A Christian-Jewish Melodrama

R: Louis H. Chrispijn. D: Louis H. Chrispijn, Enny de Leeuwe, Mien van Kerckhoven-Kling, Jan van Dommelen, Eugenie Krix, Annie Bos, Lau Ezerman, Theo Frenkel Jr.  P: Filmfabriek Hollandia. NL 1914
Print: EYE
Without titles

“When Dora, the eldest daughter of a blind, widowed and orthodox Jew, falls in love with a doctor who is a Christian, she is disowned by her father and driven out of the house. As it was Dora whose work was the source of the family’s income, her father and her younger sister Lea are soon reduced to poverty. Unable to pay the rent, they are turned out of their house. They set out on foot, roaming through the countryside in search of a new home. A kindly farmer’s wife gives them shelter in a barn for a night. Thereafter they proceed to Amsterdam where they find a place to live in a cellar. One evening, when Lea and her father go into an expensive restaurant to beg, Lea is shocked when she sees her sister dining there together with her husband. Not wishing to be seen by Dora, Lea hastily leads her father away. Some days later, when Lea is busy knocking at doors and begging, her father’s guide-dog runs away. The old man totters into a canal and Lea, although she cannot swim, jumps into the water in an attempt to help her father. Fortunately, some passers-by see what has happened, dive into the canal and rescue father and daughter. As a result of her plunge into the cold water, Lea becomes seriously ill. A doctor is called in to attend to her. He turns out to be Dora’s husband. After the doctor manages to save Lea’s life, his grateful father-in-law accepts him and the family is finally reunited.”

Laurens Ezerman was born in Rotterdam, Netherlands, in 1892. His debut was Nederland en Oranje/Netherlands and Orange (1913, Louis Chrispijn sr), a short silent film that portrayed in twenty scenes highlights from the Dutch history. He became one of the actors of the ‘troupe’ of the Filmfabriek-Hollandia, the most active producer of silent films in The Netherlands. The company’s main directors were Maurits Binger, Louis Chrispijn sr and Theo Frenkel sr. Chrispijn directed Lau Ezerman in such melodramas as Zijn viool/His Violin (1914), Gebroken levens/Broken Lives (1914, starring the grand Louis Bouwmeester) and Weergevonden/Lost and Found (1914). Most of these films are presumed missing, but Weergevonden was literally found again in 1976. In 1920 Hollandia united with a British company and Ezerman played in their historical adventure film De zwarte tulp/The Black Tulip (1921, Maurits Binger, Frank Richardson) and their crime film Bulldog Drummond (1922, Oscar Apfel), based on a popular novel and play by Sapper (Herman C. McNeile). (…)

In the 1930’s, directors like Detlev Sierck (Douglas Sirk) and Ludwig Berger and script writers like Walter Schlee went in exile from Nazi Germany and gave the Dutch film industry a healthy impulse. Ezerman played character parts in such films as the comedy Bleeke Bet/Pale Beth (1934, Richard Oswald, Alex Benno), Het meisje met den blauwen hoed/The Girl With the Blue Hat (1934, Rudolf Meinert) with Truus van Aalten, Komedie om geld/The Trouble with Money (1936, Max Ophüls), the popular romcom Vadertje Langbeen/Daddy Long Legs (1938, Frederic (Friedrich) Zelnik) starring Lily Bouwmeester, Morgen gaat het beter/Tomorrow It Will Be Better (1939, Frederic Zelnik), and the thriller De spooktrein (1939, Carl (Karel) Lamac), based on the play The Ghost Train (1925) by Arnold Ridley. In 1941 the Nazis censured films such as Bleeke Bet for reissues and all the Jewish actors such as Lau Ezerman were cut from the film, but he himself would never know that. In 1940 Lau Ezerman had committed suicide in the city of Amersfoort.”
European Film Star Postcards


One-Joke College Comedies

Revolution in a Bachelors’ Club
R: Unknown. D: Irving Cummings, Paul Panzer, Crane Wilbur. P: American Pathé Frères. USA 1911
French and Dutch titles

“Great excitement prevails in the clubroom over the question of woman’s suffrage and the boys all agree that never in all their mortal lives will they have anything to do with any woman. One particularly vehement denouncer of the fair sex hies him home about 1:30 A.M. to his apartment house, where only bachelors live and by a strange accident crawls into the wrong apartment. It seems that in the meantime a beautiful woman has moved into this apartment, and hearing the intruder enter and believing it to be a burglar, she hides under the bed. Here she is discovered by the bachelor, who thinks it’s a suffragette burglar, and rushes off to the club and later to the police station, with the whole club at his heels. They go with two officers to arrest the intruder, only to discover that Mr. Bachelor had been in somebody else’s quarters.”
Moving Picture World synopsis

Willie’s Sister
R: Unknown. D: James Morrison, Earle Williams, Tefft Johnson, Anne Schaefer, Alec B. Francis. P: Vitagraph Company of America. USA 1912
Print: EYE (Desmet collection)
Dutch titles

“Willie Green, off for college, tearfully kisses Ma and Pa and Sister good-bye. Arrived on the campus, he approaches a grave and reverend senior to ask where the proctor is located. The senior knocks off his hat. Willie replaces it and laughs feebly at the joke. The senior sternly tells him to take it off and be respectful to his betters. Willie obeys, and awe-stricken, repeats his question. The senior points, Willie dodges, gathers up his suitcases and exits cautiously, watching the senior. The proctor places him in a room with a senior, who makes life a burden to him, using him as a valet.(…)”
Moving Picture World synopsis

“Paul Panzer (3 November 1872 – 16 August 1958) was a German-American silent film actor. He appeared in 333 films between 1905 and 1952. Panzer was best known for playing Koerner/Raymond Owen in The Perils of Pauline. From 1934 through the 1950s he was under contract to Warner Brothers as an extra. He was born in Würzburg, Bavaria, and died in Hollywood, California.”

>>> more about Paul Panzer: Buffalo Bill


Psychological Symmetry

Zia Bettina
R: Unknown. D: Ida Carloni Talli, Alberto Collo, Augusto Mastripietri. P: Cines, Roma. It 1912
Print: Museo Nazionale del Cinema

“Aunt Bettina is an old maid who lives of memories. One day she accepts to host a young niece of her, Margherita, who is sent by her parents to forget a love story. The aunt discovers, that the man her niece loves, is the son of her first and never forgotten love. Concerned that Margherita might have the same sad fate as her own, who could never marry the man she wanted, she decides to try to soften the heart of the old man. Taking advantage of the similarity between her and the young niece, she dresses her up like herself when she was young. The old Count, moved by the sweet memory, finally accepts their marriage.
The video is a copy from the film print held by the Museo Nazionale del Cinema: 35mm, positive, polyester, 168 m, 9′ at 18 fps, colour (Desmetcolor), Italian intertitles, silent.”
European Film Gateway

Chi fu il colpevole?
Dir. and actors unknown. P: Itala Film, Torino. It 1910
Print: Museo Nazionale del Cinema / EYE
Dutch titles

“A young army officer goes to visit her sister in the countryside. Perhaps due to the idleness of the country life, he begins to woo the governess of her sister’s daughter. Flattered, the girl soon falls in love with the officer. One day, while the officer is trying in vain to make the governess definitively fall at his feet, the little girl, who was chasing a butterfly, falls into the river. Immediately the officer dives into the river to save her. But the young governess would have been fired, if the officer had not come forward to clarify how it was his responsibility for the accident. Repented, the officer leaves the house.”
European Film Gateway

How to Stage People Around a Table

Dyrekøbt Ære (aka ‘Dearly Purchased Honour’, ‘Hard-Won Honor’)
R: William Augustinus. B: Alfred Kjerulf. D: Gerhard Jessen, Nina Millung, Frederik Jacobsen, Jacoba Jessen. P: Nordisk Films Kompagni. Dk 1911
Print: EYE film (Desmet collection)
Dutch titles

David Bordwell‘s precise analysis of a central scene of the film
(>>> 02:08 – 02:53)
“Carefully timed blocking and revealing can sustain an entire scene. Take the problem of staging people around a table. How do you assure that an actor is visible at a certain moment and unnoticed at other times? William Augustinus comes up with a virtuoso solution in a dinner scene of ‘Hard-Won Honor’ (Dyrekobt Aere, 1911). A doctor and his young wife are dining at the home of a cold-hearted seducer and his wife. The doctor is turned from us, directly across from the seducer, who reveals himself only when he moves his head.
The couples chat, with each man leaning toward the other’s spouse.
Augustinus finds a wonderful way to suggest that a telephone has rung. Everyone pauses, and then the householder’s hand comes up into the frame, waggling to instruct the maid to go answer it.
The maid returns to tell the doctor he’s wanted and he rises, shrugging as if to say, “What can I do?” This gives the actor a chance to act with his whole body, a common feature of 1910s European cinema.
As the doctor leaves, the lothario continues to press his attentions on the man’s wife.
In just a few years, the sort of casual camera-hogging we find in Pat Corner has become shaped and carefully timed to bend the scene in a dramatic arc.”

William Augustinus (1866-1925), actor, photographer, director, and author. He directed his last film for Nordisk Film in 1911. After being fired, he tried his luck in Germany, where he worked together with Oscar Messter. But soon he came back to Copenhagen only to set up shop as a portrait photographer.
IMDb / DanLitStummFilm

>>> Denmark

Climbing and Shooting

Ascensione al Dente del Gigante
R / K: Mario Piacenza. P: Itala Film. It 1911

“Mario Piacenza was an industrialist, a mountain lover and also a camera operator, for the love of it. In 1911 he climbed, with some partners, the Dent du Géant, carrying his film camera. The shootings, never showed to the public and probably never edited before the restoration, are really spectacular. The film documents the ascent of the Dent du Géant (mountain in the Mont Blanc massif). The great ability of Mario Piacenza (April 1884 – Biella, April 16, 1957), together with the particular mountain shape, generate a highly spectacular shooting.
The video is a copy from the film print restored copy by the Museo Nazionale del Cinema collaboration with the Fondazione Piacenza and the Museo della Montagna of Turin in 2013.”
Museo Nazionale del Cinema

Ascensione al Cervino
R / K: Mario Piacenza. P: Itala Film. It 1911/1912

“In 1911 Mario Piacenza climbed the top of Mount Cervino with some partners. Apart from the back pack, he was carrying the film camera and the tripod. Considering the conditions of the shots, the quality of the images is incredibile. Ascensione al Cervino was restored by Museo Nazionale del Cinema di Torino from a tinted nitrate positive, a nitrate negative and a triacetate duplicate, held by the Museum. Fondazione Piacenza di Pollone and the Museo Nazionale della Montagna Duca degli Abruzzi in Torino contributed to the researches.”
Museo Nazionale del Cinema

>>> Sports

Allan Dwan, 1915

David Harum
R: Allan Dwan. B: Allan Dwan, Edward Noyes Wescott (story and play). K: Harold Rosson / Henry Lyman Broening. D: William H. Crane, Harold Lockwood, May Allison, Kate Meeks, Hal Clarendon, Guy Nichols. P: Famous Players Film Company. USA 1915
Print: George Eastman House, Rochester, N.Y.

“In October 1914, (…) William H. Crane signed with Famous Players. (…) Crane was selected to repeat one of his great stage triumphs on the screen, ‘David Harum’, to be directed by Dwan. In 1900, Crane had appeared in the first Broadway production of ‘David Harum’, based on a popular novel by Edward Noyes Wescott, and had subsequently starred in two Broadway revivals. Dwan said that although he had worked out a script when he met Crane, the actor was adamant that he wouldn’t do the film unless it was done exactly like the play. (…)
David Harum turned out to be an important film both for its success and for Dwan’s technical bravura in bringing the play to the screen. (…)
‘The Guinness Book of Movie Facts and Feats’ cites David Harum as one of the two 1915 films (the other being The Second-in-Command) using the tracking shot in the United States for the first time. Traveling shots filmed from trains and ships actually go back to the very early days of silent cinema. But David Harum was an important milestone in developing the expressive possibilities of the tracking shot. And though (according to Dwan) it was shot from a car, it pioneered the kind of fluidity that would be achieved by camera dollies mounted on tracks.”
Frederic Lombardi: Allan Dwan and the Rise and Decline of the Hollywood Studios. McFarland 2013, p. 37/38

Further Reading:
Allan Dwan (A dossier). Original language version. Ed. by David Phelps & Gina Telaroli.
LUMIÈRE June 2013

>>> Dwan’s 1913 film The Spirit of the Flag 

>>> Allan Dwan, 1912: A Life for a Kiss

Allan Dwan, 1913

The Spirit of the Flag
R: Allan Dwan. B: Wallace Reid. D: Wallace Reid, Pauline Bush, Jessalyn Van Trump, Arthur Rosson. P: Bison Motion Pictures. USA 1913
Print: Prelinger Archives, San Francisco

In her book ‘MeXicana Encounters: The Making of Social Identities on the Borderlands’ (University of California Press 2003, p. 195), Rosa Linda Fregoso argues for a Mexican scenery in this film claiming that “the Mexican advances toward the white male are frustrated”. But there is no doubt: the political and cultural scenery of this film is the Philippines, and its historical background the Spanish-American War (1898). So, ‘kekseksa’ on IMDb is right who writes: “Considering the grim realities of the brutal US colonisation of the Philippines, to which the events in this film are supposed to be a prelude,this is a very unpleasant piece of patriotic flummery. The US treachery that robbed the Philippines of its independence after the defeat and dignified withdrawal of the Spanish is of course not mentioned. Manila would become its centre for operations in the Pacific and the China Seas. Nothing could better illustrate the fact that the US had joined the club of the imperialist powers than the ease with which it here adopts their hypocritical and patronising rhetoric. The caricature of the Spanish was typical of US propaganda that filled the US yellow press at the time and prepared the way for the later demonisation of the Kaiser once the US condescended to join the war against him.” (KK)

“Allan Dwan, original name Joseph Aloysius Dwan, (born April 3, 1885, Toronto, Ontario, Canada  —  died December 28, 1981, Woodland Hills, California, U.S.), American director with more than 400 known feature films and short productions to his credit. Along with the more-celebrated Cecil B. DeMille, Dwan was one of the few directors who made the transition from the days of the one-reelers in the 1910s through the glory days of the studio system in the 1930s and ’40s and into its decline in the 1950s. (…) In 1909 he took a job in Chicago with the Cooper Hewitt Electric Company as a lighting engineer, a profession that soon brought him into contact with the Essanay Film Manufacturing Company. He began moonlighting for Essanay as a writer and was soon hired as a story editor. Moving to the American Film Manufacturing Company in 1911, he was given an opportunity to direct when, according to some accounts, the director of a California production went on a drinking binge, leaving the company stranded. (…)
In 1911–13 Dwan turned out as many as 250 one-reelers for American Film — westerns, comedies, even documentaries, all written, edited, and produced by him. Few of these still exist. In 1913 he signed with the Universal Film Manufacturing Company, but within a year he moved to the Famous Players Company in New York, and a year after that he was working with D.W. Griffith at the Triangle Film Corporation. Dwan is credited with introducing the dolly shot — he used a moving automobile to film actor William H. Crane’s stroll in David Harum (1915) — and with inventing the equipment used for the crane shots in Griffith’s Intolerance (1916). Nearly as significant as those innovations were the 11 films Dwan then made with Douglas Fairbanks, beginning with The Habit of Happiness (1916) and culminating with the epic swashbuckler Robin Hood (1922).”

534-Allan Dwan

>>> Spanish-American War 1898

Fatty and Mabel – 2

Wished on Mabel
R: Roscoe ‘Fatty’ Arbuckle / Mabel Normand (?). D: Roscoe ‘Fatty’ Arbuckle, Mabel Normand, Edgar Kennedy, Alice Davenport, Joe Bordeaux, Glen Cavender. P: Keystone Film Company. USA 1915
Filming Locations: Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, California, USA

Wished on Mabel is one of no less than a staggering 188 shorts in which Normand performed from the beginning of 1911 through 1915. This breakneck pace in production amounted to her working in shorts that were generally organized, quickly rehearsed, filmed, and edited on an average of one every 10 days for five straight years. Wished on Mabel is among three one-reel shorts that Mabel Normand and Roscoe Arbuckle made with other Keystone cast and crew while on location in San Francisco and the Bay Area between March 25 and April 18, 1915. In addition to filming Wished on Mabel, Keystone personnel shot footage for Mabel and Fatty Viewing the World’s Fair at San Francisco and for Mabel’s Wilful Way, the latter being filmed in Oakland, across the bay from San Francisco.”

“Although the plot here is simple and typical, a bit more went into this one-reeler than was usually the case. There’s obvious care in positioning the camera to take advantage of the setting – locations include the fountain, a building that I think is the Conservatory of Flowers, a tunnel, and the glen where Fatty and Mabel meet the bee. There are few, if any, “generic” shots as we see in many of the LA park comedies. There are also some good close-ups, including the theft of the watch and Mabel’s face with the bee on it.”
Century Film Project

That Little Band of Gold
R: Roscoe ‘Fatty’ Arbuckle. D: Roscoe ‘Fatty’ Arbuckle, Mabel Normand, Ford Sterling, Alice Davenport, Charley Chase, Minta Durfee, Edgar Kennedy, Al St. John. P: Keystone Film Company. USA 1915

“This little movie feels a trifle more mature and sophisticated than the usual Keystone comedy, if ever so slightly, touching on the consequences of infidelity, and having notes of pathos. (…) What’s interesting to me about this film is that it reminds me of a cruder version of Lubitsch — who wouldn’t be making his sophisticated comedies in America until almost a decade later. I’m also interested in the unrealized potential of Arbuckle as a director. He could stretch when he wanted to, but he oddly didn’t always want to. Strangely, many of his late films for Sennett are much more sophisticated storywise than his solo comedies for Comique, which came later but were straight ahead slapstick. Arbuckle was an artisan, sometimes a lazy one, but if he hadn’t died so young in 1933 he might have gone on to do some interesting things as a director.”
Trav S.D.

>>> Fatty and Mabel – 1