Machin in Africa

Chasse à la panthère
R: Alfred Machin. P: Pathé Frères. Fr 1909
Print: Cinematek

Machin in Africa:
“In 1905 he started working as a cameraman for Ferdinand Zecca. who at the time was working for Pathé in Montreuil. He continued his Pathé career as a ‘chasseur d’images’. His adventurous spirit and an experienced guy, the German agronomist Adam David, eventually lead him to the heart of Africa. During two African expeditions (1908 and 1910) he became fascinated with the wildlife there, eventually bringing some animals home (…), some of which would eventually appear or even star in his later fiction films. The anthropological reports, wildlife documentaries and hunt scenes that he brought from his expeditions were distributed by Pathé and became popular with audiences around the world.”
Ernest Mathijs: The Cinema of the Low Countries. London 2004, p. 15

La chasse à la girafe en Ouganda
R: Alfred Machin. K: Julien Doux. P: Pathé Frères. Fr 1910

What’s about the Mickey Mouse at the start of the film? JoeytheBrit tells us on IMDb:
“The film was rediscovered by a French guy, a fanatic about early films who died in 2006. He liked to brand his films with a little drawing painted directly onto the film, so right at the start of this film we’re treated to a quick glimpse of a skinny Mickey Mouse waving hello before running into a river…”

“Adam David and Machin travelled through Egypt along the Nile to the Sudan. Along the Dinder River in Sudan they filmed and hunted for five months and did not return to Europe until 1908. During the expedition, Machin had problems with the film equipment, which was not geared for the humidity and heat of the tropic climate. (…)
The film cannot have been a total disaster, however, for Pathé sent David and Machin on yet another hunting trip that lasted from January to August 1909. This time Machin was the director, and he had a cinematographer with him, Julien Doux. On this trip they shot more film, and the result was much better than the first time around – mainly due to the fact that the film was stored in wooden boxes that were insulated with ashes. This way the film was protected against high temperatures and humidity. On the last expedition – the destination of which was East Africa, the Nile, Fachoda and Victoria Lake – they hunted and filmed elephants (among other animals). Among other film they made were Dans l’Ouganda: Chasse à la girafe and Chasse à la panthère (1909).”
Palle B. Petterson: Cameras into the Wild: A History of Early Wildlife and Expedition Filmmaking, 1895-1928. Jefferson, North Carolina, and London 2011, p. 94f.

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