More than Simple Shades of Grey

Raggio di Sole
R: Unknown. B: Arrigo Frusta. D: Sig.a Schneider, Mario Voller Buzzi, Cesare Zocchi, Lina Gobbi, Antonio Grisanti, Ercole Vaser, Giuseppina Ronco, Bianca Schinini, Paolo Azzurri. P: Società Anonima Ambrosio, Torino. It 1912
Print: Museo Nazionale del Cinema, Torino
Span. titles

“Prince Ghiacciolino is depressed. Wise men’s advice, the jester’s jokes or the delicacies that march in prepared by an army of cooks are of no use. Enchanted by a glowing reflection, he sets out to find the only thing he claims he really wants: a ray of sunshine. Or maybe he is just looking for an excuse to get away from his apprehensive royal parents. Whatever the reason may be, at the end of his journey he finds love. According to Arrigo Frusta’s notes, an enchanting and graceful cinematic fairy tale with a hint of caricature. The narration is developed through a succession of visual ideas directly related to the story: the astronomers at work, the bright spot, and the appearance of Raggio di sole crowned by Schneider’s lions, which in actual fact were rather tame. Eventually spring returns to the ice country as well. It is almost a shame that the incredible royal sled pulled by penguins cannot be used anymore.”
Museo Nazionale del Cinema

“Raggio di Sole is a simple story, shot almost entirely inside a studio, and it expresses itself with remarkable charm. The costumes are richly detailed. The performances are broad, as suits the format, and it tells a compact fairy tale in the space of seven minutes. The film was produced very early in the history of narrative cinema, and there is still a delightful sense of novelty about seeing the adventure unfold on screen. The coloured tinting is a wonderful touch, creating a more stimulating picture than simple shades of grey.
Then there are the penguins. There is no reason given, or excuse made, but the melancholic prince’s sled is pulled through the snow by a small waddle of penguins. They are not portrayed by actual penguins, of course, but by adult actors in large and wonderfully naïve costumes. It is a bizarrely pleasant touch, one that lifts Raggio di Sole from a simple children’s film to a genuinely weird little distraction.”
Grant Watson

The film restoration:
“The preservation of Raggio di sole is part of a project to valorize the collection of Italian silent films that are conserved at the Filmoteca de Catalunya in Barcelona; the project is promoted by the Fondazione Cineteca di Bologna, the Museo Nazionale del Cinema di Torino and the Cineteca del Friuli of Gemona. The screenplay by Arrigo Frusta, which is conserved at the Museum in Torino, made it possible to identify the film and confirmed that the preserved copy is almost complete. Raggio di Sole was printed on safety film, from a 278-meter-long tinted nitrate positive print with Spanish intertitles belonging to the Pere Tresserra collection. The colors were reproduced using the Desmet method.
The preservation work was carried out in 2007 at the L’Immagine Ritrovata laboratory in Bologna.”
Museo Nazionale del Cinema