Sheffield 1902

Ride through the City of Sheffield 1902
Footage shot by Frank Mottershaw (?). P: Mitchell and Kenyan (?). UK 1902

“Apparently filmed from just behind the driver, this evocative tour takes in the London Road, the Moor, Pond’s Forge, Haymarket and Fargate: a three-mile journey. In these early days of electric trams (note the poles holding the wires) people happily hop on board while they’re moving, with the agility of Buster Keaton. Ninety years later, Sheffield would pioneer the return of urban tram systems.”
BFI Player

A Short Tram Journey through the Streets of Sheffield 1902
Footage shot by Frank Mottershaw (?). P: Mitchell and Kenyan (?). UK 1902

“Circumstantial evidence suggests that there may originally have been more footage than the two rolls of film that survive here. That would help explain some occasionally confusing geography in these items. The tram filming was among a clutch of jobs that Mitchell and Kenyon undertook in Sheffield for Ralph Pringle, one of their most frequent commissioners. Several of the resulting films survive in the Peter Worden Collection of Mitchell and Kenyon films preserved at the BFI. Pringle exhibited these films under his fancifully titled company name, the North American Animated Photo Company, to reportedly massive success in shows at the city’s Albert Hall. These would also include Sheffield footage shot by locally-based producer Frank Mottershaw, together with subjects of general interest.”
BFI Player

>>> Mitchell and Kenyon

>>> Frank Mottershaw’s film Daring Daylight Burglary

A Political Pathé Film, 1906

Le déserteur
R: Unknown. B: André Heuzé. P: Pathé Frères. Fr 1906

“In 1906 Pathé Frères underwent remarkable expansion, producing 236 films of all kinds, some of significant distinction. Scenes and dramatic subjects increased from the 18 of the previous year to 42, while the scènes comiques achieved the record figure of 126. Charles Pathé already had in mind the rental system, on the American pattern, which he was to inaugurate in 1907. In Paris and in the provinces permanent theatres were rapidly being established, attracting a new public, at first drawn from the middle classes, and then from the great bourgeoisie. The flowering of the firm made prodigious steps in extending its activities to other countries. Naturally the length of the films was destined progressively to increase, though in the preceding years quite long films had been seen, like the famous Au pays noir and La poule aux oeufs d’or.”
Henri Bousquet

A still from Le déserteur, colorized post card:

677-Le Déserteur (1906)


Léontine, Nasty Girl

“A bunch of yokels are amusing themselves by giving themselves shocks with a wind-up electrical generator. Leontine steals it, and rushes off to try its effects on several other groups of people in this funny comedy. By the third iteration I was able to figure out that a lot of the repeated gag was accomplished by having the actress stand in front of a screen on which the other performers were projected from behind. The seamlessness of the effect is very well done. Leontine — or ‘Betty’ as she was called in her presentations in English-speaking places, was a young girl who got into all sorts of highly destructive situations, like flooding an apartment building in ‘Betty’s Boat’ (Le Bateau de Léontine, Fr 1911). She’s very funny, but aside from the character name, there’s nothing known about these films.”
IMDb (boblipton)

“Following on the success of Les pétards de Léontine (1910), in which she terrorizes the neighborhood with her rogue fireworks, in this episode Titine [i.e. Léontine] steals an inventor’s electric battery and unleashes her hilarious fury on everyone in sight. But it is more than a sadistic sight gag. With a jolt of electricity, alienated workers speed up their labor time, lackluster dancers gain energetic rhythm, and military conscripts feel the true power of their bodies. After she turns off the battery, however, they go back to their sad, lifeless daily motions. The real treat arrives at the end when Titine electrocutes the local police force, douses her accusers in water, and joyfully strides away. She does not need a battery to remain lively.”
Maggie Hennefeld, Laura Horak & Elif Rongen-Kaynakçi: Gender and the Nasty Women of history. Early Popular Visual Culture, Vol. 19 (2021), Is. 4, pp. 392-413, here p. 411

add to postStill: Le Bateau de Léontine, Fr 1911

“Boating and daydreaming were furious impulses of feminist cinema from the early days, paving the way for classics like Céline and Julie Go Boating (1974). After months of quarantine due to the Covid-19 pandemic, we can all relate to tomboy Léontine when she plugs up the drains and turns on the faucets to sail her toy boat indoors (see above). Pretty soon, the entire house is flooded! Titine (as she was nicknamed) wreaks apocalyptic mayhem in all 24 episodes of this popular series (1910–1912), more than half of which survive. As forest fires rage and ice caps melt, it is hard to look away from this surreal spectacle of domestic climate catastrophe.”
Maggie Hennefeld, Laura Horak & Elif Rongen-Kaynakçi: Gender and the Nasty Women of history. Early Popular Visual Culture, Vol. 19 (2021), Is. 4, pp. 392-413, here p. 394-395

Les ficelles de Léontine
R and actors unknown. P: Pathé Frères. Fr 1910

More nasty girls (and women):

>>> Lea Giunchi – Matchless in Italy

>>> Furious Women

A Perfectly Hand-stencilled Colour

Les petits pifferari
R and actors unknown. P: Pathé Frères. Fr 1909
Print: National Film and Sound Archive of Australia

“A beautifully hand-stencilled tale of a two siblings who meet up with a travelling musician and start performing in cafes with great success. (…) While copies of some of the international productions exist at other archives around the world, the new NFSA Restores digital prints were produced using the highest technological standards, giving the black and white and hand-coloured films a new lease of life.”
National Film and Sound Archive of Australia (NFSA)

“A grieving mother sends her two young children out to earn a living. No one seems willing to help them. The gendarmes are busy standing around a crossroads, a monseigneur sends them on. Finally an old man sits them down and teaches them how to sing. It’s not a particularly startling short movie for the era, although I expect when it was shown in the larger theaters, live performers sang some song or other offscreen, and then offered the sheet music for sale. (…) Far too many of the surviving examples have registration issues, or the coloring has faded or become blotchy, or something. This one, however, has no such issue. The black-and-white work is pristine, the coloring is restrained and perfectly judged. It is occasionally noted that silent movies were never really silent. They almost invariably had musical accompaniment. Here’s proof that they weren’t all in black and white.”
IMDb (boblipton)

>>> The Colours of Pathé

>>> Colours True to Nature