Impressions of the Netherlands

L’hiver en Hollande
R: Unknown. P: Kinematograaf Pathé Frères. Fr / NL 1914
Print: EYE

“Brief impressions of the Netherlands in wintertime, with typically Dutch ice-based amusements like skating, sledge racing, the toboggan merry-go-round, and the goat sledge. The footage was probably shot by Kinematograaf Pathé Frères for their French parent company. Before the images begin, we see a short scene involving two children from Volendam. The decor recalls La fille de Delft, a Dutch-Belgian film from 1913 that Alfred Machin made for Pathé’s Belgian subsidiary, Belge-Cinéma Film.”

Mooi Holland
R: Willy Mullens. P: Willy Mullens / Alberts Frères. NL 1915
Print: EYE

“Compilation film consisting of urban scenes, journeys along rivers, images of everyday life, and portraits of people dressed in traditional costume.
In the scenes, we can make out Haarlem, Alkmaar, Volendam, Marken, and the Vecht. This compilation film includes images from the first five years of the 20th century. Promotional film commissioned by the Dutch Tourism Office.”

>>> about Willy and Bernard Mullens: A Dutch Chase Film


Francis Boggs

The Maid at the Helm
R: Francis Boggs. B: Francis Boggs. D: Hobart Bosworth, Sydney Ayres, Fred Huntley, Betty Harte, Tom Santschi, Herbert Rawlinson, George Hernandez. P: Selig Polyscope. USA 1911
Print: EYE
Dutch titles

“A sea yarn, in which Mr. Bosworth plays the part of a maniac who gets control of a whaling vessel after its captain has taken most of the crew out in the boats with him to capture a whale. His object was a crazy notion that a girl, whom the ship had picked up from a wreck, would be his if he could get the captain out of the way. He gains control of those left on board at the point of the only gun left on board. The girl, however, outwits him and shoots him and has him locked in the cabin. She then, at the helm, herself steers the ship back to where the captain and crew are in the small boats. It is competently constructed and very well acted. The sea scenes are realistic and very praiseworthy. But the story seems a little brutal. It would have been pleasanter if the part the girl took hadn’t been so hard and ruthless. She did what a man ought to have done.”
The Moving Picture World, December 23, 1911

The Old Captain
R: Francis Boggs (?). D: Fred Huntley, Anna Dodge. P: Selig Polyscope. USA 1911
Print: EYE
No intertitles (!)

Captain Kate (Frgm.)
R: Francis Boggs, Otis Turner. B: Edward McWade, Otis Turner (story). D: Tom Santschi, Charles Clary, Tom Mix, Kathlyn Williams. P: Selig Polyscope. USA 1911
Print: EYE
German titles

“Two caravans meet on the desert, one headed by Howell and Clancy, two New York men, who are gathering animals for circus purposes, the other is led by an old animal tamer named Desmond and his beautiful daughter, whom the natives have nicknamed Capt. Kate. After exchanging cards, the caravans go their separate ways. Desmond is stricken and dies, leaving Kate alone. She assumes her father’s perilous business, leading her party of native hunters after big game. Later, one of the hunters is stricken and the superstitious followers of Capt. Kate, recognizing the nature of the disease, abandon the hunt and their leader, one servant alone remaining faithful to his mistress. Kate, realizing that she can go no further without assistance, calls a halt and they erect a crude hut in which she is to live, while the servant goes in search of Clancy. Scene of Kate’s isolated life and her dangers follow. She is besieged by wild animals, who make her life a long nightmare of peril. (…)”
Moving Picture World synopsis

Francis Boggs is an obscure figure in the history of cinema, but an important one. It was he who brought the movies to Los Angeles in 1909 when he established a permanent L. A. film studio for the Chicago-based Selig Polyscope Company. In a four-year film career he wrote and directed nearly 200 one-reel films. Today only three are known to survive. He was also the first victim of movieland murder. Boggs was an actor, who toured mining towns in California and finally in Chicago, where he became associated with former magician and minstrel-show operator William Nicholas Selig in filmmaking. He returned to California to shoot the climactic scenes of The Count of Monte Cristo (1908) and ended up playing the lead role as well. He set up Selig’s Los Angeles operation in 1909. In 1911 he was shot and killed by a mentally disturbed employee (the attack also wounded Selig) and was soon forgotten, his work eventually crumbling to dust. But Francis Boggs is as much, if not more, responsible for establishing the American film industry in California as any of the more well-known film pioneers.”
k bogdan

“A highly regarded craftsman, Boggs’ contemporaries considered him among the best film-makers of his generation.”
Steven Higgins

>>> Selig’s Tropical Jungle Zoo

>>> Viggo Larsen’s Løvejagten

>>> more Boggs films: Saved by the Pony ExpressA Freight Train Drama

Feuillade: Le pain quotidien

Le pain quotidien
R: Louis Feuillade. D: Henri Duval, Renée Carl, Alice Tissot, Maurice Vinot. P: Gaumont. Fr 1910
Print: EYE
Dutch titles

“This short Gaumont drama offers a startling glimpse of views on women’s emancipation and employment at a time when they were invading the office world as stenographers and typists. The melancholy hero, Lademan, an office clerk, has a sick wife, two children, and bills that he cannot pay. In vain he asks his boss for a pay raise. Instead the boss hires a young woman in his place: she is glad to come cheaper. In a final attempt to get his job back, Lademan overcomes his pride and goes to see Dora Wagner, the stenotypist taking his place, at her home. Upon seeing his shivering and hungry children, she takes pity on him and writes a letter of resignation. The film does not inquire how she will deal with the problem of unemployment.”
Elif Rongen-Kaynakçi
Antti Alanen: Film Diary



Griffith: The Golden Supper

The Golden Supper
R: David W. Griffith. B: Alfred Lord Tennyson (poem), Dorothy West. K: G.W. Bitzer. D: Dorothy West, Edwin August, Charles West, Claire McDowell, Grace Henderson. P: Biograph Company. USA 1910
Print: EYE
Dutch titles

“The theme of this story is well known to all readers as it is told by Bocaccio and as it appears in the sequel to Tennyson‘s ‘The Lovers’ Tale.’ It is a love story, made remarkable by the fact that the woman’s former lover restores her to consciousness and returns her to her husband. While all this may be understood by the person who has read Bocaccio, it is quite probable that a good many in every audience will not know what it means. The sub-titles help, but it must be admitted that unless one is familiar with the origin of the story it is more or less obscure. A golden supper may be quite the proper place in dreamland to return what one most desires, but in motion picture land it requires something more than the scenes and the sub-titles to make it intelligible.”
The Moving Picture World, December 24, 1910

The Golden Supper (1910) is a film more or less devoid of any striking thematic interest, but it contains fascinating indications that Griffith was beginning to manage the flow of activity through images that vary, medium shot to long shot, from cut to cut. In the sequence from shot 8 to shot 19, the relationship of the rejected suitor to a wedding procession is presented by referring his rather intimate and solitary mid-shot to the longer and wider shots of the procession of newlyweds and wedding guests who sweep through the frame toward and past the camera (shot 10), then ascend a dramatig flight of steps (shot 13). (…) In other words, Griffith gives the suitor a spatially probable and graphically “weighty” screen position in respect to the festive group and then, by intercutting, suggests that the audience knows what the poor fellow is feeling.”
Joyce E. Jesionowski: Thinking in Pictures: Dramatic Structure in D. W. Griffith’s Biograph Films. University of California Press 1989, p. 36

>>> Griffith 1910 on this website

Nat Pinkerton

Nat Pinkerton (?)
R: Pierre Bressol. D: Pierre Bressol, Georges Coquet, Georges Vinter. P: Société Générale des Cinématographes Éclipse. Fr 1911/12
Print: EYE
Dutch titles

This film is part of the Éclipse Nat Pinkerton series. It is probably titled “Les cavaliers Noirs”. (Special thanks to Nicolas Kerrien, see below)

Nat Pinkerton. 1910-1914 French series (Éclipse/Urban/Minerva / 40 One- and Two- reel films) featuring ‘Nat Pinkerton of the Pinkerton Detective Agency.’ They were directed by Pierre Bressol who played Pinkerton. Representative titles of the forty films in the series include Les rats d’hôtel (1910), L’auberge sanglante (1911), L’affaire d’Excelsior Park (1911)(…) and even Nat Pinkerton contre Nat Pinkerton (1914). (…)
Detective Nat Pinkerton was a German creation, a combination of Pinkerton Agency detectives and pulp detectives like Nick Carter. Most of his early adventures were simply rewrites of Nick Carter adventures. The name had such international appeal, however, that there were soon Nat Pinkerton stories published in other countries. The movie moguls liked the name so film series featuring ‘Nat Pinkerton of the Pinkerton Detective Agency’ were produced in Denmark, France and Germany.”
Ken Wlaschin: Silent Mystery and Detective Movies: A Comprehensive Filmography. McFarland 2009, p. 162 and 179


Kenean Buel, Director

Slim Jim’s Last Chance
R: Kenean Buel. D: Carlyle Blackwell, Alice Joyce, George Melford, J.P. McGowan. P: Kalem Company. USA 1911
Print: EYE
No titles (!)

“The prison doors open and Tom Benton, a first timer, and Slim Jim, alias Red Davis, of the underworld, are liberated. Tom learns that the prison odor clings by being ceremoniously turned away wherever he applies for work. Slim Jim immediately on his release beats his way west. Eventually Tom goes west and finds his work. Several months later Slim Jim gets a job at the same place Tom is employed. Slim Jim, being caught at his old tricks and exposed by Tom, reveals Tom’s past. The several thrilling scenes that follow show Tom’s genuine manhood and gives Slim Jim an opportunity to prove that even the underdog has at least a spark of good lying dormant under the rough exterior.”
Moving Picture World synopsis

The Chest of Fortune
R: Kenean Buel. D: Jere Austin, John Mackin, George Hollister Jr., James B. Ross, Helen Lindroth, Henry Hallam. P: Kalem Company. USA 1914
Print: EYE
Dutch titles

>>> Summary

“John Hunt Morgan (1825-1864), although a commissioned Confederate general, acted independently of the high command and became famous for his raids during the Civil War. Operating chiefly behind Union lines, he and his raiders captured a Northern garrison in Huntsville, Alabama, in 1862 and was promoted to brigadier general. He was captured by the Union on one of his forays later that year but managed to escape. Transferred to a different command, he was killed in action in Greenville, Tennessee. His daring exploits into enemy territory made exciting screen materials. The Chest of Fortune, released 1914 by Kalem, was the first to appear. It potrayed Morgan and his raiders as cold-blooded murderers who butcher a Northern officer and his family. Other action melodramas included Morgan’s Raiders (1918) and The Little Shepherd of Kingdom Come (1920).
Larry Langman, David Ebner: Hollywood’s Image of the South: A Century of Southern Films. Greenwood Publishing Group 2001, p. 218

Kenean J. Buel (c.1873 –1948) was born in Kentucky, Buel became involved in theater and eventually made his way to New York City where he was hired by the Kalem Company in 1908 as a film director under the tutelage of Sidney Olcott. Buel was part of the pioneering Kalem team that filmed in Florida in the winter months and in the fall of 1910, the rapidly growing Kalem organization sent him to head up a filming unit in California. After directing more than 50 films for Kalem, including a number starring Alice Joyce, Buel signed on with Fox Film Corporation in 1915 for whom he made another seventeen films. In 1919 he directed films for an independent company and made his last film in 1920. Kenean Buel died in New York City in 1948.


>>> more Buel films on this website: The Mystery of the Sleeping Death, Mexican Filibusterers

Three Categories of Babies

Where Are My Children
R: Lois Weber / Phillips Smalley. B: Lucy Payton, Franklyn Hall. K: Stephen S. Norton, Allen G. Siegler. D: Tyrone Power Sr., Mrs. Tyrone Power, Marie Walcamp, Cora Drew, Rena Rogers, Alva D. Blake, Juan de la Cruz, William J. Hope. P: Lois Weber Productions / Universal Film Manufacturing Company. USA 1916

“In 1915 the US Supreme Court in Washington, D.C., denied motion pictures protection as free speech under the First Amendment, allowing for laws to enforce censorship regulations on motion pictures. The Supreme Court later overturned that ruling as well as the Comstock Act*. During that time, many films were not allowed to show scenes of graphic nature, especially scenes of a surgical or sexual nature. According to historian Louise Heck-Rabi, Weber depicted concepts, which could have been interpreted as obscene, in the film Where Are My Children? through religious, allegorical references, influenced by her religious upbringing as a child. By constructing abortion and contraception as moral abstract actions, instead of physical actions, Weber worked around most of the censorship regulations. Universal released Where Are My Children? in 1916 for a limited audience at New York’s Globe Theater in New York, New York. The film was well-received, and the National Board of Review reconsidered the release of the film, allowing for the film to be shown for a wider audience. Despite the controversial bans, Where Are My Children? grossed three million dollars and was widely viewed in the United States.”
Grace Kim: “Where Are My Children? (1916)”
Embryo Project Encyclopedia (2017-05-26)

* “The Comstock Laws were a set of federal acts passed by the United States Congress under the Grant administration along with related state laws. The ‘parent’ act (Sect. 211) was passed on March 3, 1873, as the Act for the ‘Suppression of Trade in, and Circulation of, Obscene Literature and Articles of Immoral Use’.”

555-Comstock actSymbol of Comstock’s New York Society for the Suppression of Vice

“The film is in the first place defending eugenics, i.e. the fact that the reproduction of people with desired traits should be encouraged and reproduction of people with undesired traits should be reduced. The enthusiastic adoption of this theory by nazi Germany demonstrated how pernicious it was. The film postulates that there are three categories of babies waiting to be born, the ‘chance’ children, going forth to earth in vast numbers, the ‘unwanted’ souls, that were constantly ‘sent back’ and bore the sign of the serpent (devil?), and those souls fine and strong, sent forth only on prayer and marked with the approval of the Almighty. This explains the position taken by the main protagonist, District Attorney Walton: he thinks that there is no reason to prosecute somebody defending birth control, as he is working with poor people producing children who from a eugenics point of view are deemed undesirable. On the other hand he is deeply shocked when he discovers that his wife and her friends, who from the same eugenics point of view would produce perfect children, are getting abortions because motherhood would interfere with their leisurely life. It is therefore not an anti-abortion film, as it is now regarded by some people, but a film about the wrong people undertaking abortion. The unwanted children are just ‘sent back’ to heaven. What is also striking, given the fact that the film was made by a female director, Lois Weber, together with her husband Phillips Smalley, is the very negative depiction of women. They are liberated enough to drive their own cars but the only thing in their life seems to be having drinks or tea together and refusing motherhood out of pure selfishness. This is all the more surprising that the person who inspired the scene of the man prosecuted for publishing a book about birth control was actually a woman, Margaret Sanger. Why did Lois Weber turn this positive female character into a man? Note also the patriarcal approach, Walton doesn’t ask ‘Where are our children?’ but ‘Where are my children?’).
A Cinema History

Where Are My Children? (…) makes a eugenicist argument in favor of birth control for working-class and immigrant families, while lambasting privileged white women for not ‘bettering’ the race, vilifying them further through their association with abortion, rather than contraception. As several reviewers pointed out at the time, this dichotomy inverted family planning practices of the day, for it was impoverished women, less likely to have access to adequate contraception, who were often forced to rely on unsafe abortions, while their wealthier counterparts practiced safe and effective family planning with tacit help from the medical establishment. Interweaving these multiple story lines through patterns of cross-cutting, the film makes clear that while men legislate reproductive issues in public courtrooms, women, excluded from these debates, carry on clandestine conversations in private.
The film’s message about sexuality, reproduction and contraception is further clouded by a subplot in-volving the housekeeper’s daughter Lillian (Rena Rogers). A naïve young woman, she is lured into a liaison with Edith’s lothario brother Roger (A.D. Blake). Lillian becomes pregnant – ‘the wages of sin,’ a title informs us – and ultimately dies from an unsafe abortion she procures with Edith’s help. Lillian’s narrative adds another dimension to the film’s portrayal of unplanned pregnancy and complicates its overlay of abortion and contraception. If Where Are My Children? seems to advocate birth control for impoverished women, while simultaneously denouncing Edith’s wealthy circle for their reliance on abortion, in Lillian’s case the message is less clear. Would Lillian’s life have been spared if she had access to reliable contraception? The film does not go so far as to promote reproductive freedom for consenting, unmarried adults, a case Margaret Sanger was indeed making in the 1910s, but Lillian’s subplot introduces the topic of sexuality outside reproduction, albeit with a rather clichéd tale of a male predator and his gullible victim.”
Shelley Stamp: Where Are My Children?

>>> Lois Weber’s films Hypocrites, How Men Propose, Suspense, The Price

A Successfully Adapted Immigrant

The Adventures of Lieutenant Petrosino
R: Sidney M. Goldin. P: Feature Photoplay Company. USA 1912
Print: EYE (Desmet collection)
Dutch titles

“The story of Lt. Joseph Petrosino, an Italian-American New York City police detective, who was assigned to investigate the Sicilian Mafia, which was beginning to become a major problem in New York. He did such a good job that the city sent him to Sicily to gather information on the Sicily/New York Mafia connections. He was murdered in Palermo by Mafia gunmen. The 1960 film Pay or Die! (1960) starring Ernest Borgnine was also based on his life.”

“Mafia bosses weren’t romanticized until The Godfather (1972). You can go back to the early silent films The Black Hand (1906) and The Adventures of Lieutenant Petrosino (1912) and notice that Mafiosi were illiterate thugs, and in various forms this was the pattern for decades. In the 1930s they weren’t just thugs, but sexually immoral too. In Little Caesar (1931) the protagonist played by Edward G. Robinson was a brutal mobster with homosexual tendencies and Scarface (1932), the character played by Paul Muni had a foreign accent and appeared to have been in love with his sister. Muni’s role of Antonio “Tony” Camote was clearly based on Al Capone, who was born in Brooklyn without a hint of incestual attraction to his sister. Robinson again played a thuggish gangster in 1948’s Key Largo.”
Richard Warner

“Petrosino may easily dress up as a shady Sicilian Mafioso, but the masquerade will not corrupt his moral character. Visible evidence of the hero’s inner morality includes his professional achievements, his financial prosperity, and, last but not least, his domestic bliss. There are no scenes of jealousy or excess in his home. His theatrical gesticulations and unbridled passion for abundant food are all that remains of his Italienness, domesticated and landscaped by the middle-class décor of his American house. He is a model of the successfully adapted (yet never completely assimilated) Italian immigrant, whose violent death augments his inspiring biography in the way immigrants allegedly best understood – through the emotional cogency and moral clarity of the melodrama.”
Giorgio Bertellini: Italy in Early American Cinema: Race, Landscape, and the Picturesque. Indiana University Press 2010, p. 202

Life and Death of the New York police officer Joseph “Joe” Petrosino (1860-1909)

A Wholly Artificial Spectacle

Den røde Klub
R: Unknown. B: Knud Lumbye. D: Edith Buemann, Tronier Funder, Peter Kjær, Charles Schwanenflügel, Einar Zangenberg.  P: Kinografen. Dk 1914
Print: Danish Film Institute
Ital. titles, Span. subtitles

“A four-part offering which is a melodrama of sensations rather than a sensational melodrama. It belongs with a clearly-defined type of offering that has proved of service, but lacks all artistic quality. Its chief merit is that it keeps something going all the time. It aims to make every incident so startling that the spectator will fail to notice whether it has a reasonable place in the story or not and is full of things like traps in the floor, secret springs opening to hidden passages in castle or palace, victims hurled down chutes to strange dangers in pits or cells below, and is full of espionage and counter espionage. In the story the Red Club helps a lovelorn baroness, who things herself jilted by the reigning count, in an attempt to be revenged. The backgrounds are palaces and royal gardens in perfect keeping with the theme. It is a wholly artificial offering made with reasonable skill to fill a demand for stirring action, but lacks the kind of story that has made some of its predecessors famous. The Dansk Kinograph Studio turned it out.”
The Moving Picture World, May 30, 1914

>>> Den røde Klub (Det Danske Film Institut)

>>> Knud Lumbye as actor: Viggo Larsen

>>> Knud Lumbye (Det Danske Film Institut)