Saturday, October 12, 2013

The Corrick Collection 7, Programme 2 (2013 Pordenone programme from National Film & Sound Archive, Canberra, introductions by Leslie Anne Lewis)

The Lonely Villa. National Film & Sound Archive, Canberra
Cinemazero (Le Giornate del Cinema Muto, Pordenone), with e-titles in English and Italian, grand piano: Donald Sosin, 12 Oct 2013

PRINCE OF WALES VISITS LAUNCESTON (Corrick, AU 1920) D: Leonard Corrick; 35 mm, 361 ft, 6'01" (16 fps); print source: National Film and Sound Archive, Australia (Corrick Collection #87). English intertitles.

Leslie Anne Lewis: "Though not technically a Corrick Family Entertainers film, to finish out the story of the Corricks as filmmakers we are presenting the final film in the collection produced by Leonard Corrick himself. Taken in the family’s adopted home town of Launceston, Tasmania, this short film documents the visit of the Prince of Wales (the future King Edward VIII, later Duke of Windsor) to the area over four days in late July 1920. The Prince’s visit to Australia was part of a post-World War I tour intended to thank the Dominions for their service and sacrifice in the war; he spent nearly three months in the country, visiting over 110 towns."

"In the 13 years since producing the family’s first films – Bashful Mr. Brown and Street Scenes in Perth, W.A. – Leonard had obviously picked up a few tricks. Unlike these earlier films, Prince of Wales Visits Launceston includes several intertitles, shots taken from multiple angles, and more sophisticated editing. He worked on the film with a Mr. Thomsen, projectionist at the Princess Theatre in Launceston, and it is believed to have been screened at the theatre the night the Prince left Tasmania." – Leslie Anne Lewis

AA: Non-fiction. This film belongs to another period than the other Corrick films. A good composition of the image in the filmed record of a crowd greeting the Prince of Wales. The source is a worn print, but the image is rich in detail

THE LONELY VILLA (Biograph, US 1909) D: D. W. Griffith; DP: G.W. Bitzer, Arthur Marvin; SC: Mack Sennett, Frank E. Woods; C: David Miles, Marion Leonard, Mary Pickford, Gladys Egan, Adele De Garde, Owen Moore, Mack Sennett; 35 mm, 607 ft, 10'07" (16 fps); print source: National Film and Sound Archive, Australia (Corrick Collection #35). English intertitles.

"This well-known Griffith short featuring some of Biograph’s most iconic performers – including Mary Pickford, Owen Moore, and Mack Sennett – is undoubtedly familiar to the Giornate audience. Struck from an original release print, the Corrick Collection copy is unfortunately missing the initial action, picking up the story just prior to the servants leaving for the day while the robbers wait outside for their opportunity to strike." – Leslie Anne Lewis

AA:  See image above. Thriller. An interesting print of one of the most famous films by D. W. Griffith. In Le Giornate del Cinema Muto's screening about early telephone thrillers called "Before The Lonely Villa" the print of The Lonely Villa (The Library of Congress print screened in Pordenone, 2008) had a brilliant image but no titles. This print has titles. The image is fairly good, slightly on the soft side.

[SCENES IN SINGAPORE] (Charles Urban Trading Co., GB, c.1907) D: ?; 35 mm, 140 ft, 2'20" (16 fps); print source: National Film and Sound Archive, Australia (Corrick Collection #104). No intertitles.

"Fragment of a scenic film produced by the Charles Urban Trading Company showing views of Singapore. Any further information the Giornate audience can provide on this title would be much appreciated." – Leslie Anne Lewis

AA: Non-fiction. Singapore street scenes, views from the harbour, an impressive parade, a fine composition, a suave movement of the camera. A fair print.

D: J.H. Martin?; 35 mm, 246 ft, 4'06" (16 fps), col. (tinted); print source: National Film and Sound Archive, Australia (Corrick Collection #32). Main title in English, no intertitles.

"Two thieves put the local cop out of commission with a doctored beer, but soon find they have his brothers-in-arms to contend with. This is the third of three R. W. Paul films in the Corrick Collection, along with The Hand of the Artist (1906) and The Fakir and the Footpads (1906)." – Leslie Anne Lewis

AA: A farce. Villains outwit a policeman with spiked beer and even frame him as a drunkard piling more bottles on his side. They also cleverly trap a policeman between two doors.

BRIGANDAGE MODERNE (Modern Brigandage) (Pathé, FR 1905) D: Ferdinand Zecca; 35 mm, 496 ft, 8'16" (16 fps), col. (tinted); print source: National Film and Sound Archive, Australia (Corrick Collection #77). Main title in English, no intertitles.

"Advertised by the Corricks as The Capture of a Highway Robber, Modern Brigandage both conforms to and cracks the mould of the popular chase film. An enterprising highwayman makes his living by robbing passing cars on a deserted section of roadway, then quickly making his getaway by motorcycle. A policeman who happens upon the scene shortly after one robbery gives chase, and as to be expected, the next several shots show the bandit being pursued by an ever-increasing mob of police and victims. This usual pattern is short-circuited, however when the police stop to phone ahead for reinforcements, giving the hunters the opportunity to lay a trap for their prey." – Leslie Anne Lewis

AA: Another clever bandit, equipped with a motorcycle, beats the policeman whose vehicle is a mere bicycle. The bandit is even able to rob a motorcar. This movie must be one of the earliest documentations of a mobile phone. The police has a portable telephone which can be switched into the telephone network at a telephone pole. There is a rope trap, but the final arrest takes place at the river when the bandit tries to cross it on a raft. The camera is immobile. An ok to good print.

LE DÉJEUNER DU SAVANT (The Scholar’s Breakfast) (Pathé, FR 1905) D: ?; 35 mm, 123 ft, 2'03" (16 fps), col. (tinted); print source: National Film and Sound Archive, Australia (Corrick Collection #115). Main title in English, no intertitles.

"Sensing something amiss with his breakfast, a scientist foolishly decides to examine the food under a handy microscope. What he sees turns his stomach and he wisely decides to stick to dry toast."
"The popular craze for scientific films – be they micro-cinematography, stop-motion, X-ray, or high-speed photography – and their unique means of viewing the world fit well into the wide-open range of early cinema, less constrained as it was by the narrative bias that would eventually predominate. As early as 1903, the Urban company’s series The Unseen World brought microcinematography to the public; two years after Le Déjeuner du savant, Pathé set up a dedicated scientific cinema laboratory to allow scientists and the public to explore, as Hannah Landecker describes it, “the realm of the very small and the very slow”. Other firms such as Edison and Gaumont also found success in both the educational and commercial realms with films produced for or inspired by scientific inquiry." – Leslie Anne Lewis

AA: A comedy parodying a scientific film with displays of microbic life under the microsope. The scientist examines with his microscope first a piece of cheese... full of worms. Even a glass of water is full of living creatures. The scientist sticks to bread.

CIRCUIT DE DIEPPE 1907 (The Dieppe Circuit 1907) (Pathé, FR 1907) D: ?; 35 mm, 739 ft, 12'19" (16 fps), col. (tinted); print source: National Film and Sound Archive, Australia (Corrick Collection #37). English intertitles.

"Motor racing in France began the mid-1890s as a way for auto companies to advertise their products. Held in 1894, one of the first races – advertised as a “Competition for Horseless Carriages” – covered the 128-km distance between Paris and Rouen and lasted nearly 7 hours, with racers reaching an average speed of just 19 km/h (12 mph). By the time Circuit de Dieppe 1907 was filmed, showing the second year of the French Grand Prix, things had definitely changed. Organized by the Automobile Club of France, this race took place on 2 July 1907 and consisted of 10 laps along a 77-km circuit of the city of Dieppe on France’s northern coast. Held on closed public roads, the 38 entrants set off at one-minute intervals. Winner Felice Nazzaro of Italy finished with a time of 6 hours, 47 minutes, averaging a speed of 113.6 km/h (70.6 mph) while driving a Fiat 130HP F2 Racer. Over half of the contestants dropped out during the course of the race because of equipment failure, accidents, or driver injury; of the 17 entrants who finished, the last crossed the finish line nearly 11 hours later."

"Not surprisingly, with cars travelling at such speeds and little-to-no safety equipment, crashes were common and injuries abounded – two accidents occurred in just the first lap of this race. The knowledge that one skilled driver, the son of a well-known auto manufacturer, had died while practicing on the track for this race the month before upped the ante for racers and spectators alike. Certainly, watching the open-topped cars careen around the sharp corners of the triangular-shaped track (where Pathé operators wisely set up their cameras to catch the most dramatic footage possible) is as nail-biting an affair for viewers today as it must have been then."

"This was the first Grand Prix filmed by the Pathé company; similar films were also released in 1908, 1912, and 1913 (the event was suspended from 1909-1911 due to infighting between the car companies). Shown here are competitors preparing for the race, the race itself, and the medals ceremony." – Leslie Anne Lewis

AA: See image below. Non-fiction. A highly important documentation of an early Grand Prix auto race. However, as a film it is slightly boring. The most dramatic incident, as seen in the image below, is of a car toppling by the side of the track. Somewhat clumsy camerawork. An ok print.

[MIDDLE EAST TRAVELOGUE] (Urban?, GB?, c.1907) D: ?; 35 mm, 431 ft, 7'11" (16 fps); print source: National Film and Sound Archive, Australia (Corrick Collection #99). No intertitles.

"Contextual evidence provided by the Corrick family’s scrapbook suggests this film may be a version of Train Journey from Jaffa to Jerusalem, produced by the Charles Urban Company and released under slightly varying titles several times (1904, 1907, and 1908); however, this has not yet been confirmed. Scenes include a steam strain arriving at a station, travelling over a bridge and through a gorge, a religious parade, Roman ruins, and crowd scenes. The first mention of the Jaffa to Jerusalem film in Corrick advertisements comes in 1907, when it was screened as part of their “Trip Round the World” program." – Leslie Anne Lewis

AA: See image below. Travelogue. It starts with a phantom ride on a train. On a square vases are carried on top of the head. There are Christians. A procession. Elephants. A Muslim flag with a crescent. A boy has toothache. On the square people stare at the camera. The shepherds with their sheep. The palms, the camels. An ok print with occasional scratches and damage marks.

CACHE-TOI DANS LA MALLE! (Keep It Straight!) (Pathé, FR 1905) D: ?; C: Fernand Rivers; 35 mm, 301 ft, 5'01" (16 fps), col. (tinted); print source: National Film and Sound Archive, Australia (Corrick Collection #69). Main title in English, no intertitles.

"Advertised by the family as Keep It Straight! or This Side Up With Care, Cache-toi dans la malle! (literally, “Hide in the Trunk!”) follows (as one Corrick reviewer put it), “the terrible adventures of a man who would kiss his friend’s wife”. A man visiting his lover is nearly caught by the woman’s husband. He quickly ducks into a large trunk, but before he can make a clean escape the trunk is picked up by two movers. On their way to delivering the box to the railway station they are anything but gentle – dropping it down the stairs, off the back of a truck, and into the river. When the poor man is at last freed, he is hardly the dapper gentleman he once was – covered in dirt, clothes in tatters, bumped and bruised from his wild ride." – Leslie Anne Lewis

AA: A farce. A wild adventure of an unlucky lover who hides in a trunk, tumbles down the staircase, falls again from a carriage, dips deep down to the river when the carriage is crossing a bridge, and at the railway station falls again down the stairs. An ok print.

LA FÉE AUX PIGEONS (The Pigeon Fairy) (Pathé, FR 1906) D: Gaston Velle; DP, FX: Segundo de Chomón; 35 mm, 137 ft, 2'17" (16 fps), col. (stencil-colour); print source: National Film and Sound Archive, Australia (Corrick Collection #78). Main title in English, no intertitles.

"Pathé stalwart Gaston Velle produced this elaborately-stencilled spectacle of color and special effects with the help of frequent collaborator Segundo de Chomón. Aided by cinematic magic, a woman conjures birds out of thin air and then makes them disappear just as quickly. As her final trick, she herself transforms into a stunning peacock whose colors shift and shimmer before the viewer’s eyes." – Leslie Anne Lewis (The GCM Catalogue)

AA: See image below. A féerie. A transfiguration. The fairy of the pigeons, the rain of plumes. A radiating colour. A brilliant finale to seven fascinating years of opening the Corrick Collection.

Corrick films not surviving
"For all of the fascinating Corrick films that still exist, the list of their prints that are not known to survive is equally compelling. We may never know if they were traded or sold, or simply decomposed over the years, but from the various records available we can see that at some point the Corrick’s repertoire also included the following titles, as well as dozens more mentioned in advertisements and reviews that unfortunately cannot be concretely identified."

CASCADES DE FEU (Pathé, FR 1905)
CATCH ME IF YOU CAN (?, c.1906)
ÉCRIN DU RAJAH, L’ (Pathé, FR 1906)
ÉVENTAIL, L’ (Pathé, FR 1909)
[HUMAN SQUIB] (Gaumont, FR 1909)
JEU DE PATIENCE, LE (Pathé, FR 1909)
LOÏE FULLER (Pathé, FR 1905)
PATHÉ ANIMATED GAZETTE (October 1910) (Pathé, GB 1910)
RESCUED BY ROVER (Hepworth, GB 1905)
RÊVE À LA LUNE (Pathé, FR 1905)

La Fée aux pigeons. National Film & Sound Archive, Canberra

[Middle East Travelogue]. National Film & Sound Archive, Canberra

Circuit de Dieppe 1907. National Film & Sound Archive, Canberra

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