contribution to film making in the United Kingdom.(…) The company filmed scenes of local interest, including factory gate films, sporting events, processions and phantom rides through town centres in the North of England. (…)

With the outbreak of the Boer War in October 1899, the company turned to the production of war films of events in the Transvaal and the Boxer rebellion in China. These were filmed in the countryside around Blackburn and consisted of fictionalised scenes of events from the battlefronts. The films were available direct from the manufacturers but were also distributed by Gaumont, Walturdaw and Charles Urban, who advertised A Tragic Elopement in November 1903. By 1901 the company were selling factory gate and other non-fiction titles to travelling exhibition companies, of which thirty-eight are represented in the Peter Worden collection. (…) Their geographical range encompassed the North and North West of England, Glasgow and Dundee in Scotland, North Wales, the Midlands and Bristol and Portsmouth in the South West, with the largest percentage of titles relating to Lancashire and Yorkshire.

Fiction production was not as copious as their non-fiction output, but by 1903 their premises in Clayton Street included an outdoor studio and they also filmed on location. Sixty-five fiction titles are now preserved in the Cinema Museum, London, including Diving Lucy (1903), billed in the United States as the ‘biggest English comedy hit of the year’, and five by Lobster Films of Paris. Approximately 800 non-fiction titles form the Peter Worden Mitchell and Kenyon Collection at the British Film Institute. The discovery and preservation of this material reveals a pattern of commissioning and exhibition that existed between film companies and early travelling exhibitors in the early 1900s. The films were either commissioned, purchased or sent to Mitchell and Kenyon to be developed and printed and shown by the exhibitors in temporary venues in the locality, including music halls, fairground cinematograph shows and town halls. (…)

Throughout the 1900s, Mitchell and Kenyon continued to film local scenes and to produce fiction titles such as Black Diamonds or the Collier’s Daily Life (1904) and the comedy The Interrupted Picnic (1906). One of their most innovative titles was the Arrest of Goudie (1901) commissioned by Ralph Pringle of the North American Animated Photo Company in Liverpool. The film was shot incorporating the actual crime locations and depicts the arrest of Thomas Goudie, an employee of the Bank of Liverpool who embezzled £170,000 to pay of his gambling debts. It was exhibited three days after Goudie’s arrest in December at the Prince of Wales Theatre in Liverpool. By 1904 they were referred to as one of the leading film manufacturers in the country by the trade press. (…) However, by 1909 Mitchell and Kenyon appear to have restricted their activities to Blackburn and its surrounding locality. Their last surviving titles are between 1911 and 1913. Although the company continued to be listed under the ownership of both men until 1915, no films have been found from this period. James Kenyon retired to Southport in 1915 leaving Mitchell to run his separate photographic business in Blackburn. Kenyon returned to Southport in the early 1920s and the partnership was dissolved in 1922. James Kenyon died 6 February 1925 and Sagar Jones Mitchell died aged 85, 2 October 1952.”
Vanessa Toulmin
Who’s Who of Victorian Cinema

>>> Diving Lucy on this website: The Biggest English Comedy Hit of the Year

Florence Turner

A Midsummer Night’s Dream
R: Charles Kent/J. Stuart Blackton. B: Eugene Mullin; William Shakespeare (comedy). D: Florence Turner (Titania), Julia Swayne Gordon, Maurice Costello, Gladys Hulette, Clara Kimball Young. P: Vitagraph Company of America. USA 1909
Print: Silent Hall of Fame

Twelfth Night
R: Charles Kent. B: Eugene Mullin (scenario), William Shakespeare (play). D: Julia Swayne Gordon, Charles Kent, Florence Turner. P: Vitagraph Company of America. USA 1910

“A measurement of Turner’s prominence at Vitagraph can be taken when one considers the nature of her performances in a selection of her extant films. A skilled comedienne, Turner nonetheless excelled in dramatic roles that called upon her growing command of the developing verisimilar style perfected at Vitagraph during this time. In particular, reflexive roles casting Turner as an actress seemed designed to showcase her prodigious talent. In Renunciation (1910), for example, Turner plays a young woman whose fiancé’s father persuades her to discourage his son’s attentions by emulating a state of dissolution. The film’s success hinges on Turner’s ability to portray convincingly an actress giving a performance designed to deceive her diegetic audience, while at the same time prompting the film’s viewers to recognize both the persuasiveness of the performance and the true emotions the character experiences when engaged in the ruse. Possibly Turner’s most demanding role was the rejected lover in Jealousy (1911), a film now lost. Promoted by Vitagraph as ‘A Study in the Art of Dramatic Expression by Florence E. Turner’, the film was a tour de force for the actress, as she was the sole performer on-screen for the entirety of Jealousy‘s running time.”
Charlie Keil:
http://wfpp.cdrs.columbia.edu/pioneer/ccp-florence-turner/

>>> Starring: The Girls on this site

Francesca Bertini

La Signora delle camelie
R: Gustavo Serena. B: Renzo Chiosso nach dem Roman “La Dame aux Camélias” von Alexandre Dumas fils. D: Francesca Bertini, Carlo Benetti, Olga Benetti. P: Caesar Film. It 1915/1916
Print: Il Museo Nazionale del Cinema, Torino

“Born in Florence, she was daughter of a comic theatre actress. Bertini began performing on stages as a child, particularly in Naples, where her family was settled. In 1904, at the age of 16, she moved to Rome, where she improved her acting skills, especially on theatre stages, and attempted to perform in the just-born Italian movie production.
Her first important movie, Histoire d’un pierrot, was under the direction of Baldassarre Negroni in 1913. Gradually she developed her beauty and elegance, plus a strong, intense, and charming personality, which would be the key of her success as a silent movie actress. With Assunta Spina in 1915 she took care of the scripts as well as performing the role of the main character. Bertini was popular internationally, her sophistication emulated around the world by women moviegoers. Reputedly, in 1915 she earned $175,000—a record for the time; Mary Pickford wouldn’t catch up until the following year. She developed the current acting techniques of movie actresses by making it more sober, banning broad gestures or the mincing ways of the Diva. She is one of the first film actresses to focus on reality, rather than on a dramatic stereotype, an anticipation of Neorealistic canons. The expression of authentic feelings was the key of her success through many films. She could perform with success the languid decadent heroine as well as the popular common woman. Other important roles were Odette, Fedora, Tosca and the Lady of the Camellias.”
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Francesca_Bertini

Lyda Borelli

Rapsodia satanica
R: Nino Oxilia. B: Alberto Fassini. K: Giorgio Ricci. M: Pietro Mascagni. D: Lyda Borelli, Andrea Habay, Ugo Bazzini. P: Società Italiana Cines. It 1915/1917
Kopie: Cineteca di Milano
French subtitles

“The story of Rapsodia satanica is as agonizing and troubled as the fate of the countess Alba d’Oltrevita, played by the divine Lyda Borelli. Nino Oxilia’s masterpiece was completed in spring 1915 but was not released in theaters until 1917 due to mysterious inside disputes at Cines: that would result in a delay of almost three years in giving the world a film that was the most genuine attempt at making a total work of art for the screen. In deference to the Gesamtkunstwerk of Wagnerian fame, the film condenses pictorial quotations that range from Symbolism to the Pre-Raphaelites, literary references to the Faust tradition and Dannunzian decadence, spectacular architectural allusions to art nouveau, all embellished with original music by Pietro Mascagni. Rapsodia satanica, however, was not only a sophisticated and aesthetic compendium of the best artistic movements: it’ s a film in a league of its own with Nino Oxilia’s poetic sensitivity and compositional expertise and Lyda Borelli’s extraordinary performance. She expresses with her body and eyes the controversial aspects of her character, distilling the sensuality of eroticism, the raving hysteria of madness, the dark mood of death.”
Giovanni Lasi
Il Cinema Ritrovato

“1914 hatte die italienische Produktionsgesellschaft Cines den Opernkomponisten Pietro Mascagni mit einer Partitur zu Rapsodia satanica des Lyrikers Nino Oxilia beauftragt. Die nicht zuletzt von Carl Spitteler vergötterte Diva Lyda Borelli verkörpert darin eine weibliche Faust-Figur, die alternde Aristokratin Alba, die von Mephistopheles ihre Jugend wiederbekommt – unter der Bedingung, dass sie der Liebe entsagt. Das ‘poema cinema-musicale’, ein eigentliches Gesamtkunstwerk-Experiment, wurde 1917 uraufgeführt. Wie die Filmhistorikerin Mariann Lewinsky schreibt, ist nicht die Handlung zentral, sondern die allmähliche Entfaltung ästhetischer Effekte: ‘Ausstattung und Szenerien sind im Kontext ihrer Zeit modisch und avantgardistisch: die Bilderwelten des Jugendstils und des Symbolismus. Die Musik trägt die aus Posen, Gesten und Blicken modulierten stummen Arien der Diva und greift gleichberechtigt ein: Den dritten Teil liess Mascagni nach seinen Vorstellungen neu drehen. Hier entsteht aus dem Zusammenspiel der Medien eine überwältigende Performance.'”
Neue Zürcher Zeitung

>>> Lyda Borelli, la diva amata (I)

The Naked Truth

Hypocrites (extract)
R: Lois Weber. D: Courtenay Foote, Myrtle Stedman, Herbert Standing. P: Bosworth Company. USA 1914/15

“The film follows the parallel stories of an early Christian ascetic and a modern minister, with most actors in dual roles. Gabriel (Courteney Foote) is a medieval monk who devotes himself to completing a statue of ‘Truth’, only to be murdered by a mob when his work turns out to be an image of a naked woman. The contemporary Gabriel is the pastor of a large wealthy urban congregation for whom religion is a matter of appearances, not beliefs. The hypocrisy of the congregation is exposed by a series of vignettes in which the Naked Truth, literally portrayed by a nude Margaret Edwards, reveals their appetites for money, sex and power. (…)
Hypocrites was a shocking and controversial film whose release was held up for many months by the difficulty of distributing a film with full nudity. Weber’s sincerity and reputation allowed her to use something that in the hands of a male director would have been considered scandalous and immoral. The film was passed by the British Board of Film Censors. However, because of the full and recurring nudity through the film, it caused riots in New York, was banned in Ohio, and was subject to censorship in Boston when the mayor demanded that the film negatives be painted over to clothe the woman.
Hypocrites and the technique was widely admired at the time for its extraordinary use of multiple exposures and intricate editing, and propelled Weber to the front ranks of silent directors.[2] The use in the film of traveling double exposure sequences of the woman is considered impressive for 1915.”
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hypocrites_%28film%29

>>> America’s First Female Director

Jurassic Park, anno 1915

The Dinosaur and the Missing Link: A Prehistoric Tragedy
R and Animation: Willis H. O’Brien. P: Conquest Pictures Company / Herman Wobber. USA 1915/1917

“This little seen curio, being only one reel in length shows us a foretaste of what Willis H. O’Brien was to achieve with considerably greater success in 1933’s immortal classic King Kong. The Dinosaur and the Missing Link is the earliest of ‘Obie’s work and still in existence today. (…)
Willis O’Brien’s animation methods had been in use in the very early days of film, but it would be these skills that he would perfect from simple trick photography to the exhaustive stop-motion animation processes that became a vital element in feature-length motion pictures and a precurser to contemporary computer graphic animation.
The entire cast of his early films were constructed of wooden skeltons over which the likenesses were sculpted in clay. Today it’s increasingly difficult to appreciate the sheer hard work that went into creating living, breathing monsters for early cinema audience’s delight, particulary with the all too real graphics that we now come to expect.”
http://www.classichorror.free-online.co.uk/dino.htm