Cities, Europe and Beyond

Amsterdam, journaalonderwerpen
R: Unknown. P: Kinematograaf Pathé Frères (Nederland). NL 1913/14
Print: EYE
Dutch intertitles

“Compilation of newsreel items. – Launch of SS ‘Prins der Nederlanden’. – Competition of lorries. – Queen Wilhelmina and prince Hendrik visit an exhibition of church art. – A carriage accident on the Amsterdam Singel (8 februari 1913). – Suffragettes’ march in Amsterdam, February 15, 1914. – Queen Wilhelmina and princess Juliana go ice skating. – Arrival of health officer dr. L. van de Steen van Ommeren who has been working for the Red Cross in Constantinopel. – Fire in the Spalteholz en Ameschot factory, Achterweg 2. – Prins Hendrik visits the exhibition in Ghent.”
Eye Filmmuseum

Shots of Tanger: harbour, markets, streets, the fortress

August, 1914: Mobilization

P: British Pathé. Fr 1914

Mobilization of troops in France and Russia during World War One (August 1914)

“High angled shot of Paris street with soldiers marching, watched by crowds on pavement. Small group of French Cavalry rides by. Closer shot showing cheering, waving crowd, a few officers riding horses and carrying bouquets wave to civilians. High angled shot crowd of men packed into a narrow street, some are clamouring around building on right, then stacks of newspapers are handed out and passed around the crowd – newspapers announcing outbreak of war? Same scene shown from another angle, crowd of men & boys see camera & wave.
Shot from top of train coach of masses of men walking along platform. Shot of young men posing, some inside train coach some in front, some on top. The train has graffiti scrawled on it – they appear to be departing for military training / the front. Pan over barges moored along River Seine in Paris – these are being requisitioned by the military.
Train stopped on railway track, soldiers are walking around in front, preparing for departure, civilians also stand along tracks waiting. The soldiers wear baggy trousers and hats – look Russian, possibly Cossacks? Same location, shot of train moving. Cut to another troop train. More soldiers riding open freight wagons along with gun carriages. Another train passes, a few soldiers wave from freight wagons. Cut to another shot soldiers waving from passing train.
Various shots troops (French?) boarding ship. Shots of soldiers carrying / wearing a lot of army equipment, they are walking towards ship and up gangway.”
British Pathé

1er août 1914, la mobilisation générale est décrétée en France (Extraits)
P: Unknown. Fr 1914
Print: Section Cinématographique de l’Armée (SCA)

“Ce moment primordial du conflit ne sera pas immortalisé par la Section Cinématographique de l’Armée (SCA), qui ne voit le jour qu’en mai 1915. Des images existent néanmoins dans un film tourné le 13 août 1914 à Bordeaux, acquis plus tard par la SCA, montrant le départ d’un bataillon du 344e régiment d’infanterie. Elles sont complétées par des images filmées à Paris, vraisemblablement en août 1914, figurant dans un film réalisé après la guerre et dans une scène jouée par des marins en 1917 à Brest.”

>>> August 1914, here the German film Sturmzeichen

A Dark Sense of Humour

“In a long career spanning some 55 years in stop-motion puppet animation, Russian-Polish animator Wladyslaw Starewicz produced a fair few stand-out films. The Beautiful Leukanida is a very early example of Starewicz’s style and vision: trained in entomology, Starewicz was already familiar with preparing dried insects for study so using a ready-made if unusual cast to appear in his dramas and act out little fables of human foibles must have seemed the next logical step. The story here is one straight out of a Romantic fairy-tale universe, as re-enacted by beetles: two beetles duel over a noble lady beetle, the winner claiming her as his own and taking her back to his castle, the stag beetle loser swearing revenge and doing all he can to get her regardless of her feelings and opinions. The duel escalates into outright warfare between two kingdoms climaxing in an explosion that ultimately resolves nothing and kills everyone. Starewicz seems to have had quite a dark sense of humour. (…)

No matter how eccentric and Ruritanian the beetles’ universe is, with two rivals duelling for a lady’s favour, and their armies fighting desperately, ultimately the rival kingdoms are subject to the whims of the Cosmic Joker – in their case, Starewicz himself – who sees fit to destroy both kingdoms, all for nothing more than jealousy over a lady. Human wars have often been fought over even more trivial and / or less worthy causes. Ultimately there will be no winners. Had Starewicz known of the destruction that was later to come in a few years, no doubt he would have been horrified at his own prescience. The Beautiful Leukanida appears to be one of the earliest stop-motion animation films by Starewicz still in existence, and is worth watching mainly to see the high technical standard the animator had already achieved early in his career. The plot intentionally resembles a fairy-tale in its setting and in the way it develops, yet in its climax and resolution it becomes a modern, even prophetic warning of the dangers of human, all-too-human rivalries and jealousies.”
Under Southern Eyes

“He [i.e. Starewicz] described his work on the cartoon in the following way: ‘Naturally, first, an insect should be properly prepared. It’s not too hard to pass a thin wire through its legs, gluing it to its body with wax. I made the ‘battlefield’ with modeling clay to have a foundation that could hold an insect’s legs in place. There was no difficulty with the insects’ movements. Having thought out the future battle of the horned beetles, I prepared some basic poses. Every movement during filming was broken down into several phases. I set the light for each frame.’ The movie was silent and had no captions; instead, it was supplied with a detailed description so the viewer could understand what was happening on-screen. It was read aloud by narrators at every showing. The film ran well into the 1920s. After the Revolution, The Beautiful Leukanida was renamed ‘A Courtesan on the Throne’ – with the Bolsheviks no doubt wishing to denounce the unfaithful bug queen…”

>>> Christmas with Starewicz
>>> Wladyslaw Starewicz

A Romance of the Underworld

The Ferrets
R: Oscar Eagle. D: Joseph Ransome, Lillian Logan, Carl Winterhoff, Jack Nelson, George L. Cox. P: Selig Polyscope. USA 1913
Print: EYE (Jean Desmet Collection)
Dutch titles

Children’s Fate

Les tout-petits
R: Henry (Henri) Houry. P: Eclipse. Fr 1913
Print: EYE Filmcollection
Dutch intertitles

“Melodrama about two children, who are poorly cared for after their parents’ death. When Pierre Dormain and his wife die in a train disaster, the custody of their children Simon and Dédée is transferred to their uncle Jean de Mareuil. The uncle is persuaded to let his servant’s mother take charge of their care. The money she receives for the care is spent entirely on alcohol and the children have to work hard for their meal. Eventually the children run away from home and roam the streets of Paris. When one of the children is seriously injured after an accident, the uncle finally realizes he has made a grave mistake.”
EYE Filmmuseum

Henry Houry est un acteur, réalisateur et scénariste français, né 1874 à Paris et mort 1972 à Nice (Alpes-Maritimes). Il réalisa et tourna quelques films aux États-Unis durant la période muette. Comme acteur: La Mort du duc d’Enghien en 1804 d’Albert Capellani (1909).
Mémoires de Guerre

Irene Hunt – Face of the Girl Reporter

The Hop Smugglers
R: Unknow. D: Irene Hunt, Ralph Lewis, Josephine Crowell, William Lowery, John T. Dillon, Eagle Eye. P: Reliance Motion Picture Company. USA 1914
Print: EYE collection
Dutch titles

“Helen, a writer, tries to secure a position on a newspaper to earn necessary luxuries for her invalid mother. Refused a job unless she brings in a real news story, Helen dejectedly trudges off on a hunt for opium smugglers who are operating successfully on the Mexican border. Sikes, the Revenue Officer, has been unable to get evidence of anyone. Helen befriends a denizen of Chinatown and through him learns that the smuggling is being done through the means of an irrigation canal running across the border just outside the city.(…)”

“Even before the movies could talk, it became clear that female reporters were perfect for film. Motion pictures offered the meatiest roles for female actors and created the perfect battleground of the sexes: the underrated girl reporter could prove she was as capable as the male, and the boy reporter could gloat that no girl could possibly keep pace with him. The sob sister became a
popular newspaper heroine. (…) Just like their male counterparts, female reporters in serials were daredevil, courageous heroeswho risked everything to get a story and save the day. (…) For silent film audiences, Irene Hunt was the face of the female journalist in film after film. She appeared in 120 films between 1911 and 1915, nine of them featuring her as a journalist. Theywatched her as cub reporter Bella of ‘The Daily Blade’ tracing counterfeits to their lair (The Floating Call, 1914) and as a cub reporter planting a dictograph in a restaurant, enabling her to expose graft by a local councilman in The Exposure (1915); as reporter Helen Harris rounding up opium smugglers in The Hop Smugglers (1915) (…)  One reviewer wrote about Hunt’s portrayal of a journalist: ‘This is another of the very excellent newspaper dramas, in which Miss Irene Hunt gives her clever performance of the girl reporter.’” 
Joe Saltzman with Liz Mitchel: The Image of the Journalist in Silent Film, 1890 to 1929: Part One 1890 to 1919.  A project of The Norman Lear Center 2010, p. 78-81

Another girl reporter:
>>> Marion Leonard in The Conflict’s End, 1912


Émile Cohl as Live-action Director

1897: Cars and Camels

“Procession of Decorated Motor Cars (an U.K. title). The scene shows a procession of automobiles, at the flower festival. The vehicles are numerous and carry pretty actresses from Paris, who give a more joyeus aspect to the detail.”

Alexandre Promio a été nommé chef du service cinématographique à Jérusalem en avril 1897, détaille le site Akadem qui présente les premières images filmées de la capitale. Promio tourne 8 films de 50 secondes donnant à voir la Porte de Jaffa, le Saint Sépulcre, la Via Dolorosa, une rue commerçante, une caravane de chameaux et le plus célèbre départ de Jérusalem en chemin de fer.”
The Times of Israël

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)