Wednesday, October 30, 1996

October 1996, Helsinki

2.10.1996 The Misfits / Sopeutumattomat. US 1961. D: John Huston. Orion
2.10.1996 Freud / Salatut intohimot. US 1962. D: John Huston. Orion
4.10.1996 Laulu tulipunaisesta kukasta / The Song of the Scarlet Flower. FI 1938. D: Teuvo Tulio. In the presence of Rakel Linnanheimo. Orion
8.10.1996 O Fim do Mundo / The End of the World. PT/FR 1993. D: João Mário Grilo. Orion
8.10.1996 Ren xia ren / The Dead and the Deadly. HK 1982. D: Ma Wu. Sammo Hung. Orion
9.10.1996 Vihtori ja Klaara / [Bringing Up Father]. FI 1939. D: Teuvo Tulio. Orion
9.10.1996 Das Tripas Coração / Four Elements: Fire. PT/FR 1992. D: Joaquim Pinto. Orion
9.10.1996 Vale Abraão / Abraham's Valley. FR/PT/CH 1993. D: Manoel de Oliveira. Orion
22.10.1996 La Naissance de l'amour. FR 1993. D: Philippe Garrel. Orion
22.10.1996 Vampyr. DE/FR 1932. Carl Th. Dreyer. Orion
24.10.1996 Hélas pour moi. FR/CH 1993. D: Jean-Luc Godard. Orion
25.10.1996 Vampyr. DE/FR 1932. Carl Th. Dreyer. Orion
29.10.1996 J'entends plus la guitare. FR 1991. D: Philippe Garrel. Orion
29.10.1996 Sous le soleil de Satan / Paholaisen auringon alla. FR 1987. D: Maurice Pialat. Orion
30.10.1996 Rakkauden risti / The Cross of Love. FI 1946. D: Teuvo Tulio. Orion
31.10.1996 Sinful Davey / Syntinen Davey. GB 1969. D: John Huston. John Hurt. Orion

Saturday, October 12, 1996

Le Giornate del Cinema Muto, Pordenone, 12-19 October 1996



This year the rewards of Le Giornato del Cinema Muto were mostly of historical interest. The artistic substance was not on the level of the best years.

1.  MAX DAVIDSON. Max Davidson the master comedian flourished simultaneously with Laurel & Hardy and others for Hal Roach, often with Leo McCarey as producer or director. Often Max plays a single father saddled with an idiot son and a marriage-hungry daughter. A couple of years ago we saw the brilliant Pass the Gravy and Flaming Fathers. Now we were lavished with "More Gravy" including Why Girls Say No, Jewish Prudence, Should Second Husbands Come First and The Boy Friend. Prints are scattered and difficult to access but the situation might improve as Davidson's reputation spreads.

2.  HERBERT BRENON. The main retrospective, dedicated to Herbert Brenon, was a disappointment in artistic terms. Herbert Brenon was a great Hollywood director in the 1910s and the 1920s, but his oeuvre has not stood the test of time. I discovered two exceptions in the series of some 20 films. The Rescue (Samuel Goldwyn, 1929) is one of the finest Joseph Conrad film adaptations. The forgotten film has been recently restored by George Eastman House. Beau Geste (Paramount, 1926), the first interpretation of the often filmed subject, is a charming romantic adventure. Brenon's most highly regarded films are the fairy-tale fantasies Peter Pan (Paramount, 1924) and A Kiss for Cinderella (Paramount, 1925), both starring Betty Bronson, both absolutely worth seeing. They are personal works but not for every taste. I had trouble relating to the scantily clad, very feminine Bronson as Peter Pan.

3. IN THE LAND OF THE SOVIETS 1918-1924. Immediately after the revolution film production in Russia halted, and the volume of production fell sharply. The Pordenone retrospective confirmed the assumption that the flowering of the cinema in Czarist Russia was followed by a steep decline until the start of "anni mirabili" in 1924. (Typically for GCM famous classics of 1924 such as Strike, Aelita, Kino-Glaz, and Mr. West were not screened. Only rarities were included). The historically exciting and unique series included for instance Dziga Vertov's train films, Kuleshov's experiments and Eisenstein's first sketch, Glumov's Diary. Of the early directors were also on display Aleksandr Rasumny and Vladimir Gardin. Rasumny's Mother (1920), the first film adaptation of Gorky's novel, is more complex than Pudovkin's, and its sense of the milieu is more densely realistic. In a class of its own was Suram's Fortress (1923, directed by Ivan Perestiani, photographed by Boris Zavelev), the finest film of the retrospective, an important achievement in a continuity which has continued until the days of Sergei Parajanov and Yuri Ilyenko.

4.  MAGYAR DYNAMISM. When I visited the Hungarian film archive a few years ago I saw all Hungarian silent films available at the time and found no real gems among them. The Pordenone retrospective did not change my opinion, although more films have been discovered. The impression of a golden age of Hungarian cinema is based on the fact that an amazing number - around fifty! - great persons of world cinema (Zukor, Fox, Korda, Curtiz, Lugosi, Pressburger, Balazs... ) come from there. But perhaps their great period started abroad? The most important director in this series, Béla Balogh, seemed mediocre. The most famous film, Korda's Az aranyember, not very good either, surviving in an incomplete print, we screened in the FIAF 50 Touring Show.

5. THE ANIMATIONS OF GREGORY LA CAVA. Gregory Cava, who later became a reliable comedy director in Hollywood, started in animated cartoons of the Krazy Kat and Katzenjammer Kids comic strips. Dozens of films were seen in Pordenone. All mediocre or bad. They do not stand comparison with the contemporary films of the Fleischer brothers or Walt Disney.

6.  RESTORED TREASURES FROM THE UCLA. UCLA Film and Television Archive is not famous for its silent treasures - its strength lies with sound films. Even the most important treasure of UCLA's silent collections - Harold Lloyd's films - had not been accepted to Pordenone. Yet the series was a very important - exemplary - display of technical achievements. The most attention-catching film was The Bright Shawl (1923) which has been restored from broken 16 mm prints to 35 mm: the visual quality was amazingly good. The second Vitaphone programme (1926, starring Al Jolson, among others) was equally stunning. The films have been shot on silent stock, synchronized to be played with phonograph records. The project included also the restoration of at times severly broken phonograph records. There were six shorts and one feature, Syd Chaplin's The Better 'Ole (1926), a silent comedy synched with a Vitaphone score.

7.  DAS INDISCHE GRABMAL (Joe May, 1921). From the grand restorations of the Project Lumière of the EU was saw the big budget adventure fantasy Das indische Grabmal, written by Thea von Harbou and Fritz Lang, one of the most magnificent achievements of the golden age of German cinema. The two remakes, by Richard Eichberg (from the 1930s) and Fritz Lang himself (from the 1950s) are well-known, but this original has not been seen in 70 years except in badly truncated versions. Conrad Veidt and Bernhard Goetzke are among the stars. In several sequences - such as the waking up of the yoghi and the erotic rites at the temple. The restoration (with toning and tinting) is first class.

8.  GEORGES MELIES. Four recent Méliès discoveries were on display, and excellent among them were La Danse du feu (1899) and Le Voyage de la famille Bourrichon (1912), Méliès's last film of which an uncertainty had prevailed whether it was ever even finished. Now we saw it and were able to state that Méliès never lost his genius.

9.  CENTENARY OF THE OLYMPICS. Compiled by Luke McKernan (NFTVA) who also moderated a programme meaningful for Finns. In the Pathé newsreels about the Stockholm 1912 Olympics we saw the legendary run of Hannes Kolehmainen - "when Finland was run on the map of the world" under the double-headed eagle of Russia but with Finland's seal on the chest. The first feature-length Olympic film is the 196 minutes long Les Jeux Olympiques Paris 1924 of which we saw a 40 min sample. Among the heroes were Paavo Nurmi and Ville Ritola, but there are many more Finnish victories included. Glimpses of these are familiar, but there is more material and it is of higher quality than has been generally known.

10.  ERKKI HUHTAMO: THE ARCHAEOLOGY OF THE MOVING IMAGE I-III (Yleisradio 1996). This fine work was seen as a world premiere in the video series. International top expert rated it highly. The work has lasting value and use in media education. Worthy of wide international export.

...

WHAT I SAW

A KISS FOR HERBERT BRENON
Peter Pan (US 1924) 124' at 19,5 fps GEH
The Dream (US 1911) 12' /16 fps/ Mary Pickford
The Long Strike (US 1912) incomplete 13' /16 fps/
A Kiss for Cinderella (US 1925) 140' /18 fps/ announced, actually ca 120'
Ivanhoe (US 1913) 49' /16 fps/ MoMA - notes
Absinthe (US 1914) fragment 14' /16 fps/ NFM - notes
Happy Hooligan at the Circus (US 1917) notes
Katzenjammer Kids: [Una pesca magica] (US 1917) notes
Victory and Peace / The Invasion of Britain / [The National Film] (GB 1918) fragment 3' /16 fps/ NFTVA
Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (US 1913) 30' /16 fps/ UCLA - notes
Laugh, Clown, Laugh (US 1928) 74' /20 fps/ Lon Chaney. GEH - notes
The Street of Forgotten Men (US 1925) incomplete, 3-7, ca 65' /20 fps/ LoC - notes
The Spanish Dancer (US 1923) Pola Negri, 80' /18 fps/ NFM - notes
Dancing Mothers (US 1926) 69' /19 fps/ LoC - Alice Joyce, Clara Bow - notes
The Breaking Point (US 1924) Nita Naldi, 109' /16 fps/ LoC - notes
The Valley of the Giants (US 1927) 65' /25 fps/ UCLA - notes 6 pages
La principessa misteriosa (IT 1920) Maria Doro. 82' /16 fps/ Cineteca Italiana, Milano
The Rescue (US 1929) incomplete 85' /22 fps/ GEH - notes
Beau Geste (US 1926) 125' /20 fps/ LoC - notes

GREGORY LA CAVA, ANIMATOR
Cartoons in the Hotel (US 1915)
Krazy Kat and Ignatz Mouse at the Circus (US 1916), notes
Krazy Kat and Ignatz Mouse Discuss the Letter (US 1916), notes
The Joys and Glooms Elope (US 1916), notes
Krazy Kat and Ignatz Mouse in a Duet: He Made Me Love Him (US 1916), notes
Krazy Kat and Ignatz Mouse in a Tale That Is Knot (US 1916), notes
Krazy Kat and Ignatz Mouse In Their One-Act Tragedy, the Tale of the Nude Tail (US 1916), notes
Feet Is Feet: A Phable (US 1916)
Krazy Kat to the Rescue (US 1916)
The Phable of a Fat Woman (US 1916)
The Phable of a Busted Romance (US 1916)
Policy and Pie (US 1918)
How Could William Tell? (US 1919)
The Breath of a Nation (US 1919)
Smokey Smokes (US 1920)

IN THE LAND OF THE SOVIETS
Proekt inzenera Prajta / [Engineer Prait's Project] (Lev Kuleshov, Hanzhonkov, RU 1918) fragment, titles missing 20' (20 fps) GFF, notes
Za krasnoe znamya / [For the Red Flag] (Vladimir Kasianov, RU 1919) 16' /18 fps/ GFF, notes
Devji gory - legenda ob Antihriste / [The Virgins of the Mountains - the Legend of the Antichrist] (Aleksandr Sanin, RU 1919) 40' /20 fps/ GFF, notes
Tovarisc Abram / [Comrade Abram] (Aleksandr Rasumnyi, RU 1919) 18' /19 fps/ GFF, notes
Son Tarasa / [Taras' Dream] (Yuri Zhelyabuzhki, RU 1919) 14' /19 fps/ GFF
Proletarii vseh stran, soedinyaites! / [Workers of All Lands, Unite!] (Boris Sushkevic, RU 1919) incomplete 22' /18 fps/ GFF
Dezertiry / [The Deserters] (Evgeni Slavinski, RU 1919) missing titles 11' /18 fps/ GFF, notes
Novoe platye korolya / [The Emperor's New Clothes] (Yuri Zhelyabutzhki, RU 1919) titles missing 20' /16 fps/ GFF, notes
Agit-poezd / [Agit Train] (Dziga Vertov, RU 1919) 6' /18 fps/ Muzei Kino, notes
Rabocij Sevyrev / Rabotshi Sevyrev / [Worker Shevyrev] (Ceslav Sabinski, RU 1919) 69' /19 fps/ GFF, notes
Vzjatye zimnego dvorca / [The Taking of the Winter Palace] (Nikolai Evreinov, Aleksandr Kugel, Nikolai Petrov, Boris Sanin et al., RU 1920) 22' /18 fps/ Muzei Kino - AD: Yuri Annenkov, notes
Mat / [Mother] (Aleksandr Rasumnyi, RU 1920) 63' /19 fps/ GFF, notes
Serp i molot / V trudnye dni / [Hammer and Sickle] / [Difficult Days] (Vladimir Gardin, RU 1921) incomplete r. 2-5, 55' /19 fps/ GFF, notes
[Eksperiment Kuleshova] / [The Kuleshov Experiment] (Lev Kuleshov, RU 1921) 2 m, screened 3 times, 10" (10 seconds) /16 fps/ Ekaterina Hohlova Collection / GFF, notes
Arsen Dzordziasvili / Ybjstvo generala Grjazanova / [Arsen Dzordziasvili] / [The Killing of General Gryazanov] (Ivan Perestiani, RU 1921) 53' /18 fps/ GFF, notes
Derevnia na perelome / [Countryside at the Time of Change] (Ceslav Sabinski, RU 1921) 41' /21 fps/ notes
Net scactja na zemle / Njet stshastja na zemlje / [There Is No Happiness On Earth] (Aleksandr Panteleyev, SU 1922) 48' /20 fps/ GFF, notes
Polikushka (Aleksandr Sanin, SU 1922) incomplete r. 2-3, 5-6, 55' /19 fps/ GFF, notes
Suramskaya krepost / [The Fortress of Suram] (Ivan Perestiani, SU 1923) 73' /20 fps/ GFF, notes
Prizrak brodit po Evrope / [There Is a Spectre Over Europe] (Vladimir Gardin, SU 1923) titles missing, 85' /20 fps GFF, notes
Kombrig Ivanov / [Brigade Commander Ivanov] (Aleksandr Razumnyi, SU 1923) 66' /20 fps/ GFF, notes, notes
Dnevnik Glumova / [Glumov's Diary] (Sergei Eisenstein, SU 1923) 7' /18 fps/ Muzei Kino, notes
Sovietskie igruski / [Soviet Toys] (Dziga Vertov, SU 1924) 12' /22 fps/ GFF, notes
President Samosadkin [The Self-Appointed President] (Mikhail Verner, SU 1924) 74' /24 fps/ GFF, notes
Slesar i kantsler / [The Locksmith and the Chancellor] (Vladimir Gardin, SU 1924) incomplete 2-5  60' /19 fps/ GFF, notes
Istorija odogo razocarovanija / Boris Savikov [Story of a Disappointment] (Aleksandr Buskin, SU 1924) 4' /20 fps/ GFF
Razboinik Arsen / [Arsen the Bandit] (Vladimir Barski, SU 1924) 78' /20 fps/ GFF
N+N+N (Nini, nalog, neprijatnost) [Nini, Taxes, Sorrows] (Vladimir Smidtgof, SU 1924) 15' /20 fps/ GFF - notes
Vragi. Otets i syn / [Enemies. Father and Son] (Ceslav Sabinski, SU 1924) 86' /20 fps/ GFF - notes, 6 pages
Pokhozdeniya Vanki Gvozdya / [The Adventures of Ivan-the-Nail] (Manuel Bolshintsov, SU 1924) 10' /22 fps/ GFF
Tainstvennoe kolzo, ili rokovaja tanja [The Mysterious Ring, Or, The Fatal Mystery] (Aleksandr Buskin, SU 1924) 5' /24 fps/ GFF - notes
Bednjaku v prok - kulaku v bok / [Give to the Poor - Take from the Rich] (Jakov Poselski, SU 1924) 30' / 20 fps/ GFF- notes
Cetyre i piat / Tshetyre i pjat / [Four and Five] (Vladimir Gardin, SU 1924) 95' /20 fps/ GFF, notes
Starec Vasili Grjaznov / Starets Vasili Grjaznov / [The Monk Vadili Gryaznov] (Ceslav Sabinski, SU 1924) 56' /24 fps/ GFF, notes
Vasa znakomaja / Zurnalistka / [Your Acquaintance] / [The Journalist] (Lev Kuleshov, SU 1927) fragment, 13' /24 fps/ GFF

MAGYAR DYNAMISM, Magyar Filmintézet
Küzdelem a létért / [Struggle for Life] (Alfred Deésy, HU 1918) starring Béla Lugosi, notes
A leányasszony / [The Young Wife] (Alfred Deésy, HU 1918), notes (I saw half)
Jön az öcsém / [My Brother Is Coming] (Michael Curtiz, HU 1919) 12' /16 fps/ notes
A megfayott gyermek / [The Frozen Child] (Béla Balogh, HU 1912) 51' /18 fps/
Hegyek alján / [Under the Mountains] (Béla Balogh, HU 1920) 82' /18 fps/
Az aranyember / [The Golden Man] (Alexander Korda, HU 1928) incomplete 100' /16 fps/ - over two thirds missing

SPECIAL EVENT
Das indische Grabmal Teil I: Die Sendung des Joghi, Teil II: Der Tiger von Eschnapur (DE 1921) announced as 241' /20 fps/ actual duration ca 210', notes, Ende 18.09

THE JANET GAYNOR PROJECT
Pep of the Lazy "J" (Victor Nordlinger, US 1926) 22' /21 fps/ GEH

UCLA FILM AND TELEVISION ARCHIVE PRESENTS
Lotus Blossom (US 1921) 13' /20 fps/
Rheims (Charles Raleigh, US 1921) 8' /20 fps/ *
The Bright Shawl (John S. Robertson, US 1923) 93' /20 fps/, notes
[Carl Laemmle Silver Jubilee] (US 1932) 3' / 24 fps/
Tabu [preview trailer] (F. W. Murnau, US 1931) 4' /24 fps/
Legong (Dance of the Virgins) (Henri de la Falaise, US 1935) 54' /24 fps/, notes
Ouverture: The Spirit of 1918 / George Jessel / Elsie Janis / Willie and Eugene Howard / Al Jolson/ Bruce Bairnsfather (US 1926) 60' / 24 fps/
The Better 'Ole (Charles Reisner, US 1926) 95' / 24 fps/
[Ernst Lubitsch at Home in Hollywood] (US 1924) 3' /20 fps/
[Ernst Lubitsch on the Set of Rosita] (US 1923) 4' /20 fps/
The Patriot preview trailer (US 1928) 4' /18 fps/

KEVIN MCDONALD PRESENTS
Chaplin's Goliath. In Search of Scotland's Forgotten Star (GB 1996) VHS. 52' Eric Campbell

ERKKI HUHTAMO PRESENTS
The Archaeology of the Moving Image I-III (FI 1996) English version. U-Matic. 90'

GEORGES MELIES
Sur les toits (FR 1897) AFF / CNC, notes
Le Prise de Tournavos (FR 1897) AFF / CNC, notes
La Danse du feu (FR 1899) GEH, notes
Le Voyage de la famille Bourrichon (FR 1912) Lobster Film, notes

MAX DAVIDSON
Why Girls Say No (US 1927) 25' /20 fps/ Bonner Kinemathek, notes
Jewish Prudence (US 1927) 24' /20 fps/ Bonner Kinemathek, notes
Should Second Husbands Come First? (US 1927) Bonner Kinemathek
The Boy Friend (US 1928) Bonner Kinemathek
No Woman Knows (Tod Browning, US 1921) 65' /20 fps/ Cinecon 32 Hollywood / Filmoteca Española - notes
Hurdy Gurdy (US 1929) 20' /24 fps/ Bonner Kinemathek

GOOD NIGHT, SILENTS...
Quand Madelon... (Georges Lordier, FR 1917), 4' /18 fps/ Lobster, live performance Serge Bromberg, notes
Celles qui s'en font (Germaine Dulac, FR 1928) 7' /20 fps/ Lobster. notes ,*****
Cast Ashore (US 192X) 9' /19 fps/ GEH - straight and gay hard core porn
Manchu Love (Elmer Clifton, US 1928) 17' /24 fps/ GEH

OLYMPIA 100 - LUKE MCKERNAN - NFTVA
Olympic Games at Athens (GB 1906) 6'
[Athens 1896] (FR 1906) 1'
[1908 Olympics: Marathon] (GB 1908) 6' London
[Olympic Games 1912] (GB 1912) 8' Stockholm
[Stockholm: the Olympic Games 1912] (GB 1912) 13'
Antwerp - Olympic Games (Fox News # 11) (GB 1920) 1'
Les Jeux olympiques Paris 1924 (FR 1924) 3 reels selection 40' /20 fps/ IWM

FRESH FROM THE ARCHIVES
Des Alters erste Spuren (Franz Hofer DE 1913) 23' /16 fps/ Slovenska Kinoteka, notes
Le Jongleur des chapeaux (FR 1909) 6' /16 fps/ Slovenska Kinoteka

BLANCHE SWEET REMEMBERED
The Little Country Mouse (Donald Crisp, US 1914) 14' /16 fps/ LoC New Zealand Collection
The Villain Foiled (Mack Sennett, US 1911) 6' /16 fps/ MoMA
Public Opinion (Frank Reicher, US 1916) 57' /16 fps/ LoC

SPECIAL EVENT: L'IMMAGINE RITROVATA
Za-la-Mort / Der Traum der Za-la-Vie (DE 1924) 96' /18 fps/ Jugoslovenska Kinoteka / Cineteca del Comune di Bologna

15 OCT 1996, RIDOTTO DEL VERDI, SEZIONE VIDEO
15.30 LOBSTER FILM PRESENTS: UNIDENTIFIED AMERICAN SHORT COMEDIES, PART I
Peculiar Patients' Pranks (Hal Roach, Lonesome Luke series, Rolin Film Co., US 1915), starring Harold Lloyd, Snub Pollard, Bebe Daniels - notes