Sunday, July 05, 2009

Cento anni fà 12 – USA 1909 II: Alcuni film da scoprire

A Hundred Years Ago 12 – USA 1909 II: Films to Discover.
Presenta Mariann Lewinsky, grand piano: Neil Brand. Viewed in Bologna, Cinema Lumière 1, on the Fourth of July, 2009.

From Tom Gunning's introductory text:
- Vitagraph was Griffith's major rival in sophistication, producing a number of ambitious literary adaptations, but failing to achieve the new conception of staging Griffith was introducing to film.
- However, Vitagraph's more modest narratives showed a clarity of storytelling often based around a particular object
- In 1909, Selig began producing westerns, a genre, which truly found international popularity this year
- At Essanay, the slapstick comedy was evolving
- Hiawatha represents the first major film of the independent company challenging the monopoly of the MPPC, Carl Laemmle's Imp, the ancestor of Universal

Due to technical problems, the order of the programme was changed to:

A Midsummer Night’s Dream. US 1909. D: Charles Kent. Based on the play by William Shakespeare. CAST: Maurice Costello (Lysander), Clara Kimball Young (Penelope), James Young, Dolores Costello (fairy), Helene Costello (fairy), Gladys Hulette (Puck), William W. Ranous (Bottom), Charles Chapman (Quince); PC: Vitagraph. 35mm. B&w. From: GEH / Restoration funded by GEH. - Print looks bad in the beginning, from bad original materials, with a scratched image, but it turns ok toward the end. A fairy-tale film based on William Shakespeare's play, with Puck, Hermia (Rose Tapley), Lysander, Demetrius (Walter Ackerman), Helena (Julia Swayne Gordon). It is a condensation of the whole story, not very successful. - Dolores Costello, daughter of Maurice Costello, grandmother of Drew Barrymore, in her first film as a six-year old fairy. - 15 min
The Tell-Tale Blotter. US 1909. PC: Essanay. 35mm. B&w. From: GEH / Restoration funded by GEH. - An effective detective story, with a clear mise-en-scène, the blotter paper as vital evidence to the burglary of a safe. 5 min
The Cowboy Millionaire. US 1909. D: Otis Turner. CAST: Tom Mix, Carl Winterhoff, William Garwood, Mac Barnes, Adrienne Kroell, William Stowell; PC: Selig. 35mm. B&w. From: NFM. - Tinted print with Dutch intertitles. - Tom Mix gets married in the city, and his cowboy friends visit him with their horses and lassoes. The boisterous cowboys have a good time in the train, too. A lot of rodeo stunts. 2o min
Dope Head Clancy. US 1909. PC: Phoenix. 35mm. 155 m. B&w. From: GEH / Restoration funded by National Endowment for the Arts. - Ok print. Farce. Visiting a show without paying, thrown out. Wrestling match. Attempting to act in films, a parody of film production. 8 min
Buon anno. IT 1909. PC: Ambrosio. 35mm. From: Museo Nazionale del Cinema. - Good bye to a great retrospective (a hundred years ago: 1909). 1 min

Due to the delay in the programme I missed:
Hiawatha. US 1909. D: William V. Ranous. Based on the poem "The Song of Hiawatha" di Henry Wadsworth Longfellow; CAST: Gladys Hulette, William V. Ranous; PC: IMP. 16mm. B&w. From: MoMA
Lines of White on a Sullen Sea. US 1909. D: D.W. Griffith. DP: Billy Bitzer; CAST: Linda Arvidson, Kate Bruce, Dell Henderson, Florence Lawrence, Arthur Johnson, James Kirkwood, Owen Moore, Billy Quirk; PC: Biograph. 16mm. 11’. B&w. Intertitles reconstructed by Killiam/Blackhawk. From: MoMA. - I managed to see a bit of this print as it was shown in reverse in the beginning, and it did not look very good.

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