The special events were distinguished by ambitious musical interpretation.
EVENTI INAUGURALE / OPENING EVENT
Visages d'enfants [not released in Finland] (FR/CH 1923), D: Jacques Feyder, SC: Feyder, Françoise Rosay, starring Jean Forest, 121', French / Dutch intertitles. Cinémathèque Suisse, restored by NFM / The Lumière Project. GCM Sacile, Zancanaro 11 Oct 2003. ♪ Antonio Coppola, performed by L'Octuor de France. A beautiful performance of a beautiful print. One of Feyder´s 1920s masterpieces about children, this one takes place in the Swiss Haut-Valais and is about the boy whose mother dies and who has a hard time in accepting a new stepmother and stepsister. ****
EVENTO MUSICALE / SPECIAL MUSICAL PRESENTATION
Cliff Dwellers of America (US 1926), D: Elizabeth Pickett, 10'. LoC. The story of Mesa Verde.
Redskin trailer (US 1929), 0'54"
Redskin / Punanahkain poika (US 1929), D: Victor Schertzinger, SC: Elizabeth Pickett, DP: Ray Rennahan, Edward Estabrook - Technicolor, 82'. LoC, according those familiar with the nitrate print, colour not quite successfully reproduced in the preserved print. ♪ National Braid = Laura Ortman, Brad Kahlhamer. Engrossing drama of a Navajo boy (Richard Dix) educated by the white. He becomes an outsider, at home nowhere. Even his sweetheart (Gladys Belmont) is a girl of the Pueblo nation, the traditional enemy of the Navajo. A noble specimen of the pro-Indian tradition in American cinema. ***
Napoli che canta / The Song of Naples [not released in Finland] (IT 1926), D: Leone Roberto Roberti, DP: Carlo Montuori, 33', Italian and English intertitles. GEH restoration 2002. ♪ Canzoni interpretate da Giuni Russo.GCM Sacile Zancanaro 18 Oct 2003. The haunting "elegy to Mediterranian culture" (Paolo Cherchi Usai) by the father of Sergio Leone is a silent song film. Liberated from the demands of narrative, it rests on powerful imagery which must have brought the Italian-American audiences into tears. The intertitles sample lyrics of Neapolitan songs to be sung along during the screening. In Bologna's festival Neapolitan films have been presented with beautiful traditional music by two guitarists. Le Giornate took a step further. Together with Maria Antonietta Sisini and Aurelio Fierro, the great soprano Giuni Russo located the songs referred to in the film, and together with Michele Fedrigotti, arranged them into a stirring Neapolitan suite, performed live with Anahi Carfi, Renato Riccio, Marco Remondini, Fabio Spruzzola, and Stefano Medioli. ****
MOSJOUKINE: I SENTIERI DELL'ESILIO / THE PATHS OF EXILE
The Mosjoukine retrospective, reportedly the most ambitious to date, was a showcase of a great line of silent cinema history in the feature film era. The Russian actor (and screenwriter and director) Ivan Mosjoukine became an international star in France and Germany after the Revolution. I skipped this time the seminal but familiar Le brasier ardent (FR 1923), Feu Mathias Pascal (FR 1925), Michel Strogoff (FR 1926), and Casanova (FR 1927). Of Mosjoukine's masterpieces Der weisse Teufel (DE 1929) was shown in a recent Le Giornate edition.
The retrospective was a powerful reminder of a great actor's role in the cinema. Many of Mosjoukine's films are true star vehicles also in the sense that their artistic impact rests so much on him. Films such as The Queen of Spades and Kean are absolutely based on his interpretation. He had a great attraction to roles where he can appear in many guises: he portrays both father and son in Satan Triumphant, he interprets many stages of life (young student, ardent officer, pious monk, ancient hermit) in Father Sergius, he finds a double in The Member of the Parliament, he constructs a new identity in The Late Mathias Pascal, he returns home disguised as a clown in The House of Mystery... In his films he is a bandit, a priest, a legendary lover, the Czar's courier and a Chechen warlord. Special are the films where he plays an actor: Behind the Screen, and Kean.
But these guises are superficial. The excitement of Mosjoukine is based on the rich, strange, and profound soul which he communicates with the immediacy of his looks and gestures. He is the heroic actor who can be sensitive, the man of action who can express melancholy, the man of the world who becomes a hermit. He does not evade flamboyant exaggeration, yet he is capable of great restraint. The message of such great actors is: in the human soul there are infinite capabilities.
Many Russian screenings were longer than announced. Many Russian prints were brilliant.
Bratya-razboiniki / Bratja-razboiniki [The Brigand Brothers] (RU 1912), PC: Khanzhonkov / Hanzhonkov, D: Vasilii Goncharov / Vasili Gontsharov, starring Ivan Mozhukhin / Ivan Mozzhuhin, ca 27'. Gosfilmofond (good definition). GCM Sacile, Zancanaro 11 Oct 2003. Two orphan boys become highwaymen: interesting early crime drama was never released and comes recommended by Yuri Tsivian.
Domik v Kolomne [The Little House at Kolomna] (RU 1913), PC: Khanzhonkov / Hanzhonkov, D: Piotr Chardynin / Pjotr Tshardynin, starring Ivan Mozhukhin / Ivan Mozzhuhin ca 35'. Gosfilmofond (good definition). GCM Sacile, Zancanaro 11 Oct 2003. Courting his woman IM gets in drag. Primitive comedy.
Dyadyushkina kvartira / Djadjushkina kvartira [Uncle's Apartment] (RU 1913), PC: Khanzhonkov / Hanzhonkov, D: Piotr Chardynin / Pjotr Tshardynin, starring Ivan Mozhukhin / Ivan Mozzhuhin, ca 35'. Gosfilmofond (modest definition). GCM Sacile, Zancanaro 11 Oct 2003. IM as a bon vivant in a French farce sublets his uncle's apartment. Primitive comedy.
Khrisantemi / Hrisantemi [Chrysanthemums] (RU 1914), PC: Khanzonkov / Hanzhonkov, D: Piotr Chardynin / Pjotr Tshardynin, starring Ivan Mozhukhin / Ivan Mozzhuhin, Vera Karalli. <40'>
Zhenshchina zavtrashnego dnya / Zhenshtshina zavtrashnego dnja [A Woman of Tomorrow] (RU 1914), PC: Khanzonkov / Hanzhonkov, SC: Aleksandr Voznesensky / Aleksandr Voznesenski, D: Piotr Chardynin / Pjotr Tshardynin, starring Vera Yureneva / Vera Jureneva, Ivan Mozhukhin / Ivan Mozzhuhin <38'>
Pikovaya dama / Pikovaja dama / The Queen of Spades / Patarouva (RU 1916), PC: Yermoliev / Jermoljev, D: Yakov Protazanov / Jakov Protazanov, from the story by Pushkin, starring Ivan Mozhukhin / Mozzhuhin, Vera Orlova, 60'. Gosfilmofond, incomplete, from duped sources, not as beautiful to watch as many other Imperial Russian prints. GCM Sacile Zancanaro 16 Oct 2003. IM is very focused and intense in the classic story of the gambling obsession. The final descent into madness is powerfully visionary. ***
Satana likuyushchii / Satana likujushtshii [Satan Triumphant] (RU 1917), D: Yakov Protazanov / Jakov Protazanov, starring Ivan Mozhukhin / Ivan Mozzhuhin, incomplete, 108' announced but in fact longer. Gosfilmofond (OK definition, at times high contrast). GCM Sacile, Zancanaro 12 Oct 2003. A fanatic priest (IM) receives the Satan himself as his house-guest for the night. As Satan plays his victory hymn at the piano IM seduces the married sister of his late wife. Part Two: the son born of this sinful congress, a pianist, is drawn to the path of evil as he discovers Satan's victory hymn.
Kulissi ekrana [Behind the Screen] (RU 1917), PC: Yermoliev / Jermoljev, D: Alexandr Volkov / Aleksandr Volkov, starring Ivan Mozhukhin / Ivan Mozzhuhin. 12' fragment of a feature film. Gosfilmofond (beautiful definition). GCM Sacile Zancanaro 13 Oct 2003. A powerful sequence: the film star IM has lost his arm in the front and returns to his studio where he has been replaced by a new heroic lover, Lirski. ***
Otets Sergii / Otets Sergi / Father Sergius / Isä Sergius (RU 1918), PC: Yermoliev / Jermoljev, D: Yakov Protazanov / Jakov Protazanov, based on the story by Lev Tolstoy / Leo Tolstoi, starring Ivan Mozhukhin / Ivan Mozzhuhin, 106'. Suomen elokuva-arkisto (1973 Kosmos-Filmi, compilation reconstruction from sources of variable definition). GCM Sacile Zancanaro 13 Oct 2003. I checked the first 30 minutes of this screening of IM's most ambitious film in Russia. It could only have been made in the short period after the downfall of Imperial Russia and before the Bolshevik regime. The SEA print is the current standard version also available at the Gosfilmofond. ***
Chlen parlamenta / Tshlen parlamenta / Morfii, the Lorda Shilkotta / Lord Chilcott / Paraisos artificiales [not released in Finland] (FR/RU 1917-1923), D: Yakov Protazanov / Jakov Protazanov, starring Ivan Mozhukhin / Ivan Mozzhuhin in a double role, 70', Spanish intertitles. Tinted and toned, restored 1995 by Cineteca Nazionale. GCM Sacile, Zancanaro 12 Oct 2003. The story of a morphine-addicted British MP. He engages a Doppelgänger who gradually supersedes him in every respect. I saw the first 20 minutes, and it looked interesting.
L'angoissante aventure / Yöllinen seikkailu (FR 1920), PC: Ermolieff-Cinéma (Paris-Moscou-Yalta), D: Jacob Protazanov, starring Ivan Mosjoukine, Nathalie Lissenko, 82', French / English intertitles. Cinémathèque française 1982. GCM Sacile Zancanaro 14 Oct 2003. Protazanov's whimsical nightmare adventure was IM's calling card in the exile, a showcase of the many aspects of his talent. Fun in many scenes. **
La Maison du mystère / Kauhujen talo I-II (FR 1921-23), D: Alexandre Volkoff, starring Ivan Mosjoukine, 159', Cinémathèque française / Renée Lichtig (beautiful definition). GCM Sacile Zancanaro 13 Oct 2003. I checked the first 20 minutes from the start of the condensed feature film version of the great serial. ****
Kean ou désordre et génie / Edmond Kean (FR 1924), PC: Albatros, D: Alexandre Volkoff, based on the play by Alexandre Dumas père, starring Ivan Mosjoukine, Nathalie Lissenko, Nicolas Coline, 142' (136' announced). Cinémathèque française / Renée Lichtig 1982 (beautiful print). GCM Zancanaro 18 Oct 2003. "Métier maudit! Toujours un masque, jamais un visage!" A tour de force by Mosjoukine as the legendary British Shakespearian actor. Ends with an unforgettable death scene. ***
SAVING THE SILENTS
The third edition of the American Saving the Silents project.
George Eastman House has developed the capacity to handle 28mm diacetate film, a format in which some films solely survive. Of the restored films were shown:
The Mystery of the Hindu Image (US 1914), D+starring Raoul Walsh, 28'. Preserved in 2002 by GEH from a 28mm tinted print. GCM Sacile, Zancanaro 11 Oct 2003. The earliest surviving RW film. "The energy and craftmanship that he exhibits in Hindu Image was imprinted in all his work and defined his entire career", writes Caroline Yeager. RW himself portrays the private detective who solves the murder mystery and saves an innocent man. ***
American Aristocracy (US 1916), PC: Triangle, D: Lloyd Ingraham, SC: Anita Loos, starring Douglas Fairbanks, 52'. GEH, preserved from 28mm. GCM Sacile Zancanaro 17 Oct 2003. Fairbanks in great form as an enthomologist in a romantic adventure where Anita Loos satirizes the "American aristocracy" of industrialist upstarts. ***
The Museum of Modern Art has turned its attention to reconstructing the Edison Company films, of which the screening of Thirty Days at Hard Labor I missed. Besides, a restored classic was screened:
The Marriage Circle / Avioliiton ilveilyä (US 1923), PC: Warner Bros. D: Ernst Lubitsch, starring Florence Vidor, Monte Blue, Marie Prevost, Creighton Hale, Adolphe Menjou, 85'. MoMA (from 1936 diacetate print struck from the original negative). GCM Sacile Zancanaro 16 Oct 2003. A better print finally available of Lubitsch's first sophisticated comedy, which I previously knew only in soft and low-contrast prints. ****
The UCLA Film and Television Archive has focused on serials and on the immersion tinting technique:
Who Pays? No. 5: Unto Herself Alone (US 1915), D: Harry Harvey, SC: Henry King, starring Ruth Roland, Henry King, 40'. UCLA. GCM Sacile Zancanaro 17 Oct 2003. I saw only the beginning this episode from the serial.
My Lady's Lips [not released in Finland] (US 1925), D: James P. Hogan, starring William Powell, Clara Bow, ca 70'. Preserved by UCLA in collaboration with GEH. GCM Sacile, Zancanaro 11 Oct 2003. I only saw a half: William Powell already charismatic, Clara Bow already promising.
The Library of Congress has also joined the project with:
Clash of the Wolves [not released in Finland] (US 1925), PC: Warner Bros., D: Noel Mason Smith, starring Rin-tin-tin, Charles Farrell. 63'. LoC. GCM Sacile Zancanaro 13 Oct 2003. The first Rin-tin-tin movie, the foundation film where his origins are told. Lobo, the leader of a wolf pack, is wounded by cactus. In wolf life, a wounded animal is killed and devoured by the others. Lobo retires to die alone but is rescued and tamed by CF. ***
Now You're Talking (US 1927), D: Dave Fleischer, SC: Max Fleischer, 9'. LoC / AFI / Donald Nichol, Ahti Petaja. GCM Sacile Zancanaro 16 Oct 2003. Animation / live action hallucination on the telephone.
After seven years of the Griffith Project, we reached his last Biograph short, The Adopted Brother, and his first feature, Judith of Bethulia. Also films supervised but not directed by DWG were shown.
Included in the programme were some of DWG's best: The Lady and the Mouse, Death's Marathon, The Mothering Heart, The Yaqui Cur, The Sorrowful Shore, and The Battle at Elderbush Gulch. Many others are remakes or repeat familiar formulae.
As DWG gets impatient with the short format, he tries to pack them, even slowing down camera speed. Many of the films should be screened at 14 fps as compared to the standard 16 fps valid until 1913! As all films at the Giornate were screened at 16 fps, they often moved too fast.
Impatient with the short format, DWG clashes with Biograph, and directs the feature-length Judith of Bethulia. During the same year, Biograph is associated with Klaw & Erlanger.
In 1913, Biograph as the last of the film companies starts to announce the names of its stars. In the fall DWG declares himself the "producer of all Biograph successes" and the father of numerous cinematic inventions.
Of the stars, this is a remarkable year for Harry Carey. He appears in The Sheriff's Baby, the unofficial first film adaptation of The Three Godfathers, so important for John Ford. In the romantic tragedy The Sorrowful Shore, he co-stars with Olive Fuller Golden, the future Olive Carey. In films like If We Only Knew we get to see his signature gesture, later paid homage to by John Wayne.
Lillian Gish starts to blossom in films like The Mothering Heart.
"Griffith had no equal in the American cinema of the time when it came to his ability to plumb the psychic depths of his characters", writes Steven Higgins, and comments that ethnic stereotypes revealed a troubling tendency of prejudice in his work.
"The most significant development may be the disappearance of the Social Consciousness film", writes Russell Merritt.
Of the 36 films directed by DWG in 1913, 3 are lost, 4 are preserved but no viewing print is available, 2 are preserved but only a fragment can be viewed. Of the remaining 27 films 13 were shown in 16mm. Only one film (A Misunderstood Boy) was shown tinted and toned.
Also in the Griffith Project, seven films of 1913 not directed but maybe supervised by DWG were included.
To sum up the first seven years and the ca 500 first films covered in the Griffith Project. This has been one of the most ambitious film retrospectives of all time. It has been both an exciting study project and an endurance test because of the often modest to awful quality of the prints. Many films have not been shown at all because viewing prints are missing although negatives exist. The next generation can look forward to better quality Griffith retrospectives based on assembled prints struck from negatives with reconstructed intertitles, tinting and toning. Griffith had a passion for music, his films have a musical quality, and they are full with direct musical references (for instance The Wanderer and The House of Darkness). One looks forward to well-prepared film concerts or soundtracks to the Biograph shorts. - The next generation Griffith retrospectives may lead to revaluations. Seen in soft 16mm prints, his story-driven films can still be appreciated, but the visual beauty of his lyrical films may be lost if not seen in good 35mm.
The Griffith Project series of books maintains its excellent standard. In Volume Seven, the essays of top experts are inspired.
Rating: * for the best shorts.
GRIFFITH 1913 - 1
Love in an Apartment Hotel (US 1913), PC: Biograph, D: D.W. Griffith, 18'. DWG 458. 16mm. MoMA. GCM Sacile, Ruffo 12 Oct 2003. Thriller / romance: a burglar (Harry Carey) ties a chambermaid (Mae Marsh) of an apartment hotel in the closet of the guest; the guest's (Henry Walthall) fiancée (Blanche Sweet) misunderstands the situation. +
Broken Ways (US 1913), PC: Biograph, D: D.W. Griffith, 25'. DWG 459. MoMA Aywon reissue. GCM Sacile, Ruffo 12 Oct 2003. Western: a telegraph operator (Blanche Sweet) marries a highway robber, "a road agent" (Henry B. Walthall) but moves to another town as he turns out to be brutal. Believing him dead she thinks she is free to meet the sheriff of the town (Harry Carey) who is infatuated with her. +
Near to Earth (US 1913), PC: Biograph, D: D.W. Griffith, 18'. DWG 461. 16mm MoMA Blackhawk. GCM Sacile, Ruffo 12 Oct 2003. Drama: an Italian emigrant (Lionel Barrymore) is so engrossed in his business that he neglects his wife (Gertrude Bambrick), who becomes easy prey for a passing stranger (Walter Miller).
GRIFFITH 1913 - 2
A Welcome Intruder (US 1913), PC: Biograph, D: D.W. Griffith, 17' (too fast at 16 fps), DWG 462. 16mm. MoMA. GCM Sacile, Ruffo 12 Oct 2003. Drama: a lost child brings together his widowed father, a construction foreman (Charles Hill Mailes), and the widow who finds him (Claire McDowell). +
The Sheriff's Baby (US 1913), PC: Biograph, D: D.W. Griffith, 17' (too fast at 16 fps), DWG 463. 16mm. MoMA. GCM Sacile, Ruffo 12 Oct 2003. Western: in this uncredited first film adaptation of The Three Godfathers, three bandits (Harry Carey, Lionel Barrymore, Henry Walthall) rescue a baby in the desert. +
The Perfidy of Mary (US 1913), PC: Biograph, D: D.W. Griffith, 16', 16mm. MoMA Blackhawk. DWG 465. GCM Sacile, Ruffo 12 Oct 2003. Romance: a twin love story of two cousins (Dorothy Gish, Mae Marsh) whose dreams about Loving-Land interwine with reality.
A Misunderstood Boy (US 1913), PC: Biograph, D: D.W. Griffith, 17' (too fast at 16 fps). UCLA, beautiful tinted and toned print. DWG 466. GCM Sacile, Ruffo 12 Oct 2003. Western: the boy (Robert Harron) blamed by vigilantes to have robbed and murdered a traveler narrowly escapes lynching. +
GRIFFITH 1913 - 3
The Lady and the Mouse (US 1913), PC: Biograph, D: D.W. Griffith, 15'. MoMA from Russian dupe. DWG 469. GCM Sacile, Ruffo 12 Oct 2003. Romance: an easy-going grocer takes in an ailing tramp, a millionaire in disguise (Harry Hyde). He is charmed by the daughter (Lillian Gish) who does not want to drown a trapped mouse. *
If We Only Knew (US 1913), PC: Biograph, D: D.W. Griffith, 13'. BFI / NFTVA (not brilliant). DWG 470. GCM Sacile, Ruffo 12 Oct 2003. Drama: while father and mother (Henry B. Walthall, Blanche Sweet) are in the city on business, the little daughter wanders to the beach and climbs into a boat that drifts out to sea. On the other shore, she is rescued by a fisherman (Harry Carey) and his wife.
The Wanderer (US 1913), PC: Biograph, D: D.W. Griffith, 17', 16mm. MoMA Blackhawk. DWG 471. GCM Sacile, Ruffo 12 Oct 2003. Fairy-tale, remake of Pippa Passes: the pied-piper (Henry B. Walthall) prefers "the true note over material gain". His life-saving music brings lovers together and prevents crime.
The House of Darkness (US 1913), PC: Biograph, D: D.W. Griffith, 16'. DWG 472. BFI / NFTVA 1987. GCM Sacile, Ruffo 12 Oct 2003. Drama: a noted judge (Charles Hill Mailes) becomes a violent madman in an insane asylum. There is one cure that can calm him down: music, which can even prevent murder.
GRIFFITH 1913 - 4
The Stolen Loaf (US 1913), PC: Biograph, D: Anthony O'Sullivan or D.W. Griffith. DWG 473. BFI / NFTVA <1' fragment. GCM Sacile, Ruffo 13 Oct 2003. Drama: a poor man (Henry Walthall) steals bread without knowing about the necklace hidden in it, and is followed by the butler (Harry Carey).
Just Gold (US 1913), PC: Biograph, D: D.W. Griffith 17', DWG 474. MoMA, seven shots missing. GCM Sacile, Ruffo 13 Oct 2003. Drama / Western: three brothers perish in the desert looking for just gold. Fourth brother (Lionel Barrymore) finds happiness with Lillian Gish looking for just love. +
His Mother's Son (US 1913), PC: Biograph, D: D.W. Griffith, 17'. DWG 475. 16mm MoMA Blackhawk. GCM Sacile, Ruffo 13 Oct 2003. Drama: tyrant mother (Jennie Lee) dies of heart-attack. Crippled husband (W. Chrystie Miller) and young daughter (Mae Marsh) find work with brutal restaurant owner, sailor brother (Walter Miller) saves them after a prosperous sea voyage. +
A Timely Interception (US 1913), PC: Biograph, D: D.W. Griffith, starring Lillian Gish, Robert Harron, Lionel Barrymore. 15'. DWG 476. 16mm MoMA Blackhawk. GCM Sacile, Ruffo 13 Oct 's 2003. Drama: a farmer's (W. Chrystie Miller) family (Lillian Gish, Robert Harron) is saved at the last moment as oil is discovered in their land. - Russell Merritt pays attention to the disappearance of the Social Consciousness film in the California period of DWG's Biograph films.
The Yaqui Cur (US 1913), PC: Biograph, D: D.W. Griffith, 26'. DWG 479. 16mm MoMA Aywon. GCM Sacile, Ruffo 13 Oct 2003. Western: a Yaqui youngster (Robert Harron) is taught by the white man to walk like them, to smoke, and to understand the teaching of the Bible: "Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friend". The teaching leads him to great personal ordeal as a war between the Yaqui and the Zuni breaks out. He becomes an outcast, but in a final twist he saves his friend who has killed a white rapist and takes the blame to face certain lynching. *
GRIFFITH 1913 - 5
[Screened with wrong gate]
Death's Marathon (US 1913), PC: Biograph, D: D.W. Griffith, 17'. DWG 477. MoMA. GCM Sacile Ruffo 14 Oct 2003. Drama: woman (Blanche Sweet) chooses between two suitors. Her husband (Walthall) turns out to be a gambler. Even a loyal friend (Walter Miller) cannot rescue him.*
The Mothering Heart (US 1913), PC: Biograph, D: D.W. Griffith, 26' (too fast at 16 fps). DWG 478. MoMA. GCM Sacile Ruffo 14 Oct 2003. Drama: young wife (Lillian Gish) walks on her husband (Walter Miller) who has turned his attention to an idle woman. At the deathbed of their baby they reconcile. *
Her Mother's Oath (US 1913), PC: Biograph, D: D.W. Griffith, 17'. DWG 481. 16mm MoMA Blackhawk. GCM Sacile Ruffo 14 Oct 2003. Drama: "If I ever speak to that man again, may God strike my mother blind": stern mother (Jennie Lee) forces daughter (Dorothy Gish) to swear thus. She elopes with an actor (Walthall), and the oath comes true.
GRIFFITH 1913 - 6
[Screened with wrong gate]
The Sorrowful Shore (US 1913), PC: Biograph, D: D.W. Griffith, 17'. DWG 482. MoMA. GCM Sacile Ruffo 14 Oct 2003. Tragedy: a widowed fisherman (Harry Carey) rescues a young woman (Olive Fuller Golden > Olive Carey) from the sea. They marry, but the man is jealous of his son's affection to her. Jealousy leads to tragedy; Harry and Olive are united in death. *
The Battle at Elderbush Gulch (US 1913), PC: Biograph, D: D.W. Griffith, 29' (too fast at 16 fps). DWG 483. MoMA. GCM Sacile Ruffo 14 Oct 2003. Western, one of DWG's last ones, the epic story of the great Indian attack launched by two lost puppies. With Mae Marsh, Robert Harron, Lillian Gish, Henry B. Walthall etc. A formula for for decades to come. But DWG had already made better Westerns. *
The Enemy's Baby (US 1913), PC: Biograph, D: Anthony O'Sullivan or D.W. Griffith, incomplete 8'. DWG 484. BFI / NFTVA 1974 / 2002. GCM Sacile Ruffo 14 Oct 2003. Drama: baby lost from a wagon is recovered in the enemy's house. With Lionel Barrymore, Harry Carey.
The Mistake (US 1913), PC: Biograph, D: D.W. Griffith, 17'. DWG 485. BFI / NFTVA 1972 (low contrast). GCM Sacile Ruffo 14 Oct 2003. Western: the tragedy of two gold prospectors. Charles Hill Mailes is married to Blanche Sweet but fatally jealous of his partner Henry B. Walthall. Thinking they have eloped CHM chases them and fatally wounds HBW, before realizing that the partner has saved his wife from marauding Indians.
GRIFFITH 1913 - 7
The Coming of Angelo (US 1913), PC: Biograph, D: D.W. Griffith, 16' (too fast at 16 fps). DWG 486. BFI / NFTVA 1952 / 1966. GCM Sacile Ruffo 15 Oct 2003. Drama: Italians on seashore. Blanche Sweet is the love of Guido (Charles Hill Mailes), but then comes young Angelo (Walter Miller). Mixed up with anarchists, Guido tries to bomb Angelo.
Brute Force / In Prehistoric Days (US 1913), PC: Biograph, D: D.W. Griffith, 31'. DWG 488. 16mm MoMA Killiam. GCM Sacile Ruffo 15 Oct 2003. Prehistoric allegory. Robert Harron falls asleep at the club and dreams of caveman days, as inventions of the brain overcame brute force. Mae Marsh has another dual role as a society lady and a cavewoman. Looks silly at least in this print.
The Reformers, Or the Lost Art of Minding One's Business (US 1913), PC: Biograph, D: D.W. Griffith, 25'. DWG 490. 16mm MoMA Blackhawk. GCM Sacile Ruffo 15 Oct 2003. Satire: a DWG attack on puritanism and hypocrisy at its most extreme: smoking, drinking, dancing, all fun forbidden. But trouble brews in the reformers' own home (Robert Harron, Mae Marsh).
GRIFFITH 1913 - 8
Judith of Bethulia out-takes (US 1913), PC: Biograph, D: D.W. Griffith, 5'. DWG 491. MoMA 16mm. GCM Sacile Ruffo 15 Oct 2003. Blanche Sweet rehearses several ways to assassinate Holofernes, with a glimpse of DWG.
Judith of Bethulia (US 1913), PC: Biograph, D: D.W. Griffith, based on the Apocrypha, 74' (even this at times too fast at 16 fps). DWG 492. MoMA. GCM Sacile Ruffo 15 Oct 2003. Biblical epic: DWG's first feature, with Blanche Sweet (Judith) and Henry Walthall (Holofernes). Seen in the context of the Griffith project, there is a marvellous sense of organic growth of themata, storytelling, visual devices, and ensemble acting. ***
GRIFFITH 1913 - 8b
Judith of Bethulia (US 1913), PC: Biograph, D: D.W. Griffith, 68' announced. DWG 492. LoC from paper print, only parts I-III shown - final part not screened. GCM Sacile Ruffo 16 Oct 2003. This print was screened as it retains the original DWG cut and rhythm.
from GRIFFITH 1913 - 9
The Adopted Brother (US 1913), PC: Biograph, D: D.W. Griffith & W. Christy Cabanne, 15'. DWG 493. MoMA without intertitles. GCM Sacile Ruffo 16 Oct 2003. Drama: DWG's final Biograph short: the adopted brother (Robert Harron) is the family's true support while the son by blood wastes his life on the path of crime. Beautiful images and Harron's soulful performance redeem this. - As this film was screened without piano accompaniment, the musical quality of the images emerged.
GRIFFITH 1913 - 10
Strongheart (US 1913), PC: Klaw & Erlanger / Biograph, supervised by DWG, D: James Kirkwood, based on a play by William C. deMille, 48'. DWG 495. 16mm Loc from paper print. GCM Sacile Ruffo 16 Oct 2003. Indian drama: Walthall restrained as Strongheart, the Indian youngster educated by the whites, who finds himself in a cultural no man's land, rejects his white sweetheart and returns to his tribe as a chief. The story belongs to the same tradition as Redskin, also shown at GCM. (I skipped the middle).
IL CINEMA D'ESPLORAZIONE: LA SCUOLA DI COOPER E SCHOEDSACK
THE CINEMA OF EXPLORATION: THE SCHOOL OF COOPER AND SCHOEDSACK
Introduced by Kevin Brownlow, an inspired retrospective dedicated to the Merian C. Cooper and Ernest B. Schoedsack influence was launched in Sacile, complete with a Cooper exhibition. Films in the spirit of exploration to forms of life completely different from the Western civilization were shown. They are not documentaries in the newsreel sense, but all share a sense of drama and storytelling, or are even predominantly fiction films with strong factual elements.
Ra-Mu (US 1924 / 1934), P: Captain Edward A. Salisbury, PH: Merian C. Cooper, Ernest B. Schoedsack. 21'. BFI / NFTVA. GCM Sacile, Zancanaro 12 Oct 2003. The sound reissue of an early Cooper & Schoedsack film shot in Addis Abeba, where Prince Regent Ras Tafari (later Haile Selassie, Emperor of Ethiopia) assembles his army of 50.000 for the camera. ***
Grass: A Nation's Battle for Life [not released in Finland] (US 1925), D: Merian C. Cooper, Ernest B. Schoedsack, 73'. GCM Sacile, Zancanaro 12 Oct 2003. The epic story of the Great Trek of the Bakhtiari over wild rivers and huge mountains. ***½
COOPER & SCHOEDSACK EVENTO MUSICALE / SPECIAL MUSICAL PRESENTATION
Chang / Chang, viidakon kuningas (US 1927), D: Merian C. Cooper, Ernest B. Schoedsack, 68'. Milestone Film and Video. GCM Sacile, Zancanaro 12 Oct 2003. The Thai family's struggle for life in the jungle. ♪ arranged, composed and conducted by Philip Carli and played by a eight man band with an accordeon, a violin, brass, woodwinds, a flute, a piano, and percussions. Based on the original cue sheet, this was a beautiful resurrection of authentic music from the silent era. ****
Stark Love / Julmaa rakkautta (US 1927), PC: Paramount, D: Karl Brown, 69'. 16mm MoMA, from the Czech version V roklinach Kalifornskych. GCM Sacile Ruffo 17 Oct 2003. Shot in the mountains of North Carolina, a strong and authentic portrait of the mountain people cut off from the modernization of America. ***
White Shadows in the South Seas / Valkoisia varjoja Etelämerellä (US 1928), PC: MGM, D: W.S. Van Dyke, starring Monte Blue, Raquel Torres, 88'. GEH, from a slightly damaged source. GCM Sacile Zancanaro 16 Oct 2003. A masterpiece on the white civilization's degrading influence on the South Sea islanders, often unjustly treated in film histories, richly deserves rehabilitation. There is a real sense of the sublime, grandeur, and nobility. ****
The Silent Enemy / Mykkä vihollinen (US 1930), P: W. Douglas Burden, D: H.P. Carver, 84', sound prologue. Film Preservation Associates. GCM Sacile Zancanaro 14 Oct 2003. The drama-documentary about the Native American, before the white man came. Powerful images of the hunting and fishing tribe. One of the performers, Buffalo Child Long Lance, was later exposed as a fraud. I saw about a half of it, missing the famous caribou stampede. ***?
The Viking [not released in Finland] (CA/US 1931), D: Varick Frissell, George Melford, 72'. Library and Archives of Canada. GCM Sacile Ruffo 18 Oct 2003. An important film of Canadian film history, a pioneering Canadian sound film in which is hidden great footage by Varick Frissell. The struggle for existence of the people of Newfoundland was originally titled White Thunder. Varick Frissell died during the making of this film, which was renamed after the wreck of his ship. Amazing images of sealing on dangerous ice. **
Creation (US 1932) D: Willis H.O'Brien, 5' unreleased sample reel. LoC. GCM Sacile, Ruffo 13 Oct 2003. This project was aborted but became useful as a preparation for King Kong. Yet the stop-motion animated prehistoric animals of Creation are not in the same league as King Kong.
HAGHEFILM-SELZNICK SCHOOL FELLOWSHIP
Lost - a Yodel (US 1920), D: C.L. Chester, 12'. GEH 2003. GCM Sacile Zancanaro 14 Oct 2003. The "Chester Outings" series takes us to Switzerland.
Tom Tight et Dum Dum (FR 1903), D: Georges Méliès, 2'30". GEH 2003. GCM Sacile Zancanaro 14 Oct 2003. Digitally preserved, with comparison footage. Wildly dancing, disintegrating performers, print visually beautiful. *
Man's Best Friends (US 1913), 1'30". GEH 2003. GCM Sacile Zancanaro 14 Oct 2003. Digitally restored from a Spirograph record. Views of many kinds of dogs.
THE MO I RANA FELLOWSHIP
Robinet anarchico / Tweedledum as an Anarchist (IT 1913), PC: Ambrosio, starring Marcel Fabre, 6', English intertitles. GEH / National Film and Sound Archive Canberra / Cineteca del Friuli / Mo i Rana. GCM Sacile Zancanaro 14 Oct 2003. Anarchists bomb government officials and finally themselves.
THE TECHNICOLOR - SELZNICK SCHOOL FELLOWSHIP
[Two-Color Kodachrome Subtractive Process Test Reel] (US 1922), 9'. GEH 2003. GCM Sacile Zancanaro 14 Oct 2003. Including colour tests of Gloria Swanson and other stars.
Wunder der Schöpfung / Luomakunnan ihmeet [Wonders of Creation] (DE 1925), PC: Ufa / Colonna, D: Hanns Walter Kornblum, 75', Finnish / Swedish intertitles. 2003 Suomen elokuva-arkisto, Haghefilm restoration of a multi-coloured print. The colour is not as brilliant as in the nitrate print. GCM Sacile Zancanaro 14 Oct 2003. A Ufa Kulturfilm preserved and discovered from oblivion; its cosmological vision now charmingly time-bound. Although non-fiction, the film is mostly animation and live action dramatization. In its ambitious magnificence and its Weltuntergang theme it belongs to the context of the great Ufa tradition of Faust and Metropolis. Its visionary aspects, its space odyssey, place it in the Fritz Lang - Stanley Kubrick line of science fiction. In its "sense of wonder" it is a missing link in the Méliès - Spielberg tradition of the cinefantastique. The sober documentary views of oceans, mountains and fields are artistically distinguished. There is a sense of humour in the world-historical vignettes (Moses, Galilei, Newton...). ***
Homunculus / Homunculus eli mies ilman sielua I-VI (DE 1916), D: Otto Rippert, DP: Carl Hoffmann, starring Olaf Fönss. Originally in six parts, reportedly totalling some nine hours. This version 113', Italian intertitles, GEH 2002, many colour effects. GCM Sacile Zancanaro 15 Oct 2003. An important discovery from the history of German fantasy film: as the complete film is missing, fragments such as this are indispensable. Carl Hoffmann's powerful composition is the main asset of the condensed material of this fascinating serial with science fiction elements. The direction of actors is wooden and unconvincing, the storytelling clumsy and boring.
Der Mandarin (AT 1918), PC: Sascha-Film, D: Fritz Freisler, 61'. GEH 2002, Italian intertitles. GCM Sacile Zancanaro 13 Oct 2003. A famous writer enters a mental institution to seek inspiration for his new novel. I saw the first 20 minutes.
Angst / Uskoton / Tuska (DE 1928), D: Hans Steinhoff, based on the story by Stefan Zweig, 105'. Bundesarchiv. GCM Sacile Zancanaro 14 Oct 2003. I saw the first 20 minutes and the end: looks like a visually witty and wonderfully expressive interpretation, completely different from the Rossellini / Bergman version. ***?
Naslednyi prints respubliki [The Crown Prince of the Republic] [not released in Finland] (SU 1934), PC: Lenfilm, D: Eduard Ioganson, 79' (84' announced). Gosfilmofond. GCM Sacile Zancanaro 17 Oct 2003. A Soviet comedy in the "three men and a baby" tradition. As wife gets pregnant, husband escapes to the home of four sworn bachelors, all futurist architects. Evegheniia Pyrialova / Jevgenia Pyrjalova is wonderful in the female lead. Certainly something different than the Chapayev / Maxim trend of the Soviet Thirties.
JERRY THE TYKE
Jerry the Troublesome Tyke, a character from the British Pathé Pictorial screen magazines from 1925 to 1927, has been rediscovered in the recent years. Created by animator Sid Griffiths and photographer Bert Bilby together with animator Brian white, Jerry the Tyke is the foundation of Welsh animation. Jerry is not necessarily a nice character. The animation is simple, even crude.
Never Say Die (GB 1925), D: Sid Griffiths, Bert Bilby, 6'. The National Screen and Sound Archive of Wales. GCM Sacile, Zancanaro 11 Oct 2003. Animation. Jerry's suicide attempt.
Jerry Done Again (GB 1925) D: Sid Griffiths, Bert Bilby, 4'. The National Screen and Sound Archive of Wales. GCM Sacile Zancanaro 13 Oct 2003. Animation. Ink spots become Jerry silhouettes: Jerry, a black minstrel with a banjo.
A Wireless Whirl (GB 1926), D: Sid Griffiths, Bert Bilby, 5'. The National Screen and Sound Archive of Wales. GCM Sacile, Zancanaro 12 Oct 2003. Animation. The drawing hand produces Jerry a radio; listening to it, Jerry is struck by lightning.
Shown Up! (GB 1926), D: Sid Griffiths, Bert Bilby, 6'. The National Screen and Sound Archive of Wales. GCM Sacile Zancanaro 13 Oct 2003. Animation. Jerry, desperate to win a dog beauty contest, is not above disguising himself.
One Exciting Nightmare (GB 1926), D: Sid Griffiths, Bert Bilby, 3'37". The National Screen and Sound Archive of Wales. GCM Sacile Zancanaro 16 Oct 2003. An animated slab of cheese slices Jerry's head off.
A ORIENTE DEL SOLE, A OCCIDENTE DELLA LUNA: IL CINEMA IN THAILANDIA
EAST OF THE SUN, WEST OF THE MOON: A REGION IN MEMORY (THAI CINEMA)
A new project for Le Giornate del Cinema Muto was launched: a project of SEAPAVAA = the South East Asia Pacific Audio Visual Archive Association to present each year a program of films from one country of its region. This year, two shows of early Thai cinema were presented; the virtually complete collection of the remnants of a rich film culture: cinema arrived in Thailand in 1897. I saw but a glimpse of:
Sadej lieb mothon fainua [King Rama VII's Official Tour to Northern Siam] (TH 1927) 54', I saw the ending only. GCM Sacile, Ruffo 12 Oct 2003.
ALLA CONQUISTA DEL CIELO: PRIMI FILM E PRIMI VELIVOLI
TAKINT TO THE AIR: EARLY FILM AND EARLY FLIGHT (VOLO / FLIGHT 100)
Stephen Herbert and Luke McKernan had compiled an evidently inspired show of the Centenary of powered flight - 17 Dec 1903, the Wright brothers managed to take their powered airplane to the air for 12 seconds. I saw but the end of:
Primo circuito aereo internazionale (IT 1909), 13'. Bologna 2003. GCM Sacile Ruffo 14 Oct 2003. Many famous aviators participate in the aerial show.
CENTENARIO / CENTENARY
The Great Train Robbery / Suuri junaryöstö (US 1903), D: Edwin S. Porter, 12'. Beautiful MoMA 1997 restoration of a colour print. GCM Sacile, Zancanaro 12 Oct 2003. Surprisingly smooth action even for a modern viewer. ****
PROIEZIONE SPECIALE / SPECIAL SCREENING
Frankenstein (US 1910), PC: Edison, D: J. Searle Dawley, starring Augustus Phillips (Frankenstein), Charles Ogle (The Monster), Mary Fuller (The Sweetheart), 15', tinted, from the Alois F. Dettlaff Collection, presented by the collector in the getup of the Father of Time. GCM Sacile Zancanaro 16 Oct 2003. The famous film from the "most wanted" list finally made available by the collector. This first Frankenstein film is moving. The acting style is over the top, the special effects are interesting, there is a consistency of style, the intertitles are effective, and the final mirror shock is original. ***
FILM A SORPRESA
The Case of Lena Smith / Tapahtuma Lena Smith (US 1929), D: Josef von Sternberg, 4'. Hiroshi Komatsu / Waseda University. GCM Sacile Zancanaro 17 Oct 2003. Footage from the beginning of the film: Esther Ralston and her girlfriend visit the Viennese fair and escape from a magician's performance.