Early Days in Oklahoma

Passing of the Oklahoma Outlaws (Fragments)
R: William Tilghman. K: Benny Kent. D: Arkansas Tom, Bud Ledbetter, Chris Madsen, E.D. Nix, William Tilghman. P: Eagle Film Company. USA 1915

William Matthew Tilghman served as a lawman for 35 years. In his career he rode with the Earps, was a lawman in Dodge City, Kansas, and battled the Dalton gang and the Wild Bunch. In the early 1900s he became fed up with the way Hollywood glamorized the outlaws of the west and, along with his friends E.D. Nix and Chris Madsen, set out to make a movie of how it really was back then. They starred in the film, Passing of the Oklahoma Outlaws (1915), as themselves and arranged to have a member of the Dalton gang named Arkansas Tom released from prison to act as a technical consultant. They met with some difficulty in getting the film shown–theater owners didn’t want to show it because there were no name actors in it. Hollywood told them to put Tom Mix in it if they wanted it to sell, but Tilghman refused. (…)”
IMDb Mini Biography

“Passing of the Oklahoma Outlaws, subtitled ‘Picturization of Early Days in Oklahoma’, is a 1915 American silent western film produced by the Eagle Film Company depicting the end of the outlaw gangs which operated freely during the closing days of the Twin Territories (Indian Territory and Oklahoma Territory). (…) Tilghman organized the Eagle Film Company in response to several movies which glamorized outlaws and depicted lawmen as fools. He intended to produce a movie that gave a realistic portrayal of outlaws and lawmen. Passing of the Oklahoma Outlaws, while consisting of many actual events, contains several fictional people and scenes. One of the more famous fictional characters shown is Rose Dunn, the Rose of the Cimarron.”

Al Jennings was an attorney, turned train robber, turned politician from Oklahoma. In September 1913, his highly-embellished auto-biography, co-authored by Will Irwin, was published in the Saturday Evening Post as a five part series entitled Beating Back.
He told the exploits of a successful and prosperous group of outlaws that bore little resemblance to anything involving his gang. The same year, Thanhouser Studios, in New Rochelle, N.Y. made Jennings an offer to turn his exaggerated memoirs into a motion picture, starring him.
The movie was shot in 1913, but not released until months later, just in time for Jennings’ unsuccessful run for the governor’s seat. Members of the Jennings gang were depicted as brave and daring men, who were forced by circumstances into lives outside the law. While the U.S. deputy marshals who pursued them were lampooned and portrayed as clownish for comedic affect. Jennings toured with the movie as it premiered across the country. (…)
Not to be outdone, retired U.S. Marshal E.D. Nix, and retired deputies, Chris Madsen and Bill Tilghman made plans to produce their own “historically accurate” movie. In December 1914, the Eagle Film Company was established with Nix as president, Tilghman as vice-president and Madsen as secretary. At first, the lawmen wanted to present their version of events with the Jennings gang, but realized that they needed more material. The true adventures of these legendary lawmen required no embellishment; yet, that didn’t stop them. By the time the script was finished, it turned out that they had been responsible for the apprehension of every infamous outlaw associated with Oklahoma and Indian Territory. Tilghman mainly, took credit for the good work of many other U.S. deputy marshals and local lawmen.
In their movie, The Passing of the Oklahoma Outlaws, the retired lawmen re-enacted their heroic exploits as they tamed the Oklahoma frontier. There were attempts to maintain a certain level of historic accuracy. Many of the scenes in the movie were shot where they occurred, and featured some of the actual lawmen and outlaws who participated in the events. Roy Daugherty, a.k.a. Arkansas Tom Jones, had been released from prison five years earlier and was enthusiastic about repeating his role in the Ingalls battle, between lawmen and the Doolin gang, for the movie. (…)”
David Farris
Edmond Life & Leisure

>>> Tilghman’s film about (and with) Al Jennings: The Bank Robbery

In Northern Forests

In Northern Forests (Frgm.)
R: Unknown. D: Edwin R. Phillips, Julia Swayne Gordon, Robert Gaillard, Florence Foley. P: Vitagraph Company of America. USA 1911
Print: EYE

In this print the introduction and beginning of action are missing. The complete film starts as follows:

“Phil has redeeming qualities; one in particular, his love for children. This is very easily seen where the poor fellow in a railroad coach is being taken handcuffed to prison. In the seat next to the one in which he is sitting there is a little child, Dotty. The train stops, the sheriff, with his prisoner, leaves the car, and we don’t see the convicted man again until we see him in stripes, working in the prison shoe shop, and witness his escape from the prison window, when he makes his plunge into the river and his long swim to freedom. (…)”
Moving Picture World synopsis


Chaos and Destruction

La lune de miel de Zigoto
R: Jean Durand. D: Lucien Bataille, Berthe Dagmar, Edouard Grisollet, Ernest Bourbon. P: Société des Etablissements L. Gaumont. Fr 1912

Le baptême de Calino
R: Jean Durand. D: Clément Migé, Gaston Modot. P: Société des Etablissements L. Gaumont. Fr 1910

Calino courtier en paratonnerres
R: Jean Durand. D: Clément Migé, Edouard Grisollet, Les Pouittes. P: Société des Etablissements L. Gaumont. Fr 1912
Engl subtitles

Durand (…) joined Gaumont in 1910 after a brief stint with Pathé. One of his first assignments at Gaumont was the Calino series, which was begun by director Roméo Bosetti and featured actor Clément Migé. He soon added the Lucien Bataille-starring Zigoto and Ernest Bourbon-starring Onésime series to his list of directorial duties, and by the end of 1914, he had directed more than 160 films for the studio. The films (…) reveal the director’s penchant for absurdist comedies that regularly devolve into chaos as crazed crowds run rampant through streets, businesses and homes alike, leaving wide swathes of destruction in their wake, as well as a fascination with the American Western. In both types of films, Durand employed a band of physical actors known as ‘Les Pouittes,’ men and women who threw themselves about with reckless abandon, often in the same frame as lions, panthers and other wild animals. Durand’s comedies provided ample opportunity for technical experimentation, including fast-motion and reverse-motion effects (the 1912 Onésime Horloger), double exposure (the 1912 Onésime vs. Onésime) and a remarkable optical effect in Calino chef de gare (also from 1912) that composites a shot of a moving locomotive within a window frame in a studio-bound train-station set.”
Jon D. Witmer
The American Society of Cinematographers

Another ingenious destroyer, unfortunately unknown:

L’invention de Lichetout
Dir. and actors unknown. P: Éclair. Fr 1911
Print: Eye (Desmet collection)
Dutch titles

>>> Durand’s Zigoto series


Jean Durand

Dans les airs
R: Jean Durand. D: Joë Hamman, Jules Védrines. P: Lux Compagnie Cinématographique de France. Fr 1910
German titles and inserts

Jean Durand  (1882-1946)
“Actor and director. Jean Durand got his start, as did many of the film pioneers, in the café-concerts or music halls of Paris. In 1908, Georges Fagot introduced Durand to Charles Pathé, who was constantly recruiting talent from the Parisian stage for his studio, and Durand went to work very briefly at Pathé. He left Pathé for Société Lux, where he made more than forty films, most of which have been lost.
In 1910, Gaumont hired Durand as a replacement for Roméo Bosetti, who had gone to Italy, and he was charged with directing the burlesque Calino series. Durand, it turns out, was a master of burlesque. (…)
Durand went on to create two other very successful burlesque series for Gaumont, the Zigoto series, which ran in 1912, and the Onésime series, which ran from 1912 until 1915 (…). Durand’s burlesque was extremely physical, even more so than Bosetti’s, and to that end he pioneered the use of stunt people (as things were always getting broken and people hit). His influence was far-reaching in later burlesque and slapstick performances like the Keystone Cops or the Marx Brothers. In about 1910, Durand began working with the Wild West actor/director Joë Hamman. Some of these Westerns were episodes of his burlesque series. Examples are Calino veut être cowboy (1911) and Onésime sur le sentier de la guerre (1913). Others, such as Pendaison à Jefferson city (1911) and Le Railway de mort (1912), are newly created Westerns. These films, at Hamman’s suggestion, were shot in France’s Camargue region of France, which is somewhat reminiscent of some Wild West landscapes. The Camargue Western was one of the casualties of the war, but Durand’s influence may have ultimately led to the Spaghetti Westerns of later days. (…) Interestingly, Durand’s comic touch is something he does not seem to have been able to turn on and off, and many of his Westerns have elements of burlesque and therefore come off as parodies of the more classic vein of the genre.
On the whole, Durand made a number of films of a wide variety. There are more than one hundred titles that he is known to have made. He was the third-most-important director during his time at Gaumont, after Louis Feuillade, of course, and Léonce Perret. (…) Despite his enormous contribution to early film, Durand was ignored by the first generation of film historians and was thus more or less forgotten by film scholars until quite recently. His work has lately been reevaluated.”
Dayna Oscherwitz & Mary Ellen Higgins
Academic Dictionaries and Encyclopedias

553-Jean Durand

Arthème Dupin

“Société Générale des Cinématographes Éclipse (…) ranked number four in its country during the years leading up to the great war. In the beginning, George Hatot of Pathé and Victorin Jasset of Gaumont were recruited (better to drain the competition in order to compete), pushing the overall quality up. By 1908, it absorbed another smaller but ambitious company called Radios (…) and made great use of its elaborate glass studio-house built in Boulogne-sur-Seine, the western end of Paris. One of Éclipse’s biggest hits was The Near-Sighted Cyclist’ [Les mésaventures d’un cycliste myope], (…) making an international star of Madrid-born Marcel Perez. His comic style was a forerunner to both Harold Lloyd and Buster Keaton with a lot of physical stunt work involved. Since his association with Éclipse was brief, the staff had to groom others to take his place, among them Ernest and Charles Servaès with such personas as Arthème Dupin and Polycarpe (marketed in the U.K. and U.S. as Sammy) and the Brit-moved-to-France fashion model Aimée ‘Miss’ Campton.”
Jlewis: A Shortie Checklist: Charles Urban

Arthème opérateur
R: Ernest Servaès. D: Ernest Servaès. P: Éclipse. Fr 1913
Print: EYE (Amsterdam)
Dutch titles

“’Arthème’, or ‘Arthème Dupin’, was played in some 63 films for Eclipse between 1911 and 1916 by Ernest Servaës, who seems also to have been his own director. Little is known about Servaës, though his irrepressible mugging at the audience suggests a music-hall background. The film offers us glimpses of a modest cinema with only a pianist – but a  watchful resident fireman.”
David Robinson

Arthème sorcier
R: Ernest Servaès. D: Ernest Servaès. P: Éclipse. Fr 1910
Print: EYE (Amsterdam)
Dutch titles

Arthème promène son oncle
R: Ernest Servaès. D: Ernest Servaès. P: Éclipse. Fr 1910
Print: EYE (Amsterdam)
Dutch titles

Arthème Dupin échappe encore
R: Ernest Servaès. D: Ernest Servaès. P: Éclipse. Fr 1912
Print: EYE (Amsterdam)
Dutch titles

>>> Arthème avale sa clarinette

Ernest Servaès as Polycarpe:

Polycarpe fait de la morale au centimètre
R: Ernest Servaès. D: Ernest Servaès. P: Éclipse. Fr 1914
Print: EYE (Amsterdam)
Dutch titles

Cleo Madison, Actress and Director

The Power of Fascination
R: Cleo Madison. B: Charles Saxby. D: Cleo Madison, Jack Holt, Thomas Chatterton, Carrie Fowler, Jack Francis, Jack Wells. P: Rex Film Corp. USA 1915
Print: EYE
Dutch titles

“It is clear from the published record of Universal Motion Picture Manufacturing Company credits from 1912–1929 that, beginning in 1915, the company employed increasing numbers of women as directors, and by the end of 1919 it had credited no fewer than eleven women with directing at least one hundred and seventy titles. Before 1915, Universal credited Grace Cunard, Jeanie Macpherson, and Lois Weber as director. After 1915, it credited Cunard, Madison, Weber, Ruth Ann Baldwin, Eugenie Magnus Ingleton, Bess Meredyth, Ida May Park, Ruth Stonehouse, Lule Warrenton, and Elsie Jane Wilson. By 1920, however, none of these women directed for Universal, which promoted men to take their places. Most never directed again.”
Mark Garrett Cooper
Women Film Pioneers Project

Madison (1883 – 1964) began her career on the stage. By 1910, she had begun performing as part of a theatre troupe known as the Santa Barbara Stock Company in California. In 1913, she was contracted by the Universal Film Manufacturing Company to begin appearing in feature films. Madison established a name for herself as an actress with performances in films such as The Trey o’ Hearts (1914). She is also considered a pioneering female director with a number of shorts and two feature films, A Soul Enslaved (1916) and Her Bitter Cup (1916), to her credit. (…) Madison’s performances were based on an acting style she developed during her time as a vaudeville performer, relying on large gestures and melodramatic facial expressions. She did not avoid physical exertion in pursuit of convincing portrayal, as demonstrated in The Trey of Hearts (1914) in which her character endured a number of physical challenges such as being in a car crash, being shot at, and escaping a forest fire. Her characters often defied stereotypical roles of women in film and encompassed heroines, free-thinkers, villains, temptresses, and adventurers. Madison’s acting style employed her total commitment and passion to each role, and her performances were often acclaimed as such.”
Everthing Explained Today

>>> America’s First Female Director (Lois Weber)

Méliès: Master of Advertising

Les affiches en goguette
R: Georges Méliès. P: Star-Film. Fr 1906

“Extremely witty in its play on both cinematic and theatrical trucs and on the foreground/background unmaskings so characteristic of French stage farce, Les affiches en goguette pushes the cinema of attractions to the point of reflexivity.  Its climatic attraction directly invites the spectator to join the poster people in thumbing their noses at the hapless authorities – through the revealing mirror image that erases any difference between what lies before and behind the screen.”
Richard Abel: The Ciné Goes to Town. French Cinema 1896 – 1914. Updated and Expanded Edition. Berkeley, Los Angeles, London 1998, p. 161

“This short film shows advertising running rampant, commercialism run amok – even love, in the Parisiana poster, is offered à crédit. The fact that Méliès was the first in Europe, and the second in the world, to make filmed advertisements (1898), combined with the struggle to remain independent from bigger production companies, made him well aware of the immense power of commercial interests. (…) Les affiches en goguette shows representations going out of control, getting the better of the forces that would contain them (here, appropriately, police officers). If representations are only ‘pretending’ to be representations, if they are ‘really’ real, then, conversely, it is equally possible that real people and things are actually representations pretending to be real. By erasing the bar between signifier and signified, the characters in the ads risk ending up behind bars: it is up to the meaning police to replace and reinforce the barrier between signifier and signified, but their efforts backfire. When the set collapses to reveal an outdoor setting, we see reality exceeding representation (an effect that Méliès achieves by yielding to a more realistic  mode of representation).”
Elizabeth Ezra: George Méliès. Manchester University Press 2000, p. 60-61

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