Thursday, June 30, 2011

A Hundred Years Ago: Programme 6: Pathé and Its International Brands

Cento anni fa: Programma 6: Pathé e i suoi marchi internazionali. Programme and notes by Mariann Lewinsky. Thursday 30 June 2011 at 18.15, Cinema Lumière - Sala Officinema / Mastroianni (Bologna, Il Cinema Ritrovato). Earphone commentary in Italian and English. Grand piano: Gabriel Thibaudeau. Presentano Bryony Dixon e Mariann Lewinsky.

Catalogue: "In January 1911 the Établissements Pathé Frères started announcing their new films in a weekly Bulletin Hebdomadaire Pathé Frères. The market leader now made a definitive change in its production and marketing system, which would now be based on subsidiaries in different Countries, while the séries de production categories, which had previously dictated the industry’s operational methods, now served simply as an indication of genre. In offering these different brands, Pathé promised greater variety in its presentations: “What does the cinema manager want? A programme with enough variety to satisfy its customers and secure their loyalty. Is it easy to put together such a programme? No.” So as to offer the possible range, the Établissements Pathé Freres decided “to produce fewer scenes in order to concentrate on releasing those developed by the different brands, each one specialising in its own individual genre.” The article then goes on to introduce the brands: the Film d’Arte Italiana (F.A.I.), the Société Cinématographique des Auteurs et Gens de Lettres (S.C.A.G.L.), the Film Russe, American Kinema, Modern Pictures, Comica, Nizza and Imperium, as well as the parent company’s products, the PathéJournal, the Série d’art, the Série Pathécolor and the Vues de vulgarisation scientifique. (“A varied programme”, Bulletin Hebdomadaire Pathé Frères, 1911, pp. 11-12).""

"Our programme can only illustrate six of these brands. The American Kinema films, especially their many Westerns with stories centring on the Indians, should be seen more frequently and properly appreciated. Thanhouser was, according to Bousquet, not a Pathé subsidiary but Pathé distributed its product. The Coffin-Ship was plainly low-budget – which was never a Pathé characteristic. Imperium’s industrial films are visually impressive, transforming the lighting conditions that made interior filming so tricky into a virtuoso play of soft and sharp focus. Collezione Fondation.""

LA PHYSIQUE AMUSANTE. FR 1911. PathéSerie No. 6: Enseignement sciences naturelles; P: Pathé (No. 4576). 35 mm. 165 m. 9’ a 16 fps. Col. Intertitres français. From: CNC-Archives Françaises du Film. - AA: A scientific film. Wonderful about uranium, hydrogen, carbonic acid. Nearly experimental. A brilliant print.

A WESTERN MEMORY / [the title of the print:] Le Cœur de Violette. US 1911. Cast: Crane Wilbur; P: American Kinema; Distr.: Pathé Frères (No. 5108). 35 mm. 302 m. 14’ a 18 fps. B&w. Intertitres français. From: CNC-Archives Françaises du Film. - AA: A Western. The cowboys pull a trick on the convalescent Jack and put him on an untamed horse. Violette saves him. Having recovered Jack returns to the city. There is a memorable extreme long shot where we see the train puffing away in the valley. Years later Jack returns with his wife and finds a grave on the mountain where he used to meet Violette: "Ici repose Violette Drew". Ok print.

AN UP-TO-DATE SQUAW / L’Indienne Ko-To-Sho se modernise. US 1911. P: American Kinema; Distr.: Pathé Frères (No. 4876). 35 mm. 212 m. 10'' a 18 fps. B&w. English and French intertitles. From: CNC-Archives Françaises du Film. - AA: A Western. White folks visit an Indian camp, and the white women's wear attracts attention. A 1997 Cinémathèque française print.

THE COFFIN SHIP / [the title of the print:] In Meere verloren. US 1911. P: Thanhouser. 35 mm. 300 m. 15’ a 18 fps. B&w. Deutsche Zwischentitel. From: EYE Film Instituut Nederland. - AA: Drama. In the harbour a girl greets a captain. The ship-owner declines the request to repair the ship. There is a shipwreck and a rescue.

[LA] FABRICATION MÉCANIQUE D’UN LIVRE. FR 1911. P: Imperium Film; Distr.: Pathé Frères (No. 4563). 35 mm. 189 m. 10’ a 16 fps. B&w. Intertitres français. From: CNC-Archives Françaises du Film. - AA: Non-fiction. A fine account on the process of the printing of a book. An ok print.

LE ROMAN DE LA MOMIE / Il romanzo della mummia. FR 1911. D: René Leprince, Co-D: Albert Capellani. Based on the novel by Théophile Gautier (1858); SC: Théo Bergerat; Cast: Paul Franck (Lord Evandale), Romuald Joubé (il faraone), il mimo Thalès, Louis Ravet, Miss California (la mummia), Jeanne Brindeau; P: S.C.A.G.L.; Distr.: Pathé Frêres (No. 4063). 35 mm. 220 m. 11’ a 18 fps. Pochoir. Didascalie italiane. From: CSC – Cineteca Nazionale. - AA: A drama based on the decadent novel by Théophile Gautier. A man will not marry a woman since he is in love with a mummy. In his hallucinations he returns to ancient Egypt. A spectacle of forbidden love played in histrionic style. The man wants to shoot himself, but "We'll know how to heal you from your neurasthenic idea". A beautiful 1995 print preserves the pochoir colour effects.

ROSALIE EMMÉNAGE. FR 1911. D: Roméo Bosetti. Cast: Sarah Duhamel; P: Comica; Distr.: Pathé Frères (No. 4135). 35 mm. 124,5 m. 6’ a 18 fps. B&w. Intertitres français. From: Cinematek (Brussels). - AA: A comedy based on the chaos principle. Rosalie's moving and cleaning is wildly exaggerated. She cleans the floor so thoroughly that it gets planed. The neighbour's book-case falls down. The ceiling is broken and Rosalie swings up on a capstan. An excellent catastrophe comedy. A fine 1994 print from the Alan Roberts collection. *


Catalogue: "The Siege of Sidney Street occured on 3 January 1911 as the consequence of the murder of three London policemen on 16 December 1910 who interrupted members of a Latvian anarchist group burgling a jeweller’s shop in Houndsditch (a street in the City of London). Two associates of the anarchists (not directly involved in the murders) were tracked down to rooms in No. 100 Sidney Street in the poor East End of London. The subsequent siege by armed police and Scots Guards was filmed by five news film companies and witnessed by great crowds of Londoners and the then Home Secretary Winston Churchill, whose involvement in the action caused much controversy. The two anarchists died in the house, which eventually caught fire and a fireman died when part of the burning building collapsed. The final shoot out of the siege was immortalised by Hitchcock in The Man Who Knew Too Much (1934). Films by Co-operative and Warwick are not known to exist but we do have these three films, different views from Pathé, Gaumont and Andrews Pictures." Bryony Dixon

THE BATTLE OF LONDON. FR 1911. P: Pathé Frères. DigiBeta. B&w. English intertitles. From: BFI National Archive.

THE GREAT EAST END ANARCHIST BATTLE. FR 1911. P: Gaumont. 35 mm. 76 m. 4’ a 18 fps. B&w. English intertitles. From: BFI National Archive.

HOUNDSDITCH MURDERS / [the title of the print:] Die Houndsditch Mörder. GB 1911. P: Andrews Pictures. 35 mm. 87 m. 4’ a 18 fps. B&w. Deutsche Zwischentitel. From: BFI National Archive.

AA: Non-fiction. A fascinating opportunity to compare three news films of the same dramatic event in London.

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