An Early Feuillade Comedy

L’homme aimanté
R: Louis Feuillade. P: Société des Etablissements L. Gaumont. Fr 1907

Following Ciné-Ressources (and other sources), the director of this film was Roméo Bosetti. However, Gaumont Pathé archives and Richard Abel name Feuillade.

“A midsummer Phantasy. The man having been attacked by footpads, puts on a suit of medieval armor which has been magnetized at a dynamo by two boys. Every metallic article which he approaches flies to him, to the great consternation of many people.”

“Raised in a devoutly Catholic, anti-republican family, Feuillade worked as a journalist in Languedoc until 1898, when he moved to Paris to write for ‘La Croix’ and to assist in editing ‘Revue-mondiale’. Hired by Léon Gaumont in late 1905 as a scenario writer and assistant to Alice Guy, he advanced to head of film production by 1907, writing and directing all of the kinds of films produced at Gaumont, from trick films, L’homme aimanté (The Magnetized Man, 1907), and comedies, Thé chez le concierge (Tea at the Concierge’s, 1907), to sensational melodramas, Légende des phares (Legend of the Lighthouse, 1909), and historical films, Le Huguenot (The Huguet, 1909).”
Richard Abel (ed.): Encyclopedia of Early Cinema. Taylor & Francis 2005, p. 235


Geneviève de Brabant

Geneviève de Brabant
Dir. and actors unknown. P: Pathé Frères. Fr 1907
Filmographie Pathé Number 1756
Genre: Scène féeries et contes
Sortie: Pathé Grolée, Lyon, 12.7.1907 accompagné par Le Souvenir, valse de Delarvelle chantée par Melle Smithson
French and Dutch titles

“Genevieve (also Genoveva or Genovefa) of Brabant is a heroine of medieval legend. Her story is a typical example of the widespread tale of the chaste wife falsely accused and repudiated, generally on the word of a rejected suitor. Genovefa of Brabant was said to be the wife of the palatine Siegfried of Treves, and was falsely accused by the majordomo Golo. Sentenced to death, she was spared by the executioner and lived for six years with her son in a cave in the Ardennes nourished by a roe. Siegfried, who had meanwhile found out Golo’s treachery, was chasing the roe when he discovered her hiding-place, and reinstated her in her former honour. Her story is said to rest on the history of  Marie of Brabant, wife of Louis II, Duke of Bavaria and Count Palatine of the Rhine. Marie of Brabant was suspected of infidelity and subsequently tried by her husband, found guilty and beheaded on 18 January 1256. When the verdict was shown to be mistaken, Louis had to do penance for the beheading. The change in name from Marie to Genevieve may be traced back to a cult of St Genevieve, patroness of Paris.
In Marcel Proust‘s ‘In Search of Lost Time’, the narrator remembers a magic lantern he had in his room, in Combray, that showed the image of Golo riding his horse towards Genevieve’s castle. He says: ‘… and I would fall into the arms of my mother, whom the misfortunes of Geneviève de Brabant had made all the dearer to me, just as the crimes of Golo had driven me to a more than ordinarily scrupulous examination of my own conscience.'”

1859 premiered ‘Geneviève de Brabant’, Jacques Offenbach‘s opera bouffa, in Paris.


Lighter than Air

Expérience du ballon dirigeable de M. Santos-Dumont
I. Sortie du ballon

II. Le ballon et son moteur
K: Unknown. P: Lumière Co. Fr 1900
September 19, 1900
Location: France, Saint-Cloud, Aéro-Club
Added sound
L’œuvre cinématographique des frères Lumière, No. 1121/1122

“Alberto Santos-Dumont (20 July 1873 – 23 July 1932) was a Brazilian aviation pioneer, one of the very few people to have contributed significantly to the development of both lighter-than-air and heavier-than-air aircraft. The heir of a wealthy family of coffee producers, Santos-Dumont dedicated himself to aeronautical study and experimentation in Paris, where he spent most of his adult life. In his early career he designed, built, and flew hot air balloons and early dirigibles, culminating in his winning the Deutsch de la Meurthe prize on 19 October 1901 for a flight that rounded the Eiffel Tower. He then turned to heavier-than-air machines, and on 23 October 1906 his 14-bis made the first powered heavier-than-air flight in Europe to be certified by the Aéro Club de France and the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale. His conviction that aviation would usher in an era of worldwide peace and prosperity led him to freely publish his designs and forego patenting his various innovations. Santos-Dumont is a national hero in Brazil, where it is popularly held that he preceded the Wright brothers in demonstrating a practical airplane.”

>>> Wright Brothers’ First Flight

Maiden Flight Of German Airship
P: British Pathé. UK 1908

“Airship is pulled to middle of field. The passenger basket / gondola beneath the ship fills up and the airship takes off. Among those in the gondola may be airship pioneer Dr Hugo Eckener. Dirigible in flight and coming into land when the crew and passengers disembark and are greeted by waiting crowds. Members of the crew chat to waiting dignitaries before they go to waiting cars.”
British Pathé

“The DELAG (Deutsche Luftschiffahrts A.G.) was founded as the airline side of the Luftschiffbau Zeppelin GmbH (German for ‘building of airships’) founded by Ferdinand von Zeppelin. Zeppelin was first introduced to lighter-than-air flight when he witnessed the deployment of observation balloons in the American Civil War as a military observer. He began to experiment with dirigibles from 1885 and constructed the LZ-1 which made its maiden flight on 2nd of July 1900. Both the LZ-1 and the following LZ-2 rigid airships were damaged beyond repair in their first few flights. Zeppelin invested heavily in building airships from his own pocket and his friend King Wilhelm of Württemburg (sic!) organized a public lottery to provide funds for the project. The subsequent LZ-3 became a great success that captured the German public’s interest. It was first flown on 9 October 1906, in a flight lasting 2 hours 17 minutes and carrying eleven people. The German government, although impressed by the aircraft, wanted Zeppelin to complete a 24-hour flight to prove the capabilities of the airship before ordering it for military purposes. Midway through the 24-hour proving flight, the purpose-built LZ-4 was ripped apart in a storm and exploded. Sympathetic members of the public responded. Funding poured in from public donations amounting to 6 million marks in what came to be known as the ‘Miracle of Echterdingen’. This enabled the company to continue and build the LZ-5 for the Imperial German Army. The airship in the video is probably the LZ-3.”
Timothy Jabez Newman: Deutsche Luftschiffahrts A.G.: First airline with fare-paying passengers
First in Aviation

>>> Balloon Accident at St Cloud (Paris)


1897: The X-Ray Fiend

The X-Ray Fiend
R: George Albert Smith. D: Laura Bayley, Tom Green. P: George Albert Smith Films. UK 1897
Print: BFI

Smith was (…) the director of The X-Rays (sometimes called The X-Ray Fiend), a film that is a perfect example of early British film’s triple charm. It boasts technical achievement, attention to detail, and wit in abundance and it fits all this into just under a minute of screen time. (…) The film has period charm to spare. While the skeleton costumes are often described as bodysuits, Laura Bayley’s skeleton outfit is clearly a long black dress with individual legs painted on. Victorian modesty prevails, even in x-rays! (Bayley was the wife of director George Albert Smith.) X-rays came to public attention in 1895 thanks to the research of Wilhelm Roentgen and were first used under clinical conditions in 1896, just one year before The X-Rays was released. Needless to say, they became a sensation. Citizens with the wherewithal could purchase DIY x-ray kits with which they could photographed the skeletons of fish, nails in shoes and the bones of their own hands. It is possible that the man wielding the machine in The X-Rays was meant to represent an over-enthusiastic amateur scientist or photographer. (The grisly postscript to all this is that x-rays were hardly the harmless gimmick that almost everyone believed them to be.) X-rays were just as big on the screen as they were in the real world. French directors Alice Guy and Georges Méliès both released their own x-ray films in 1898. (Méliès’ film is sometimes listed as having both 1897 and 1900 release date but it definitely follows the Smith picture chronologically.) Méliès opted for a science fiction-horror approach, with the skeleton actually being extracted from the subject’s body, while Guy goes for comedy with x-rays being used to expose a smuggler posing as a pregnant woman.”
Fritzi Kramer
Movies Silently

>>> George Albert Smith on this site

>>> Le squelette joyeux (Auguste and Louis Lumière) on this site

Dr. Macintyre’s X-Ray Film
No credits. UK 1896 / 1909

“The first X-ray cinematograph film ever taken, at Glasgow Royal Infirmary, and shown by Dr. John Macintyre at the London Royal Society 1897.
Shots of X-ray picture of frog’s knee joint (.11); X-ray radiograph of adult, each picture taken in the 300th part of a second. A series of these pictures enable us to see a complete cycle of the movements of the heart. The movements of the digestive organs can also be seen, and the joints of the body, thus facilitating diagnoses of disease of the bones and joints. Shots of X-ray picture of human heart beat (.29) [c1909] Movement of the stomach after Bismuth Meal. Shots of same (.40)”
National Library of Scotland

>>> Nature / Science

The Year 1812

1812 God (The Year 1812) (not complete)
R: Vasilii Goncharov, Kai Hansen, Aleksandr Uralskij. B: Afonskij, Kai Hansen, Aleksandr Uralskij. K: Louis Forestier, Aleksandr Levitskij, Joseph-Louis Mundwiller. D: Pavel Knorr, Vasilij Serjozhnikov, Aleksandra Goncharova, Andrej Gromov, Vladimir Gardin. P: Pathé Frères, Moscow / Aleksandr Khanzhonkov & Co. RUS 1912
French subtitles

Film commemorating the centennial of the 1812 French invasion of Russia by Napoleon, and the battle of Borodino

Vasilii Goncharov (1861-1915)
“A civil servant until 1905, when he tried to enter literary circles, Goncharov was first attracted to literary and art-historical aspects of cinema. He scripted Drankov’s Sten’ka Razin (1908) before joining Thiemann’s company, and then moving on to work with Khanzhonkov, who shared his cultural enthusiasm. But it was during brief spells with Pathé and Gaumont that he improved his directorial skills — The Dashing Merchant (1910) was considered a landmark historical film before he returned once again to Khanzhonkov for the commemorative spectaculars which were his final directorial achievements: The Defense of Sebastopol, The Year 1812 and Accession of the House of Romanov (1913).”


>>> Imperial Russia: V. Goncharov


Surviving Confederate Veterans

Surviving Confederate Veterans of the American Civil War in Jacksonville, Florida, USA
P: Mackey and Coutant Film Co. USA 1914
(Sound added)

Documentary footage showing the veterans meeting in Jacksonville, May 6-8, 1914

“Excerpt of original. Film was produced with titles and shows meeting of 40,000 Confederate war veterans in Jacksonville. They dance to fiddle music, with many cars, horses, bands, and flags. They are shown dining together in a mess tent. An electric street car goes by during section titled ‘Sons of Confederate Veterans Parade,’ a third of the way into the film. An African-American loyal to the Confederacy is shown, as well as ‘youngest vet.’ Produced by Mackey and Coutant Film Co.; sponsored by Florida Commercial Sound Films of Jacksonville.”

“The United Confederate Veterans was an association formed in New Orleans, Louisiana on June 10, 1889, by veterans of the Confederate States Army and Navy. There had been numerous local veterans associations in the South, and many of these became part of the UCV. The organization grew rapidly throughout the 1890s culminating with 1,555 camps represented at the 1898 reunion. The next few years marked the zenith of UCV membership, lasting until 1903 or 1904, when veterans were starting to die off and the organization went into a gradual decline. (…) The national organization assembled annually in a general convention and social reunion, presided over by the Commander-in-Chief. These annual reunions served the UCV as an aid in achieving its goals. Convention cities made elaborate preparations and tried to put on bigger events than the previous hosts. The gatherings continued to be held long after the membership peak had passed and despite fewer veterans surviving, they gradually grew in attendance, length and splendor. Numerous veterans brought family and friends along too, further swelling the crowds. Many Southerners considered the occasions major social occasions. Perhaps thirty thousand veterans and another fifty thousand visitors attended each of the mid and late 1890 reunions, and the numbers increased. In 1911 an estimated crowd of 106,000 members and guests crammed into Little Rock, Arkansas—a city of less than one-half that size.”

>>> Civil War I

>>> Civil War III


Mae Marsh as “Little Tease”

The Little Tease
R: David W. Griffith. B: David W. Griffith. K: G.W. Bitzer. D: Mae Marsh, W. Chrystie Miller, Kate Bruce, Robert Harron, Henry B. Walthall, Viola Barry, Lionel Barrymore, Edward Dillon, Lillian Gish. P: Biograph Company. USA 1913
Print: More on YouTube

(Mary Warne) Marsh did not enjoy public school or her time at the Convent of the Sacred Heart in Hollywood, and she spent her summers unhappily employed as a telephone operator*. Looking for new opportunities, she began following her sister Marguerite Loveridge to the film studios, where she landed a job on a one-reel silent film by Mack Sennett in January 1912. She was then signed by filmmaker D.W. Griffith to his Biograph studio. Although she had no training in acting, Marsh appeared as a supporting actress in three silent films over the next three months. No acting credits were listed in films at that time, but her first role was most likely in A Siren of Impulse, a vehicle for Biograph’s star performer, Mary Pickford. At Griffith’s urging, Marsh changed her first name to Mae to avoid confusion with Pickford, who was sometimes identified as ‘Little Mary’ (and whose own real name was Gladys Smith). Marsh received her first big break when Pickford, Blanche Sweet , and Mabel Normand all turned down the opportunity to play Lily White, the leading role in Griffith’s Man’s Genesis, whose costume in the film was considered risqué. Griffith gave Marsh the part opposite Bobby Harron, a successful partnership that Griffith would repeat again and again. Pickford, Sweet and Normand each sought to star in Griffith’s next project, The Sands of Dee, which he gave to Marsh both as a reward for her previous performance and as payback to the other actresses. Marsh worked with Griffith at several different studios until 1916, and these were her most productive years as an actress. Of the numerous films (many co-starring Bobby Harron) in which she appeared, her most popular roles were as Apple Pie Mary in Home Sweet Home (1914), as Flora Cameron, who hurls herself off a cliff rather than submit to rape, in the much-vaunted and enduringly controversial The Birth of a Nation (1915), and as the ‘Dear Little One’ in Intolerance (1916), a role which Pauline Kael described as the epitome of ‘youth-in-trouble forever.’ Marsh’s ability to project her emotions convincingly brought rave reviews from critics and adulation from fans.”
Kari Bethel

* >>> Mae Marsh in The Telephone Girl and the Lady

>>> more Mae Marsh films: Home, Sweet HomeThe New York Hat,   Judith of BethuliaThe Battle at Elderbush GulchThe Birth of a Nation


Mae Marsh, 1915

Downtown: L.A. and Tokyo

Views of Los Angeles, California
P: Independent Moving Pictures Co. of America (IMP). USA 1912
Print: EYE
(Added sound)

Los Angeles, Cal. is counted one of the most beautiful and progressive cities in the United States. It is fortunate in its situation, being near the Pacific and under the shadow of picturesque mountain ranges. This picture gives a very good idea of the architectural and commercial features of the city, and in panoramic form, shows the beautiful residential environment. It also includes views on an ostrich farm, together with pictures of alligators on a farm devoted to the propagation of amphibians.
Moving Picture World synopsis

Views of Tokyo, Japan
P: Unknown. USA (?) 1913 / 1915
Print: EYE
(Added sound)
1913: 06:00 – 1.35
1915: 1.36 – 4.06


Civil War II

The Coward
R: Reginald Barker, Thomas H. Ince. B: C. Gardner Sullivan, Thomas H. Ince (screenplay). K: Joseph H. August, Robert S. Newhard. D: Frank Keenan, Charles Ray, Gertrude Claire, Margaret Gibson, Nick Cogley, Charles K. French, John Gilbert, Bob Kortman. P: Thomas H. Ince / Kay-Bee Pictures, New York Motion Picture. USA 1915

“The Coward was one of a number of films made to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the American Civil War’s nominal ending. It tells a much smaller story than Mr Griffiths’ well-known epic from earlier in the year and focuses in on the more human reaction to war: the question of will I be able to fight? Too often physical bravery is taken for granted and instinctive fear is treated as momentary doubt to be blown away by a sudden onrush of heroism or as a weakness to be pitied or laughed at. In The Coward the ‘hero’ suffers deep shame and is only able to enlist under threat of being shot by his father… all armies need men like him: happy to slaughter those who run the wrong way. It’s not necessarily that this film won’t witness the ultimate triumph of heroism but the sympathetic way it deals with its counter-point that marks it out. The performance of the titular non-hero, Frank Winslow from baby-faced Charles Ray is naturalistic and convincing as the young man runs as terrified by his own perceived inadequacy as impending oblivion after all his letting not only his family and girl down, he’s letting himself down.”

“Ray, a child-faced actor faced with child roles time and again, enlivened his shallow twerps and rubes with a degree of emotional nuance I consider unparalleled among male leads of his era. The big guys — Chaney, Barthelmess, Barrymore (and Barrymore) — excelled at grand emotion. They loved big; raged big; they even suffered big. Ray, though, avoided the broad strokes. He projected, better than the rest, those moments of hesitation, then awkwardness, then willfulness that fill in the blanks between the mighty moments in our lives. It is one thing, for example, to project Terror; it is another, harder thing, to project worry about one’s own fearfulness, especially when one has, literally, nothing to say. This is the chief concern for Frank Winslow, Ray’s character in The Coward: a pampered son of a Southern landowner, faced with the prospect of enlisting in the Confederate Army at the outbreak of hostilities. As explained in one of The Coward’s few intertitles, it’s not war that Frank fears, but the idea that he is a coward. He thinks himself flawed by design, and incompatible with his world, and much worse than that, incompatible with his family name.”
Chris Edwards
Silent Volume

>>> Civil War I

>>> Civil War III

Amsterdam’s ports 1914

Amsterdam in en om de havens
R and P unknown. NL 1914
Print: EYE

“Documentary in two parts (…)about the activities in Amsterdam’s ports. We see images of shipbuilding, of the shipping traffic on the IJ* and the Amstel, and the transfer and storage of goods. The Oranjesluizen connect the IJ to the Zuiderzee. At the end of the film, we see the SS Prinses Juliana departing for the Dutch East Indies. The passengers enter the ship, followed shortly afterwards by the Indonesian crew. The Prinses Juliana sails to the North Sea along the North Sea Canal, via the port of IJmuiden.”
europeana collections

* IJ: a body of water near Amsterdam

>>> Visions from HollandHolland 1899, Holland 1900

>>> Labour