Wladyslaw Starewicz

Mest kinematograficheskogo operatora
(The Cameraman’s Revenge)
R and B: Wladyslaw Starewicz. P: Khanzhonkov. RUS 1912

“Although his name nowadays means very little except to animation buffs (and even they have to be pretty well informed), Wladyslaw Starewicz (1882-1965) ranks alongside Walt Disney, as one of the great animation pioneers, and his career started nearly a decade before Disney’s. He became an animator by accident – fascinated by insects, he bought a camera and attempted to film them, but they kept dying under the hot lights. Stop-motion animation provided an instant (if slow) solution, and Starewicz discovered that he had a natural talent for it. He subsequently made dozens of short films, mostly featuring his trademark stop-motion puppets, but also live action films (some blending live action and animation), moving to France after the Russian Revolution to continue his career. His longest and most ambitious film was the feature-length Tale of the Fox, which took ten years to plan and eighteen months to shoot. Starewicz’ films were virtually one-man shows (writer/director/cameraman/designer/animator), though other important contributions (in front of and behind the camera) were made by his daughters.”
Michael Brooke

More about this film:

About the Poor

From the Submerged
R: Theodore Wharton. B: Theodore Wharton. D: E.H. Calvert, Ruth Stonehouse, William Walters. P: Essanay Film Manufacturing Company. USA 1912

From the Submerged (1912) is a short film about the poor. It is moving, and striking for its social commentary.
Leading man E.H. Calvert is notable for both his virile appearance and his sensitive acting. Many years later, he would appear as District Attorney Markham in the Philo Vance films, based on the novels by S.S. Van Dine. Calvert doubled as a director in the silent era, making films of several very good short stories by Mary Roberts Rinehart, including ‘Affinities’ and a series based on some of her Tish tales: ‘The Cave on Thundercloud’, ‘Mind Over Motor’, ‘Tish’s Spy’.
There is what looks like a reproduction of Jean-François Millet’s painting ‘The Angelus’ (1857), above the father’s bed. This very famous painting is a profound expression of the sacredness of work among the poor. It expresses both the liberal concern for the life and economic struggles of the poor, and devout Christianity, that were common in the Progressive Era when From the Submerged was made.
Other links to religion are found in From the Submerged. The heroine points to Heaven, while inspiring the hero and saving his life. And a minister appears in the finale. The film link religion and a concern for the problems of the poor.”
Michael E. Grost

461-Millet Angelus Jean-François Millet: L’Angélus, c. 1857-1859

Theodore Wharton (1875-1931) was an American film director, producer and writer. He directed 48 films in the 1910s and 1920s, including the 1915 The New Adventures of J. Rufus Wallingford, which featured Oliver Hardy. (…)
In 1890 Wharton started in both the business side of the theater as well as acting in Dallas, Texas. He worked for a number of stock companies, including that of Augustin Daly until 1899, and then became a stage manager. In 1907 he visited Edison Studios and worked there until 1909. Over the next 3 years he wrote and directed many screenplays for various studios including Essanay Studios.
During 1912 the US government commissioned him to produce The Late Indian Wars, the first sevel-reel motion picture in America. It was filmed on location in the great plains, with a script by General Charles King and a large cast including other generals and ‘Buffalo Bill’ Cody. The Whartons Studio opened in Ithaca, New York in 1914. Stars he directed included Francis X. Bushman, Henry B. Walthall and Beverly Bayne. In the 1920s Wharton moved to Santa Cruz, California, as promoted by mayor Fred Swanton.”

Victorin-Hippolyte Jasset

L’homme au sac
R: Victorin-Hippolyte Jasset. P: Société Française des Films Éclair. Fr 1908

About Victorin-Hippolyte Jasset (1862-1913):
“Although relatively unknown, Jasset is one of the finest French filmmakers from the 1907-1914 period, along with Louis Feuillade and Léonce Perret. (…) His reputation was made in 1900, when he directed ‘Vercingétorix’, an epic-scaled pantomime, for the opening of the Hippodrome. There he met manager Georges Hatot, with whom he would later co-direct a number of films, but it is now impossible to know who did what in their production. (…) He definitely worked for Gaumont in 1906, and has since been erroneously credited as the author of several Alice Guy films, including her masterpiece, La vie du Christ. (…) In 1907 Jasset was hired by Éclair, where he got the idea for a series of films centered around one main character, the detective Nick Carter (1908), based on an American dime novel. (…) Jasset became artistic director for the Éclair studios in Epinay, where he made ‘films d’art’ such as Hérodiade (1910), based on the Gustave Flaubert novel. In 1911, he went back to making a crime series, but this time with the novelty of a multiple-reel film depicting Léon Sazie’s evil genius Zigomar (1911). The film was a huge international success (…).”
Richard Abel: Encyclopedia of Early Cinema. Abingdon 2005, p. 347

>>>Jasset’s film Bandits en automobile on this site

Holland 1899

K: Emile Lauste. P: De Nederlandsche Biograaf en Mutoscope Company. Ne 1899
Kopie: EYE/Film Instituut Nederland

“EYE Film Institute Netherlands holds a large number of films produced by the American Mutoscope Company (1895-1909) on 68mm film stock. In 1899 the company changed its name to American Mutoscope and Biograph Co. In december 1898 the Nederlandsche Biograaf en Mutoscope-maatschappij (NB&MM) was established as a subsidiary of the American company. Next to exhibiting the American films in the variété-theaters such as Circus O. Carré in Amsterdam, the NB&MM also produced a small number of films related to Dutch actualities. The NB&MM was declared bankrupt on June 27, 1902. From 1995 on, in collaboration with the BFI, EYE (then Nederlands Filmmuseum) undertook the restoration work to restore and reproduce these films, duplicating the original 68mm film stock onto 35mm safety film.”

Kinderfeest op eiland Marken
K: Emile Lauste. P: De Nederlandsche Biograaf en Mutoscope Company. Ne 1899
Kopie: EYE/Film Instituut Nederland

Watersnood in buurt
K: Emile Lauste. P: De Nederlandsche Biograaf en Mutoscope Company. Ne 1899
Kopie: EYE/Film Instituut Nederland

Aankomst der vredesconferentie te Haarlem, 4 juni 1899
K: Emile Lauste. P: De Nederlandsche Biograaf en Mutoscope Company. Ne 1899
Kopie: EYE/Film Instituut Nederland

Reportage about the visit that the delegates to the First Peace Conference at The Hague made to the floral parade in Haarlem. The First Peace Conference at The Hague took place from May 18 to July 29, 1899. Its initiator was the Russian Tsar Nicholas II.

>>> Holland 1900

Early Ethnography

Banks of the Nile
R: Charles Urban. P: Charles Urban Trading Company. UK 1911

“The most significant figure in the early British film industry was an American of German parentage who was born in Cincinnati, Ohio in 1867. First establishing himself as a travelling book salesman, Charles Urban moved to Detroit in 1889 and ran a stationery shop before becoming a phonograph salesman. By 1895 he was managing a Kinetoscope and phonograph parlour in Detroit. In 1896 he obtained the agency rights for the Edison Vitascope projector for Michigan, before developing his own projector, the Bioscope. In 1897 he was made manager of the English branch of the American firm of Maguire and Baucus, agents for Edison films in Europe. Establishing the business in London’s Warwick Court, in 1898 he reformed the film business as the Warwick Trading Company and began to produce his own films, as well as marketing the Bioscope.
Urban’s most notable professional association, however, was with G.A. Smith. Urban first handled Smith’s films and employed him as a film processor, then in 1902 directed Smith to work on an improvement to the experimental, unworkable Lee and Turner film colour process. Kinemacolor, a two-colour additive system employing red and green filters, patented by Smith in 1906 and launched publicly in 1908, was the first successful natural motion picture colour system and added considerable lustre to Urban’s name. In 1903 Urban broke away from Warwick to form the Charles Urban Trading Company (trademark Urbanora, slogan ‘We Put the World Before You’), reinforcing his reputation as a supplier of quality documentary film, but also diversifying to form the Natural Color Kinematograph Company (exploiting Kinemacolor), the Kineto company, and the French firm Éclipse.”
Adapted from Who’s Who of Victorian Cinema (BFI, 1996) eds. Stephen Herbert and Luke McKernan
Charles Urban

K: Stéphane Passet. P: Les Archives de la Planète/Albert Kahn. Fr 1913

Albert Kahn (1860-1940) was a French banker and philanthropist, known for initiating The Archives of the Planet, a vast photographical project. (…)
In 1909, Kahn travelled with his chauffeur and photographer, Alfred Dutertre to Japan on business and returned with many photographs of the journey. This prompted him to begin a project collecting a photographic record of the entire Earth. He appointed Jean Brunhes as the project director, and sent photographers to every continent to record images of the planet using the first practical medium for colour photography, autochrome plates, and early cinematography. Between 1909 and 1931 they collected 72,000 colour photographs and 183,000 meters of film. These form a unique historical record of 50 countries, known as The Archives of the Planet.
Kahn’s photographers began documenting France in 1914, just days before the outbreak of World War I, and by liaising with the military managed to record both the devastation of war, and the struggle to continue everyday life and agricultural work.”

Stéphane Passet a trente cinq ans en 1911 et tient un magasin dédié au royaume de la déesse Photographie. Il est installé à Clermont-Ferrand. C’est un type jovial, qui pète la santé, rempli de naturelle gaité. il n’a pas pas peur du terrain, aime la chasse et la vie en plein air. Un jour de hasard, Albert Kahn, autre passionné et homme à la générosité fabuleuse, rencontre Passet sur place en Auvergne. Entre les deux le courant passe tout de suite ; il décide de lui proposer de faire partie des courageux coureurs des bois argentiques de son équipe de photographes pèlerins-pérégrins des “Archives de la Planète”. Passet, saisi tout entier par son instinct, prend sur lui de tout plaquer et relève avec beaucoup d’âme le défi lancé par son nouvel ami Kahn. c’est ainsi qu’il part en direction de la capitale mongole (nouvellement indépendante depuis 1911, mais presqu’encore inconnue des occidentaux, elle subira des dommages irrémédiables lors de la terrible destruction stalinienne de 1937).”
chevalsauvage (YouTube)

A Chase Comedy from Australia

The Bashful Mr Brown
R and P: Leonard Corrick. AUS 1907
Print: National Film and Sound Archive of Australia (NFSA)

“Over 100 years before the modern ‘mashup’, the Australian-based Corrick Family Entertainers were showing repackaged and complete versions of the latest special effects, comedy and actuality (non-fiction) films in black-and-white and dazzling colour. Screened with live musical accompaniment provided by the family, ‘Leonard’s Beautiful Pictures’ formed part of a variety act which toured Australasia, South-East Asia and Europe from 1897 to 1914.”

“Soon after they acquired their first motion picture camera, the Corrick Family Entertainers filmed The Bashful Mr Brown, a chase-comedy starring various members of the troupe.
Probably the first dramatic narrative film produced in Western Australia. The film follows the adventures of Mr Brown, an awkward young bachelor who causes mayhem when he attempts to help his hostess dispense afternoon tea. After many accidents, Mr Brown escapes with the afternoon teacloth attached to his coat-tails and with a group of small boys in hot pursuit.
Mr Brown is believed to have been played by a comedian who was performing with Harry Rickards variety show in Perth. In typical self-promoting fashion, a poster advertising the family act is seen pasted on a street hoarding during the chase sequence.”
Silent Beauties

Also screened by the Corrick Family Entertainers:

The Hand of the Artist
R: Walter R. Booth. P: Charles Urban Trading Company. UK 1906

“Photographic images are composed and brought to life on a whim, and then just as quickly transformed or reduced to immobility by the hand of the artist. (…) This silent English short was screened as part of the vaudeville-style performances of the Corrick family entertainers who toured Australia and the world between 1901 and 1914.”
Australian Screen

“This is one of several films in the Corrick Collection that make use of the stop-motion technique, including titles such as How Jones Lost His Roll (Edison, 1905), Comedy Cartoons (Urban, 1907) and The Arrested Tricar (FAN, c1907). The Corrick family entertainers toured Australia and the world in the early 1900s with a live variety show incorporating silent films, including The Hand of the Artist. This film runs for 191 feet 8 inches and was originally projected at 16 frames-per-second. There are no intertitles. The Hand of the Artist also features in ‘My Bicycle Loves You’, a show by physical theatre troupe Legs on the Wall for the 2011 Sydney and Perth Festivals.”
Leslie Lewis
Australian Screen

>>>  Walter Booth’s Proto-SF Fables on this site
>>> also on this site: The First Australian Cartoonist, Early Cinema in Australia – 1