Early Spanish Cinema (3)

Carmen o la hija del bandido
R: Ricardo de Baños, Alberto Marro. B: Alberto Marro, Prosper Mérimée (novel). K: Ramón de Baños. D: Concha Lorente. P: Hispano Films. Sp 1911

“In  Ramón (sic!) de Baños’ 1911 version of ‘Carmen’, Carmen o la hija del bandido (Carmen, or the Daughter of the Bandit), Carmen’s band of thieves captures the painter, Salvador, who falls in love with her. When royal officials attack the gang, an extended chase scene ensues in which Carmen wounds one of the guards. The painter is saved by the soldiers and is invited to stay in the castle, but remains in love with Carmen, whom he has captured in painting. At carnival festivities Carmen sheds her male bandit attire in order to attend the celebration and to seduce the painter; her partner is spotted by the officials and arrested on spot for the death of the guard, while Carmen is apparently pardoned by the king, due to the painter’s good relationship with the court.”
Eva Woods Peiró: White Gypsies: Race and Stardom in Spanish Musical Films. University of Minnesota Press 2012, p. 38

Locura de amor (Frgm.)
R: Ricardo de Baños, Alberto Marro. B: Ricardo de Baños, Alberto Marro. K: Ramón de Baños D: José Argelagués, Joaquín Carrasco, José Durany, Elvira Fremont, Amelia de la Mata. P: Hispano Films. Sp 1913

“A historical drama with a romantic touch in which Manuel Tamayo y Baus deals with the jealousy of the queen Joanna the Mad for her husband, Philip the Fair (…), premiered on 12 January 1855. A work of the neo-romantic movement, influenced somewhat by the German dramatist Friedrich Schiller, this theatrical piece focuses on jealousy, to which the story of these Castilian monarchs adapts perfectly. Tamayo humanises the figure of Joanna, and interprets her madness as ‘madness of love’ not corresponded by her freedom-loving husband. The work has been adapted many times for the screen, the first by Albert Marro and Ricard de Baños in 1909 (sic!) for the producer Hispano Film.”

Alberto Marro and Hispano Films
“Pioneer producer, cinematographer, and writer-director Albert Marro was born in Barcelona to a wealthy family. By 1897, he owned a rudimentary theater where he showed short films (among the earliest to reach Spain) interspersed with musical and comic numbers. It was in this context that he met Segundo de Chomón, who had just returned from his first trip to France. Chomón’s technical acumen and Marro’s entrepreneurial skills made them a good team to record images, which they distributed and showed successfully. Together, in 1901, they set up, with the help of Luis Macaya, Macaya and Marro, one of the first Spanish production companies.
This effort characteristically floundered in a few years, and in 1907 Marro founded Hispano Films with the Baños brothers, but without Chomón (who had returned to Paris). Soon they decided to concentrate on fiction films. One of the most ambitious films of the company was Don Juan Tenorio (1910), followed the next year by Carmen o la hija del bandido (Carmen, or the Daughter of a Bandit, 1911). Innovatively, they went beyond recording a static stage performance by introducing camera movements and choreographing movement within a shot. The company was a success, and they continued producing narrative films with a strong ‘costumbrismo’* flavor until 1918, when a fire put an end to Marro’s film enterprises.”
Academic Dictionaries and Encyclopedias

*A perspective based on “costumbrismo” shapes some key manifestations of Spanish culture, including literature, theater, painting, and film.

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