Author Topic: ProperCharlie does Brackets: 1910  (Read 1334 times)

Knocked Out Loaded

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Re: ProperCharlie does Brackets: 1910
« Reply #20 on: November 05, 2017, 08:49:24 AM »
This has become my favorite thread here in the Forum at the moment!
I might remember it all differently tomorrow.

ProperCharlie

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Re: ProperCharlie does Brackets: 1910
« Reply #21 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...

« Last Edit: November 07, 2017, 09:04:38 AM by ProperCharlie »

ProperCharlie

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Re: ProperCharlie does Brackets: 1910
« Reply #22 on: November 06, 2017, 03:20:15 AM »
Mobilier fidèle (The Automatic Moving Company/Faithful Furniture) dir. Émile Cohl
Pathé Frères/Gaumont ?
France






Bracket Record:
  • Round 1 bt. Maudite soit la guerre
Winner's Bracket:
  • Round 2 bt. A Short-Sighted Duellist
  • Round 3 bt. Cagliostro, aventurier, chimiste et magicien
  • Round 4 bt. The Water Nymph
  • Round 5 bt. Slippery Jim
  • Round 6 lost to Frankenstein
Loser's Bracket:
  • Round 7 lost to The Sanitarium
Link to film: 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.




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.




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.




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.




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:
  • Maudite soit la guerre directed by Louis Feuillade again and sounds like it's a bit anti-war.
  • A Short-Sighted Duellist is a Max Linder film, this time his myopia lands him in trouble in a mix-up over who his wife is.
  • Cagliostro, aventurier, chimiste et magicien is apparently the first Cagliostro film, although looking a bit harder it seems Meliés used him as a character so that's not exactly correct.  This one was made for Pathé by the dual-directing team of Camille de Morlhon and Gaston Velle.
  • The Water Nymph I may get to, but just in case I don't it's directed by Vasili Goncharov and is the first Russian film we've broached in this bracket.  Like the other Russian films in the year, this one's based on a tale by Pushkin.
« Last Edit: November 07, 2017, 09:04:50 AM by ProperCharlie »

Dave the Necrobumper

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Re: ProperCharlie does Brackets: 1910
« Reply #23 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.

ProperCharlie

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Re: ProperCharlie does Brackets: 1910
« Reply #24 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

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



...enhance...



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



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.
« Last Edit: November 07, 2017, 11:15:51 AM by ProperCharlie »

ProperCharlie

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Re: ProperCharlie does Brackets: 1910
« Reply #25 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




Bracket Record:
  • Round 1 bt. Meissner Porzellan! Lebende Skulpturen der Diodattis im Berliner Wintergarten
Winner's Bracket:
  • Round 2 bt. The Mystery of Lonely Gulch
  • Round 3 bt. A Christmas Carol
  • Round 4 bt. Le binetoscope
  • Round 5 bt. A Trip to Mars
  • Round 6 lost to The Wonderful Wizard of Oz
Loser's Bracket:
  • Round 11 lost to In the Border States

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.


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

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:
  • Meissner Porzellan! Lebende Skulpturen der Diodattis im Berliner Wintergarten a short film about animated porcelain, shot by the French in Germany for Austrians.
  • The Mystery of Lonely Gulch is a Pathé Frères Western for a US audience involving fake beards, saloons, reported restrained acting, and a mobile camera.  The plot sounds chaotic.
  • A Christmas Carol is the second screen version of the story. This by J. Searle Dawley for Edison' s literary adaption/condensed Dickens unit and starring Charles Ogle as Scrooge, last seen scaring cinema audiences as Frankestein's Monster.
  • Le binetoscope is Émile Cohl trying something different again, this one combining live action with drawings (not cut-outs) animated with stop-motion.  This has a government mandated clown-content warning advisory attached.
I shall be reviewing A Trip to Mars.
« Last Edit: November 08, 2017, 03:02:11 AM by ProperCharlie »

ProperCharlie

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Re: ProperCharlie does Brackets: 1910
« Reply #26 on: November 10, 2017, 04:18:03 AM »
Rose o' Salem Town dir. D.W. Griffith
Biograph Company
USA



Bracket Record:
  • Round 1 bt. SS Olympic
Winners' Bracket:
  • Round 2 bt. Glimpses of Bird Life
  • Round 3 lost to A Day in the Life of a Coal Miner
Losers' Bracket:
  • Round 5 bt. The Adventures of Tartarin the Younger
  • Round 6 bt. A Child of the Ghetto
  • Round 7 bt. Le binetoscope
  • Round 8 bt. The Four Little Tailors
  • Round 9 bt. Slippery Jim
  • Round 10 bt. Spirochoeta pallida (de la syphilis)
  • Round 11 lost to Birth of a Flower
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.




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.




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. 




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:
  • SS Olympic is the British relishing their industrial glories with a short documentary from the shipyward where the Titanic's sister ship, RMS Olympic, is being built.
  • Glimpses of Bird Life is more British wildlife, this time seabirds mainly, only this time the studio is Pathé Frères and the money is French.  The director isn't though - it's from Oliver Pike the new DoP for Pathé, who went to such lengths as dangling over a cliff on a rope to get footage with what must still have been quite a heavy camera not really intended for that sort of expedition.  Notable for going out and filming nature, rather bringing nature into a controlled environment and filming it.
  • A Day in the Life of a Coal Miner is documentary footage that answers the British question, "Where can we put the camera next?" after several other suggestions have been made and been rejected as being too easy.  So here's a film shot in the darkness of a coal mine.  This one will be reviewed later on in this marathon.
  • The Adventures of Tartarin the Younger is more Max Linder, this time telling tall stories of possible fictional military exploits.  A touch of the Baron Munchausens.
  • A Child of the Ghetto is D.W. Griffith doing the plot of "Dancer in the Dark" only presumably with a whole load more redemption at the end.
 
I have already covered Le binetoscope, I will review the others.
« Last Edit: November 10, 2017, 04:21:32 AM by ProperCharlie »

pixote

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Re: ProperCharlie does Brackets: 1910
« Reply #27 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
I think I'd love how awkward it'd be, or how awkward it should be.

ProperCharlie

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Re: ProperCharlie does Brackets: 1910
« Reply #28 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.

ProperCharlie

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Re: ProperCharlie does Brackets: 1910
« Reply #29 on: November 13, 2017, 03:04:37 AM »
Den hvide slavehandel (The White Slave Trade) dir. August Blom
Nordisk Films
Denmark



Bracket Record:
  • Round 1 bt. L'apprenti aviateur
Winner's Bracket:
  • Round 2 bt. Les timidites de Rigadin
  • Round 3 lost to Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
Loser's Bracket:
  • 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
Link to film: 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. 




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 1910

Notes 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.
« Last Edit: November 21, 2017, 04:30:56 AM by ProperCharlie »