Friday, October 07, 2016

The Haghefilm Digitaal – Selznick School Fellowship 2016: Janneke van Dalen

A Ray of Sunshine after the Rain (US 1899), photo: George Eastman Museum, Rochester, NY. Please do click on the images to enlarge them.

Borsa di studio Haghefilm Digitaal – Selznick School 2016
The Haghefilm Digitaal – Selznick School Fellowship 2016
    Le Giornate del Cinema Muto (GCM): Haghefilm–Selznick School.
    Teatro Verdi, Pordenone, no intertitles and Dutch intertitles, e-subtitles in English and Italian, grand piano: John Sweeney, 7 Oct 2016

GCM: "The Haghefilm Fellowship was established in 1997 to provide additional professional training to outstanding graduates of The L. Jeffrey Selznick School of Film Preservation at the George Eastman Museum in Rochester, New York. The Fellowship recipient is invited to Amsterdam for one month to work alongside Haghefilm Digitaal lab professionals to preserve short films from the George Eastman Museum collection, completing each stage of the preservation project."

"The recipient of the 2016 Haghefilm Digitaal Fellowship is Janneke van Dalen, from the Netherlands. Janneke graduated in the certificate program of the L. Jeffrey Selznick School of Film Preservation in June 2016. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Cultural Studies from the Vrije Universiteit and a Master of Arts degree in Preservation and Presentation of the Moving Image at the University of Amsterdam. Janneke has also worked with the nitrate film collection of the Institute of Sound and Vision in Scheveningen, and as a film projectionist for the past few years.
" (GCM)

A RAY OF SUNSHINE AFTER THE RAIN (A Little Ray of Sunshine After the Rain) (US 1899). D+cin: F. S. Armitage. C: ?. PC: American Mutoscope & Biograph Company. Rel: 1899, 1902. Copy: 35 mm, 21 ft, 21" (16 fps); no titles. Source: George Eastman Museum, Rochester, NY.

Janneke van Dalen: "This very short single-scene comedy “made a big hit,” according to the 1902 catalogue of the American Mutoscope and Biograph Company. The one-joke story goes as follows: A rainstorm has ceased, and a man and a woman meet in front of a shop. The shopkeeper comes out , lowers the awning, and the couple is drenched by the collected rainwater. Originally shot in September 1899, A Ray of Sunshine After the Rain is a perfect example of the type of short films that American Mutoscope and Biograph produced in the early days of its existence, at the company’s rooftop studio in New York City: comedy subjects with a single good punch-line, often measuring no more than 50 feet. The film was re-released in 1902, when it appeared in the company’s published catalogue listing the nearly 2,500 motion pictures they had made thus far, which were now available on “Standard Size Sprocket Film” (35 mm wide, with Edison-type perforations, instead of the 68/70 mm Biograph format)."

"The film is part of the George K. Spoor donation to the George Eastman Museum, a collection that consists mainly of early American, British, and French films. An unidentified William Haggar film, found on the same reel, is also being shown in this program.
" – Janneke van Dalen

AA: Fiction, comedy. A quick sketch, a physical joke: just when you thought it is safe after the rain... A sense of joy conveyed in 20 seconds. Visual quality: low contrast, watchable.

[Flirtation on Park Bench. Unidentified William Haggar film]. GB 1902, photo: George Eastman Museum, Rochester, NY.

D: William Haggar. C: Walter Haggar (clergyman), Violet Haggar (girl), Sid Griffiths (policeman), Fred Haggar? (tramp). PC: Haggar & Sons. Rel: 1902? 35 mm, 41 ft, 41" (16 fps); no titles. Source: George Eastman Museum, Rochester, NY.

Janneke van Dalen: "This playful short comedy is made up of a handful of standard ingredients not uncommon in comedies of the time: a park bench; a clergyman; a girl; a tramp; a policeman. The discovery of this unknown film has led to an exciting search, and it has now been identified as one of the few surviving productions by one of Britain’s most interesting cinema pioneers, William Haggar."

"The first scene shows a young clerg yman and a woman, sitting next to each other on a park bench. It is a flirtatious scene: both are looking down, and smiling shyly. Without the clergyman noticing, the woman is scared away by a tramp. He takes her place on the bench and manages to help himself to the clergyman’s watch. As the tramp turns his back to the young man, a policeman plays the same trick on the tramp by taking the place of the clergyman (as seen in the frame enlargement reproduced here). The policeman surprises the tramp and arrests him after a scuffle . The last scene shows the clergyman and the woman again: the woman falls into the man’s arms, and as he comforts her, he steals a kiss."

"The film has been identified with the help of early cinema experts connected to Domitor, the international society for the study of early cinema. Luke McKernan and Tony Fletcher recognized Walter Haggar, the son of cinema pioneer William Haggar, as the clergyman. Peter Yorke, William Haggar’s great-grandson and author of the 2007 book William Haggar: Fairground Film Maker, helped with further identifying details. He recognized the actors, among whom is his own grandmother Violet Haggar, and provided valuable contextual information."

"William Haggar made films with the resources he had at hand: actors and props came from his theatrical company, and he found shooting locations in the vicinity of his fairground theatre. Yorke believes the film was shot in 1902, one year after Haggar started making films. Although there are no short Haggar comedies listed for this year in the surviving filmographies, Yorke suggests that “he would have needed comedies too (his policy was always to show a brief comedy at the end of his show, in order to send his audience away laughing).”"

"We have not yet been successful in finding the title of this film. Descriptions of known Haggar films do not match the plot, and there is no definite and complete William Haggar filmography. Haggar was often uncredited once he sold his films to the Warwick Trading Company, the Charles Urban Trading Company, and later to the Gaumont Company. Haggar’s films were most likely sold to the American market through these three companies; so this and other Haggar films might well be listed in one of the catalogues of a number of other production companies, yet not attributed to William Haggar."

"The film was found spliced at the tail-end of the nitrate print of the short Biograph comedy A Ray of Sunshine After the Rain, also included in this program. Both films are part of the George K . Spoor donation to the George Eastman Museum.
" – Janneke van Dalen

AA: Fiction, comedy. A brisk vignette of rapidly changing situations on a park bench: a young clergyman and a woman, a tramp and the clergyman, the tramp and a policeman, and back to the flirtation between the young clergyman with the woman. There is a sense of joy in this little film, as well. Visual quality: at times high contrast but generally watchable.

The Summer Boarders, D: G. W. Bitzer, photo: George Eastman Museum, Rochester, NY.

THE SUMMER BOARDERS (US 1905). D+cin: G. W. Bitzer. C: ?. PC: American Mutoscope & Biograph Company. Filmed: 7.1905. © 19.8.1905. 35 mm, 535 ft, 8'55" (16 fps); no titles. Source: George Eastman Museum, Rochester, NY.

Janneke van Dalen: "“A laughable skit in moving pictures, portraying the delights of life on a farm ... 564 feet of uproarous [sic] merriment,” as the American Mutoscope and Biograph Company advertised in one of their 1905 Bulletins. The Summer Boarders is full of uproarious merriment indeed, with lively scenes of non-stop movement portraying the unfortunate and humorous adventures of city folk visiting the countryside. “ Everyone who has spent a week on a farm or who has read the comic papers knows something of the joys of the average summer boarders."

"Mosquitoes, omnipresent; heat, intense; food, out of tin cans. It’s all lovely in the advertisements, and all hocus-pocus when you come to try it.” (Biograph Bulletin no. 48, 28 August 1905)"

"The film opens with a city family arriving at a house with a sign reading “Boarder s Wanted”. The rough welcome that awaits them is not what they expected. A series of unlucky and comical events follow, starting with the farmer over turning his wheelbarrow, dumping the guests’ luggage on the ground. The guests are covered in dust when the maid beats out the rugs. The farmer takes them around the farm, followed by comical scenes involving a hammock and a cow. At dinner everything gets out of hand when the maid spills food and drinks on the guests, and finally chases them away with an axe!"

"The Summer Boarders was shot by cameraman Billy Bitzer in Leonia, New Jersey, and in Biograph’s New York City studio.
" – Janneke van Dalen

AA: Fiction, farce. An urban family's holiday in the countryside. Huge clouds of dust welcome them as the summer house is presently being cleaned. A swarm of children emerges. There are farce or slapstick scenes with a stubborn cow, a hammock, and lunch service marked by stinginess (one teabag is enough for all). A female sceptre reigns at this summer house. Finally the city family is evicted with an axe. Shot by D. W. Griffith's cinematographer Billy Bitzer, there are instances of a moving camera here, and the frame is often dynamic with lively action. Visual quality: low contrast, watchable.

A Strange Adventure (US 1917), D: Marshall Neilan, photo: George Eastman Museum, Rochester, NY.
A Strange Adventure (US 1917), D: Marshall Neilan, photo: George Eastman Museum, Rochester, NY.

A STRANGE ADVENTURE (Liefdeskoorts) (US 1917). D+SC: Marshall Neilan. C: Bessie Eyton, Jack Pickford, Harry Lonsdale. PC: Selig Polyscope Co. © 30.1.1917. 35 mm, 391 ft, 6'31" (16 fps); incomp. (missing beginning and ending); titles: NLD. Source: George Eastman Museum, Rochester, NY.

Janneke van Dalen: "A strange adventure indeed, this one-reeler tells of a young gentleman ( Jack Pickford) and his attempts to get acquainted with an alluring girl (Bessie Eyton) whom he meets at a summer resort. Meanwhile, a mysterious threat is lurking."

"Although the original nitrate source material of this print is missing the story’s beginning and ending, trade press reviews and ads from the time give us clues about the actual plot and character names."

"Moving Picture World (17 February 1917) writes that Bessie Eyton plays Princess Olga; Jack Pickford, a New Yorker named Luther Terroll Van Horn; and Harry Lonsdale, Prince Arneah. When Mr. Van Horn meets Princess Olga, he falls in love at first sight, and tries to find out more about her."

"He attempts to attract her attention at dinner, but wins no more than a smile. A mysterious man wearing a turban, who is peeking through the window, witnesses all of this. Van Horn’s efforts to get the girl’s attention continue the next day during a golf match. When all his efforts are in vain, he pretends to drown in the ocean, hoping to be rescued by her."

"The print ends here, but according to Moving Picture World the story continues as follows: “A Hindu that night gives the girl a note reading: ‘If you would save your throne come to the House of the Striped Awnings.’ She accompanies the Hindu and when she enters she is confronted by a prince, who says: ‘Marry me or you will never leave this house alive!’ The girl has been followed by Van Horn, who enters just in time to save her life."

"Then Mr. Van Horn suddenly awakens and realizes that it is all a dream.” It is interesting to note that different publications describe different endings."

"Motography mentions that the girl is killed in the end, while Motion Picture News notes that Van Horn sees the girl murdered and is himself beheaded, before he realizes that he was dreaming."

"A Strange Adventure was well received at the time. Reviews praised the film’s interesting plot and setting, the lighting and photography, and the exceptional cast (for a one-reeler). Bessie Eyton was a popular Selig actress. She was also a champion amateur swimmer in California, and her swimming skills, as showcased in this film, are mentioned in the press more than once. Another fact worth mentioning is that Eyton herself designed two of the gowns she wears in the film. They were featured in an article in Moving Picture World in April 1916, “Bessie Eyton’s Beautiful Gowns,” which announced that they were “certain to set feminine hearts aflutter”. We can admire one of the gowns, named “Shimmering Mist,” which is worn by Eyton in the dinner scene. She must have worn the other gown in the part of the film that is now missing, but we can imagine it from this description: “Peacock Vanity” is “made of the ends of two hundred peacock feathers,” continuing, “color photography alone could convey the wonderful beauty of this unusual gown.”"

"The film was preserved using the only known surviving copy, a nitrate print of the Dutch release version, which came to the George Eastman Museum in 1991 through an exchange with the Nederlands Filmmuseum (now EYE Filmmuseum), facilitated by the American Film Institute.
" – Janneke van Dalen

AA: Drama, romance. In this fragment we see a dinner scene, a golf scene, and a swimming scene. The swimming scene is lively, also thanks to Bessie Eyton's swimming skills. "Love is perseverence". From a worn and duped source with tints in orange, green etc.

No comments: