Alice Guy: La Marâtre, 1906

La Marâtre
R: Alice Guy. P: Société des Etablissements L. Gaumont. Fr 1906

Guy’s distinct point of view was to be seen in her story films, and she was among the first to make them. She worked from scripts, which she wrote as well as directed. Though she produced such typical period genres as chase films or those derived from fairy tales, these often featured a twist. The folktale of children born in a cabbage patch is the subject of her first film, La Fée aux choux (The Cabbage Fairy). In the story, babies are presented as if they are new cameras for sale. The theme of the complications of parenthood recurs in many of her films, whether La Fée Printemps (1906), in which a fairy magically transforms winter to spring and delivers a newborn from a garden to expectant parents, or Madame a des envies (Madame Has Cravings, 1906), a new kind of chase film, where a pregnant woman races through town, husband and child in tow, stealing foods to satisfy her cravings. Guy also addressed the duplicity and brutality of a stepmother (La Marâtre, 1906) and the same year made her epic La Vie du Christ, with sets and costumes based on the realist illustrations in a famous James Tissot bible, using some twenty-five sets and hundreds of extras, for a film running ca. thirty-four minutes long, at a time when the norm was a maximum of six or seven minutes.”

>>> early Guy films on this site: Special effects: The Beginnings