Submerged in Gloom? Not Really.

R: André Liabel. B: Alphonse Daudet (novel). D: Villeneuve, Damorès, Olga Demidoff, Renée Sylvaire, Bahier. P: Société Française des Films Éclair. Fr 1913
Print: EYE
Dutch titles

“Drama about the life of Jack, a boy who grows up without a father. Jack is sent to boarding school by his mother. He decides to leave school when his mother marries one of the teachers. He soon finds work as an apprentice metal worker, but after a false accusation of theft, he embarks on a boat as a stoker in Saint-Nazaire. The ship perishes, but Jack survives. Eventually he goes to Paris to study medicine because he is in love with Cecile, the doctor’s daughter, where he ended up after his ship accident. She later rejects him because she is ashamed that he is a bastard. Jack dies of sorrow.”

Extended summary in English: Moving Picture World synopsis

“This is a four-part picture made by the Paris Eiclair Company, from the novel of Alphonse Daudet. The production does not make good entertainment for the average house. It will, of course, have greater interest for the comparative few who have read the book. The whole story is submerged in gloom; there is not a light, a sprightly touch throughout the length of the picture. There is a good cast, among the players being Mr. Liable and Miss Sylvaire. The death of Jack was painfully prolonged.”
The Moving Picture World, December 20, 1913

Alphonse Daudet (1840-1897), French short-story writer and novelist, now remembered chiefly as the author of sentimental tales of provincial life in the south of France. (…) Psychologically, Daudet represents a synthesis of conflicting elements, and his actual experience of life at every social level and in the course of travels helped to develop his natural gifts. A true man of the south of France, he combined an understanding of passion with a view of the world illuminated by Mediterranean sunlight and allowed himself unfettered flights of the imagination without ever relaxing his attention to the detail of human behaviour. (…) As he grew older Daudet became more and more preoccupied with the great conflicts in human relationship, as is evident in his later novels: ‘Jack’ (1876) presents a woman torn between physical and maternal love; ‘Numa Roumestan’ (1881), the antagonism between the northern and the southern character in man and woman; ‘L’Évangéliste’ (1883), filial affection struggling against religious fanaticism; and ‘La Petite Paroisse’ (1895), the contrarieties of jealousy.” (…)
Jacques-Henry Bornecque

André Liabel was a French actor, film director and screenwriter, known for Zigomar, peau d’anguille – Episode 1 (1913, dir. by Victorin-Hippolyte Jasset), Koenigsmark (1923, dir. by Léonce Perret) and Dans l’ombre du harem (1928, dir. Liabel with Léon Mathot). He began his career as comedian by working full-time as an actor for the cinematographic compagny Laboratoires Éclair which had just opened its new studios at Épinay-sur-Seine in 1908. He performed in more than sixty films until 1933. He also was assistant director.

>>> Liabel as actor in Zigomar contre Nick Carter

Westerns: Too much of this sort?

The Hero Track Walker
R: Kenean Buel (?). D: George Melford, Alice Joyce, Frank Lanning. P: Kalem. USA 1911
Print: EYE
German titles

“Willy (George Melford) is a cowboy who gets fired, and then teams up with an Indian to rob a train. He rescues Myrtle (Alice Joyce), who has been chased up a tree by a cow. She takes a liking to him, which the Indian notices. He apparently isn’t crazy about the robbery scheme, and while Willy sets fire to the railroad trestle, the Indian rides over and informs Myrtle, and they rush to the scene. Myrtle throws away the dynamite just in time, and then tells everyone that Willy was the hero, and he is surprised to be rewarded. Very far-fetched plot and poor character motivation, but it is lighthearted and at least the picture is clear. Kalem manages to get a train into the film. German intertitles.”
Viewing comments Stanford

The Mystery of Lonely Gulch
R: Theodore Wharton. D: George Larkin. P: Pathé Frères / American Kinema. USA 1910
Print: EYE
Dutch titles

Summary (Moving Picture World synopsis)

“A film by the American company of this house which has merits, yet it can scarcely be said to come up to the quality of the pictures produced by the same house upon other subjects. There is such a strong disposition in these times to run to mining or ranching pictures that the Pathé firm has caught the infection and this is one of the films produced. The acting is good, as the acting in all Pathé films is good, but it is the same threadbare subject, with but the impersonation of an actor to afford a novelty. There is too much of this sort of thing in the present output of the various companies. Unless some novel feature is reproduced the films mean little and the many of them that have been turned out have become in a way commonplace. The situations here are perhaps somewhat novel, for actors and actresses do not as a rule travel in such a country; still, when an actress succeeds in landing what this one terms an easy mark, possibly their presence anywhere can be satisfactorily explained. Owing to the suspicions of the sheriff the chicanery of the couple is exposed, the man is arrested and the woman sent about her business. The ending is quite in keeping with the idea of punishing wickedness which generally obtained, but the methods taken to secure the money of the ranchman are open to criticism. They are rather suggestive in their application and might afford a basis upon which a weak minded person might operate.”
The Moving Picture World, November 5, 1910

More Wharton films on this site:

>>> The Bang Sun Engine (New Adventures of J. Rufus Wallingford, No. 7)

>>> From the Submerged

A Vitagraph Commercial

A Vitagraph Romance
R: James Young. B: James Young (scenario). D: Clara Kimball Young, Flora Finch, J. Stuart Blackton, Edward Kimball, James Morrison, Albert E. Smith, William T. Rock, Florence Turner, Ruth Owen, Edith Storey. P: Vitagraph Company of America. USA 1912
Print: EYE
Dutch titles

“It tells a good story convincingly and uses the Vitagraph plant as a background and in a very interesting way. The romance has its beginning at a seaside resort of which we have seen some pretty glimpses. It is here that a young author (James Morrison) meets and falls in love with the daughter of a senator (Clara Kimball Young). The senator (Edward Kimball) refuses his consent and sends the girl to boarding school where we find Flora Finch as the principal. There’s a moonlight elopement from the school troubled waters for the young people and then they get a job with The ViItagraph Company where at length the forgiving senator finds them. The Vitagraph scenes are very good. In the office, Messrs. W.T. Rock, A.E. Smith and J. Stewart Blackton are in consultation. Mr. S.M. Spedon enters for a moment just before the senator is introduced. The visitor is conducted through the yard so to the studio where one of Miss Florence Turner‘s pictures is being made. This he interrupts to greet his daughter right in the middle of a scene. Mr. James Young is both author and producer and has made an excellent offering.”
Moving Picture World, September 28, 1912

“Since the earliest days of the motion picture, fans have always been inquisitive about what went behind the scenes.  In response of a flood of questions from readers, fan magazines ran hundreds of articles that attempted to unravel the mysteries of movie making – how screenplays were written, movies filmed, actors trained. Many early films, too, catered to the curiosities of eager fans. A series of movies, A Vitagraph Romance (1912) and Mabel’s Dramatic Career (1913), and two Charlie Chaplin films, A Film Johnnie (1914) and His New Job (1915) dramatized the joys and pitfalls of filmmaking for all the world to see.”
S. Barbas: Movie Crazy: Stars, Fans, and the Cult of Celebrity. Springer 2016, p. 116/117

>>> James Young films Jerry’s Mother-In-LawThe Picture Idol