Stage, Screen, and Death

Duel to the Death
R: William K.L. Dickson. D: Edith Blanche, Beatrice Homer. P: British Mutoscope and Biograph Company. UK 1898
Print: BFI

“Ladies fighting with their tops off featured in sticky postcards, stereoscopic views, and nickelodeons. Here are some ladies stabbing it out to the death in a filmed scene from the 1898 Drury Lane stage play ‘Women and Wine’.”
Livius Drusus
Mental Floss

“The Biograph catalog summarized this film as follows: ‘This is the celebrated duel scene from the melodrama ‘Women and Wine,’ enacted by the original characters of the Drury Lane cast. The women fight with butcher knives, and their struggle is intensely interesting and realistic.’
Filmed at Mutoscope’s London studio. The actresses are thought to be Beatrice Homer and Edith Blanche.
The American Mutoscope Company was co-founded in Dec 1895 by former Edison Manufacturing Company inventor William K. L. Dickson (who left Edison in Apr of that year), fellow inventors Herman Casler and Harry Marvin, and businessman Elias Koopman. Their Mutoscope, which originally made flip-card peep show movies, soon rivaled Thomas Edison’s Kinetoscope (see Edison Kinetoscopic Records for 1893). In the summer of 1896, when Edison introduced the Vitascope 35mm projector, American Mutoscope immediately came out with its own 68mm projector that offered a superior image. In 1899, the company changed its name to the American Mutoscope and Biograph Company (…). By that time, Dickson had joined British Mutoscope in London, England.”
AFI Catalog of Feature Films

A real tragic death scene:

La ribalta (Frgm.)
R: Mario Caserini. B: Based on the drama «La Rampe» (1909) di Henri de Rothschild /  adapt.: Arrigo Frusta. K: Giovanni Vitrotti. D: Febo Mari, Maria Gasparini, Oreste Grandi, Mario Voller-Buzzi, Ercole Vaser. P:  Società Anonima Ambrosio, Torino (serie d’oro). It 1912
Print: Museo Nazionale del Cinema (Desmetcolor)

“The fragment here shown belongs to the ending part of the film.
The lady of Saint-Vanor, tired of being oppressed by her dissolute husband, leaves him for Claudio Bourgueil, the leading actor, and she becomes his student. But soon the student overcomes the master and jealousy kills the man’s love. Eventually abandoned, Maddalena of Saint-Vanor calls the one she has sacrificed her heart and riches for, so that he privately watches the rehearsal of a tragic death scene. At the end of the recital, Claudio bends over her and he realizes that the poor woman was not acting and that she had actually committed suicide.” (Vimeo)

>>> Mario Caserini