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Filmspotting Message Boards => Marathons => Topic started by: ProperCharlie on October 18, 2017, 02:56:22 AM

Title: ProperCharlie does Brackets: 1910
Post by: ProperCharlie on October 18, 2017, 02:56:22 AM
1910: The Bracket

(https://i.imgur.com/5ESS2if.jpg)


I am not the most prolific of posters.  Not only on this message-board, but on the Internet as a whole.  I am not a natural sharer.  This has its advantages, but then I do like to watch films and post reviews, and I don't do enough of it for my own liking.  I need something to overcome my natural reticence, get me watching things and posting.  What better than a highly structured and needlessly over-complicated marathon?

Looking to indulge my love of brackets aand give myself a bit of a film education at the same time, I've dreamed up the idea of running a bracket to decide what films to watch.  Not to rank them.  Just which order to watch them in.  If I chose a given year, I can go really deep into the films that were released, and for each match up look at reviews, synopses and just general descriptions to pick and choose what appeals.  Hopefully I can find some little known gems from the depths, discover some new guilty pleasures as well as finally watching those films I really should have gotten around to by now.  Once the bracket is run, I can go through my choices systematically and write them up.

I'm starting with 1910.  There are several reasons for this.  First, Letterboxd lists only 263 films from this year.  There were obviously a lot more films made and realeased then (IMDb has over 6000 in its database), but of course, most films of that era did not survive.  For the year 2000, Letterboxd has 4,101 (as of today).  As I intend to enter at least 50% of the entire year's output into the bracket, the early years of film are good for a trial run of this bracket - purely in terms of practicality.  The reduced numbers of films mean smaller brackets, and fewer decisions.   

Secondly, I know next to nothing about the early years of cinema.  I could have gone earlier than this, but I settled on 1910.  At this time 'cinema' hasn't really been established.  New ideas for film-making techniques, story-telling, production, cinematography, business, acting and all other areas of the industry were being invented seemingly each week.  There were no hard and fast rules yet.  Film-makers in different parts of the world are trying a variety of approaches and all focus on what they consider to be worthy subject matter.  Yetthere was already film history and careers in the nacent film industry.  Georges Meliés had already made over 1,500 films, but had only 2 film-making years to go.  James Williamson have done much to develop the early possibilities of storytelling on film.  In 1910 he shot his last film.  1910 was also the year of the first film shot in Hollywood, "In Old California" by D.W. Griffith then just starting out his career.  Also starting her career the year before was Mary Pickford.  Despite not wishing to have a Hollywood centric view of film, this seems like a good place to start.  It is a year poised between the age of cinema's absolute pioneers and the next generation of film-makers who would taken the new medium, play with it and begin to make cinema what it is today.

Lastly, in 1910 most films were one or two reelers.  With a couple of exceptions the longest films were 15-16 mins long, most well under that.  This means they can be watched relatively quickly making this less of a marathon and more a series of short sprints.  Of those films that survive most are no longer protected by copyright and are happily available in several places on the Internet.  They're often damaged yes, only surviving in one print with pieces missing, outgassing and all manner of calamaties that can affect aging nitrate filmstock, but those that made it tend to be out there and readily viewable.  Performing an overview of a film year becomes much easier with such ready accessiblity and lower time commitments.  That said, there are some films listed in the Letterboxd list that either haven't survived or are hidden in the archives of film conservation organisations.  When I come across those I'll either do my best to describe the film and some of this history of its production or just put a place-holder there in order to come back to it when I can access it.  If I spot a film hasn't survived it's less likely to make it through the bracket. 

I have already run the 1910 bracket and I'm going to start with the films that won then move backwards through the rounds to those that didn't quite make it to the final.  With each review, I'll put up it's path to being chosen for viewing and give some brief desciptions of those films it beat on its way to being watched.  For those interested, for 1910 I selected the the top 256 (of 263) films listed by Letterboxd, seeded in popularity order and entered them in a double elimination bracket.

That's a whole lot of bracket.

But first, here's some 1910 events for a picture of the world the cinema-goers of 1910 would have lived in.
Title: Re: ProperCharlie does Brackets: 1910
Post by: ProperCharlie on October 18, 2017, 03:00:21 AM
The World of 1910 News Bulletin

(https://i.imgur.com/FumATAn.jpg)
 

And so onwards, into the Abyss...
Title: Re: ProperCharlie does Brackets: 1910
Post by: ProperCharlie on October 18, 2017, 03:13:11 AM
Afgrunden (The Abyss/The Woman Always Pays) dir. Urban Gad
Kosmorama
Denmark


(https://i.imgur.com/eQHZ8RO.jpg)

Bracket Record:
Winners' Bracket:

Link to Film: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NVQMYnvprRk&t=1339s#no (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NVQMYnvprRk#no)

Across the wild, wide, pampas-populated plains of Jutland, mothers whisper to their daughters, "Child, beware the Danish gaucho, for he will appear at the window of your room riding upon a very tall ladder and whisk you away to a life of giddy excess, wild stage performances and suggestive dancing.  Men will fight over you, women will be jealous of you and you will have to battle to keep your man.  All of this is most un-Danish, find a nice vicar's son instead."  This maternal lecture gave at least one Danish daughter a rebellious idea, armed only with a butter knife for protection, she sets off to the circus to learn the art of the lasso.

Welcome to the screen Die Asta.  Asta Nielsen, in her debut film, plays Magda Vang, a vamp in a black dress and a range of flamboyant hats.  A young lady with irrepresible urges that will not be satisfied by Sundays at church nor reading in her room.  She is all slinky-hipped, heavy-breathed and has kohl-rimmed black holes for eyes, better for graviationally attracting men into her orbit.  Her motive is lust.  It doesn't take her long to escape the confines of her white Sunday dress to become clothed head to toe in black.  This is a morality tale which directs the audience to paternally condemn Magda, but frankly they're just here for Die Asta's chest-heaving magnetism.  Yet despite this thickly applied coat of desire, Asta Nielsen's acting is for the most part naturalistic.  Compared to some of the rampant overacting, gesticulating, fainting and jumping-jacks of fury that goes on in films of this era, Asta Nielsen's acting style is more akin to what we'd see in something from decades after this.

(https://i.imgur.com/jpYgmF0.jpg)

The opening shot of this is something special.  Just look at this composition.  Magda, front and center waiting for the tram of destiny.  Cameras in 1910 boxes that stayed still and filmed a fixed scene.  There were occasionaly slow limited pans probably performed by a number of young men below the shot grunting as they laboured to turn the tripod physically, or maybe on an expensive, newly-fangled rotating camera.  What there weren't any of, because it hadn't really been used yet despite being invented in 1907, were follow shots filmed on camera dollies.  Following on from The Abyss's opening shot, Magda boards a tram in Copenhagen which then sets off.  The camera follows...  The camera is positioned directly behind the tram, filming the scene of gentle flirtation between the two innocent young people whose eyes meet on the the sunlit and open rear platform.  Trams, as well all know, are inherently magical vehicles.  Trundling magic boxes of intimacy and mystery with a backdrop of city scapes that jostle and jar plotlines into life.  They also run on rails providing the ideal platform for a dollied camera.  In Copenhagen trams can be double-headed and thus what Urban Gad must have done is mount his camera on the tram platform behind and filmed the scene taking place on the leading car, as sunny Copenhagen scrolls by. Quite the playful shot.

(https://i.imgur.com/xlx23FT.jpg)

Also playful was the scene that got this film banned in Norway and Sweden, and restricted its distribution in the USA - presumably by the General Film Company.  Again, innovative composition; a stage filmed from the side with the unseen audience off to the right.  We can see four men, one dressed as a policeman, watching the two performers on stage.  Their gaze is intense, fixed and male like the camera recording the scene.  The performance is essentially the story of a tango stripped of its music and its steps.  A fandango of lust, desire and power-exhange.  Die Asta is in charge.  Like Wonder Woman, she brings her man to heel and forces the truth from him.  The dancing is not erotic, there is no mystery, it's entirely designed for male arousal.  Physical foreplay.  It's proto-bump'n'grind.  Rubbing groins, locked eyes, pushing breasts, there can be absolutley no mistaking what Die Asta wants - even if her partner is playing hard to get.  At the conclusion, bouquets of flowers spurt from the unseen audience as Magda drinks in her applause and her ability to render all men helpless.  Although the gaze is male, the sexuality is female. 

(https://i.imgur.com/tPfbAV3.jpg)

As a whole though, this film is a morality tale made painfully obvious by the innocent wearing white while the sinful dress in black.  Apart from Magda, every other character, including all the men, are ciphers.  Narrowly drawn caricatures that could easily get away without names in the credits, but instead be reduced to a word or two 'The Fiancé', 'Lustful Gaucho', 'Theatre Owner' etc.  Given the short running time of most films, this isn't uncommon in 1910, but The Abyss has three-reels to use and it's all spent on Magda.  Magda is the only fleshed out character.  The drives, desires and decisions here are hers, even though they are written and filmed by a man.  That is transgressive, even now, let alone in 1910.  That's not even taking account of the kink on display.  Although I'd argue that the film is neither pornographic (it's too chaste) nor erotic (it's too overt and overplayed) by today's standards, it is most definitely sexual.

Danish cinema was early out of the gates in cinema history.  In 1910 there were a number of Danish releases, some of which I hope to be covering later.  Their favoured subject matter was as moral and judgmental as the most preachy D.W. Griffith's melodrama, yet far more transgressive than anything else including any number of the female nude tableaux that were being made.  For instance one of the films The Abyss conquered on its way to ultimate number one spot in this bracket is Der Hausarzt (The House Doctor) by Johann Schwarzer, which is a few minutes of a woman undressing for a doctor's examination.  It's developed enough for a certain national flavour to films to become apparent, which perhaps was only otherwise happening in France, Italy, Germany, the US and the UK at this point.

The final novel thing about this film is its length.  It's 38 minutes long.  In the one-reel era, this is at least three reels long.  It's also one continuous, coherent narrative.  The reels wouldn't make much sense on their own.  They had to be shown together in order.  This is unwieldy, expensive and uncommon in film up to this point.  The first example it is the Australian film The Story of the Kelly Gang made in 1906.  Urban Gad could use his three-reels of film to take time developing the story.  Scenes could be lingered over.  He could afford time for Magda's character development, slow moments, as well as the infamous dance.  He did not have to push his foot to floor on the plot pedal.  This was an epic in 1910.  A torrid one.

Two meta-moments for the modern viewer.  For some reason that I couldn't fathom, a sign is hung outside an establishment later in the film saying 'Pause'.  I'm assuming this a Danish 'Out to lunch, back in five minutes' sign, but in the context of a moving picutre it has oddly come to mean something that isn't intended.  Also, Danish for 'The End' is 'Slut' which appears in big letters after Magda meets her fate.  Unfortunately apt for English speakers, as this is indeed three reels of voyeuristic slut-shaming of the highest quality.

Notes on the Vanquished:
The other films I will cover in future installments.
Title: Re: ProperCharlie does Brackets: 1910
Post by: 1SO on October 18, 2017, 08:57:10 AM
I'm starting with 1910.  There are several reasons for this.  First, Letterboxd lists only 263 films from this year.  There were obviously a lot more films made and realeased then (IMDb has over 6000 in its database), but of course, most films of that era did not survive.  For the year 2000, Letterboxd has 4,101 (as of today).  As I intend to enter at least 50% of the entire year's output into the bracket, the early years of film are good for a trial run of this bracket - purely in terms of practicality.  The reduced numbers of films mean smaller brackets, and fewer decisions.   

I have already run the 1910 bracket and I'm going to start with the films that won then move backwards through the rounds to those that didn't quite make it to the final.  With each review, I'll put up it's path to being chosen for viewing and give some brief desciptions of those films it beat on its way to being watched.  For those interested, for 1910 I selected the the top 256 (of 263) films listed by Letterboxd, seeded in popularity order and entered them in a double elimination bracket.

I'm following, but starting in 1910 is going to be a blind spot for most of us. I've only seen 10 titles from 1910, including Afgrunden and The Unchanging Sea. The only title I can recall images from is Frankenstein.

Would've loved to been following along as you go through the list. Maybe a couple of lines about each film to go with these longer posts for your winners.

Was there fatigue in watching 256 films from this year? I think that much silent cinema would drive me bonkers.

Title: Re: ProperCharlie does Brackets: 1910
Post by: DarkeningHumour on October 18, 2017, 10:11:41 AM
I didn't know you could go bonkers at all.
Title: Re: ProperCharlie does Brackets: 1910
Post by: ProperCharlie on October 18, 2017, 10:33:41 AM

I'm following, but starting in 1910 is going to be a blind spot for most of us. I've only seen 10 titles from 1910, including Afgrunden and The Unchanging Sea. The only title I can recall images from is Frankenstein.

Would've loved to been following along as you go through the list. Maybe a couple of lines about each film to go with these longer posts for your winners.

Was there fatigue in watching 256 films from this year? I think that much silent cinema would drive me bonkers.

It's not actually possible to watch all 256 films, several of them are lost and still others are locked away in archives.  I'd hoped that most of the 1910 films that are on Letterboxd would be the ones that made it today, and mostly they are.  However some are missing persumed lost.  The bracket used synopses, reviews, comments and as well as clips and if something was less that a few minutes long, well I just went and watched it anyway.  That information was used to run the bracket and if I hadn't already watched something that got through to the final rounds, I watched it then. 

I must have watched 40-50 all the way through in total and apart from one of two directors, who's names I began to dread, it's not too bad.  You get a sense of national cinemas emerging as well as film grammars, acting techniques, camera tricks and so on.  The types and styles of films the early studios favoured becomes apparent as well was which studios took better care of their film archives...

I'm hoping to give one-line summaries in my Notes on the Vanquished sections.  There are also one or two films that didn't make it far through the bracket that are nevertheless noteworthy in one way or another so I may add a little postscript when I'm all reviewed out to cover these.

I'm not sure I'm allowed by the message board rules to post link to where these films can be found - although YouTube covers a lot of bases.  If I'm allowed would links to the films be good idea?
Title: Re: ProperCharlie does Brackets: 1910
Post by: DarkeningHumour on October 18, 2017, 11:03:43 AM
Unless you're doing the sorts of things that bring one to ejaculate things like « Arrhh » and « Savvy mateys? » to and adorn oneself with such fashion accessories as poultry-adjacent pets and ersatz limbs, the forum should be okay.
Title: Re: ProperCharlie does Brackets: 1910
Post by: pixote on October 18, 2017, 12:20:36 PM
This is awesome. Very excited to read along and maybe even watch a few of the favorites.

I'm not sure I'm allowed by the message board rules to post link to where these films can be found - although YouTube covers a lot of bases.  If I'm allowed would links to the films be good idea?

It's been common practice to avoid direct reference to torrent sites, though I'm not aware of any official policy.

I am not the most prolific of posters.  Not only on this message-board, but on the Internet as a whole.  I am not a natural sharer.  This has its advantages, but than I do like to watch films and post reviews, and I don't do enough of it for my own liking.  I need something to overcome my natural reticence, get me watching things and posting.  What better than a highly structured and needlessly over-complicated marathon?

Yes! Thank you for sharing. I always enjoy your writing.

pixote
Title: Re: ProperCharlie does Brackets: 1910
Post by: ProperCharlie on October 19, 2017, 04:01:05 AM

Frankenstein dir. J. Searle Dawley
Edison Manufacturing Company
USA


(https://i.imgur.com/v6XEomd.jpg)



Bracket Record:
Winners' Bracket:
Losers' Bracket:

Link to Film: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HZ-OrfJHHro#no (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HZ-OrfJHHro#no)

In lieu of montage, Dr. Frankenstein spends two years hiding behind title cards learning the secrets of life.  Eschewing the conventional sequence of these things, he decides to use his learning to create a new life, before getting married to his beloved.  As a result many people faint before, on reflection, good prevails and things get back to normal.

The first screen adaptation of Mary Shelley's novel made 92 years after the story was first published.  It had lost none of its power to shock in that time.  Edison Studies were at pains to point out that the adaptation had foresaken the more "troubling, repulsive aspects" of the story and focused on the "psychological" and "mystic" problems in the tale.  As such it's a loose adaptation.  So loose in fact that the only aspects of the story that is still in place is that the lead character is called Dr. Frankenstein and he creates a new being in his laboratory with a monsterous aspect.  The monster pursues him and, at one point, gets jealous at a wedding.  That's about it.  All the murdering is replaced by fainting fits.

(https://i.imgur.com/agHqZD8.jpg)


Even with that sliver of a plot, J. Searle Dawley has to press on with rapidity to get through it.  Most of the story happens at breakneck speed, the title cards few and far between, and not that helpful even if they are straight exposition.  You have to know the story already to understand things entirely.  The one sequence that is dwelt on is the monster's creation sequence.  One of the wonderful things about Mary Shelley's story is that she's incredibly vague about the creation process and that has allowed every film-maker since to embelish.  The director here is happy to oblige.  This takes place in what could be a stage magician's cabinet and involves use of reversed film, a creature emerging from hellishly backwards flames and it does kindle a touch of creepiness.  Like the many trick films from the previous decade, this takes a while to play through, made longer in this instance to add in some new-fangled cross-cutting to allow us to view Dr. Frankestein's reactions to event.  Very little acting is required from the cast.  They respond by overacting admirably.

(https://i.imgur.com/RhMQ2x2.jpg)

That's not the end of the stage magic references as Chekov's mirror, in which much of the action is seen, still has a part to play.  Stage magic, which was at its zenith in this decade, has an influence on this film as does the Guignol theatre spreading out from Paris.  You can see from the poster what sort of things was popular all over the US at this time, and that's what it's competing with.  The attraction with this film is that you get to see what's going on inside the cabinet for once.  It's not concealed, you can see the magic happening.  That's quite a draw.  Added into the mix is a touch of pantomime farce and circus sideshow, so whenever the creepy and macabre monster stalks his prey, revealed in the large mirror that takes up a significant portion of both the room and the screen, the paying audience can scream "He's behind you" while throwing their popcorn and sweet wrappers at the screen.  Ultimately it's a number of jump scares for Dr. Frankenstein and his new wife, and early body horror grotesquery plus something macabre in a box for the film-going public. 

(https://i.imgur.com/HxjFK9R.jpg)


It's claimed that this was one of the first horror films.  Well, maybe.  It has the thrill of the freak-show, but there's not much else.  It's more of a drama with a couple of Meliés-esque trick-film sequences inserted in the middle.  As noted before, the studios made a point of noting that they'd moderated the tone of the story to remove the disturbing bits as they saw it.  Unlike some other films of the time that sought to include the elements that people were pruriently coming to see on the screen (cf The Abyss), this film tamely removed them.  However by advertising this, they're reminding the public that the story sails close to the acceptable wind and for those wanting something a bit extra from a film, they might just see it here(note that the monster appears front and centre of the cover on the first issue of 'The Edison Kinetogram' as well.)  But no promises.  Saying it's not scary but at the same time sort of hinting that it is shows the studios not really knowing how to handle something like this quite yet, but developing some intersting approaches to advertising and getting people into the stalls.   

The only cinematic innovations are the brief inclusion of cross-cutting in the monster's birth sequence and the technicality of a cue sheet for accompanists suggesting pieces to play at certain points as well as the mood the music should take.  As I mentioned previously, the trick-photography had been done before, but not necessarily in this context.  The restoration has some interesting tinting of the film, but this doesn't seem to indicate anything to do with the plot, more put there to try to enhance mood.  It's a shame this film hasn't survived in that good a condition.  It is the first Frankenstein and has fun with its monster, yet beyond the thrills of the side-show and magic act, it doesn't offer much else.  A trial run at something the studios hadn't got to grips with yet.

Notes on the Vanquished:
Hopefully I'll get to the other films.
Title: Re: ProperCharlie does Brackets: 1910
Post by: ProperCharlie on October 23, 2017, 03:50:49 AM
The Unchanging Sea dir. D.W. Griffith
Biograph Company
USA


(https://i.imgur.com/yPamkqJ.jpg)

Bracket Record:
Winners' Bracket:
Losers' Bracket:

Link to Film: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hru5LikQPE4#no (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hru5LikQPE4#no)

The sea.  It doesn't change.  Men and women however are a different story.  Mary Pickford looks at the camera.

This is a simple tale told over the course of one-reel of film.  There's barely any plot at all, the gist of it being summed up in the phrase, "The Sea is a Harsh Mistress".  It's almost a mood piece from D.W. Griffith, getting into the swing of things having made his debut two years previously.  His already making his calling-card in two ways.  First his sheer prolificness.  He makes more that 90 films in 1910 alone.  Also he is experimenting with what is possible in one-reel of film, notably in terms of plot and pacing.  He's taking the cameras outside of the studio and dealing with natural light and weather.  He's developing genres such as westerns and war films and romantic dramas.  He's also unswervingly moralistic the point of preachy in much of his output.

(https://i.imgur.com/iutzp3g.jpg) 

This is a little different from the stock Griffith product.  Here mood and perhaps even melancholy creep in on a tale spanning a generation.  What is really impressive is the sea on film.  It's the star of the show and that's in a film starring the 18 year-old Mary Pickford who'd only been in the film business for a year.  D.W.Griffith's frames much of the action against the sea with waves rolling up along a beach, cold and unending.  There's one shot of what we assume is a body washing up on the beach, inert and face-down that is compellingly haunting. This shot alone allows Griffith to tell the story of the film in a single sea-powered shot.  The relative absence of story means Griffith can afford to spend time using shots like this to dwell on moods and feelings, and the calming yet terrifying majesty of the sea.  There is mercifully little in the way of preaching and there are some experiments in framing a shot and composition.  The editing is a little off.  Some shots shift from a natural shot capturing the action, to a framed shot showing the same scene continuing, in order to better compose the elements of the scene.  The camera and actors seem to jump even as the narrative continues.  Blocking and editing had still to be perfected.

(https://i.imgur.com/5rJgM0R.jpg)

The rest of the film involves generational jumps forward in time.  Griffith uses He's using make-up and acting (and title cards) to indicate the passage of time from scene to scene.  The means that much of the action involves the central cast emerging from a ramshackle beach-front property, and then standing in their new attire and make-up in front of the camera, in something akin to a pose for a family snapshot.  Mary Pickford only shows up at the end of reel and then manages to break the fourth-wall almost immediately, smiling at the camera and lighting up the hearts of the audience with playful innocence.   

(https://i.imgur.com/aMT9esM.jpg)

Despite it's simplicity this is still a powerful film and that's down to Griffith choosing the sea as his stage.

Notes on the Vanquished: 
The Unchanging Sea also managed to knocked out Birth of a Flower single-handedly, beating it twice in the closing stages of the bracket.  I'll get to that film, and the others not mentioned, later.
Title: Re: ProperCharlie does Brackets: 1910
Post by: Dave the Necrobumper on October 23, 2017, 04:39:52 AM
Following along.

Nothing from 1910 should be under copyright (although if it has a newer soundtrack that might be still under copyright). I found and watched Frankenstein (1910) on www.archive.org (along with lots of other old movies).
Title: Re: ProperCharlie does Brackets: 1910
Post by: ProperCharlie on October 23, 2017, 11:02:59 AM
Following along.

Nothing from 1910 should be under copyright (although if it has a newer soundtrack that might be still under copyright). I found and watched Frankenstein (1910) on www.archive.org (along with lots of other old movies).

I've been experimenting with links to the films where they can be found, but I'm having a new problem.

Does anyone know how to link to a film, say on YouTube, and prevent the film being embedded in the post?  I'm anal enough in my formatting to just want the link and not the video itself.

Title: Re: ProperCharlie does Brackets: 1910
Post by: MartinTeller on October 23, 2017, 11:04:27 AM
Put #no at the end of the URL

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=39zcg4FD7mQ#no
Title: Re: ProperCharlie does Brackets: 1910
Post by: ProperCharlie on October 23, 2017, 11:07:48 AM
Put #no at the end of the URL

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=39zcg4FD7mQ#no

Thanks Martin  :D
Title: Re: ProperCharlie does Brackets: 1910
Post by: pixote on October 23, 2017, 01:30:09 PM
Rien n'est impossible a l'homme was robbed! Will man never beat back the sea?!

(Just chiming in to say this continues to be great reading.)

pixote
Title: Re: ProperCharlie does Brackets: 1910
Post by: ProperCharlie on October 24, 2017, 04:04:01 AM
In the Border States dir. D.W. Griffith
Biograph Company
USA


(https://i.imgur.com/rclinew.jpg)


Bracket Record:
Winners' Bracket:

Losers' Bracket:

Link to film: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OoOIdF8JtfI#no (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OoOIdF8JtfI#no)

War.  No matter how just the cause, those left behind only have hope and prayer.  Unless they're a resourceful young daughter living a carefree existence in the the land being fought over by the two sides, in which case the power of your innocence can prevent some of the worst war crimes.

This was the 14th seed, and so far the initally lowest ranked film to make it this far, triumphing after a lengthy run through the higher reaches of the loser's bracket.  To get that far I was mostly going on the still used to signfy the picture on Letterboxd which demonstrated some cinematographic wonder to be found here.  There was less than I thought. 


(https://i.imgur.com/eOBjE9r.jpg)


This is a simple tale of doing the right thing, earning good karma and being repaid.  Where it excels is in the clarity of the story-telling and how well-paced it is. It relates feelings that we can all empathise with.  The concern of the family of the solider and the perils of war.  It treats both sides of the conflict fairly even-handedly, which given this D.W. Griffith directing a picture about the American Civil War, did surprise me.  Overall thought, this is standard 1910 Biograph fare.  A Civil War setting and the power of innocence. 


(https://i.imgur.com/f2WDndz.jpg)


Cinematically it's a single, fixed camera making the fourth wall of a simple room set, fixed focus, big depth of field, one-reel of film.  There are exterior shots, and there is the scene overlooking a river valley which does look relatively gorgeous with some good angles and nice composition.  After 'The Unchanging Sea' it seems to me that D.W. Griffith put effort into having one or two of these more visually-grabbing landscape shots with the much of the rest being mostly gesticulating. Often in rooms.  He's not alone in this approach in 1910.


(https://i.imgur.com/x2vJHvm.jpg)


The star of this is Gladys Egan playing the young daughter.  Fresh from playing the young Mary Pickford in The Unchanging Sea, it's her acting that gives this film character and sets it apart from the majority of Griffith's output.  While the adults use their actorly training to demonstrative and melodramatic effect, Gladys is a whole lot more raw and a little more naturalistic.  She is the calm heart of the picture teaching us the lesson that one good turn earns another.  Yes, it's a naive outlook but it's certainly a message that gets pumped into the populous loads, especially in the first half of the 20th Century.  This is a charming way to receive your socially approved dose of positivity and clean morals.

Notes on the Vanquished:
The rest all have reviews coming.
Title: Re: ProperCharlie does Brackets: 1910
Post by: ProperCharlie on October 27, 2017, 03:18:52 AM
The Wonderful Wizard of Oz dir. Otis Turner
Selig Polyscope Company
USA



(https://i.imgur.com/sZ9Vj10.jpg)


Bracket Record:
Winner's Bracket:

Loser's Bracket:

Link to film: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=09iHePAIZFA#no (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=09iHePAIZFA#no)

A wind-assisted relocation from Kansas results in a long road trip, lubrication, and ultimately the resolution of local political quibbles.  This may all have something to do with the Gold Standard depending on who you talk to.  I can't believe the person who put this up on YouTube missed the opportunity to accompany it with 'See Emily Play'/'The Scarecrow'.


(https://i.imgur.com/C2s2x8O.jpg)


When this was made, the book it was based on was only ten-years-old and this was already the third production.  A successful stage production in 1902 followed by a ruinous attempt to bring it to the screen in 1908 as The Fairylogue and Radio Plays bankrupted L. Frank Baum.  Selig held the rights and had another go in 1910 without the approval of the now powerless Baum.  The result is this, the earliest surviving adapation, but only the second screen version of the story.


(https://i.imgur.com/8PAREwf.jpg)



This is a successful attempt to squeeze as much of the story as possible into a short running time.  All the familar elements that appeared in 1939 are there as well as some less familiar elements such as Toto transformed in to a giant, lion-taming dog.  The costuming in some cases is very similiar to the 1939 film.  This is likely because it comes from the original book illustrations by W.W. Denslow via the stage play and previous screen adaptation.  This has even got the arm in arm dance along the Yellow Brick Road as they head off to see the wizard.  There is some fun group dance choreography among the men in animal costumes to be seen, presumably also from the stage play.  The set design is varied and detailed, although entirely shot in a studio against painted flats, again possibly taken directly from the stage.  And that is what this resembles most; a staged version of the Wizard of Oz captured for posterity and edited down into a highlights reel. 


(https://i.imgur.com/vdONIrQ.jpg)


The only suggestion that this wasn't all just shot on a stage is the presence of two trick scenes, both of which are good.  There's no lingering on them, instead the narrative takes precedence and the film charges on without pausing to catch its breath.  The first, the cyclone, is properly funny while later the Wicked Witch of the West (here called Momba) has a bad and very rapid reaction to water.  The star and heart of the film is Robert Z. Leonard as the scarecrow.  He appears earlier than expected, but is thereafter clowning at the centre of everything right to the end.  This is a pleasing and light-hearted way to spend 13 minutes.  It is what you want and expect from a production of The Wizard of Oz and is an essential link in the chain of productions that lead to the 1939 dawn of technicolour in Munchkinland.


(https://i.imgur.com/ShRpXr3.jpg)


Notes on the Vanquished: 
The rest of the films I will cover later.[/list][/list]
Title: Re: ProperCharlie does Brackets: 1910
Post by: ProperCharlie on October 30, 2017, 04:12:17 AM
Birth of a Flower dir. F. Percy Smith
Kineto Ltd.
UK



(https://i.imgur.com/G2xZK1G.jpg)


Bracket Record:
Winner's Bracket:
Loser's Bracket:

Link to film: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HqW093bUjdg#no (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HqW093bUjdg#no)

Flowers open with the sun.  A distinct lack of bees.


(https://i.imgur.com/cDJl1z8.jpg)


Trick photography was a staple of cinema and it came in many different varieties.  Many of them had been pioneered by Georges Meliés in the preceeding decade.  Time-lapse photograph was even earlier than that, first being used by Meliés in 1897.  This was the first application of time-lapse photography to nature filming.  Flowers change from being static blooms to mobile creatures moving in response to light.  This one of a number of firsts in nature and scientific cinematography from this year.  It's one of the first applications of film being used as a tool of study.  Not made for an end in itself but instead to discover more about the subject in front of the lens.


(https://i.imgur.com/57GNHW3.jpg)


The version I watched was six minutes long although there seem to be three minute versions.  It has also been tinted, presumably to give some hint of colour to the flowers.  Each sequence is preceeded by a title explaining what you're seeing.  There's not narrative beyond that.  No attempt to put this in any context other than observing something you wouldn't normally see.  The modern appreciation of this is as milestone rather than any qualities it has in and of itself.  What is there can be me much better captured and published as animated gif in full colour.  Indeed, many of the sequences in this are available on the Internet in animated gif form.  It's also a demonstration of creative minds at work, not just think about how things can looks or represent, but how film can be used. In 1910, a lot of this type of thing was emerging from Britain, a whole 16 years before David Attenborough was born.


(https://i.imgur.com/ThgMemD.jpg)



Notes on the Vanquished:
Title: Re: ProperCharlie does Brackets: 1910
Post by: ProperCharlie on November 01, 2017, 04:10:52 AM
The Sanitarium dir. Tom Santschi
Selig Polyscope Company
USA




(https://i.imgur.com/b4fArml.jpg)


Bracket Record:
Winner's Bracket:
Loser's Bracket:

Fatty Arbuckle is hungry beyond his means.  He also likes a flutter on the geegees to his fiducary disadvantage leaving him stony broke.  To remedy the situation he sets upon the idea of converting his rich Uncle's palatial residence, to which he has been granted temporary custodial duties, into a sanitarium for paying guests.  It also goes unbelievably well until a hiccough regarding a lost necklace leads to his patients recouping their fees during an emergency evacuation.  Woe is Fatty.

And woe is me as this is one of the many reels in Selig's back catalogue that does not appear to have survived.  It's nowhere to be found and it's survival status is only listed as 'unknown'.  The above still is the only visual evidence I can find of it.  I started this ambitious bracket/marathon hybrid hoping that all the films on Letterboxd were survivors, but it appears not to be the case.  This would certainly have been one of Roscoe Arbuckle's first appearance on screen.  He started featuring in 1909 and he's already the leading man in something with the tagline 'The Best Full Reel Comedy You've Ever Seen!'  I want to see it!   :(

Notes on the Vanquished:
As you can see, The Sanitarium had an amazing run through the loser's bracket, knocking out several films that might have gone further as well as some films I've already remarked on. 
Both The Indian Land Grab and Max Embarrassed have been covered in earlier Notes on the Vanquished, while the other films have already been watched and reviews are forthcoming.
Title: Re: ProperCharlie does Brackets: 1910
Post by: ProperCharlie on November 03, 2017, 04:16:24 AM
Toto et sa sœur en bombe à Bruxelles (Two Kids on a Spree in Brussels) dir. ?
Pathé Frères
France



(https://i.imgur.com/r63h4EZ.jpg)
Bracket Record:
Winner's Bracket:
Loser's Bracket:
Link to film: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fV9w8NG3IFE#no (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fV9w8NG3IFE#no)

Toto and his sister cause all manner of chaos on an impromptu day trip to Bru... Oh balls, it's a travelogue.


(https://i.imgur.com/4G74AMd.jpg)

I should have known. I should have read the signs.  Instead I just watched the first twenty seconds and thought, that looks fun...  It turns out that in this instance, what promises to be a good example of a  Euro-slapstick-innocents-cause-chaos flick is instead a framing device for a trip around Brussels.  It's well shot, lots of left-to-right (never tfel-ot-thgir) pans plus an obligatory phantom ride on top of a tram (yay!).  One for those looking to see a city as it was in 1910 only.  Though it's also my first sighting of a milk cart pulled by a dog, which is then promptly stolen by the young ones to get home.  Hooligans.


(https://i.imgur.com/Gg2MB9X.jpg)

Notes on the Vanquished:
I have done many of these films a diservice.  I hope to I get to some of them.  For now, here are the summaries. 
 
Alice's Adventures in Wonderland I've mentioned, the others I will get to.
Title: Re: ProperCharlie does Brackets: 1910
Post by: Knocked Out Loaded on November 05, 2017, 08:49:24 AM
This has become my favorite thread here in the Forum at the moment!
Title: Re: ProperCharlie does Brackets: 1910
Post by: ProperCharlie on November 05, 2017, 01:28:26 PM
This has become my favorite thread here in the Forum at the moment!

Thanks!  I'm learning loads as I'm doing this, particularly about the popularity of Belgium, semi-colons and the American Civil War (thanks D.W.G.)  More, much more to come.  I'm about 20 films ahead of where I am currently with proto-reviews all written up and ready to be edited.  I'm tempted to do the bracket for 1911...

Title: Re: ProperCharlie does Brackets: 1910
Post by: ProperCharlie on November 06, 2017, 03:20:15 AM
Mobilier fidèle (The Automatic Moving Company/Faithful Furniture) dir. Émile Cohl
Pathé Frères/Gaumont ?
France



(https://i.imgur.com/6esjCPy.jpg)


Bracket Record:
Winner's Bracket:
Loser's Bracket:
Link to film: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Ndb1EgZzwc#no (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Ndb1EgZzwc#no)

Sometimes you just love your furniture too much.  When monsieur finds himself in dire straits, his landlady calls in the baliffs.  If you can't pay, we take it away and perform a street auction right there and then outside your ex-front door.  With his possessions scattered to the winds, only stop-motion animation can save his bacon.


(https://i.imgur.com/PaggIFV.jpg)

There is some confusion about two films here.  There is another film with the same English title made in 1912 with a similar theme, that is stop-motion furniture moving itself from house to house.  That film has the French title Le garde-meubles automatique, which is a better fit for the English translation.  In that film furinture just moves itself into a house with no human intervention and it is entirely stop-motion.  Cohl's film is called Mobilier fidèle translated as 'Faithful furniture' which is better fit with the longer film that has more live action sequences.  Even though it's Émile Cohl, France's favourite animator, his version has fewer shots of ambulatory furniture.  It seems someone has mixed these two up badly at some point in history, possibly mis-identifying a rescued reel.


(https://i.imgur.com/P71TPCj.jpg)

The Cohl film is good,  A simple, silly story reminiscent of pets separated from their owners undertaking long distance journeys to get home.  A sort of 'Homeward Bound: The Incredible Jounrey' but with wardrobes.  The story is one we can all sympathise with, the actors do the comedy timing just right in the live action sections and the animation is very good.  In the UK in the 1970s and 1980s there was a series of programmes called Vision On, (succeeded by Take Hart) in which the UKs neckerchiefed version of Bob Ross, Tony Hart, used household items to paint amazing images in three minutes or less.  As part of these programmes there were short animated sequences breaking up the arty bits. The most famous of which, Morph, begat Aardman Animations and therefore Wallace and Gromit.  There was always a sequence in which people were used in stop-motion shorts and were often pursued by animated street furniture and electrical appliances.  It scared the bejesus out of the young me and I could never reliably trust a vacuum cleaner not to eat me again - I'm with the cats on this one.  Anyway, that is exactly the same style of animation used here.  Actual people and objects come to life in stop-motion frames allowing a carpet to attack a man, inch-worm it's way out of his room and find it's way back to it's original owner.  Ingenious.  Every Émile Cohl film I've seen has had a different animation style so far, he had a hugely inventive repertoire and saw possibilities with film that no one else at all was seeing at the time.


(https://i.imgur.com/grLVuQQ.jpg)

It's worth thinking of the editing processes that must be going on here, or the camera-work.  To go from live action to stop-motion and back in the same setting.  There are cuts, but the camera must have remained fixed for the two sections.  It would have taken much planning and patienece to pull this off in 1910.  He must have been a wizard with the nitrate film stock, a razor blade, and whatever the hell they were using for tape back then.


(https://i.imgur.com/maAvOqe.jpg)

This is so simple and well done, it's my second favourite film I've viewed in this marathon so far. I can't believe it lost to Frakenstein and The Sanitarium.  Oh well.  Recommended if you have six minutes to spare.

Notes on the Vanquished:
Title: Re: ProperCharlie does Brackets: 1910
Post by: Dave the Necrobumper on November 06, 2017, 02:43:48 PM
Just watch Mobilier fidèle. The technical aspects of the film are wonderful. The actors did have a habit of looking of instruction just off camera.
Title: Re: ProperCharlie does Brackets: 1910
Post by: ProperCharlie on November 07, 2017, 09:29:42 AM
There's a little more on Mobilier fidèle

As I mentioned there's some confusion as to which film is which.  I plumped for saying that the film I linked to is the Émile Cohl film from 1910.

This is something the Gaumont Pathé Archive agrees with, however they believe it was by Gaumont studios (not Pathé) as were the rest of Émile Cohl's films:
www.gaumontpathearchives.com/index.php?urlaction=doc&id_doc=280291 (http://www.gaumontpathearchives.com/index.php?urlaction=doc&id_doc=280291)

However there's this character who buys the wardrobe from the poor impoverished lead:

(https://i.imgur.com/tascTe2.jpg)

...enhance...

(https://i.imgur.com/VxxwdkA.jpg)

This, to me, looks like Max Linder in a cameo role.  Here's a photo of Max:

(https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/d/d4/Max_Linder_c1917.jpg/220px-Max_Linder_c1917.jpg)

He worked for Pathé at this time, and continued to until 1914 and the outbreak of the First World War.
To confuse matters further, the 1912 film Le garde-meubles automatique (known by the same English title The Automatic Moving Company), was made by Pathé Frères.

Now the film industry in 1910 was a much smaller world and both Pathé and Gaumont had a limted number of actors and directors to work with.  It's entirely possible that Pathé contracted actors and crew were drafted in to help with this.  It may be that Pathé wanted their own version of The Automatic Moving Company and so made one two years later.  There are other examples of similar things happening with plots, jokes and so on.  In fact in 1911, there was a race to basically make the same film with the same effects by two different studios (yes I've started 1911...)

However I can see why some have switched the two films around and made the Faithful Furniture into the Automatic Moving Company and vice versa.  The same subject, the same animation effect, two studios intermingling, only two years difference.  Given the studios' archives have merged, this muddles things even further. 

Anyway, before you all go and wade into the minor debate as to what the real Mobile fidèle is, I thought you should all be fully informed.
Title: Re: ProperCharlie does Brackets: 1910
Post by: ProperCharlie on November 08, 2017, 02:58:42 AM
The History of a Butterfly: A Romance of Insect Life dir. James Williamson
Williamson Kinematograph Company
UK


(https://i.imgur.com/i3YrVmz.jpg)

Bracket Record:
Winner's Bracket:
Loser's Bracket:

Love is like a butterfly, as soft and gentle as a sigh; the multicoloured moods of love are like it's satin wings.  More nature in close-up from the UK which means this should be the Clare Torry version of the song rather than Dolly Parton to accompany.

(https://i.imgur.com/48wpGgr.jpg)
Now this film does exist.  It's damaged, but it's there in the BFI archive.  Except it's not currently online, or even on their published early British nature documentary DVD.  Oh dear.  The reason for advancing this so far in the bracket is that this is James Williamson's final film.  After this he diversified into camera production, not only for films but also for aerial reconnaisance and horse-racing dead-heats.  Before this he made some of the most innovate pieces put on nitrate film stock in the early years of cinema.  An example is The Big Swallow made in 1901 which is both quirky and the first close up in cinema history.  Luckily this is available online here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XF2wlRWaMa4#no (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XF2wlRWaMa4#no)

For now this is a place-holder non-review.  I have contacts at the BFI, so I may be able to get a heads up on when this becomes available, if it does.  If it get a chance to see it, I'll update this 'review'.  I'm guessing it's currently buried in their nitrate store deep in the heart of the British countryside surrounded by sandbags.

Notes on the Vanquished:
I shall be reviewing A Trip to Mars.
Title: Re: ProperCharlie does Brackets: 1910
Post by: ProperCharlie on November 10, 2017, 04:18:03 AM
Rose o' Salem Town dir. D.W. Griffith
Biograph Company
USA


(https://i.imgur.com/9eTUpj0.jpg)
Bracket Record:
Winners' Bracket:
Losers' Bracket:
Link to film:

Fear of a black hat.  In a summarised account of the Salem witch trials, a Massachusetts family is menaced by religious extremists after their leader's sexual harrassment of their daughter is rejected.  It's left to a fur-trapper and his native posse to take their time getting to his sweetheart's rescue.


(https://i.imgur.com/wjly32F.jpg)

Purtians are the bad guys, Native Americans the good guys and there's the first archetypal damsel in distress I've seen in 1910.  It's all a bit Joan of Arc meets the Witch Finder General.  On the plus side of things, although the plot moves fast, with the exception of the rescue party, it's generally well-paced.  The story is clear and the villains of the piece are proper menacing.  Religious zealots who can't abide a girl who says 'no', a fear that haunts us to the present.  George Nichols spends the film tormenting poor sea-child Dorothy West.  If he had a moustache, I swear he would be twirlling it at regular intervals. Apart from the interesting nature of the villains and heroes, this is a basic rescue-the-girl film.


(https://i.imgur.com/ImHKOrb.jpg)

It is the second D.W. Griffith's film to feature the sea that I've seen in this marathon.  Waves and beaches must have been in fashion, although unlike The Unchanging Sea, in this one the sea is mostly off-screen to the right and you can just about make out the edge of the water occasionally rushing up the sands.  The only part when it's front and centre is in the establishing shot of the heroine, dancing amid rock pools and marvelling at the sea crashing against rocks in a pre-Raphaelite/Romantic manner.  This is about all the character development she gets - she's a got a touch of the wild about her and she's taken with the ocean.  The poor hero has never even seen the sea at the start of the film.  His friend helpfully indicates to him just how big it is as he encouters it for the first time. 


(https://i.imgur.com/5mS3ccA.jpg)

I am intrigued by Griffith's choice of the Salem witch trials as a subject.  On the one-hand it's a geniune piece of American history, the cornerstone of his stories, on the other it's got powerful white men as the bad guys.  He even calls out Christian fanatacism by name up front in the leading title card. 

Notes on the Vanquished:
 
I have already covered Le binetoscope, I will review the others.
Title: Re: ProperCharlie does Brackets: 1910
Post by: pixote on November 12, 2017, 02:03:56 PM
Catching up on posts here.

I'm very sad to read that The Sanitarium may not have survived.

A sort of 'Homeward Bound: The Incredible Jounrey' but with wardrobes.

Haha, yes!

I confess I'm still a little confused on the process here. Rose o' Salem Town doesn't sound quite good enough to have advanced as far as it did, but I take it that it advanced first and was only watched thereafter?

pixote
Title: Re: ProperCharlie does Brackets: 1910
Post by: ProperCharlie on November 12, 2017, 03:58:45 PM
Catching up on posts here.

I'm very sad to read that The Sanitarium may not have survived.

A sort of 'Homeward Bound: The Incredible Jounrey' but with wardrobes.

Haha, yes!

I confess I'm still a little confused on the process here. Rose o' Salem Town doesn't sound quite good enough to have advanced as far as it did, but I take it that it advanced first and was only watched thereafter?

pixote

That's right.  I ran the bracket to decide what to watch.  It was based on synopsis, reviews, reasearch, some availability checks and if it was very short, I just watched it.  Sometimes an element about the film made it appeal, such as Roscoe Arbuckle's early appearance in The Sanitarium.  Other times it was because the film was a striking example of a particular type of film being  made in 1910.  On other occasions it was just because it didn't face anything that was quite strong enough to put it out of the bracket.   This does occasionally result in something odd getting through to the later stages of the bracket, especially if its something I took a chance on.

Once the bracket had run, I'm going through those films that were successful.  Those chose are a mix of the 'big' names from the year e.g. Frankenstein, The Abyss, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, while others are Two Kids on a Spree in Brussels...    This was I'm hoping to cover a lot of ground and maybe check some films out that are not the major 1910 tourist destinations for film-watchers.   

During the bracket and the viewings, I'm still learning a lot about the year and the film-industry of the time.  I'm hopefully going to write a couple of little entries looking at what some other characters were up to in 1910 that aren't really going to be mentioned as directors or stars, for instance George Méliès was still active in the film industry in 1910 but didn't make much of anything for...interesting reasons.

It's remarkable how little of what was made in 1910 has survived sadly.   :( If everything was available to us, this bracket would have looked very different.
Title: Re: ProperCharlie does Brackets: 1910
Post by: ProperCharlie on November 13, 2017, 03:04:37 AM
Den hvide slavehandel (The White Slave Trade) dir. August Blom
Nordisk Films
Denmark


(https://i.imgur.com/SzXq7fB.jpg)
Bracket Record:
Winner's Bracket:
Loser's Bracket:
Link to film: http://video.dfi.dk/nationalfilmografien/20811/hvide%20slavehandel_vhs.flv?595096209 (http://video.dfi.dk/nationalfilmografien/20811/hvide%20slavehandel_vhs.flv?595096209) - Note this is an .flv download from the Danish Film Institute, there is a version on YouTube, but this one is better quality.

Due to an upsurge in the popularity of certain sensationalist literature and a dearth of beautiful women in London, ne'er-do-wells have taken to trafficking Danish girls to England to unknowingly work in brothels.  Anna is one such unfortunate, imprisoned in a whorehouse so high up, it overlooks Big Ben.  She must fend off men to maintain her innocence.  When Anna's fiance discovers her fate, he travels to London intent on liberating his love.  He succeeds, only to set in montion a number of different chase sequences featuring poor Anna as the Maguffin.  Scotland Yard save the day. 


(https://i.imgur.com/GhTFm3k.jpg)

This film, is a shot-for-shot copy of another film of the same name made the same year by Fotorama that was wildly popular in Denmark and was itself a remake of a similarly titled film from 1907.  To avoid litigation, this one was distributed outside the country and is the only one of the two to have survived.  Although this film is listed as 45 minutes long, that refers to the Fotorama version - that was then the longest film released in Denmark.  This version is only 32 minutes long.


(https://i.imgur.com/vhzbqNN.jpg)

On the one hand, the subject matter here is strikingly relevent.  On the other hand, this is straight rescue-the-girl film where at the end, the lead character is reduced to a bundled prop two groups of men are pursuing around a rather rural looking London.  The acting is remarkably naturalistic, there are some interesting innovations such as a scene with the frame split vertically into three, with three separate scenes playing in each strip.  The left and right most involving a phone-call between two associates in different locations while the in the central strip the main action progresses simultaneously.  Wow.  And to think that cross-cutting a scene is a relatively new thing, August Bloom is doing this?!  I'd love to know how it was achieved, although it's likely the trick was used in the original this film was cribbed from, so crediting Mr. Blom is probably not correct. 


(https://i.imgur.com/aMsG32G.jpg)

The 32 minutes running time that is probably three-reels of film again allows the plot to progress at a good pace, but not a breakneck pace.  It all follows on seemlessely and despite their being few title cards and what titles  exists are in Danish, you're never lost as to what's going on.  Obviously none of this was shot in London.  A bedroom window opening out with view over Big Ben (a window that is abseiled out of later in the plot) attests to that, as to the rather bucolic landscapes the car vs. horse chase takes place thorough. There is some good filming on board a moving boat, this is a good production even if it was stolen.  It's not up there with The Abyss owing to relatively straight and now-hackneyed plot, although there is one scene of what might be called an 'orgy' except that it's an orgy in full morning dress and top-hats with not only some wild dancing to indicate that naughtiness is supposed to be occuring.  It's no gaucho-dance by Asta Nielsen.  The subject matter here is most definitely sexual at a time when most US films could could only suggest sex was by staging a wedding. 


(https://i.imgur.com/6AYl1Bi.jpg)

It has very little to recommend it over The Abyss, yet there is much more meat to gnaw on when compared to most other films I've seen so far, despite the weak plot and characterisations.  It seems far more modern that anything non-Danish in 1910

Notes on the Vanquished:
Title: Re: ProperCharlie does Brackets: 1910
Post by: pixote on November 14, 2017, 01:01:51 PM
The sounds like maybe the most interesting batch of film to date. A shame that the original Den hvide slavehandel isn't available.

pixote
Title: Re: ProperCharlie does Brackets: 1910
Post by: ProperCharlie on November 15, 2017, 04:51:13 AM
Княжна Тараканова (Princess Tarakanova) dir. Kai Hanson and Maurice Maître
Pathé Frères
Russia


(https://i.imgur.com/Ry8u4sk.jpg)

Bracket Record:
Winner's Bracket:
Loser's Bracket:
Links to film:
A correspondance course in Russian history.  With one alternate ending!

(https://i.imgur.com/wVHjBhH.jpg)

Princess Takaranova (eng. Princess Cockroach) was a genuine pretender to the throne of Catherine the Great.  Russian history has not treated her well.  There isn't much to her real-life story other than her artistically-embelished demise in flood at the Fortress of Peter and Paul in St. Petersburg, and the conspiracy theory that her death was faked living out the rest of her life as a mystery nun.  Every convent should have one.  She didn't raise an army, have much money, no one really knows who she actually was.  Catherine just had her arrested and thrown in a prison until she died of consumption.  Not a very good pretender to the throne.  The most salacious thing about her, apart from this painting of the more romantic tale of her demise, was that Catherine loyalist Count Orloff seduced her before trapping her and arresting her in an old-fashioned sweeheart sting on board a frigate. 

(https://i.imgur.com/6zfClqr.jpg)
(https://i.imgur.com/xkCJNqs.jpg)
(https://i.imgur.com/DamI3CR.jpg)

In the words of contemporary critics of Italian film, the cosutmes are good.  Nice wigs.  Ummmmmm.  Yes.  There are way too many title cards and above and beyond that all the action is written.  Literally.  This film consists of Catherine writing letters to command her subjects (expository letter appears on screen), then her subjects write back to confirm they have taken that action (expository letter appears on screen).   Yes, I've heard of epistolary novels, but films?  It's a first. I'll call it the epistolary expositary genre.

(https://i.imgur.com/cFohFmA.jpg)

So apart from the costumes and the fact that this film has an alternate ending, even though science has not yet invented DVD extras, there isn't much to enjoy.  I learned a bit of Russian history and not to mess with Catherine the Great.

Notes on the Vanquished:
Hopefully I'll get to the others.
Title: Re: ProperCharlie does Brackets: 1910
Post by: ProperCharlie on November 17, 2017, 02:49:05 AM
Rien n'est impossible a l'homme (Nothing is Impossible for Man) dir. Émile Cohl
Gaumont
France


(https://i.imgur.com/nDgfxnt.jpg)

Bracket Record:
Winner's Bracket:
Loser's Bracket:
An animated cameraman finds much of interest to film in the real world. 


(https://i.imgur.com/4l3csCl.jpg)

This survives and has been released as part of The Gaumont Collection on DVD.  However, I currently don't have the means to access that, so for now it will have to remained un-reviewed.  This is a place-holder until such time I find it.  From what I have found out out about it online, the best summary pseudo-review I can think of is Émile Cohl showing off.

Notes on the Vanquished:
Title: Re: ProperCharlie does Brackets: 1910
Post by: ProperCharlie on November 20, 2017, 02:29:58 AM
Spirochoeta pallida (de la syphilis) dir. Jean Comandon
Pathé Frères
France


(https://i.imgur.com/1o7KTof.jpg)
Bracket Record:
Winner's Bracket:
Loser's Bracket:
Link to film: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=09i1zdv3KVM#no (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=09i1zdv3KVM#no) - has modern soundtrack relating something of the history of the footage and of Comandon.

Time-lapse microscopy of syphilis spirochaeta.


(https://i.imgur.com/3WfO7Nr.jpg)

Take that Brits.  You think you're clever just doing time-lapse filming of flowers opening?  The French are going to stick a camera on a microscope and do some time-lapse photography of everyone's nightmare: syphilis (do not vist the Wikipedia page while at work).  This 1 minute long short consists of what must have been revolutionary footage of a bacterium on film for the first time.  I can't help thinking it didn't have a wide release in cinemas, despite having Pathé money behind it.  In terms of history, the baceria on display here, Treponema pallidum to give the full-name listed on its business card, had only been discovered five-years previously and a test to identify its presence the year after that.  At this point in time there was no cure for syphilis although its symptoms and its method of spreading itself were well-knonwn.  It would have been the AIDS of its day, so here it is waggling its spiral-shaped tails at you on a screen.  Get to know your potential killers, oh sinful viewer.  It is oddly beguiling footage.  It's akin to the weird spots and bleeding colours projected at Happenings in the psychadelic era of the late 1960s.  Except in black and white.
 

(https://i.imgur.com/TAD21Cb.jpg)

The technical achievement behind this must have been something.  The instrument being used was possibly the world's most powerful microscope of the time.  Called an ultramicroscope, it was the only microscope capable of resolving syphalis bacteria.  This would have been a delicate and senstive optical instrument.  Comandon, a microbiologist and not a film-maker, found a way of bolting a Pathé camera to it and filming the results.  Those results are now viewable on YouTube and indexed on both Letterboxd and IMDb, and so far better cinematically than anything I've seen from several other directors of the time.

Notes on the Vanquished:
Title: Re: ProperCharlie does Brackets: 1910
Post by: ProperCharlie on November 22, 2017, 02:47:06 AM
Le tout petit Faust (The Beautiful Margaret) dir. Émile Cohl
Gaumont
France


(https://i.imgur.com/G7TeQNN.jpg)

Bracket Record:
Winner's Bracket:
Losers' Bracket:
Link to film: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fAVMrO5RqVQ#no (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fAVMrO5RqVQ#no) - terrible accompaniment


Stop-motion puppet Faust


(https://i.imgur.com/06FgByS.jpg)

Before Jan Svankmaer.  Before The Magic Roundabout and The Pinchcliffe Grand Prix.  Before Fantastic Mr. Fox.  Émile Cohl's endless exploration of the possibilities of stop-motion animation alight on puppets/dolls and the story of Faust.  Using a well known story for this particular film is important as the limitations of puppet acting are all too apparent.  Understanding the story is reliant on title cards, thus having characters whose names, characters and plots would have been familiar to the audience is a must.  This is a rapid run-through of the Faust - under six minutes.  A little too rapid in fact. 


(https://i.imgur.com/NgVd3xL.jpg)

This is not the best Cohl film from the year, although it does extend his repertoire of animation still further.  It would need the advent of sound and narration to this style of animation and plot together in a way that makes sense to the viewer.  The animation itself is fine.  It looks exactly like more modern examples.  The sets are all lovingly designed and painted with even a few special effects thrown in such as foil to represent flames.  Yet it is not as playful or light as most of Cohl's other creations.  It has a degree of weight, perhaps borrowed from the story, that only serves to bog it down rather than generate gravitas and empathy. 

Notes on the Vanquished:
Title: Re: ProperCharlie does Brackets: 1910
Post by: ProperCharlie on November 25, 2017, 03:30:10 AM
A Trip to Mars dir. Ashley Miller
Edison Manufacturing Company
USA


(https://i.imgur.com/0yC8Fs9.jpg)


Bracket Record:
Winner's Bracket:
Loser's Bracket:
Link to film: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=np7VImsSMQM#no (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=np7VImsSMQM#no) - there are several copies on YouTube, unfortunately the film has not survived that well.

A mad scientist who wears a dinner jacket in the laboratory rather than the customary lab coat, discovers the secret of anti-gravity by mixing the powedered contents of several bottles.  This enables him to anti-gravitate his way to Mars where he has several hallucinatory, and just plain weird experiences.  The ending is revolutionary.  I expect those bottles contained crystallised-absinthe cut with cocaine. 


(https://i.imgur.com/cPixZrn.jpg)

This is predominately a special effects film that follows the template of Georges Méliès famous 1903 'A Trip to the Moon', only with none of the style and panache of the earlier film.  The one area that this film succeeds is the sheer creepiness of the Martian inhabitants.  Giants with motives that are opaque to us watching, although it's clear were meant to see them as malevolant.  The snowball-smoke-blowing giant with large ears and an egg for head is demonic, but it's the trees with a canopy formed from bark-encrusted overweight men that pressed my nightmare-buzzer first.  Truly macabre.


(https://i.imgur.com/kxFj3o9.jpg)

Most of the sequences in this involve one special effect or another, and the effects themselves are well-done for the most part.  Some of them we just don't see now as we take the effect for granted, but it must have been a relatively impressive thing to do to make the image spin through 360°, speeding up as it did so.  The problem with all these effects is why?  Why are they there?  The results we see on screen are just not impressive or interesting, except for the Martians.  The plot itself is simple.  It's not so much a case of the effects supporting a story so much as cobbling together a story to show of the special effects.  Some would say little has changed in the previous 107 years.  This is first US-produced sci-fi film.  It's an indication as to the priorities of productions to come for this genre.  If this was the first sci-fi story seen on film, I might have been somewhat more forgiving however, Méliès was way ahead of this eight years previously. 

Notes on the Vanquished:
Title: Re: ProperCharlie does Brackets: 1910
Post by: ProperCharlie on November 28, 2017, 02:57:38 AM
Cadres fleuris (Floral Studies) dir. Émile Cohl
Gaumont
France


(https://i.imgur.com/spZqQwb.jpg)

Bracket Record:
Winner's Bracket:
Loser's Bracket:
Link to film: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S1IdpbzJ-_8#no (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S1IdpbzJ-_8#no)

Various frames of a floral design are create in sequence using stop-motion techniques to 'grow' them.  In the central area, of each frame, the subject of study appears.  This can be a young woman, the crowned heads of Europe, impressively moustachioed men, a landscape, or kinematic patterns created using mirrors like a black and white Mesmeric kaleidoscope.


(https://i.imgur.com/Xu5Lr8I.jpg)

OK.  So I went a bit overboard in chosing the Émile Cohl films.  Possibly because I was trying to avoid too much Griffith but also because most Cohl films have positive write-ups and sound intriguing.  This is abstract from Émile Cohl, more an exercise in technique than anything.  The most interesting 'scene' is of the kaleidoscopic kinematic patterns, probably shot in live-action so it looks far smoother than the stop-motion animated frame.  None of this is new for Cohl, in fact I'd say it's probably just a doodle he came up with on a dull weekend in February, when it was too wet out to shoot what he planned.  I'm not convinced he had a crowd of hallucinating acid casulaties in mind when creating this, but if he did bravo.  Keep taking the mushrooms.

Notes on the Vanquished:
Title: Re: ProperCharlie does Brackets: 1910
Post by: pixote on November 28, 2017, 04:44:42 PM
A question for people following this thread: Is Émile Cohl a name you already knew?

If I even did, I'd forgotten it.

pixote
Title: Re: ProperCharlie does Brackets: 1910
Post by: Dave the Necrobumper on November 28, 2017, 06:58:21 PM
No it was not a name I already knew. I am amazed he is not mentioned along side Meliés. I watched Le tout petit Faust a couple of days ago and the animation is very good.
Title: Re: ProperCharlie does Brackets: 1910
Post by: ProperCharlie on November 29, 2017, 03:17:02 AM
He's not a name I'd come across either, but clearly he's definitely a big part of the post-Méliès story in French cinema.  I hadn't heard of Louis Feuillade either (my bad) or Alice Guy.  He's not the only name I'd not come across either.  Max Linder I may have heard of in passing but only in the 'he was Chaplain before Chaplain' context.  Doing this I think there were several Chaplains before Chaplain, but he was clearly the stand-out.  The Danes and Norweigans has surprised me as well. 

Cohl is not the only one doing the animation thing.  People are taking his methods and doing interesting, comedic things with it...
Title: Re: ProperCharlie does Brackets: 1910
Post by: ProperCharlie on November 29, 2017, 03:19:56 AM
Jim le glisseur (Slippery Jim) dir. Ferdinand Zecca
Pathé Frères
France


(https://i.imgur.com/jvlmblh.jpg)

Bracket Record:
Winner's Bracket:
Loser's Bracket:

Link to film: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q297Ks2EMpY#no (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q297Ks2EMpY#no)

The police arrest a man for unspecified crimes and will go to extreme lengths to ensure he will not escape from custody.  Unfortunatley for them, their prisoner has a few tricks up his sleeve.
 

(https://i.imgur.com/C31kx7j.jpg)

This is a case of two claims on one film. There is a 1909 French film by Segundo de Chomón also known in English as "Slippery Jim".  It's French title is "Pickpock ne craint pas les entraves".  The 1910 film by Ferdinand Zecca's French title is "Jim le glisseur", a much better fit for this English translation, so I'm assuming the 1910 title is the correct one and the 1909 title is a miasttributation to this film.

In 1910 Harry Houdini was a big name.  He'd escaped from milk churns filled with water, from being handcuffed in trunks and from bags tossed into rivers.  His name was world-renowened.  He offered prizes to people who thought they could hold him.  Given the affinity between early cinema and stage magic, it was only a matter of time before someone would use camera tricks to better his feats and show how they thought they might be done. 


(https://i.imgur.com/OwO2KnG.jpg)

Slippery Jim is a rather relaxed gentleman with a jaunty hat, light tan rough suit, and a penchant for smoking a pipe while reading the paper.  Quite what his crime may be is never made clear, however he is a man who most definitely will not be held.  Using a full-range of camera tricks, mostly involving stop-motion but also double-exposures, straight-forward disappearances, running the film in reverse and more, he manages to elude the best efforts of what look to British police given their helmets and their astonishing fake facial hair.  Halfway though Jim is getting a tad blasé, allowing himself to be captured just so he can demonstrate a different method of escape.  His pursuers suffer some nasty injuries in their chase included being squashed flat by a door and being cut in half by Jim on his magic bike only to be glued back together by a passing bill poster.  There's some proper slapstick body horror in this.  It's closest comparison would The Automatic Moving Company which it shares both animation style and a certain charm.


(https://i.imgur.com/YF2wjX6.jpg)

As well as all the special effects, this film is noticable for its editing of sequences to make a coherent narrative with some scenes being intercut.  It's also got some close-ups to focus on the action scenes, for instance when he's first imprisoned, Jim manages to twist his ankles, detatch his feet and then slip the leg-irons, all done in stop-motion close up.  This gives the film momentum, a pre-Keystone-Cops-era propulsion to who knows where, but it's a great deal of fun finding out.  It's the sort of silent people were still making after the invention of talkies. 

Notes on the Vanquished:
Title: Re: ProperCharlie does Brackets: 1910
Post by: ProperCharlie on December 06, 2017, 03:51:50 AM
Les beaux-arts mysterieux (The Mysterious Fine Arts) dir. Émile Cohl
Gaumont
France


(https://i.imgur.com/9RVtf9U.jpg)

Bracket Record:
Winner's Bracket:
Loser's Bracket:
Link to film: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FV4HQ6UQOJA#no (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FV4HQ6UQOJA#no)

Various art equipment drawns a series of pictures which then turn into photographs or moving images of the scene painted.  Finally a papier-mache mask is constructed piece-by-piece from torn off paper.

(https://i.imgur.com/bJjxYfq.jpg)

I'm beginning to tire of this particular facet of Cohl's experimentation.  This is interesting in that his stop-motion drawn animations now turn into live action film.  The mask at the end is undeniably creepy, although I'm not convinced that's the intended effect.  However, this is more of Cohl doodling on film.  Seeing what he can do without a real idea of what it is he wants to do.  At least he seems to be having fun doing it.  The last Cohl film for a while I think.

Notes on the Vanquished:
I'm regretting putting Cohl's fine arts through at the expense of at least three of these.
Title: Re: ProperCharlie does Brackets: 1910
Post by: pixote on December 06, 2017, 12:05:20 PM
Is The Girl of the Northern Woods (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0343721/reference) in the bracket, by chance? It's an extra on the Dawson City: Frozen Time Blu-Ray.

I'll give it a look tonight and report back.

edit: The fragment available to me did not recommend itself.

pixote
Title: Re: ProperCharlie does Brackets: 1910
Post by: ProperCharlie on December 11, 2017, 03:13:30 AM
A Day in the Life of a Coal Miner
Kineto Films
UK


(https://i.imgur.com/btPlpRw.jpg)


Bracket Record:
Winner's Bracket:
Loser's Bracket:
Link to film: https://player.bfi.org.uk/free/film/watch-a-day-in-the-life-of-a-coal-miner-1910-online (https://player.bfi.org.uk/free/film/watch-a-day-in-the-life-of-a-coal-miner-1910-online)

When I was a lad ee, it were ard.  Tough.  Up't a crack-a-dawn, straight down't pit. All day on't knees, pick in't hand, piggin' coal dust gettin' up't yer nose.  Up on't surface kids n' womenfolk pushin' tubs o'coal all day long.  All so some fat lord f'nt-le-roy and 'is fat flock of kids cant smoke 'is cigar in 'is socks.
 

(https://i.imgur.com/KpoIeMX.jpg)

This is a fascintating, political look at the life of miners in Wigan in 1910.  In Whitehaven Colliery that year, 136 men died in a firedamp explosion, the South Wales Miners' Federation began a 10-month strike over pay leading to the Tonypandy Riots. 300 suffragettes clashed with Police outside Parliament on Black Friday over the failure of a Bill that would have allowed some women the vote.  12 days later, a male suffragestist attempts to whip (literally) the Home Secretary, Winston Churchll, on a train.  At the end of the year, another explosion in a mine in Westhaugton, only five miles away from the mine shown in this film, kills 344 men.  Only one man who was underground at the time survived.  That's the background against which this film is set.


(https://i.imgur.com/ufB9c1K.jpg)

The film we see here shows the daily labour at a mine.  Men arrive, go down to the minehead in cages.  At the surface, more lifts filled with wagons of coal emerge to be pushed around by (mainly) women and kids, the coal sifted from the slag by hand by women, eventually making it to coal-wagons on the railway to be transported and sold.  The final shot is of a wealthy family enjoying a coal-fire, as the paterfamilias pulls his chair closer, cigar on the go.  Now, some of the shots are definitely staged.  For instance two miners on their needs with picks hacking at the coalface both stop and look at the camera the same time.  The miner leaving for work and returning.  The happy, warm, clean family with maid at the end.  Nevertheless, that this is the geunine daily grind of a mine is not in doubt, and it's all hard, hard work for the entire community.  The women all wear head coverings looking like something out of The Handmaid's Tale.  Everyone is covered in the black soot of coaldust.  Fingernails will never be clean again. 


(https://i.imgur.com/9Y4O3GP.jpg)

There is also a good eye for composition.  Look at this shot (above).  It's like a still from a Joy Division video from Anton Corbijn.  The atmosphere isn't just grime, it's menacing and funereal.  These people are embittered.  The men check their pay carefully at the end of the day, eyeing their coins with suspicion.  There are hundreds of miners and mineworkers.  There is only one man who gets to hand out the pay.  Before going down into the mine, the lamps are checked carefully and sealed against leaks lest a stray flame spark the gases below.  Death is a genuine possiblity.  The pit-props are mostly sawn lengths of tree, some warped and bent.  A miner hammers one into position, using a stone to wedge it in place.  In the mine, the light is bright.  I have to wonder if that was actually shot in a mine.  Their lamps appear not to be alight, yet there is more than enough light coming from the source of illumination behind the camera.  It must have been a live flame lamp - there would have been no electrical supply down there, and as the list of mine disasters from the time show, a naked flame down a pit is not a risk to be undertaken.  I'm left wondering about how it was done.


(https://i.imgur.com/zeASbWp.jpg)

The first 'official' documentary is 'Nanook of the North', made 12 years after this.  This film does tend towards 'actualities' rather than documentary, simply being a series of scenes from a day at the mine.  However, there is another story being told here.  It's definitely heading towards something we'd call a documentary today, even if it hasn't quite got there yet.  Also of interest is that this film was made at the behest of the London and North Western Railway, on of the four main railway companies in the UK at that time and probably one of the biggest consumers of coal in the country.  I would expect their point would be to show their role in taking coal from the mine to the household, giving another explanation for the sequences shown.  You could read this film as friendly Northern folk, with homes to go to, gainfully employed to their and your benefit, and my, don't they look happy!  But they don't, not really.  To my eye, there's more going on here than what was in the brief of the comissioning company.  Definitely one to watch.

Notes on the Vanquished:
Title: Re: ProperCharlie does Brackets: 1910
Post by: ProperCharlie on December 11, 2017, 03:15:44 AM
Is The Girl of the Northern Woods (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0343721/reference) in the bracket, by chance? It's an extra on the Dawson City: Frozen Time Blu-Ray.

I'll give it a look tonight and report back.

edit: The fragment available to me did not recommend itself.

pixote

No, I've not come across that pix.  Your edit hasn't got it crying out as one to watch either.

I think I've just about come to an end of my 1910 marathon now.  I've got another 10 or so reviews to post up which I will do over the Christmas break.  Then I think I'll do a post-script about the film industry in 1910 and then, I'm thinking of doing 1911.  Perhaps as a more tradiational marathon with a few additional mini-precis like this one has had.
Title: Re: ProperCharlie does Brackets: 1910
Post by: Dave the Necrobumper on December 11, 2017, 04:58:56 AM
I went down into an old coal mine earlier this year, it would have been grim working in one when it was operational. Timber is used for the pit prop, because it bends, so if the roof above is going to break the beam it will creak, which would give the miners some warning. So that even today they use timber rather than steel framing. From what I remember, from the tour, until they had reliable electric lamps, the lamps were a burning fuel lamp. There was a person in charge of the canaries used in bad air detection.
Title: Re: ProperCharlie does Brackets: 1910
Post by: ProperCharlie on January 08, 2018, 05:32:27 AM
Tilly the Tomboy Visits the Poor dir. Lewin Fitzhamon
Hepworth
UK


(https://i.imgur.com/5zaWRrX.jpg)


Bracket Record:
Winner's Bracket:
Loser's Bracket:
Link to film: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5UqR8iiN6iw#no (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5UqR8iiN6iw#no)

A gender-switched run through of the first 30 minutes of "A Clockwork Orange".  Viddy well.


(https://i.imgur.com/S4UESlE.jpg)

It's a New Year and I'm back with a few more trips back in time.
This is one of those films that Yakkety Sax was written for.  An extended chase sequence in which two mischevious, no, actually malevolent, teenage tearaways wreak havoc on a quiet community of decorators, porters, laundry-men and bakers, after assaulting a bed-ridden old woman.  After each 'prank', they're pursued by their victims until they claim their innocence at the end.  The moral: if you claim you're charitable you can get away with murder.  The Tilly films were a series featuring the same two girls, although in this early one, one of them was played by a different actress to the one who would end up synonymous with the role.  In every film they end up causing mayhem and getting away with it.  If you've ever wondered where the British taste and justification for hooliganism comes from, watch and learn. 


(https://i.imgur.com/A6Awuls.jpg)

There is what is now a regular feature: the veneration of innocence.  In this the cloak of innocence allows all manner of sins to be committed and responsibility for them to be escaped.  It is only with age that it becomes less easy to wear that mantle.  Here the crimes of the two young fiends are forgivable, purely because they're cheeky, charming, cherubic scamps.  Their mock innocence lets them escape their crimes with the other characters on film.  It's their charisma that allows the audience to forgive them and indulge their own secret desires to run amok in the streets.  Pure escapism.


(https://i.imgur.com/hULNdqt.jpg)

There is one moment of cinematic note.  During their first crime involving a man with a ladder and another man with a lot of baskets, the camera is mounted on the rear of a vehicle allowing a tracking shot in which all the characters are continuously walking down the road towards the camera.  The slapstick all takes place in a single shot.  It's neat, but nowhere nearly as smoothly cinematic as the one in The Abyss.

Notes on the Vanquished: