Den hvide slavehandel (The White Slave Trade) dir. August BlomBracket Record:
- Round 1 bt. L'apprenti aviateur
- Round 2 bt. Les timidites de Rigadin
- Round 3 lost to Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
Link to film: http://video.dfi.dk/nationalfilmografien/20811/hvide%20slavehandel_vhs.flv?595096209
- Round 5 bt. [The] Idiot
- Round 6 bt. Monsieur du Crac
- Round 7 bt. Max is Stuck Up
- Round 8 bt. Les timidites de Rigadin
- Round 9 bt. A Trip to Mars
- Round 10 bt. The Beautiful Margaret
- Round 11 lost to Two Kids on a Spree in Brussels
- 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.
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.
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.
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.
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 1910Notes on the Vanquished:
- In L'apprenti aviateur, a middle-aged Frenchman uses various Heath-Robinson, Rube-Goldberg methods in an attempt to fly. These naturally all end in catastrophe. Hardcore, almost abstract slapstick.
- Les timidites de Rigadin is intriguing. A cast of servants at a country house pretend they're their masters and mistresses when they're all out. An outsider visits and gets confused. This also features Mistinguett, the fin d'sicele Parisian sensation, and at one point the highest paid performer in the world, appearing many times at the Moulin Rouge. Not sure if she lived in a giant elephant house with views of the Eiffel Tower.
- [The] Idiot is a Dostoyevsky adaptation that I wish had made it further through the bracket.
- Max is Stuck Up explores the interface between Max Linder and some fly-paper in great detail. High jinx.