Two Lighthouse Keeper Stories

The Lighthouse by the Sea
R: Edwin S. Porter. B: Bannister Merwin. D: Charles Sutton, Mabel Trunnelle, Laura Sawyer, Richard Neill, Richard Grodon, Herbert Prior. P: Edison Manufacturing Company. USA 1911
Print: EYE
Dutch titles

“The two daughters of an old lighthouse keeper fall in love with two young fishermen. The girls seek secluded spots to tell their lovers “sweet nothings,” before they sail away on a long fishing voyage. One day a report comes to the old man that a ship has been dashed upon the shoals. The vessel happens to be the very one on which the young fishermen sailed. The little family searching amidst the rocks and angry waters for a survivor, suddenly see far out in the ocean a man seated upon a spar. He is recognized as one of the girl’s lovers. The other is also seen struggling further out. The girls look to their brother to rescue their lovers. But he is only able to save one. Which one shall it be? It is better to see the film than to describe it, so we will leave the reader with these words.”
Moving Picture World synopsis

Le gardien de phare
Dir. and actors unknown. P: Société Générale des Cinématographes Éclipse. Fr 1911
Print: EYE (Desmet collection)
Dutch titles

“This film meant a very great deal in 1911 because it is the real-life story of the lighthouse of Kerdonis, what is called a ‘maison-phare’, an ordinary house with a lighthouse mechanism on the roof, on Belle-Île-en-Mer in Morbihan in Brittany. When the lighthouseman died on 18 April 1911, his wife and two children kept the light going by hand all night (the mechanism having developed a fault). She was awarded a médaille d’honneur on the 16 June 1911. The Breton singer/songwriter composed a song on the subject ‘Les Petits gardiens du feu’. Gaumont filmed the medal-ceremony for Actualités (25 August edition) while this film appeared in October. The Kerdonis lighthouse is still there.”

>>> D.W. Griffith’s view upon the ocean: Enoch Arden (1911) and The Unchanging Sea, (1910)