Florence Turner Cries

She Cried
R: Albert W. Hale. D: Robert Gaillard, Charles Edwards, Richard Rosson, Charles Eldridge, Florence Turner, Flora Finch, Edward R. Phillips. P: Vitagraph Company of America. USA 1912
Print: EYE
Dutch titles

Florence Turner is one that I think was extremely important as an early screen comedienne – she was a protean character player as you can see in a surviving comedy like She Cried (1912) where she creates a completely convincing portrayal of a slow-on-the-uptake girl that gums up the progress of the well-oiled assembly-line of a busy box making factory. Daisy Doodad’s Dial (1914) is another that takes her ability to make outrageous faces, and makes a very believable and funny plot to showcase it. Like Marion Davies after her she was an inspired and wicked mimic, and some of the photos from her stage performances where she’s doing people like Larry Semon are amazing.”
Steve Massa

The Hand Bag – An Unstable Object

The Hand Bag
R: Unknown. D: Flora Finch, Frank Bennett, Rosemary Theby. P: Vitagraph Company of America. USA 1912
Print: EYE
Dutch titles

“Although the outings with [John] Bunny were some of her most popular, Flora [Finch] did plenty at Vitagraph on her own, and while limited in her roles by her distinctive appearance, she still managed to find variation in her characters and never played stock harridans or shrews. The Hand Bag (1912) stars Flora as an old spinster who drops her hand bag on the street while out shopping. (…)”
Steve Massa: Slapstick Divas: The Women of Silent Comedy. BearManor Media 2017

“A paragon of portability and mobility in and of itself, the bag is an inherently unstable object in both its spatial positioning and its internal constitution. To a great extent, the same can be said of the New Woman, a figure who was largely ‘a product of discourse,’ as Sally Ledger has suggested, and thus inevitably a locus of semantic disagreement. Most critical accounts of this fin-de-siecle phenomenon begin, indeed, by drawing attention to the impossibility of defining the New Woman as a single entity. (…) The bag was a perfect metonym for this restless modern woman. As such, it can be differentiated from other common accessories in stock sketches of the character. While both the bicycle and the latchkey captured the keynote of restlessness as well as the gender ambiguity associated with the figure, neither quite conjured the sense of semantic variability and contestation so aptly conveyed in the visual iconography of the woman’s bag. Moreover, as a material mediator in traditional enactments of chivalry, the bag, unlike the bicycle and latchkey, was an object around which interrogations of chivalry might be dramatized. Most importantly, the bag held a unique status as a framing device for character development in the novel and an analogy for literary form.”
Emily Ridge: The Problem of the Woman’s Bag from the New Woman to Modernism. In: Modernism/modernity. Volume 21, Number 3, September 2014, p. 757-780. Project MUSE. Johns Hopkins University Press

>>> Flora Finch and John Bunny

>>> John Bunny and Flora Finch

The War that didn’t Happen

Pro Patria (In the Defence of the Nation)
R: August Blom. B: Fritz Magnussen. K: Johan Ankerstjerne. D: Carl Lauritzen, Valdemar Psilander, Alma Hinding, Gunnar Sommerfeldt, Aage Hertel, Volmer Hjorth-Clausen, Erik Holberg, Axel Mattsson. P: Nordisk Films Kompagni. Dk  1915/16
Print: Det Danske Filminstitut
Danish titles, Span. subtitles

“The war that didn’t happen in 1914-1918.” (IMDb)

“In the years leading up to the First World War, Danish film gained a prominent position among the world’s film producing countries, with Nordisk Films Kompagni the leading company. Danish productions included several war films and films dealing with war-related topics (…). Most of these films, especially after the war broke out, treated the topic from a critical, anti-war stance, as in Pax æterna (1917). This corresponds well with the country’s neutrality in the war, although other approaches also can be found, for instance in the heroic Pro Patria (1916). (…)
An early example of a feature film about a war related topic is En moderne Søhelt (A Modern Naval Hero, 1907) with the multi-artist Robert Storm Petersen (1882-1949) playing a naval officer. This was followed by some films with historical settings, most importantly the ambitious screen version of the author H.P. Holst’s (1811-1893) popular patriotic-epic poem ‘Den lille Hornblæser’ (1849) about the First Schleswig War, 1848-1851. The film Den lille Hornblæser (The Little Bugler) by director Eduard Schnedler-Sørensen (1886-1947) was loosely based on the poem and shot during the summer 1909 by Nordisk’s rival Fotorama in Aarhus, with actors from the local theatre and dragoons and infantrymen from the Aarhus garrisons. The film was a great success and led Fotorama and other companies to shoot more ‘national films’ dealing with war. (…) Urban Gad (1879-1947) and Alexander Christian (1881-1937) directed a film version of colonel Peter Frederik Rist’s (1844-1926) partly autobiographical novel ‘En Rekrut fra 64’ (A Recruit from 64, 1889) for the new company A/S Kinografen in 1910. Gunnar Helsengreen (1880-1939) directed the tragic ‘national war play’ En Helt fra 64 (A Hero from 64, released 26 January 1911) for Fotorama. (…)
In February 1916, Nordisk released a regular war film: Pro Patria, directed by August Blom (1869-1947) and with the greatest Danish male film star at the time, Valdemar Psilander (1884-1917), in the leading role (Psilander tragically died at age 32 the following year). The film tells the story of an unexpected war between two unspecified neighbouring countries – the names on both sides sound German – including a melodramatic love story. General von Wimpfen’s daughter, Elsa, is engaged to Lieutenant Alexis von Kirkhowen, a military attaché at the neighbouring state’s embassy in von Wimpfen’s country. When war is declared, the general forbids his daughter to see Alexis, who is now his enemy. (…) The plot is rather melodramatic and unrealistic. According to [Ron] Mottram, Pro Patria ‘takes a pro-war stand and seems to imply that war is just a matter of honour in which enemies really respect each other.’ Nevertheless, the film was a great success in Denmark, if different advertisements from Viktoria Teatret cinema in Copenhagen are accurate.”
Bjarne Søndergaard Bendtsen: Film/Cinema (Denmark)
1914-1918 online. International Encyclopedia of the First World War

>>> WAR

Siegmund Lubin’s Western Factory (2)

The Bravery of Dora
R: Unknown. D: Earl Metcalfe, Edna Payne, E.J. Phillips. P: Lubin Manufacturing Company. USA 1912
Print: The Museum of Modern Art-The Department of Film

“An elderly father and his daughter Dora discover Juan falling down by the side of the road and bring him back home to recover. Described as a half breed in the inter-titles [for unknown reasons], we are given to understand that Juan is half Mexican. The film seems to be set during the later Mexican Revolution, specifically in American territory in the Mexican Border War, which was fought between independence fighters, federals, and the various U.S. armed forces. Soon a U.S. Army division finds refuge in Dora’s family home, and there is a shoot-out with Mexican forces, in which the Mexicans prevail. (…)”

The Sheriff’s Mistake
R: Francis J. Grandon. B: Geraldine Harrison Grey. D: Edgar Jones, Clara Williams, Burton L. King. P: Lubin Manufacturing Company. USA 1912

“America’s first cowboy movies were ‘eastern westerns’ shot in the wilds of New Jersey and Pennsylvania at the dawn of the 20th century. As the film industry slowly drifted to California, the Betzwood westerns were some of the last to be produced on the east coast. Though Betzwood’s owner, Siegmund Lubin, had studios in California and touring companies in Arizona, he was unwilling to give up the production of cowboy movies at his large Betzwood studio, insisting that his directors out west couldn’t keep up with the public demand for more westerns. One of the reasons Lubin bought the Betzwood estate was to have a place to corral his cowboys. He saw the farms and barns and meadows at Betzwood as offering the perfect opportunity to provide his directors with all of the horses, cattle, and scenery they would need to produce his western movies. As soon as settlement was made on the property in August 1912, the first film crews Lubin sent to Betzwood were the companies shooting westerns.”
Joseph Eckhardt: Betzwood’s Eastern Westerns

>>> Siegmund Lubin’s Western Factory (1)

>>> Siegmund Lubin