Tu Felix Austria…

Der Millionenonkel
R: Hubert Marischka. B: Alexander Girardi (titles), Ernst Marischka, Hubert Marischka. D: Alexander Girardi, Hubert Marischka, Hilde Radney, Marietta Weber, Leo Fall, Alexander Kolowrat. Music: Robert Stolz. P: Sascha-Film (Alexander Kolowrat). AUS 1913

“1912 gibt es bereits mehr als 100 Kinos in Wien. In diesem Jahr gründet der begeisterte Autorennfahrer und Lebemann Graf Alexander ‘Sascha’ Joseph Kolowrat-Krakowsky die Sascha-Filmfabrik. Um die astronomische Gage von 25 000 Kronen engagiert er den betagten Wiener Operettenstar Alexander Girardi, der als Der Millionenonkel (1913) 30 Rollen seiner Schauspielkarriere in einem einzigen Stummfilm darstellt. Burgschauspielern allerdings bleibt es bis 1916 verboten, in Filmen mitzuwirken.”
Christian Reichhold: 100 x Österreich: Film. Amalthea Signum Verlag 2018. o.S.

“In his accomplished performance Girardi gives the best of stage technique. However, Der Millionenonkel is particularly significant for exploring the possibilities of  cinematography.  The film is no longer based on depicting set scenes; space and perspective are cut loose from theatrical antecedents. The point of view is mobile and the framing ranges from long shot to close up. On several occasions cross-cutting is used to indicate concurrent actions in different places. Shots of telephone conversations, for example, alternate between the two participants. The film attempts to establish narrative continuity by showing segmented actions. But the selection of shots do not always make sense visually. (…) Nonetheless, Der Millionenonkel introduces techniques that acknowledge film as an art form with tis own possibilities. Fast paced, ful of fun and with reminders of familiar songs in the intertexts, the film was a great success.”
Willy Riemer: Literature and Austrian Cinema Culture at the Turn of the Centuries. In: Ernst Grabovszki, James N. Hardin (ed.): Literature in Vienna at the Turn of the Centuries: Continuities and Discontinuities Around 1900 and 2000. Camden House 2003, p. 179-204, here p. 189

>>> Alexander Girardi as singer: Tonbilder

>>> Austria

Victorin-Hippolyte Jasset (4)

Au pays des ténèbres
R: Victorin-Hippolyte Jasset. B: Victorin-Hippolyte Jasset (scenario), André de Lorde (play). Based on the novel “Germinal” by Emile Zola. K: Lucien Androit. D: Charles Krauss, André Liabel, Paul Guidé, Marcel Vibert, Maryse Dauvray, Cécile Guyon. P: Société Française des Films Éclair. Fr 1911/1912
Dutch titles
French subtitles

“Au pays des ténèbres est un film français réalisé par Victorin-Hippolyte Jasset en 1911 et sorti en 1912. Il est adapté du roman ‘Germinal’ d’Émile Zola. Le film raconte l’histoire d’une communauté qui subit une catastrophe minière, probablement inspirée par la catastrophe de Courrières. La plupart des scènes ont été tournées à Charleroi.
Musique: Dion de Syracuse”

“Au pays des ténèbres (The Land of Darkness, 1912), a drama about miners. This was released in the Netherlands under the German title ‘Glück auf!’, which referred both the greeting exchanged by miners and a play of the same name by Herman Heijermans, which had been staged in the Netherlands in 1910.”
Ivo Blom: Jean Desmet and the Early Dutch Film Trade. Amsterdam University Press, 2003, p. 160

“Both Éclair and Pathé (…) released adaptations of  Zola’s ‘Germinal’ (1885), a work whose ambivalent attitude toward violence as a means of improving industrial labor conditions may have seemed relatively safe for the screen now that the syndicalists and their general strike strategy were on the decline. Jasset’s adaption, Au pays des ténèbres (1912), was part of a series of so-called social dramas that Éclair  began to produce in late 1911. This two-part film updated Zola’s story to the present and condensed it into the rivalry of two miners, Charles Mercourt (Charles Krauss) and Louis Drouard (Marcel Vibert), over an orphan girl, Claire Lenoir (Cécile Guyon), who is torn between them and her own attraction to a young engineer, Roger Joris (Liabel). There is some truth to Sadoul‘s charge that this film reduces the working-class milieu of the northern coal fields to an exotic backdrop for romantic intrigue, ‘in which princes [still] marry shepherdesses.’ But Jasset’s work does have considerable merit, as Sadoul himself acknowledged. For one thing, Éclair’s publicity drew attention to the location shooting in Belgium, which is especially notable in the first reel where the two miners walk with Claire along a country canal and Claire later persuades Charles not to drawn himself. For another, the studio decors for the mine interiors are quite detailed, and the acting of the principals is consistently restrained.”
Richard Abel: The Ciné Goes to Town. French Cinema 1896 – 1914. Updated and Expanded Edition. Berkeley, Los Angeles, London 1998, p. 344

>>> Capellani’s Germinal

Le mystère du pont Notre Dame
R: Emile Chautard, Victorin-Hippolyte Jasset. B: Emile Chautard (scenario), Pierre Sales (novel). D: Germaine Dermoz, Gilbert Dallev, Henri Gouget, Roger Karl, André Liabel, Renée Sylvaire, Edmond Duquesne. P: Société Française des Films Éclair. Fr 1912
Print: EYE
Dutch titles

“Germaine Darlot’s father forbids a marriage between her and Claude Duval. Claude wants to commit suicide because of this, but when he wants to jump into the river he drives away a robber who has just robbed a rich gentleman. He drags the rich gentleman to his house, who dies there. Claude and Germaine flee to the colonies, where Claude becomes the mining director. When another woman fancies Claude, Germaine becomes jealous, suspects him of adultery, and reports Claude. He is sentenced to twenty years in prison. Germaine becomes a nurse at the prison where Claude is being held and where the ‘real’ robber also happens to be. He was seriously injured in an explosion and on his deathbed he confesses to Germaine the true story. Claude is restored to honor, and their marriage receives the blessing of Germaine’s father.”

>>> Victorin-Hippolyte Jasset (1)Victorin-Hippolyte Jasset (2), Victorin-Hippolyte Jasset (3)

>>> Emile Chautard


Anything but Realism

Aux feux de la rampe
(Les batailles de la vie – Épisode 1)
R: Victorin-Hippolyte Jasset. B: Robert Boudrioz (scenario). K: Lucien N. Andriot. D: Josette Andriot, Cécile Guyon, André Liabel. P: Société Française des Films Éclair. Fr 1912
Print: EYE
Dutch titles

Two former lovers meet twenty years later when the man has to compete with the son of the woman. (EYE)

“Le capitaine Delord et la jeune mademoiselle de Breteuil s’aiment, et vont se marier… sauf que le jeune militaire est gravement blessé, ce qui va entraîner la fin de leurs fiançailles. Vingt années plus tard, la jeune femme est devenue la veuve d’un comte, et leur fils Raoul se lance dans la vie: il est reporter, et écrit un article très critique sur le vieux général Delord… Celui-ci voit rouge et décide de provoquer le jeune paltoquet en duel, ignorant qu’il s’agit du fils de son ancienne bonne amie… Celle-ci va devoir intervenir.”
Allen John’s attic

“Early efforts to tone down the excess of melodrama can be found in the prewar series of so-called realist films made by Louis Feuillade for Gaumont (La vie telle qu’elle est, 1912), Ferdinand Zecca and René Leprince for Pathé (Scènes de la vie cruelles, Scènes de la vie bourgeoise, Drames de la vie moderne, 1912) and Victorin Jasset for Éclair (Les batailles de la vie, 1913). The titles are quite revealing in terms of the ingenuousness of their misrepresentation for, as the films themselves reveal, they are anything but the ‘slice of life’ or ‘kitchen sink’ realism they purport to be but instead are fairly indistinguishable from the moralising melodramas even though the subject matter is more orientated towards social issues. Thus, for example, the evils of greed and the deleterious effects of strikes and syndicalism make frequent forays on to the screen, only to be swept aside by the recentring forces of right-minded thinking (i.e. the bourgeois morality).”
Susan Hayward: French National Cinema. Routledge 2006, p. 101

>>> Victorin-Hippolyte Jasset (1),   Victorin-Hippolyte Jasset (2),   Victorin-Hippolyte Jasset (3)Victorin-Hippolyte Jasset (4)

Alice Guy in America – 2

Two Little Rangers
R: Alice Guy. D: Vinnie Burns, Blanche Cornwall, Magda Foy. P: Solax Film Company. USA 1912
Print: EYE
Dutch titles

“By 1911, Solax was making enough money for the Blachés [i.e. Alice Guy and her husband Herbert Blaché] to move into their own large house. (…) For the two years that it was successful, the Solax Company jump-started the careers of several actors and made stars out of performers such as Darwin Karr and Blanche Cornwall, who starred in a series of melodramas that critiqued the social system, such as A Man’s a Man (1912), The Roads That Lead Home (1913), The Girl in the Armchair (1913), and The Making of an American Citizen (1911) as well as action films like The Detective and His Dog (sic! 1912) and the multi-reeler The Pit and the Pendulum (1913). (…)  Guy also made numerous action films with female characters as heroes, many of them starring Vinnie Burns. Guy first cast Burns when she was an unknown teenager, then trained her to do her own stunts in actions films such as Two Little Rangers (1912), Greater Love Hath No Man (1913), and Guy’s masterpiece at Solax, the three-reeler Dick Whittington and His Cat (1913), for which the director had a real boat detonated.”
Alison McMahan
Women Film Pioneers Project

The Pit and the Pendulum (part I)
R: Alice Guy. B: Edgar A. Poe (novel). D: Darwin Karr, Fraunie Fraunholz, Blanche Cornwall, Joseph Levering. P: Solax Film Company. USA 1913

“The first adaptation of “The Pit and the Pendulum” was directed by Alice Guy-Blanché, the first woman to ever step behind the camera. Released in 1913, the film focuses on young lovers (Darwin Karr and Fraunie Fraunholz), who are framed for stealing jewels from the Church, leading them to being arrested and tortured. The Pit and the Pendulum (1913) was remarkably horrific for its day, including graphic details of live rats gnawing at Alonzo’s chest, among other tortures — presumably including a pit and a pendulum. Unfortunately, this is all secondhand from contemporary reviews, as Alice Guy’s adaptation of “The Pit and the Pendulum” is partially lost, with only the first of its three reels surviving.”
Perry Ruhland

>>> Griffith’s Edgar Allan Poe

>>> Alice Guy in America – 1,  Alice Guy in America – 3