Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Cento anni fà 6 – USA 1909 I: L'anno miracoloso di D.W. Griffith

A Hundred Years Ago 6 – USA 1909 I: The Miracle Year of D.W. Griffith.
Presentano Gian Luca Farinelli, Camille Blot-Wellens, Béatrice [Valbin-Constant?], Mariann Lewinsky. Grand piano: Gabriel Thibaudeau. Viewed in Bologna, Cinema Lumière 1, 30 June 2009

- The tribute to Griffith's annus mirabilis was sabotaged by the terrible quality of the prints. The original negatives exist at MoMA, but for some reason good prints of Griffith's films are rare.
- In 1909 Griffith directed 142 films. Quoting Tom Gunning's introductory text to the program: "Griffith had discovered the powers of parallel editing in 1908, but in 1909 he truly explored its diverse uses from suspense, to political commentary, to psychological exploration. But if editing supplied Griffith's major narrative tool, his attention to the image, to composition and lyrical beauty expanded as well."
- Griffith discovers the landscape as an image of the soul, "soulscape"

The Country Doctor. US 1909. D: D.W. Griffith. DP: Billy Bitzer; CAST: Frank Powell, Florence Lawrence, Mary Pickford, Linda Arvidson, Kate Bruce, Gladys Egan, Adele De Garde, Stephanie Longfellow; PC: Biograph. 35mm. 287 m. B&w. From: MoMA. - Ok print.
The Cricket on the Hearth. US 1909. D: D.W. Griffith. Based on the tale (1845) by Charles Dickens; DP: Billy Bitzer, Arthur Marvin; CAST: Charles Inslee, Owen Moore, Violet Mersereau, Herbert Prior, Linda Arvidson, Mack Sennett; PC: Biograph. 16mm. 73 m. B&w. [Announced: From: MoMA.] - From LoC paper print, titles missing, terrible print, incomprehensible without the titles, impossible to appreciate the visual quality.
Pippa Passes. US 1909. D: D.W. Griffith. Based on the poem by Robert Browning (1841); DP: Billy Bitzer, Arthur Marvin; CAST: Gertrude Robinson, George Nicholls, Adele De Garde, James Kirkwood, Mack Sennett, Tony O’Sullivan, Linda Arvidson; PC: Biograph. 16mm. 11’. From: LoC. - A terrible, scratched print based on a paper print, without titles, incomprehensible, impossible to appreciate the visual quality. - This story is famously based on the transforming power of music. As the pianist missed this idea completely, the live music was another obstruction to the reception of Griffith's film.
The Red Man’s View. US 1909. D: D.W. Griffith. DP: Billy Bitzer; CAST: James Kirkwood, Arthur Johnson, Owen Moore, Lottie Pickford, Alfred Paget, W. Chrystie Miller, Dorothy West, Kate Bruce; PC: Biograph. 35mm. 296 m. B&w. [Announced: From: MoMA.] - "Restored" by LoC, seemingly from a paper print, weak visual quality.

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