Chaplin 1914

A Busy Day
R: Mack Sennett. B: Charles Chaplin. D: Charles Chaplin, Mack Swain, Phyllis Allen. P: Mack Sennett. USA 1914
Released May 7, 1914

A Busy Day was filmed in Wilmington on April 11, 1914 during a dedication ceremony and parade celebrating the Los Angeles Harbor expansion. A split-reel comedy, A Busy Day was originally released with the educational film The Morning Papers.”

The Masquerader
R: Charles Chaplin. B: Charles Chaplin. D: Charles Chaplin, Roscoe ‘Fatty’ Arbuckle, Chester Conklin. P: Mack Sennett. USA 1914
Released August 27, 1914

The Masquerader is the second of three comedies in which Chaplin appears as a woman; the earlier A Busy Day has Chaplin in crude drag playing a shrewish wife; the later A Woman (1915) further develops what he achieved in this comedy: a brilliant transformation to a soft, feminine, and seductive woman. The Masquerader is also one of several Chaplin comedies, like the earlier  A Film Johnnie and the later His New Job (1915) and Behind the Screen (1916), set in a motion picture studio.”
Jeffrey Vance, adapted from his book Chaplin: Genius of the Cinema. New York 2003
Charlie Chaplin

A Film Johnnie
R: George Nichols. B: Craig Hutchinson. K: Frank D. Williams. D: Charles Chaplin, Roscoe ‘Fatty’ Arbuckle, Peggy Pearce, Mabel Normand, Ford Sterling. P: Keystone Film Company. USA 1914

Cruel, cruel Love
R: George Nichols, Mack Sennett. B: Craig Hutchinson. K: Frank D. Williams. D: Charles Chaplin, Edgar Kennedy, Minta Durfee, Eva Nelson. P: Keystone Film Company. USA 1914

“Presumably, Chaplin felt this scenario was so specific in its aims and intentions that he felt his Tramp simply didn’t belong in the melodrama. It also points to his continuing fluidity in these early films: his persona is by no means fixed. Of the nine films released in the first three months of 1914, Chaplin’s Tramp featured (in some form) in six, with Making a Living, Tango Tangles, and Cruel, Cruel Love seeing him trying out different looks and characters. The Tramp features in the overwhelming majority of the remainder of the 36 films released in 1914, but every so often — whether through boredom, experimentation, or to fit better with the scenario — Chaplin abandons his basic look for something else altogether. We’ll be seeing this costume — or a variation of it — again in Mabel at the Wheel (18 April 2014).”
Brian J. Robb
Chaplin: Film by Film

>>> From Keystone to Essanay: Chaplin 1914/15 on this site

Promoting Cadillac in the UK

The Smallest Car in the Largest City in the World
R: F.S. Bennett. P: British & Colonial Kinematograph Company. UK 1913

The Crown Prince Olav of Norway rides through the streets of London in a baby Cadillac, a present to him from his grandmother, Queen Alexandra of Great Britain.

“The brain behind the little car was Frederick S. Bennett, an Englishman who played a pivotal role in establishing Cadillac’s success in the UK. As a Cadillac dealer across the pond, Bennett’s greatest challenge was emasculating prevailing public opinion that American products weren’t built to last. His persistence finally paid off in 1909 when Cadillac became the first American auto manufacturer to receive the Royal Automobile Club’s prestigious Dewar Trophy after a rigorous interchangeable parts test in 1908. (…)
Bennett desired a unique means of promoting Cadillac’s crowning achievement. To this end, he commissioned J. Lockwood & Company to build a child-sized replica of a Cadillac roadster. Journalists affectionately labeled Bennett’s brainchild the “Baby Cadillac;” it featured a four-foot wheelbase and weighed in at nearly 400 pounds. Though technically a two-seater, the addition of a rumble seat allowed enough room for three little passengers. Power was provided the Delco electric starting system and the battery allowed it to run 15 miles on a single charge at a top speed of 12 mph.”
Matthew Hocker
AACA Library


The First Australian Cartoonist

Cartoons of the Moment
Cartoonist: Harry Julius. P: Australasian Films. AUS 1915
Print: National Film and Sound Archive of Australia

“In January 1915, Australia’s largest film production company, Australasian Films, commissioned Julius to provide a satirical commentary on the news for their nationally distributed weekly cinema newsreel, The Australian Gazette.
Already a household name around the country, Julius (1885-1938) had been delivering satirical sketches for the major newspapers for some years. Until that point there had never been an Australian produced satirical commentary for the cinema, and certainly not a cartoon. No series of locally-produced cartoons had screened in cinemas, only imported animation. Australasian Films knew they had a ‘first’. (…)
The clip is a mixture of live action and stop motion technology. Stop motion, or frame-by-frame photography, involves photographing the action one frame at a time to create the effect of movement. World animation at this time was predominantly simple line drawings and stop motion.
Julius’ Cartoons nearly always ended with a laugh – despite the subject matter mostly being the events of the First World War. He often ridiculed the enemy; other common themes were generating sympathy for allied troops and social commentary on fashion, food and other home front issues. The cartoons enjoyed great popularity with audiences according to newspaper reports of the day.”
Sally Jackson
National Film and Sound Archive

The Portrait of a Lady

The Portrait of Lady Anne
B: Lloyd Lonergan. D: Florence La Badie, Justus D. Barnes, William Russell. P: Thanhouser Film Corporation. USA 1912
Print: Library of Congress

The Morning Telegraph, July 28, 1912:
“From every angle of view this is a wholly delightful photoplay and one of such originality in theme and presentation that it cannot but be recalled long after dozens of others have been forgotten. It is staged with a care and excellence in settings and furniture that is noteworthy, while it is acted so effectively and without any false pantomime or posing as to raise it to a high plane of silent dramatic performance. It begins in the year 1770 when the portrait of the Lady Anne is hung in the principal drawing-room of her ancestral home. She is wooed by a lover and won, but at a dance she becomes childishly jealous of another girl with whom she finds her lover chatting. She breaks the engagement and the man goes off to war and is killed. She receives a farewell letter before he starts, in which he predicts that she will regret her act as long as she lives. In after years she is stricken with remorse and though she had married another her life had been anything but happy. The story then takes a jump to the year 1912 when the direct descendant of the Lady Anne entertains a party of friends at a weekend gathering in her country home. She, too, is wooed and won by an ardent lover, but she also has a fit of jealousy when he dances with another girl, and rushes to her room in tears. She and a few of her guests had decided to dress in colonial costumes for the dance and in the attic had unpacked a set of gowns worn by her ancestors in the past, her gown being the same worn by the Lady Anne the night of the first ball when she had rejected her lover.”

“Das Motiv des täuschend echt als Tableau vivant inszenierten und sich dann belebenden Gemäldes hält sich auch im einsetzenden narrativen Kino – meist im Zusammenhang mit Traumdarstellungen – und ist dort bis heute beliebt. Frühe Beispiele finden sich u. a. in The Portrait of Lady Anne (Lloyd Lonergan, USA 1912) und An Unsullied Shield (Charles Brabin, USA 1912), in denen die auf dem Gemälde dargestellten Figuren aus dem Rahmen treten.”
Daniel Wiegand: Gebannte Bewegung. Tableaux vivants und früher Film in der Kultur der Moderne. Marburg: Schüren 2016 (Zürcher Filmstudien 36), p. 359 (Fn. 78)

Colonial Travelogue: Jamaica

Montego Bay to Williamsfield, Jamaica
K: Hal Sintzenich, Charlie Weddup.  P:  Natural Color Kinematograph Company.  UK 1913

“The Natural Color Kinematograph Company was formed in March 1909 by Charles Urban, but the completed pictures were released in monochrome through Kineto, another Urban company, which since its formation in 1907 had specialised in the production of travel, scientific and other broadly ‘educational’ films (…).

With the camera, for the most part, placed at the back of a train, the film positions the viewer as a tourist, glimpsing the scenery (and people) of the island as they travel. In keeping with many colonial travelogues, the film promotes a rhetoric of progress and exploration through the train journey. In showing the train entering and leaving stations, it highlights the developed rail links across the island (Jamaica was the first rail link opened outside of Europe and North America and in 1845 was the second colony, after Canada, to have a railway system) (Satchell and Sampson, 2003). Through the journey, the camera offers glimpses of the European and ‘native’ populations, reveals local housing and, as the review noted, images of ‘hurricane country’. Only a few months earlier, in November 1912, a hurricane had killed over 100 people on the island, destroying banana crops, and some rail and road links. (…).

These scenes of Jamaican life, while intended primarily for British audiences, played throughout the Empire, for example in Australia and New Zealand. In noting a screening of Industries of Jamaica in November 1913, the ‘Poverty Bay Herald’ in Gisborne, New Zealand stated that the film ‘served to give dwellers in the Dominion a better knowledge than they have hitherto possessed of this portion of the Empire’. These early West Indian travelogues thus served to promote a broader imperial identity, by bringing the Empire, and its scenes of development and progress, not only to British audiences but also to other dominions and colonies.”
Tom Rice
Colonial Film

>>> more Colonial Sujets

Gabriel Veyre, Lumière Operator

Repas d’Indiens
R / K: Gabriel Veyre. P: Auguste & Louis Lumière. Fr 1896

Promenade du dragon à Cholon
R / K: Gabriel Veyre. P: Auguste & Louis Lumière. Fr 1900

Le Village de Namo – Panorama pris d’une chaise à porteurs
R / K: Gabriel Veyre. P: Auguste & Louis Lumière. Fr 1900

About Gabriel Veyre
“Lumière operator working in Central and Latin America, the Caribbean, Japan and China. Veyre was a chemist from Saint-Alban-du-Rhone, a small village in l’Isere, France, who joined the Lumière firm in the hope of adventure and to help out his financially straitened family.  (…) Veyre moved on to Guadeloupe in November 1896, and thence to Cuba, where the Cinématographe debuted in Havana on 24 January 1897, the Spanish authorities only allowing Veyre into the country on condition that he take propagandist pictures of military manoeuvres. By August 1897 he was in Caracas, Venzeuela, moving then on to Martinique and then Colombia. He returned to France in October 1897, only to set out once again for Japan, travelling via Canada. In October 1898 he reached to Japan, where he replaced François-Constant Girel, next visiting China between February and April 1899. In April 1899 he arrived in Hanoi, returning to France in February 1900 in time for the Paris Exposition. Some time in 1900/01, having left the Lumière firm, he journeyed as a solo operator to Morocco, where he demonstrated photography and cinematography for Sultan Abd al-Aziz, who possessed an insatiable desire for Western inventions, well documented in Veyre’s own published account.”
Luke McKernan
Who’s Who of Victorian Cinema

>>> The First Movie Showing Kendo

386-gabriel veyre 1898  Gabriel Veyre, 1898

Panorama Shot and Panoramic Sweep

Le village de Namo – Panorama pris d’une chaise à porteurs
R / K: Gabriel Veyre. P: Lumière. Fr 1900

“The filmmaker is Gabriel Veyre, who helped introduce the Cinématographe and, thus, cinema to Mexico City, Cuba, Japan, China and elsewhere. For this film, Veyre was in Indochina. The film is a panorama shot-scene lasting just under a minute. The panorama film, as coined by Lumière, is a moving-camera shot – usually accomplished by placing the camera on a moving transport, such as a boat or train. (…) Here, Veyre placed the camera in a rickshaw. As he’s pulled away, children chase after him and the camera. Unlike other panoramas, and because of the rickshaw vantage point, the camera-work is unsteady. Consequently, this is a beautiful and unique early actuality film, which remains in excellent quality. (…) Moreover, with its moving, exiting framing and chasing children, the film seems to be an appropriate farewell to the company, filmmakers and the Cinématographe that were most responsible for introducing cinema to the world.”

Pennsylvania Tunnel Exvacation
R / K: Billy Bitzer. P: American Mutoscope & Biograph. USA 1905

“This slow 180-degree panoramic sweep of the excavation of the Pennsylvania Station tunnels provides a rare and unique glimpse of the scope of the work, including a view of the narrow-gauge work train. The ambitious project was begun in 1904, it was designed by McKim, Mead, and White and completed in September of 1910. The station would span from 31st to 33rd Streets, between 7th and 8th Avenues, an area of approximately 300,000 square feet connecting a massive rail tunnel system, bringing the Pennsylvania and Lehigh Railroads under the Hudson River and the Long Island Railroad under the East River to a terminal in the center of Manhattan, accommodating a network of twenty-seven tracks.”

Duel au pistolet (longueur: 12 mètres)

Duel au pistolet
R: Gabriel Veyre. P: Lumière. Mex / Fr 1896
Re-enactment. Location: Chapultepec, Mexico City

“Du point de vue de la durée de l’action et du jeu des acteurs (…), la mise en scène est ici si bien réglée qu’elle peut encore faire passer l’action pour un duel authentique.”
Catalogue Lumière


A Thanhouser Situation Comedy

The Marvelous Marathoner
B: Lloyd F. Lonergan. D: Boyd Marshall, Ruth Elder, Justus D. Barnes. P: Thanhouser Film Corporation. USA 1915
Original music composed and performed by Raymond A. Brubacher
Print: Library of Congress

“Thanhouser’s ‘Falstaff Comedies’ was a schedule of one-reel comedies released each Friday beginning in April 1915, later changed to each Tuesday. Looking for a niche, Thanhouser’s short plot-driven comedies stood out from other studios’ trend toward longer offerings and broad gag-oriented comedy. The Falstaff comedies were what could be called situation comedies calling on the outstanding screenwriting skill of Lloyd Lonergan and the acting charm of the Thanhouser stock company. Marathoner enjoys energetic and vivacious comedy pacing combining physical comedy (without slapstick) with situation comedy.”

Showbiz, Paris 1905

Felix Mayol Performs The Trottins Polka
R: Alice Guy. D: Felix Mayol. P: Société des Etablissements L. Gaumont. Fr 1905

Felix Mayol (18 November 1872 – 26 October 1941) was a French singer who was born in Toulon, France. His parents were both amateur singers and actors, who arranged for Felix to make his debut stage at six years of age. (…) In 1895 he went to Paris and the Montparnasse Quarter where he began a career in entertainment that spanned more than forty years. He adopted a camp and effeminate manner on stage as part of his theatrical persona.”

Five O’Clock Tea
R: Alice Guy. D: Armand Dranem. P: Société des Etablissements L. Gaumont. Fr 1905

Armand Dranem performs Five O’Clock Tea in this phonoscene by Alice Guy, the world’s first female filmmaker. This early form of music video was created using a chronophone recording of Dranem, who was then filmed ‘lip singing’. Guy would film phonoscenes of all three major Belle Époque celebrities in France: Polin, Félix Mayol, and Dranem.”
CBGP Music

Le vrai jiu jitsu
R: Alice Guy. D: Armand Dranem. P: Société des Etablissements L. Gaumont. Fr 1905

About Armand Dranem (1869-1935):
“Born Armand Ménard, in Paris, he began working as an apprentice jeweler in a local shop before embarking on a career in entertainment. Adopting the singular stage name of Dranem, an anagram of Menard, he made his debut performance in 1894. In 1895, he performed with fellow newcomers Félix Mayol and Max Dearly in the ‘Concert Parisien’ from where he went on to become a leading music hall entertainer in his own comic absurdist genre. In 1899, he was signed to perform at the famous Eldorado Club where he appeared regularly for the next twenty years.
He made his screen debut in the 1902 Gaumont silent film Bonsoir m’sieurs dames directed by Alice Guy. Although he appeared in two more silent films, as well as two 1905 Phonoscènes (an early Sound-on-disc system) the advent of synchronized sound film in the late 1920s made him much in demand for screen roles featuring his singing routines. In 1932 alone, he appeared in six films and another six over the next three years.”

>>> original soundtrack: Messters Tonbilder