The Russo-Japanese War

Événements Russo-Japonais (Russo-Japanese War Programme)
P: Pathé. Fr 1904

A compilation of films mostly relating to the Russo-Japanese War, using films by various companies: Urban, Warwick, Pathé, Gaumont and Alfred West. It was issued as a series under the title Événements Russo-Japonais by Pathé in 1904.
Bryony Dixon (BFI)

“This film has an unusual opening for documenting war: a group of soldiers release a balloon* with two men in its basket. With their telescope, the men watch the battles far below. This framing device, partly filmed on a studio set, serves to present gruesome battles as entertaining spectacle. In some battles, the camera seems to accompany the Japanese troops, but as the distant view from the balloon in the opening sequence suggests, the film maintains an onlooker’s perspective.”
Kosuke Fujiki (King’s College London)

*The balloon scenes showing two men in a basket with a telescope are directly taken from the 1904 Gaston Velle film Un drame dans les airs. (KK)

Historical background: Russo-Japanese War (Wikipedia)

>>> WAR


Fox Hunt: A British Pleasure

Fox Hunting
R: William Barker. P:  Warwick Trading Company. UK 1906

“It’s produced and directed by Will Barker, another of the important but forgotten people in the industry. In this period, he was the managing director of Warwick Trading, a major force in British production. His innovations including shifting movies from a model in which exhibitors bought prints of films, to one in which they rented them. This increased the profits of distributors, and meant that worn-out prints could be retired instead of exhibited past sense. Barker moved into feature production in 1912, and continued to prosper for the next ten years. He died in 1951 at the age of 83.”

“The Warwick Trading Company had its origins in the London office of Maguire and Baucus, a firm run by two American businessmen who, from 1894, acted as agents marketing films and projectors produced by Thomas Edison. In 1897, they also acquired the rights to distribute films produced by the Lumière brothers. Later that year, Charles Urban was appointed managing director. Urban was dissatisfied with the current location of the offices, in Broad Street, and proposed a move to a building in Warwick Court, which was nearer to like-minded businesses such as that of Robert W. Paul. Urban also suggested a simultaneous name change, as he felt the current name was difficult to do business with. The company was thus rebranded as the Warwick Trading Company, after the address of its new offices in Warwick Court. The new company was officially registered in May 1898. Urban oversaw significant growth in the company’s operations, and it became a highly regarded film producer and distributor, with a particular focus on actuality films, travel and reportage. (…) Between 1906 and 1909 the Warwick Trading Company was headed by Will Barker, and between 1913 and 1915 by the naturalist photographer Cherry Kearton, after which the company went into receivership.”

Fox Hunt
Dir. and P unknown. UK 1914
Print BFI

“Hounds and followers of the Beaufort Hunt gather before the Portcullis Hotel and onlookers on Horse Street, Chipping Sodbury. Then they’re off down the High Street and into some fields where the hounds draw a fox from its covert. With the quarry in the open, pursuit begins in earnest: a steeplechase over walls and hedges. The fox hides in a hole but is flushed out by a terrier and the chase continues!”