Friday, October 08, 2010

Mulcahy's Raid and A College Chicken (Haghefilm / Selznick School Fellowship 2010: Karin Carlson)

Haghefilm / Selznick School Fellowship 2010: Karin Carlson (Lake Geneva, Wisconsin)
Mulcahy's Raid (Essanay Film Mfg. Co., US 1910). D: ?; cast: Harry Todd, Augustus Carney; 35 mm, 350 ft, 5' (18 fps); source: George Eastman House.
A College Chicken (Essanay Film Mfg. Co., US 1910). D: ?; 35 mm, 430 ft, 6'2" (19 fps); source: George Eastman House.
Presented at Teatro Verdi, Pordenone (GCM) with e-subtitles in Italian and XX at the grand piano, 8 Oct 2010.

CAROLINE YEAGER at the GCM Catalogue: "These two short films from the prodigious output of the Essanay studios had been considered “lost” until they were recently discovered by George Eastman House vault staff as products of Essanay. Originally released at 550 ft. and 448 ft. respectively, the two 35mm diacetate films were spliced together on an Essanay split reel. Time and wear had taken their toll, and the first film on the reel, Mulcahy’s Raid, was missing some footage and its original title. This film was subsequently identified by Essanay film historian David Kiehn, who was also able to identify two of the actors. Mulcahy’s Raid features a police officer who becomes entangled with a group of actors playing policemen in a film and enlists them to assist him with a raid on a cockfight. The second film on the reel, A College Chicken, is missing its original end title, but seems to be fairly complete. It tells the story of a chicken that is stolen multiple times, and follows the fowl deed from hencoop to a girl-boy boarding school, where, cooked by the boys, the purloined bird ends up as a delicious meal for the girls. A pillow fight finishes off the evening. – CAROLINE YEAGER."

The prints are ok from difficult sources. The films are basic knockabout slapstick, the first a cockfight story with actors wearing policemen's costumes, and the second with a black boy stealing a chicken, in turn stolen from him by white boy students, and finally eaten by girl students. The pillow fight is an early instance of the Zéro de conduite tradition.

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