The Zudora Series

Episode 1: The Mystery of the Spotted Collar
R: Howell Hansel, Frederick Sullivan. B: Lloyd Lonergan (scenario), Daniel Carson Goodman (story). K: Carl Gregory. D: Marguerite Snow, James Cruze, Harry Benham, Sidney Bracey, Frank Farrington, Mary Elizabeth Forbes. P: Thanhouser Film Corporation. USA 1914

“Zudora was a single-episode series sequel to the very popular Million Dollar Mystery  serial. In it Marguerite Snow, as one of the screen’s first girl detectives, solved mysteries, never realizing her uncle was plotting against her in order to try to gain her inheritance. Four episodes survive today and are being restored by the Serial Squadron and the USC Hugh Hefner Archive. Transferred by Dino Everett / Restored by Eric Stedman / Music by Kevin McLeod.”

CHAPTER TITLES: 1. The Mystic Message of the Spotted Collar; 2. The Mystery of the Sleeping House; 3. The Mystery of the Dutch Cheese Maker; 4. The Secret of the Haunted Hills; 5. The Case of the Perpetual Glarep; 6. The Case of the McWinter Family; 7. The Mystery of the Lost Ships; 8. The Foiled Elopement; or, The Mystery of the Chang Case; 9. Kidnapped; or, The Mystery of the Missing Heiress; 10. The Gentlemen Crooks and the Lady; 11. A Message from the Heart; 12. A Bag of Diamonds; 13. The Secret of Dr. Munn’s Sanitarium; 14. The Missing Million; 15. The Robbery of the Ruby Coronet; 16. The Battle on the Bridge; 17. The Island of Mystery; 18. The Cipher Code; 19. The Prisoner in the Pilot House; 20. The Richest Woman in the World.

Episode 2: The Mystery of the Sleeping House
R: Howell Hansel, Frederick Sullivan. B: Lloyd Lonergan (scenario), Daniel Carson Goodman (story). K: Carl Gregory. D: Marguerite Snow, James Cruze, Harry Benham, Sidney Bracey, Frank Farrington, Mary Elizabeth Forbes. P: Thanhouser Film Corporation. USA 1914

“This is Episode 2 of the Zudora series. It carries with it an air of Oriental mystery. Zudora saves her lover from certain death in the contracting cell. The use of fumes from the lotus flower to put the Hindu band to sleep was a novel feature. This pays particular attention to settings and costumings and proves an attractive offering throughout. Zudora gives a good account of herself in working out this problem, and the series promise as well for the future.”
The Moving Picture World, December 5, 1914

Zola, Capellani, Griffith

R: Albert Capellani. B: Michel Carré, adaption of Emile Zola’s novel “L’Assommoir”. D: Eugénie Nau, Alexandre Arquillière, Jacques Grétillat, Jacques Varennes, Catherine Fonteney, Paul Lack, Henri Gouget, Paul Capellani, Stacia Napierkowska. P: Pathé Frères (S.C.A.G.L.- Société Cinématographique des Auteurs et Gens de Lettres). Fr 1909

A Drunkard’s Reformation
R: David W. Griffith. K: G.W. Bitzer. D: Arthur V. Johnson, Linda Arvidson, Adele DeGarde, Florence Lawrence. P: American Mutoscope & Biograph. USA 1909
(Introducing title: “Incorporating scenes from Emile Zola’s play ‘L’assommoir'”)

“Drunkard can rightfully be called a morality play, a temperance propaganda film, a temperance melodrama, a cautionary tale about substance abuse and addiction, and the pointlessness of choosing the nice girl (Florence Lawrence or Linda Arvidson) over the (not too) bad girl (Marion Leonard).  You can’t go wrong calling it a ‘morality play within a photoplay’ — a melodrama ‘two-fer’,and that’s how it strikes the first-time viewer. (…) The play within our film is itself an extremely truncated version not of  ‘L’Assommoir’ by the French writer Emile Zola as stated in the film’s rerelease introduction and as it was originally promoted, but an English adaptation of Zola’s story, dramatised as ‘Drink’, and starring a popular English actor of the late 19th century, Charles Warner. (See David Mayer’s notes on Drunkard in “The Griffith Project”, Vol. 2: Films Produced in January–June, 1909, BFI Publishing, 1999; “A Drunkard’s Reformation”,” pp. 57-60) Warner, much celebrated for his role as a drunk in the final stages of alcoholism in the play ‘Drink’, committed suicide in a Manhattan hotel room just two weeks before filming of Drunkard began by Griffith and company at Biograph.  The close timing of events has prompted speculation that Griffith was moved by that event — in addition to whatever other motivations he may have had — to make A Drunkard’s Reformation as a tribute both threatrically and cinematically to the late actor.”
Gene Zonarich
11 East 14th Street

Méliès, Alchemist

L’alchimiste Parafaragaramus ou la cornue infernale
R: Georges Méliès. D: Georges Méliès. P: Star-Film. Fr 1906

Title of this film, following YouTube: ‘L’Hallucination de l’Alchimiste’, produced 1897. This is a mistake. The Flicker Alley DVD ‘Georges Méliès: Encore New Discoveries (1896-1911)’ misidentified a partial hand-colored print of the 1906 film ‘The Alchimiste Parafaragaramus ou La cornue infernale’ as this film, ‘L’hallucination de l’alchimiste’ from 1897, which continues to be considered a lost film. The official’  Méliès-website lists the 1897 film with 20 meters, i.e. about one minute. So, obviously we have just two different versions of ‘Parafaragaramus’.
(IMDb / KK)

Feuillade, Humorist

Les chansons ont leur destin
R: Louis Feuillade. P: Société des Etablissements L. Gaumont. Fr 1908

“Although Feuillade is remembered today as the granddaddy of suspense thrillers, during his prolific career he was an eclectic filmmaker who explored all possible genres. He made a great many short comedies — typically split reel things that ran less than 10 minutes apiece. This is one of the reasons his comedies aren’t as well remembered today — there’s a prejudice on the part of serious film critics in favor of feature-length films at the expense of what are considered lightweight shorts. The history of film is often told as the progress from shorts to theatrical features, and so any step that moves forward down that path is seen as being important and worthy, while steps that linger behind are seen as retrograde.  By this calculus, Feuillade’s comedies were backwards looking things, duly forgotten in favor of his feature-length crime thrillers. But some of Feuillade’s comedies survive today, and they offer a valuable insight into his filmmaking style, and sometimes they’re quite amusing.”
David Kalat

>>> another Feuillade comedy on this site: Une dame vraiment bien

Feuillade as Mythologist

Le printemps
R: Louis Feuillade. D: Henri Duval, Christiane Mandelys, Maurice Vinot. P: Société des Etablissements L. Gaumont. Fr 1909

The episodes:
The Awakening of the Source / The Awakening of Nests / On the ponds / The Love Conductor / The Becqué / In orchards / The games and the reefs / Floreal

Le printemps (1909) (‘Spring’) is a short film, showing nymphs and mythological beings joyfully welcoming Spring. (…) Its images of women dancing anticipate the ballet in Les Vampires, and Irma Vep’s dance in front of the Vampire gang to celebrate her recovery. Dancing is seen as an expression of the life force. The wings on some of the fairy women also anticipate the winged bat costume in Les Vampires. The nymph of the spring in the opening shot of Le printemps recalls the association of women and moving water in Judex: Musidora near the water mill, and later the good gal swimmer known as ‘The Water Goddess’. Feuillade also shows the interest in myths and legends, that used to play such a role in Western culture. A look at folk myths and classical legend like Le printemps shows the deep vitality of such traditions, and their ability to evoke nature.”
Michael E. Grost

>>> Les vampires – Episode 1-10