Mary Pickford’s Early Career

When a Man Loves
R: David W. Griffith. B: George Terwilliger. K: G. W. Bitzer. D: Dell Henderson, Mary Pickford, Charles West, George Nichols, Verner Clages, Grace Henderson, Robert Harron. P: Biograph Company. USA 1911
Print: Mary Pickford Foundation

“Acting soon became a family enterprise as Charlotte, Gladys, and her two younger siblings Jack and Lottie, toured the United States by rail and performed in rag-tag melodramas. After six impoverished years of touring, Gladys and her mother headed for Broadway. She landed a supporting role in a 1907 Broadway play, ‘The Warrens of Virginia’. The play was written by William C. DeMille, whose brother, the then unknown Cecil B. DeMille also appeared in the cast. David Belasco, the producer of the play, insisted that Gladys Smith assume a name with more charisma. Drawing on family names they came upon ‘Pickford.’ With the stage name, ‘Mary Pickford,’ a star was born and a new precedent had been set. On April 19, 1909, the Biograph Company director D. W. Griffith screen-tested Pickford at the company’s New York City studio. The role went to someone else, but Griffith was immediately taken with Pickford, particularly with her intuitive feeling that acting for film was more intimate than the stylized stage acting of the day. Griffith agreed to pay her an astronomical $10 a day (Most Biograph actors earned $5 a day). Like everyone at Biograph, Pickford played both bit parts and leading roles. She displayed emotional range as mothers, ingénues, spurned women, spitfires, and even a prostitute. As Pickford said of her whirlwind success at Biograph: ‘I played scrubwomen and secretaries and women of all nationalities. I took anything that came my way because I decided that if I could get into as many pictures as possible, I’d become known, and there would be a demand for my work.’ In 1909, Pickford appeared in 51 films—almost one a week. Her comic blend of sweetness and feistiness made her not only Biograph’s most important player, but the most popular star of the nickelodeon era when silent movies were referred to as “flickers.”

In January 1910 Pickford traveled with a Biograph crew to Los Angeles where sunnier skies provided for longer shooting days. Pickford’s name was not listed in the credits, as was customary for the times, but she had been noticed by audiences within weeks of her first film appearance. Exhibitors capitalized on her popularity by advertising on sandwich boards outside their nickelodeons that a film featuring The Girl with the Golden Curls, was inside. Cited as ‘America’s Sweetheart’ during the silent film era, she was one of the earliest stars to be billed under her own name. Pickford left Biograph in December 1910, and spent 1911 with the Independent Motion Picture Company (later Universal) and Majestic. Unhappy with their creative standards, she returned to work with Griffith in 1912. Uncertain whether her future lay in film or theater, she made her last Biograph film, The New York Hat. She also starred on Broadway in the David Belasco production of ‘A Good Little Devil’. This experience turned out to be a major turning point in her career, as she then decided to devote her energies exclusively to film. In the same year, Adolph Zukor formed Famous Players in Famous Plays (later Paramount), one of the first American feature film companies. She instantly attracted a devoted following, appearing in such comedy-dramas as In the Bishop’s Carriage (1913) and Hearts Adrift (1914). Her appearance as a tomboyish guttersnipe in 1914’s Tess of the Storm Country, a film shown on four continents, brought her international recognition.”
New World Encyclopedia

A Lodging for the Night
R: David W. Griffith. B: George Hennessy. K: G.W. Bitzer. D: Charles West, Mary Pickford, Charles Hill Mailes, Frank Opperman, Frank Evans, Robert Harron. P: Biograph Company. USA 1912
Print: Mary Pickford Foundation

>>> Griffith and Pickford (1)
>>> Griffith and Pickford (2)

Early Animations from Japan


Katsudo Shashin
R / P: Unknown. Japan ca. 1907

“A young boy dressed in sailor attire and a bright red cap is shown to write the Japanese kanji characters translating to the phrase ‘moving picture.’ As he completes writing the phrase, he faces toward the viewer and bows. Katsudou Shashin consists of fifty frames of celluloid strip in its three-second duration, with sixteen frames per second. Discovered in 2004, having been purchased with a private collection in Kyoto, it is suspected to have been created between 1905 and 1911. This would make it one of the oldest pieces of animation from Japan.”
MyAnimeList

“Unlike in traditional animation, the frames were not produced by photographing the images, but rather were impressed onto film using a stencil. This was done with a device for stencilling magic lantern slides. The images were in red and black on a strip of 35 mm film whose ends were fastened in a loop for continuous viewing. Early printed animation films for optical toys such as the zoetrope predated projected film animation. German toy manufacturer Gebrüder Bing presented a cinematograph at a toy festival in Nuremberg in 1898; soon other toy manufacturers sold similar devices. Live-action films for these devices were expensive to make; possibly as early as 1898 animated films for these devices were on sale, and could be fastened in loops for continuous viewing. Imports of these German devices appeared in Japan at least as early as 1904; films for them likely included animation loops.”
Wikipedia

Namakura Gatana (The Dull Sword)
R: Junichi Kôuchi. P: Kobayashi Shokai. Japan 1917

“Namakura Gatana is a short Japanese animated film produced by Jun’ichi Kōuchi in 1917. It was rediscovered by an antique shop employee in Osaka in March 2008. This film is a 4-minute silent short that tells a story about a foolish samurai’s purchase of a dull-edged sword. It was released on June 30, 1917, and is among the very earliest examples of anime. Namakura Gatana is a short comedy about a dim-witted samurai and his worn down sword which turns completely useless as he tries to fight even the weakest opponents. The samurai, trying to figure out why his old sword won’t cut anyone he strikes, tries desperately to attack random townspeople who defend themselves and knock him out.”
Wikipedia

“Even more dramatic than the film’s plot is the story of the film itself. Namakura Gatana and another antique animation, Urashima Taro (Seitaro Kitayama, 1918) were discovered and purchased by film historican Natsuki Matsumoto at an antique fair in Osaka in July 2007. The films were in remarkably good condition because they had been stored in paper containers that allowed enough ventilation so that the films did not deteriorate.
To put this remarkable story into perspective, Japan had a flourishing film industry during the silent and pre-war periods. Donald Richie has estimated that more than 90% of Japan’s pre-war films have been lost forever. The reasons for this include fires (especially the one that levelled Tokyo following the great Kanto quake of 1923), war (the fire-bombing of major cities and the American’s torching ‘banned’ films during the Occupation), and neglect by the industry itself. Many early films were made of nitrate, which is highly combustible, and led to many films going up in flames. There was also the problem that film was seen by many as a novelty and studios did not see any profit in preserving these films for future generations.”
Nishikata Film Review

Yoshiro Irie, a researcher at Tokyo’s National Film Center, has announced that two of the oldest Japanese animated films were discovered in an antique shop in Osaka in central Japan. In 1917, anime pioneer Jun’ichi Kouchi released the two-minute Namakura Gatana silent short about a samurai’s foolish purchase of a dull-edged sword. Fellow animator Seitaro Kitayama released Urashima Tarō, an adaptation of a folk tale about a fisherman traveling to an underwater world on a turtle, in 1918. These films came soon after Oten Shimokawa‘s 1917 Imokawa Mukozo the Doorman, which is considered the oldest commercially released anime film. Irie noted that these films relied heavily on gags and the novelty of moving pictures. The one film that predates them all is a 50-frame shot of a sailor boy’s salute that was discovered in 2005. An unknown artist hand-drew each frame directly onto the film stock.”
ANIME NEWS NETWORK

Hawthorn (Vic.), Australia, 1906

Living Hawthorn
R / P: William Gibson and Millard Johnson. AUS 1906

“The film (…) is an important part of Australia’s early film history. William Gibson (1869-1929), a chemist, bought a projector and films from one of his clients in 1900 and, in partnership with his boss’s son Millard Johnson, began to screen films for the public, attracting huge crowds. One of these films was their own 14-min documentary, ‘Living Hawthorn’ (1906). It showed to appreciative audiences at the Hawthorn Town Hall for years.The makers of Living Hawthorn, (…) in partnership with the Tait brothers, produced Australia’s first feature film in the same year, The Story of the Kelly Gang. Gibson and Johnson were responsible for technical production. The film was shown nationwide and became a huge commercial success, returning £25,000 to its backers. In 1911 Gibson and Johnson teamed up with the Tait family to form Amalgamated Pictures.

The clip is notable for providing a rare glimpse of the life and bustling activity of ordinary people in a suburb of Melbourne at the beginning of the 20th century. This was early in the history of filmmaking in Australia and documentary film usually depicted formal events and notable people. The novelty of the sight of a camera on a suburban street at the time is indicated by the reactions of some of the people filmed. The Edwardian era, which started with Edward VII’s accession in 1901 and coincided with Australia’s Federation, was a time of great optimism and change in Australia, but in the clip the signs of change are not yet apparent. The blacksmith’s shop and horse-drawn vehicles would shortly be superseded. Melbourne’s first electric tram began operating in the year the film was made and motor cars, while still a novelty, had been introduced to Australia in the 1890s.

Australian fashions in the Edwardian era, seen in the clip, were determined in France and England with no acknowledgement of the Australian climate. Women wore tight corsets, long tight sleeves, long skirts, high collars, jackets, gloves and large hats. Children’s clothing imitated that of adults and featured hats, long sleeves and large cape collars, although hems were higher for girls. Several of the children wear clothes in the sailor style popular at the time. The clip shows shoppers, shopkeepers, shops and horse-drawn delivery vans in Hawthorn in 1906, when shopping was very different from today. Customers placed orders rather than carrying their purchases. Supermarkets did not exist and shopkeepers often lived above their premises. A horse-drawn grocery van that passes in front of the camera several times may reflect the personalised home-delivery service that shoppers expected in those days.”
Working conditions in Australia, c1900

>>> Australia

Guido Seeber

Die geheimnisvolle Streichholzdose
R: Guido Seeber. K: Guido Seeber. P: Deutsche Bioscop GmbH. D 1910
Print: Deutsches Filminstitut – DIF

A Match Box Mystery is a charming if rather unremarkable trick film and early, although hardly the first, example of stop-motion animation. I saw it as part of the Edition Filmmuseum’s ‘Screening the Poor’ series, for which I suppose it was included because the film begins with live-action footage of a legless man selling matches in the street. Most of the picture, however, is consumed by the matchsticks dancing about and making figures via stop-motion animation, including beating Frankenstein (1931) to the punch by burning a windmill.
Guido Seeber, who made the film, is an important figure in the history of German cinema. A sort of Billy Bitzer of Deutschland with an emphasis on special visual effects, he was behind the multiple-exposure work of the first Student of Prague (1913) film and went on to pioneer the ‘unchained camera ‘in Sylvester (1923). He was arguably the first great cinematographer in a country that became renowned for genius handling of the camera – the likes of Sepp Allgeier, Karl Freund, Carl Hoffmann, Günther Krampf, Eugen Schüfftan, Theodor Sparkuhl, and Fritz Arno Wagner.”
Cineanalyst

„Trickfilme gehören einmal zum Programm des guten Kino-Theaters, denn sie umgeben den Kinematographen mit jenem Schleier des Geheimnisvollen, Unerklärlichen, dessen anziehender Wirkung sich so leicht niemand entziehen kann. Voraussetzung ist natürlich, dass die Tricks gut sind und nicht ermüden. Beides trifft in hohem Maße auf den kleinen, aber außerordentlich gefälligen Film Die geheimnisvolle Streichholzdose zu.“
Der Kinematograph, Nr. 167, 9.3.1910

“Guido Seeber (22 June 1879 in Chemnitz – 2 July 1940 in Berlin) was a German cinematographer and pioneer of early cinema.
Seeber’s father, Clemens, was a photographer and therefore Seeber had experience with photography from an early age. In the summer of 1896, he saw the first films of the Lumière Brothers and became fascinated by this new technology. He bought a film camera and devoted himself to the development of cinematography and of sound films.
In 1908 he became technical manager of the film company Deutsche Bioscop and in 1909 directed his first film. His pioneering work as a cinematographer from this time on laid the foundations which other cameramen of German silent film such as Karl Freund (…) were able to build.
In addition to his technical talents with the camera (he developed several special effects techniques), his use of perspective and skillful contrasts between light and dark are noteworthy. His main collaborators were the directors Urban Gad, Lupu Pick, Georg Wilhelm Pabst and Paul Wegener and among his most important accomplishments are (…) the moving camera shots in the films of Lupu Pick, particularly Sylvester (1923), which can be seen as anticipating the so-called “unchained camera” of Friedrich Wilhelm Murnau‘s The Last Laugh (1924).
Seeber created several animated works, including an advertisement entitle Kipho or Du musst zur Kipho (You Must Go to Kino-Photo) for a film and photography exhibition in Berlin in 1925.
Seeber continued to work into the sound era, but his work from this period is less significant. He had suffered a stroke in 1932 and after this he largely retired from active camera operation. However, he continued to be involved in the film industry, taking over the management of UFA’s animation department in 1935 and publishing several books for amateur filmmakers.”
Wikipedia

TRAUM UND EXZESS, p. 145-149

WIRECENTER

Photo: Deutsche Kinemathek Berlin

China, Early 20th Century

Nankin Road, Shanghai
K: Joe Rosenthal. P: Warwick Trading Company. UK 1901
Print: BFI

“This is an extraordinary window on to the heart of cosmopolitan Shanghai, over a hundred years ago, featuring a Nanjing Road bustling with crowds of Chinese, Sikhs and Europeans. It is the only known surviving example of the film reportage shot by British war correspondent Joe Rosenthal during his coverage of the Boxer Rebellion in China between 1900 and 1901.”
BFI Player

Pékin et ses environs
R: Unknown. P: Pathé Frères. Fr 1910

“Around China with a Movie Camera contains such a wide variety of footage. How unlikely is it that these kinds of films survived?
We are lucky that anything from this period has survived, especially pre-WWI. Be it inflammable cellulose nitrate base or more modern ‘safety’ acetate stock — film is exceptionally fragile. What’s more, these films have spent a lifetime in circulation. They are worn through use and warped by time; they may have been buckled, bent, twisted, or torn; their splices broken, perforations ripped, images scratched. There is an enormous range of factors threatening a film’s physical survival. There’s also a cultural aspect. Film certainly had not been treasured in the same way as museum artifacts or literary works and, with new sound technologies, silent era films were rendered not only old-fashioned, but obsolete. For films never part of the commercial distribution cycle — home movies or missionary films — there’s an extra risk, as they are so often considered by their makers as mere holiday snaps or somehow too personal or private for anyone to think they could be valued by an archive.”
Interview with BFI Curator Edward Anderson by Shari Kizirian (in conjunction with the screening of the program Around China with a Movie Camera at A Day of Silents, San Francisco Silent Film Festival 2015)
silentfilm-org

>>> The Final Years of Imperial China on this site

Mary Pickford 1915: Cute!

Rags
R: James Kirkwood. B: Frances Marion, Mary Pickford, based on the 1915 novel by Edith Barnard Delano. K: Emmett A. Williams. D: Mary Pickford, Marshall Neilan, Joseph Manning, J. Farrell MacDonald, Hugh Thompson. P/Distr.: Famous Players Film Company/Paramount Pictures. USA 1915
Print: Library of Congress

“Some sources claim that Pickford was the inspiration for Delano’s novel; whether or not this is true, the role of a fiery mining-town girl suited the actress perfectly and was a box-office smash.”
Mary Pickford Foundation

“In writing the scenario for Rags it is evident that Edith Barnard Delano had the most likable traits of Mary Pickford’s personality in mind and aimed to produce a story in which they might be revealed in all their variety. (…) From beginning to end it is a picture of the winsome little star in a career humorous and pathetic by turns and occasionally dramatic.”
The Moving Picture World (Aug. 14, 1915)

“What made her so popular? What exactly was the appeal of Mary Pickford and of her films? In attempting to answer these questions, it cannot escape notice that from the beginning of Pickford’s film career, the actress’s characters often are ambiguously inscribed with characteristics of both child and adult woman, as a ‘child-woman’. (…) even when she ostensibly is cast as an adult, the grown-up Mary Pickford registers as an adolescent girl or a ‘child-woman’, ambiguously poised between childhood and womanhood. As her career moved into the feature-film era, her screen persona grew even younger, until she was, for all intents and purposes, a child impersonator.

In 1914 an industry trade magaz ine,The Bioscope’, published a review of the Pickford star vehicle Tess of the Storm Country  (dir. Edwin S.Porter) that articulates one view of the actress’s youthful appeal: ‘There are many young comediennes . . . but it is only Mary Pickford . . . who can create through the silent medium . . . just that particular kind of sentiment ineffably sweet, joyously young, and sometimes, if one may put it so, almost unbearably heartbreaking in its tender pathos which has become identified with her name, and with which we are all familiar.’ In Tess (as well as in its 1922 remake) Pickford was cast as an adolescent hoyden living in poverty. Many of the actress’s other star vehicles, including Rags (dir. James Kirkwood, 1915) and M’Liss (dir. Marshall Neilan, 1918), followed the same formula, placing the girl in a small town or the country. A Variety reviewer of Rags thought that the basis of Pickford’s popular appeal was already rather obvious: “she and her bag of tricks are so well established . . . [that] no matter what she does in a picture they [film followers] are sure to term it ‘cute,’ and in the current offering are many scenes that call for that expression.’”
Gaylyn Studlar: Oh, “Doll Divine”: Mary Pickford, Masquerade, and the Pedophilic Gaze. In: Camera Obscura 48 (Volume 16, Number 3). Duke University Press 2001

“Rags and Tess of the Storm Country (1922) are among Pickford’s most successful features. In both movies, the actress plays the kind of role her audiences loved – the impoverished but feisty heroine. Luckily, Pickford loved to play such roles, creating a gallery of willful and fiery girls from the lower classes in Fanchon the Cricket (1915), The Eternal Grind (1916), and M’liss (1918) to name only a few. Pickford loved the role of Tessibel Skinner (her most physically and verbally aggressive role) so much that she portrayed her in two versions (1914 and 1922) of Tess of the Storm Country. Her character in Rags (1915) is written and performed in the same vein. Both roles were key in defining Pickford’s screen persona. For this reason alone, these films deserve a full and careful restoration. Tess of the Storm Country (both 1914 and 1922) and Rags were copied at the U.S.D.A film lab prior to the liquidation of the LC’s motion picture department in the summer 1947. They are in decent physical condition and have good visual quality.

Unfortunately, the original size and scope of the 35mm material is lost because LC chose to copy onto 16mm stock. Without substantial 35mm footage, the 16mm is the best material left. Copied nearly a decade before GEH’s positive, the LC 16mm is most likely the better of the two prints made from Pickford’s nitrate elements. (…) In 1965, the Cinematheque in Paris received a 35mm print of Rags on sound stock. The film, already suffering from decomposition in 1947, is probably incomplete. Regardless of the condition or completeness of safety material in France, the LC needs to preserve its two 35mm tinted nitrate reels as soon as possible. The government archive’s 16mm archival positive was copied a decade before GEH’s 16mm print (in 1956) and almost 20 years before the Cinematheque’s 35mm. The best of the extant material is at LC. It would be tragic to lose the remaining two reels of nitrate before the preservation/restoration of Rags is completed.”
Library of Congress Report

Fanchon the Cricket
R: James Kirkwood. B: James Kirkwood, Frances Marion, based on the 1849 novel  ‘La Petite Fadette’ by George Sand. K: Edward Wynard. D: Mary Pickford, Jack Standing, Lottie Pickford, Gertrude Norman, Russell Bassett, Richard Lee, Jack Pickford. P/Distr.: Famous Players Film Company/Paramount Pictures. USA 1915

“The charm of the cricket has made its appeal to the poets from the days of Anacreon, but there was never a sweeter cricket than Fanchon and let me hasten to add there never was a Fanchon like Mary Pickford.”
The Moving Picture World  (May 22, 1915)

>>> America’s Sweetheart on this website
>>> Mary Pickford’s Cinderella on this website
>>> Griffith and Pickford (1)
>>> Griffith and Pickford (2)

Lumière in America

Arrivée d’un train à Battery Place
R: Alexandre Promio. P: Auguste & Louis Lumière. Fr 1896
Location: New York City, station of Battery Place. The train is the famous “El” (= Elevated Railway).

Grande roue
R: Alexandre Promio. P: Auguste & Louis Lumière. Fr 1896
Location: Chicago, corner of Wrighwood and Clark Street, near to the Giant Wheel

Descente des voyageurs du pont de Brooklyn
R: Alexandre Promio. P: Auguste & Louis Lumière. Fr 1896
Location: New York City, Manhattan, Brooklyn Bridge

“He (i.e. Alexandre Promio) was a member of the Lumière team that set out to conquer the United States, arriving early September 1896 and filming several scenes along the East Coast, in answer for a demand for American Lumière scenes. He left on 25 September (the negatives were developed in France), then moved on to Italy when he probably took the famous travelling shot from a Venice gondola, since claimed as the first time that anyone had moved the camera.”
Luke McKernan
Who’s Who of Victorian Cinema 

>>> Promio, Lumière operator

Durand: Camargue Westerns (3)

Cent dollars mort ou vif
R: Jean Durand. B: Joë Hamman. D: Joë Hamman, Gaston Modot, Berthe Dagmar, Max Dhartigny, Ernest Bourbon. P: Gaumont. Fr 1912
Location: Camargue, Bouches-du-Rhône, France

“This is the first of the Gaumont westerns in which Hamman plays a bad man who, unlike Broncho Billy, cannot be redeemed. (…) The centerpiece of the film (…) puts Hamman’s stunt work on display in and around the train – and has no intertitles to distract from the action. In one shot, he rides up to the train rounding a bend toward the camera, dismounts his horse, and runs and grabs onto a hand-hold – and his shirt looms into CU (in the left foreground) as the train passes. After shooting several of the posse, from the last train car, he crawls (in MCU) onto the last car’s roof and crawls off over the other cars to reach the speeding locomotive. An unusual shot looking straight down at the chains and bars linking the still-moving locomotive and first train car shows him desperately, and finally successfully, trying to uncouple one from the other. Hamman would return to this stunt work, with variations, in Le railway de la mort, released four months later.”
Richard Abel
Le Giornate del Cinema Muto

Le railway de la mort
R: Jean Durand. D: Joë Hamman, Gaston Modot, Berthe Dagmar, Max Dhartigny, Ernest Bourbon, Édouard Grisollet, Gustave Hamilton, Joaquim Renez. P: Gaumont. Fr 1912
Location: Camargue, Bouches-du-Rhône, France

“(…) Le Railway de la mort is less concerned with narrative continuity than with setting up dangerous stunts in ever more spectacular action sequences, one after another. A grim adventure tale that borrows liberally from Jack London, this “lust for gold” story turns two friends, Joe Barker and Tom Burke, into fierce antagonists in their frantic search for the secret claim that a dying gold miner has entrusted to them.
Shot on location in the Camargue region, the story supposedly is set on the Nebraska prairie, among and beyond towns named Rockfield, Silver City, and Fort William. The flat, empty, sometimes marshy landscape is familiar from Hamman’s other westerns, but now the chases involve not only horses and, as in Cent dollars mort ou vif, a train, but also the only automobile in the area. The exterior sets also are more elaborate than those of the previous films, often arranged in deep-space compositions. Especially notable, however, are the framed shots early on (more characteristic of Léonce Perret) looking out from darkened interiors, accentuated by deep blue toning, as when Joe opens a door to see Tom steal away in the night and then, framed by a tent opening, Tom goes off alone on horseback.
Most striking, of course, are the action sequences. Tom, in a long shot, leaps onto the last car of a passing train, quickly pursued by Joe on horseback; in a reverse-angle shot from within the train car, Tom and Joe trade gunshots. When Joe fails to catch the train, he races across the flooded prairie to a high signal arch over the tracks, from which he can drop onto the top of the last train car. (…) In a stunning long shot, the locomotive hits the timbers, flips over on its side, plows into the dirt, and Joe, in a cut-in closer shot, crawls out of the cab window, barely alive. In the final sequence, months later, Joe discovers the mining claim that Tom is now working. He stealthily approaches Tom’s storehouse of explosives and, softly silhouetted through gingham curtains, opens a window to toss a burning brand inside. When the smoke of the explosions clears, the whole site is in ruins, and a dissolve reveals the dying Tom crawling to Joe’s body and grasping from his clutched hand a few tiny gold nuggets.”
Richard Abel
Le Giornate del Cinema Muto

>>> Durand: Camargue Westerns (1)

>>> Durand: Camargue Westerns (2)

The William S. Hart Formula

Bad Buck of Santa Ynez
R: William S. Hart. B: J.G. Hawks. Thomas H. Ince. D: William S. Hart, Bob Kortman, Fanny Midgley, Thelma Salter. P: Kay-Bee Pictures. USA 1915

“Bad Buck is a little two-reel western (about 24 minutes total) that follows the traditional Hart formula, bad man turned good by (kid/woman/faith). But the short is also one of the only times in Hart’s career that he dies on-camera and the only Hart death scene available on DVD. Hart’s westerns tended to follow a formula (not always a bad thing) so it is always interesting to run into one that bucks the trend. Hart died a grand total of four times (at least judging from extant films and film reviews) during his time in Hollywood. (…) To give you a sense of how rare it is for Hart to die in a movie, he starred in over seventy films between 1914 and 1925. (…)
There are two things silent actors just loved to do: Go insane and die. Why all this death and madness? Well, it gave performers the chance to show their versatility. Plus, if you were dying or going mad, chances are the camera would focus on you. The undisputed champions of this activity were Lillian Gish, John Barrymore and Lon Chaney. Let’s get morbid! How does Mr. Hart’s deathly skill measure up to this renowned trio? My verdict is that he does well but his death is a little ‘pretty’ for my taste. I give him a solid “B” for his skill at dying. (…)

The story of Bad Buck is very much in keeping with Hart’s style and in the style of shorts of the late nickelodeon era. Short dramas were already on the way out the door, replaced by features and never to return. Even today, the twenty minute to half-hour length is reserved for cartoons and sitcoms. I have to say, though, that the dramatic short films is something that deserves a second look. A well-made dramatic short is like a good short story, it aims for impact and a vignette of human nature. Bad Buck of Santa Ynez is no exception. It is a William S. Hart Good Bad Man drawn with quick, colorful strokes. (…)
I generally prefer Hart’s earlier westerns. While some of his later work could be wonderful, he tended to get trapped in either fulfilling his chosen formula or attempting to subvert it. Plus, the earlier films often avoid the overbearing religiosity that give his later offerings the flavor of a sermon, albeit one delivered by a very violent preacher.
The direction, as was typical for Hart, is simple and to the point with emphasis on the wild beauty of the west. However, there is a nice panning shot at the climax when the posse comes through the door to arrest Buck and discover his body instead.”
Fritzi Kramer
Movies Silently

More William S. Hart on this site:
>>> William S. Hart
>>> W. S. Hart’s First Feature Film

United States Navy, 1899

U.S. Cruiser “Olympia” Leading Naval Parade
R: James H. White. P: Edison Manufacturing Co. USA 1899
Print: Paper Print Collection (Library of Congress)

Filmed September 29, 1899, during the Dewey naval parade on the Hudson River in New York City.

Summary
“‘We equipped eight parties on the occasion of Admiral Dewey‘s arrival in New York Harbor, Wednesday, September 27th, 1899, and secured the following excellent moving pictures of the Admiral and his great ship, together with the stirring events of Dewey Day, September 29th, the day of the Naval Parade’.
(Edison films catalog)
The ‘Olympia’, at the head of Admiral Dewey’s naval parade steams up the North River (i.e., the Hudson River) with the Admiral aboard. Many other boats of all kinds accompany her as she passes by Grant’s tomb, and fires a 21-gun salute.”
Library of Congress

“George Dewey (December 26, 1837 – January 16, 1917) was Admiral of the Navy, the only person in United States history to have attained that rank. (…) He was promoted to commodore in 1896 and assigned to the Asiatic Squadron the following year. After that appointment, he began preparations for a potential war with Spain, which broke out in April 1898. Immediately after the beginning of the war, Dewey led an attack on Manila Bay, sinking the entire Spanish Pacific fleet while suffering only minor casualties. After the battle, his fleet assisted in the capture of Manila. Dewey’s victory at Manila Bay was widely lauded in the United States, and he was promoted to Admiral of the Navy in 1903. Dewey explored a run for the 1900 Democratic presidential nomination, but he withdrew from the race and endorsed President William McKinley.”
Wikipedia

>>> Spanish-American War 1898 on this website