Saturday, October 28, 2023

Hämeenlinna: Film history marathon

Hämeenlinna / Tavastehus. I am giving a weekend film history marathon at the Kino Tavast film society, covering the complete story from 1894 till 2023. The lectures take place at Kumppanuustalo, Kirjastokatu 1. The house was built in 1900 as a Russian Orthodox church, the architect was Karaulzikov, and it has since Finnish independence served for instance as a library. The National Archive regional collection of Hämeenlinna is now in the upper floor.

Thursday, October 12, 2023

Højt paa en Kvist / [Up in the Attic]

Lau Lauritzen: Højt paa en Kvist (DK 1929) Fy & Bi / Pat & Patachon. Harald Madsen (Bivognen/Patachon) and Carl Schenstrøm (Fyrtårnet/Pat). From IMDb.

Lau Lauritzen: Højt paa en Kvist (DK 1929). Two dancers across the street: Marguerite Viby, Nina Kalckar. From IMDb.

Lau Lauritzen: Højt paa en Kvist (DK 1929). Two dancers across the street: Marguerite Viby, Nina Kalckar. From IMDb.

Lau Lauritzen: Højt paa en Kvist (DK 1929). Fy & Bi meet the dancing duo. Harald Madsen, Marguerite Viby, Nina Kalckar and Carl Schenstrøm. From IMDb.

[Su un soffitta] (Moster Malins Millioner) [I milioni di zia Malin/Aunt Malin’s Millions] (The Mannequins) / Keikareita, keplottelijoita ja kummituksia
    DK 1929. regia/dir: Lau Lauritzen Sr. scen: Lau Lauritzen Sr., Alice O’Fredericks, A. V. Olsen, Lau Lauritzen Jr. photog: Carlo Bentsen, Einar Olsen. asst. dir.: Alice O’Fredericks. 
    cast: Carl Schenstrøm (“Fyrtårnet” [SWE:“Fyrtornet”]) / Pat / “Lighthouse”), Harald Madsen (“Bivognen” [SWE: “Släpvagnen] / Patachon / “Sidecar”), Marguerite Viby, Nina Kalckar (le due ragazze / the two girls), Bruno Tyron (il pugile/the boxer), Emmy Schønfeld (Aunt Malin/the fortune teller), Mathilde Felumb-Friis (padrona di casa/landlady), Victor Wulff (l’avvocato/the lawyer), Gerda Kofoed (sua figlia/his daughter), Alex Suhr (impiegato/the clerk), Christian Arhoff (maestro di balletto/the ballet master), Anton de Verdier (il giudice/the judge), Lau Lauritzen Jr. (agente di polizia/police officer), Asbjørn Andersen (il signore in attesa/waiting gentleman), Aage Bendixen (falsario/counterfeiter), Arthur Jensen (vicino del piano di sotto/downstairs neighbor), 
    Henrik Malberg. prod: Palladium-Film. exec. prod: Svend Nielsen. uscita/rel: 26.12.1929 (Kosmorama, København). copia/copy: DCP, 97' (da/from 35 mm nitr. pos., orig. l. 2935 m, 24 fps); did./titles: SWE. fonte/source: Det Danske Filminstitut, København.
    Finnish premiere: 28 April 1930 Punainen Mylly, Piccadilly – control number 16325 – 2280 m.
    Finnish re-release (sonorized): 16 Dec 1945 Scala, released by Kelo-Filmi Oy – 2700 m.
    Finnish re-release: 10 Feb 1956 Pallas, relased by Oy Columbia Films Ab.
    Finnish telecast: 24 June 1965 Yleisradio TV1.
    Grand piano: Meg Morley.
    Teatro Verdi, Pordenone, Le Giornate del Cinema Muro (GCM): Slapstick Prog. 4 Odd Couples, 12 Oct 2023

Ulrich Rüdel (GCM 2023): " By the late 1920s Pat and Patachon had cemented their stardom as Europe’s most popular comedy duo prior to their American successors in audience affection, Laurel & Hardy. During this time, they churned out more feature comedies than Chaplin, Keaton, and Lloyd combined, though obviously they never achieved comparable artistic heights. However, after 30 feature films variation was overdue, and they were loaned out for foreign productions in Sweden, Britain, and Austria, appearing under the direction of such well-known names as Hans Steinhoff and Monty Banks (Banks also directed Laurel and Hardy, in Great Guns, 1941). This strategy provided the necessary shake-up and further underlined their international popularity, but also bore the risk of straying from a highly successful blueprint. By 1928’s Filmens Helte, the “jubilee” 25th Palladium/Lau Lauritzen/Pat and Patachon collaboration, the formula had become both tried and tested but also somewhat tired and stale, yet Højt paa en Kvist the following year provided a charming return to old form at Palladium with director Lauritzen. "

" The title roughly translates literally as “High Up on a Twig,” a reference to the domestic comedy’s setting in an attic flat, conveniently allowing for some slapstick rooftop antics, as well as an ominous prediction by a fortune teller, a mix-up with a brutish boxer, and innocent romance with two pretty dancer neighbors thrown in for good measure. In the process the film greatly benefits from featuring not just one but two odd couples, with Marguerite Viby and Nina Kalckar adding considerable charm as the dancers the comics are smitten with. Another important duo helped with scriptwriting duties: Alice O’Fredericks (1899-1968) would become, teamed with the director’s actor son Lau Lauritzen Jr., the dominating creative force in a specific Danish genre, folkekomedie, a warm, gentle, and ultimately untranslatable word that literally means “folk comedy,” which established Marguerite Viby as a major Danish comedienne for decades. "

" Having appeared in a handful of Pat and Patachon films before (as well as in Benjamin Christensen’s Häxan), and having won a scriptwriting competition for Filmens Helte, O’Frederick made her debut as assistant director in Højt paa en Kvist. It is tempting to think that these female contributions in front of and behind the camera can take some share of the credit for the gentleness and charm that marks many of the Pat and Patachon films, particularly this one. "

" It’s precisely these qualities that make them, as the DFI’s Madeleine Schlawitz proposed, the ideal comedy team for the 21st century, lacking the humiliation and harshness one associates with some aspects of American slapstick that have not aged too well. This is not necessarily a new observation: “They own a gently tempered Danish humor, which compared to American knockabout comedy feels more tame, but also more congenially personable. Even Chaplin can be excessively tart […]. With the […] Copenhagen couple, the humor has a homely, sometimes even slowish quality to it.” (Robert Ramin, Filmkomik und Filmkomiker, Wegweiser Kalender 1931, Berlin) Arguably, the price to pay for this modus operandi was comic timing, precision, and the gag-focused approach of many an American (or British music-hall-trained) slapstick master. Where Laurel and Hardy might expertly revisit, vary, and ref ine sight gags and comedy routines sometimes even dating back to their solo careers, or where Abbott & Costello basically preserved a catalogue of burlesque routines on film in various permutations, Pat and Patachon focused on a comedy of  characterization, through amusing pantomimed reactions, here for instance with their infatuation with the two young dancers, or Patachon’s burgeoning appetite for their neighbor’s breakfast. Perhaps in that sense they anticipated the deliberate “slowness” of Harry Langdon (and, in turn, his influence on the “Stan” character) much more than echoing the gagmen ingenuity of a Chaplin, Lloyd, or Laurel. This is not, however, to say that Lauritzen’s actor/circus clown duo lacked slapstick skills; this is aptly evidenced not just by their popularity, which in many countries was on a par with their more famous U.S. colleagues, but, here, for instance, also in the clumsy yet zany and effective rooftop antics that nicely contrast with the domestic comedy. "

" The ongoing popularity of the Pat and Patachon films resulted in a number of sonorized re-releases and compilations, sometimes sporting elaborate musical settings and/or dubbing, an aspect of this comedy team’s enduring European appeal over decades which offers much promise for further research but also resulted in the loss of the original versions. In the case of Højt paa en Kvist, the re-release benefitted from music by prominent Danish film composer Sven Gyldmark. "

" All Palladium film materials are now with DFI in Copenhagen. However, as with many of the Pat and Patachon features that survive at the archive in reasonably or entirely complete form – which, alas, applies roughly to only a third of their output – this digitization derives from a Swedish nitrate distribution print, with a surprising number of changes to the number and content of intertitles compared to the Danish release, as well as several cast names (Carl Schenstrøm is credited as Karl Schenström, Emmy Schønfeld as Emmy Schönfeld, and Mathilde Felumb Friis as Mathilde Felumb). A 35 mm tinted Swedish trailer for this film was shown at the Giornate in 2019. " – Ulrich Rüdel

AA: I thank the Danish and Swedish archives for reconstructing Pat & Patachon feature films to their original lengths. I was introduced to them as a child (possibly also to Højt paa en Kvist in a 1965 Finnish telecast) in truncated versions, probably cropped, in overspeed (it was considered hilarious) with overdone sound effects (such as banging a sledgehammer when there is a pat on the back).

I have liked the achievements with Polis Paulus' påskasmäll (1925, GCM 2013) and Filmens Helte (1928, GCM 2019) and now Højt paa en Kvist. 

As a child, I rated Pat & Patachon to the same category as the Finnish comedy duo Pekka & Pätkä, but I now realize how much better they are. On a different level altogether.

In truncated versions, physical farce elements were highlighted, and aspects of character and atmosphere pruned. In longer / complete versions, the balance is reset.

The impact is similar to the access to the Harold Lloyd legacy: in the 1970s, the abridged television versions of his masterpieces were appealing enough, but only when the original complete versions became available, the full grandeur re-emerged.

The physical farce aspect in Højt paa en Kvist is embarrassingly inept.

But as soon as Marguerite Viby and Nina Kalckar, the dancing duo across the street, appear, the film becomes tender and appealing. It turns into a comedy of character and relationships.

A similar revelation was the presence of the funny ladies Eli Lehmann and Inger Schmidt in Filmens Helte, as well as the uncredited "Josephine Baker" character with the sunny smile, playing the Native American princess in the film-in-the film.

There is fun in Højt paa en Kvist with clothes borrowed without permission from a neighbour and clothes made by a tailor. But more durable fun is provided by the characters themselves, a fun that is innate, the impact perhaps not far from the folkekomedie later pursued by Alice O'Fredericks as highlighted by Ulrich Rüdel in his program notes quoted above. It is about creating a world of fun, in which the tiniest pretext may give an excuse to laugh. It is about inviting us to a company of people having a great time.

Wir halten fest und treu zusammen / [We Stick Together through Thick and Thin]

[Restiamo saldamente e fedelmente insieme] (DE 1929) regia/dir: Herbert Nossen. scen: Hans Kahan. photog: Willy Hameister.
    cast: Siegfried Arno (“Beef”), Kurt Gerron (“Steak”), Ernst Karchow (Theodor Klabautermann), Vera Schmiterlöw (Kitty, sua figlia/his daughter), Evi Eva (cuoca/cook), Antonie Jaeckel (Freifrau von Gotha, sensale di matrimoni/marriage agent), Lotte Roman (parlor maid), Edith Meller (Carola Triller), Claire Cläry (domestica/maid), Karl Geppert (primo assessore/first assessor).
    prod: Ama-Film, Berlin. copia/copy: 35 mm, 263 m, 13' (18 fps); did./titles: GER. fonte/source: Bundesarchiv-Filmarchiv, Berlin.
    Grand piano: Meg Morley.
    Teatro Verdi, Pordenone, Le Giornate del Cinema Muto (GCM): Slapstick: Prog. 4 Odd Couples, 12 Oct 2023

Ulrich Rüdel, Sreya Chatterjee (GCM 2023): " “Beef” and “Steak” are two harmless crooks, who have already done time in prison. But sheer hunger forces them back into the criminal lifestyle. Financed by a gangster syndicate, they unsuccessfully try to be con artists and marriage swindlers. Since nothing works out for them, they voluntarily return to their idyllic and carefree life in prison. (Programme note, Cinefest, Hamburg, 2005) "

" The mid-1920 were the golden age of silent comedy duos. In the US Raymond Hatton and Wallace Beery or Karl Dane and George K. Arthur paved the way for Laurel and Hardy in 1927, who instantly would be carbon-copied by Snub Pollard and Marvin Loback. At the same time, Pat and Patachon had remained a European box-office sensation for several years, considered on a par with the great Hollywood comedians Chaplin, Lloyd, and Keaton. In 1927, when Laurel and Hardy films first began to hit the German market, Jewish Weimar comedians Kurt Gerron and Sig Arno decided it was time to create a German slapstick team equivalent. In spite of its anglicized, mouthwatering moniker “Beef & Steak”, the team was generally perceived as an attempt to compete with the unrivalled Danish duo. DFI scholar Jannie Dahl Astrup has reconstructed how the creation of “a German Pat and Patachon” (Allgemeine Zeitung, 8.5 1929) was even discussed in the Scandinavians’ home country, yet failed to compete artistically, as aptly analyzed by German critic Walter Kaul, who reminded readers that in Pat and Patachon it is the chemistry and characterization rather than comic perfection that mattered: "

" “Gerron and Arno, for all their incomparably stronger, more expressive, and sharper talent in particular, cannot even compete in detail with the two Danish comedians Pat and Patachon, while similarly representing the physical contrast of long and thin and short and fat. But with Pat and Patachon, not only the physiques differ, but so do their corresponding different temperaments: the short fat one is mobile and takes initiative, the long skinny one is slow and reluctant.” (Walter Kaul, Berliner Börsen-Courier, 7.7 1929) "

" Sig Arno (born Siegfried Aron) “embodied, sometimes cheekily, sometimes clumsily, the Jewish petit bourgeois, without emphasizing Jewish stubbornness, and thus became a star of Weimar cinema.” (Ronnie Loew, 2006 article, “IST EIN JÜDISCHER KOMIKER JÜDISCH-KOMISCH oder, wie ein exzellenter jüdischer Geiger, schier ein exzellenter Komiker?” [IS A JEWISH COMEDIAN COMICALLY JEWISH, or, like an excellent Jewish violinist, simply an excellent comedian?]). A German-Jewish film actor, he was also a talented dancer, choreographer, and painter. After service in World War I he returned to the Hamburg stages, and from 1922 onwards performed in renowned Berlin theatres, quickly earning accolades as a popular eccentric comedian, with his tall, lanky gait and pronounced nose. From the mid-1920s, Arno started working in film, mainly comedies. Arno’s performance in Richard Oswald’s Die Frau von vierzig Jahren [The Wife of Forty Years] (1925) won him favorable reviews: “the discovery as an actor is Siegfried Arno, the German Chaplin no less, who just has to rid himself of certain traits to become a completely unique slapstick comedian of enormous stature.” (M-s, Film-Kurier, 1925) Beyond his slapstick roles, Arno appeared in over 90 films in Germany during the silent and sound era, including Pabst’s Die Liebe der Jeanne Ney (The Love of Jeanne Ney, 1926), and Die Büchse der Pandora (Pandora’s Box, 1929). Arno left Germany in 1933 to work in the Netherlands, Switzerland, Italy, Spain, Portugal, and Belgium. In 1939 he moved to Hollywood, where he appeared in around 50 productions, usually in short but memorable roles, perhaps most notably the inventor who jumps out of a window in Chaplin’s The Great Dictator (1940) and as a rebuffed, unnerving gigolo in Preston Sturges’ The Palm Beach Story (1942). "

" Versatile German-Jewish actor and director Kurt Gerron (born Kurt Gerson), with his musical talent, was a rising star in film, theatre, and cabaret in the Weimar Republic. After military service in World War I at the age of 17, Gerron was eventually declared unfit. By 1920 he had turned to acting and achieved considerable success. Due to his war injuries, Gerron suffered from increasing obesity. His massive physical appearance often led to stereotypical casting or supporting roles. In 1928, he sang “Die Moritat von Mackie Messer” [“Mack the Knife”] in Brecht’s Die Dreigroschenoper (The Threepenny Opera). His 60 film roles include appearances alongside Dietrich and Jannings in Der blaue Engel (1930), with Heinz Rühmann in Die Drei von der Tankstelle (1930), and a cameo in Pabst’s Tagebuch einer Verlorenen (1929). But as the National Socialists came to power, Gerron, whose chances to move to Hollywood unfortunately did not work out in time despite the efforts of Peter Lorre and Marlene Dietrich, eventually perished in the Holocaust. "

" Only two “Beef & Steak” films were made. This fragment from the second one is brief, yet it is the longer of the two surviving, artistically apparently flawed, features. Despite this, it stands as a tribute not only to the impact of the great American slapstick comedians and their two Danish peers, but – more importantly – as a stark reminder of the role of Jewish humor in German film, so violently extinguished a decade later. " – Ulrich Rüdel, Sreya Chatterjee

AA: Sig Arno and Kurt Gerron, two multi-talented actors, are disastrously abused as a comic duo in the hands of a well-meaning amateur, medical doctor Herbert Nossen dabbling in film direction. The narrative has Laurel & Hardy affinities: like in The Second Hundred Years and Liberty, the duo is coming from jail. Plain hunger drives them back to a gang of criminals. They fail in their assignments - grand larceny in a restaurant, marriage fraud - so utterly that they decide it's best to return to prison. This type of ending was later used by Roberto Rossellini in Dov'è la libertà... ? starring Totò.

The Rivals (1923)

William Watson: The Rivals (US 1923) with Bobby Dunn and Slim Summerville. Collection Steve Massa.

US 1923. regia/dir, scen: William Watson. cast: Slim Summerville (Slim), Bobby Dunn (Bobby), Esther Ralston (Esther), Charles Meakin (suo padre/Esther’s father). prod: Universal. uscita/rel: 31.12.1923. copia/copy: 35 mm, 966 ft, 13' (24 fps); did./titles: ENG. fonte/source: Library of Congress National Audio-Visual Conservation Center, Packard Campus, Culpeper, VA.
    Grand piano: Meg Morley.
    Teatro Verdi, Pordenone, Le Giornate del Cinema Muto (GCM): Slapstick Prog. 4 Odd Couples, 12 Oct 2023

Steve Massa (GCM 2023): " Slim Summerville and Bobby Dunn are often included in the group of “original Keystone Kops.” Although not actually in the initial Sennett police squad, they were at the studio in its early days doing bits and stunts, working their way up to featured clowns. Previous to their movie days Slim had hoboed around America and appeared in small theatre companies, while Bobby had been a champion stunt and equestrian diver. In 1916 Sennett began teaming the tall, skinny Summerville with the compact Dunn in shorts like The Winning Punch (1916) and Villa of the Movies (1917). The boys made a natural “Mutt and Jeff ” combo, and always played opportunistic buddies not above doing dirt to each other to get ahead. "

" Although they each moved around to separate companies (LKO, Arrow), they always seemed to come back together – first for Fox and then in 1923 for this series at Universal, turning out a year’s worth of 13 shorts, of which The Rivals is the only survivor today. The basic premise has the boys as unfriendly rivals for the same object of affection – ingenue Esther Ralston, who would soon make a name for herself at Paramount (why pretty Esther would be interested in either of these lunkheads is a comic conceit of its own). "

" The boys are totally unconcerned that they’ve lost their jobs as movie extras for being particularly inept gladiators, as what seems to be important to them is the next underhanded thing that they can do to each other. The topper has Slim tying Bobby to a rocket and then watching him fly all over the suburbs surrounding the Universal lot. The Rivals is short and snappy, with the expert direction and gags supplied by William Watson, an overlooked comedy veteran who began his career at L-KO Comedies and was busy working at Century Comedies, Universal, Christie, RKO, and Educational into the 1930s. "

" For many years both comics continued to turn up in shorts and played support in features. Overall, Slim Summerville’s career fared better, and sound gave it a shot in the arm. After his wonderful performance in All Quiet on the Western Front (1930), he starred in some talking shorts, but was generally a supporting player in “A” features and a star in “Bs.” Often teamed with ZaSu Pitts, he worked up until shortly before his death in January 1946. Bobby Dunn declined to mostly bit roles, frequently at the Hal Roach Studio, where he turns up in Me and My Pal (1933), Tit for Tat (1935), and The Lucky Corner (1936), before his passing in 1937. " – Steve Massa


IMDb resume: " As Caesar and Marc Antony in the movies, the rivals fail and after various other crimes they land in the home of their mutual sweetheart. Father appears with a gun, but they escape by borrowing the girl's clothes. "

Library of Congress resume: " Slim and Bobby are fired from a motion picture studio after a try-out in the roles of Roman gladiators. Bob wants to visit "their girl", Esther, too, and Slim tries to shake him, but without success. Slim's visit is terminated by the sudden arrival of the persistent Bobby, and he hides in a closet. He is soon followed by Bobby whose unwelcome arrival has been spotted by the girl's father. They manage to escape by donning, jointly, a set of female apparel. Later Bob develops a toothache. Slim endeavors to relieve it by tying the tooth to a skyrocket which unexpectedly pulls Bobby through the air and in close pursuit of Slim, who is trying to elope with the girl. The rocket finally comes to earth and the tooth is extracted,'s the wrong tooth. " — Copyright Description from Library of Congress

AA: In the meta comedy opening, Slim and Bobby are screen tested for Julius Caesar and Marc Antony in a disastrous duel. Instead of Cleopatra, they are rivals for the affection of Esther Ralston, "the dream we both believe in". Her father, armed with a gun, is quick to chase them, but, having hidden in a wardrobe closet, they escape in a shared female drag. The film ends with a "justice of fate" when Bobby tries to cure his toothache with a firework rocket. We get the fireworks, Bobby flies through the air, and a tooth is pulled, but not the right one.

Slim Summerville and Bobby Dunn have talent, and Esther Ralston is lovely. 

The inevitable point of comparison is Laurel & Hardy. They also behave awfully against each other (although never as romantic rivals) yet there is always real friendship and shared joy in their comedy, as well as unending psychological complexity beyond the obvious, even crude, farce surface. Nuance and complexity is missing from Slim & Bobby.

Der Berg des Schicksals / The Peak of Fate (2022 FWMS restoration)

Arnold Fanck: Der Berg des Schicksals / The Peak of Fate (DE 1924). According to the photo data this is Hannes Schneider.  However, this scene is not about the character portrayed by Hannes Schneider but one of his rivals. From: Friedrich-Wilhelm-Murnau-Stiftung, Wiesbaden. Photomontage: Le Giornate del Cinema Muto 2023 Catalog.

Der Berg des Schicksals: ein Drama aus der Natur.
    [La montagna del destino] (DE 1924) regia/dir, scen, sogg/story, mont/ed: Arnold Fanck. photog: Arnold Fanck, [esterni/exteriors, locations: Hans Schneeberger, Herbert Oettel; interni/interiors: Eugen Hamm, Sepp Allgeier]. scg/des: Leopold Blonder. 
    cast: Hannes Schneider (lo scalatore/the climber), Frida Richard (sua madre/his mother), Erna Morena (sua moglie/his wife), Luis Trenker (suo figlio/his son), Hertha von Walther (Hella, sua figlia/his daughter), Gustav Oberg (l’amico dello scalatore/the climber’s friend), Werner Scharschmidt (montanaro/mountaineer), H. von Hoeslin (montanaro/mountaineer), Arnold Ernst Fanck. 
    prod: Arnold Fanck, Berg- und Sportfilm GmbH, Alpenfilm AG.
    v.c./censor date: 17.3.1924; 30.1.1930. uscita/rel: 10.5.1924 (Theater am Nollendorfplatz, Berlin).
    Unreleased in Finland.
    copia/copy: DCP, 86', col. (da/from 35 mm nitr., orig. 2432 m, 20 fps; imbibizione/tinting); did./titles: GER. fonte/source: Friedrich-Wilhelm-Murnau-Stiftung, Wiesbaden. Restauro/Restored 2022.
    Musical commentary: Mauro Colombis, Frank Bockius.
    Teatro Verdi, Pordenone, Le Giornate del Cinema Muto (GCM): Riscoperte / Rediscoveries, 12 Oct 2023

Luciano Palumbo (GCM 2023): " In 1913, 24-year-old Arnold Fanck, a German geology student in Zurich and a keen skier and free-climber, joined a group scaling Monte Rosa, filming and documenting the expedition. The experience sparked his passion for photography and filmmaking, and after the First World War he co-founded Berg- und Sportfilm GmbH Freiburg (Freiburg Mountain and Sports Film Co.), a small production company specializing in short information documentaries, honing his technical skills over the next few years. "

" In 1924 his first fiction feature, Der Berg des Schicksals, saw him taking on all the essential roles – photography, scriptwriting, direction, editing, production – while entrusting the acting to the Olympic ski champion Hannes Schneider (the climber) and the professional mountaineer Luis Trenker (playing his adult son). The female roles were given to experienced players: Erna Morena (Das indische Grabmal, Joe May, 1921) as the climber’s wife; character actress Frida Richard (Rausch, Ernst Lubitsch, 1921) as his mother; and Hertha von Walther (Die Liebe der Jeanne Ney, G. W. Pabst, 1927) as his daughter Hella. "

" Fanck began with images rather than a script. He first shot a huge amount of footage, guided solely by his aesthetic taste and his fascination for the practice of climbing and idyllic mountain settings. Then he used writing to create a narrative that would allow him to bring together as many images as possible. Here he was inspired by the true story of the climber Carlo Garbari (“Carbarie” in the film), who had died in a solo attempt to scale the Guglia (“spire”) di Brenta (now commonly known as the Campanile Basso) in the Dolomites. "

" Scenes shot in a studio by Eugen Hamm and Sepp Allgeier thus had a supporting function, enhancing the initial story and giving it a real dramatic charge. The result is a rich series of images, unique of their kind, with the leading roles played by the mountain, nature, and the elements. "

" However, the film’s unconventional quality clashed with the preconceptions of the distributors, whose fear of the lack of a solid screenplay led them to downgrade it to the status of a popular documentary, with low expectations for profit. With limited finances, Fanck compiled a negative from which he made a small number of prints, enriched with occasional tinting. He promoted the film as belonging to a genre of his own conception, a “Natur-Spielfilm” (“Nature-fiction film”), retaining this definition for all his subsequent productions. He entrusted the poster design to the celebrated illustrator Theo Matejko, and finally, at his own expense, rented a cinema in Berlin, the Nollendorf-Theater, where he had the film screened twice a day over the four summer months. Box office and critical reactions were extremely positive, and multiple sold-out screenings paid off Fanck’s expenses, finally attracting the attention of a proper distributor. "

" With improved financial support, Fanck worked on a new version of the negative, integrating originally discarded scenes and takes to meet the demand from both audiences and critics and thus create material for new prints. The original version of the film was revised, and now included entirely new shots, tinting, and intertitles, which ultimately led to a truly new version, which was submitted for approval by the Board of Censors in 1930. "

The restoration 

" The last two nitrate prints of the film surviving in Germany were digitized for the 2K restoration of Der Berg des Schicksals by the Friedrich-Wilhelm- Murnau-Stiftung, beginning in 2018. One had belonged to Gosfilmofond, Moscow, while the other, about 200 metres longer, formed part of the private collection of Leni Riefenstahl, and is now part of the Deutsche Kinemathek – Museum für Film und Fernsehen, which also holds other nitrate fragments of the film. Both prints are now housed in the Bundesarchiv in Berlin. "

" Study of the edge codes made it possible to determine that both prints were made using material produced in the period of the film’s original release. However, the nature and form of the physical and duplicate (printed-in) splices indicate that substantial differences in editing between the two prints occurred at different times, contemporary with and subsequent to the film’s distribution. The editing of the longer print appeared to be more reliable, and in the absence of secondary sources that might offer certain confirmation, this version was used, in spite of various gaps in the narrative and inconsistencies, which were compensated for or digitally corrected using the other surviving print, which served as a guide for reconstructing the tinted scenes and their narrative function. "

" The complex processing was carried out with the support of the Beauftragte der Bundesregierung für Kultur und Medien and the generous participation of sponsors from the Freunde und Förderer des deutschen Filmerbes e.V. The result is believed to be the most complete and accurate version of the film surviving between the post-war period and our own day. " – Luciano Palumbo

AA: I see Der Berg des Schicksals for the first time.

It is a film that belongs firmly to the category of the sublime in the strict classical sense of Edmund Burke et al.

It is still one of the great mountain films, a foundational one, and also a breathtaking action film. Seemingly the extremely dangerous and thrilling feats are real, shot on location in the Dolomites - visible to us here in Pordenone and on display from above on our flights, including those of Air Dolomiti. Siegfried Kracauer in his Frankfurter Zeitung review on 9 April 1925 mentioned Cimone della Palla, Latemar and Rosengarten among the specific locations. I have visited the Dolomites only once, during my early visits to Pordenone, but not further than the highest bus stop.

Kracauer also registered novel and at the time unique features of visual aesthetics such as grandiose reflections on mountain lakes, clustered seas of clouds that billow and ebb, encircling peaks, heavenly apparitions never seen before. He also noticed the feats of the death-defying free climbers negotiating bare vertical mountain walls and wide chasms with derring-do.

Because the locations and the athletes are real, the movie is close to documentary, and key evidence to Bazin's ontology of the cinema and Kracauer's Theory of Film: The Redemption of Physical Reality.

Rugged mountains, mysterious mists, ravishing waterfalls, glowing clouds, tempests with thunder and lightning - and snowstorms and avalanches - convey the force of nature in a purely elementary way.

Learning from Nordic cinema, which in turn was influenced by Frenchmen (Perret) and Americans (Griffith, Hart), Arnold Fanck turns his mountain world into a soulscape. 

In the Bergfilm, the landscape is also a deathscape. Like in the three sailor dramas on display in this year's Le Giornate, there is also a sense of a call of death, of der Todestrieb, the death drive, an experience felt widely in countries that had endured the Great War. The term itself was coined in the context.

The restoration is wonderful, although occasionally cursed by the current sin of exaggerated tinting. The art titles are elegant. Image size varies, with pillarboxing, masks and vignettes. Silhouette images bring drama and style to the visual storytelling. The composition is tight and disciplined. 


Mit Karl Valentin und Liesl Karlstadt auf der Oktoberwiese / [With Karl Valentin and Liesl Karlstadt at the Oktoberfest Fairgrounds]

Mit Karl Valentin und Liesl Karlstadt auf der Oktoberwiese (DE 1921). Liesl Karlstadt, Karl Valentin. Photo: Filmmuseum München / Edition Filmmuseum 89.

[Con Karl Valentin e Liesl Karlstadt sul prato dell’Oktoberfest] (DE 1921) regia/dir: ?. cast: Karl Valentin, Liesl Karlstadt (Oktoberfest attendees). prod: Karl Valentin. copia/copy: 35 mm, 336 m, 14'41" (20 fps); did./titles: GER. fonte/source: Bundesarchiv-Filmarchiv, Berlin.
    Forse un frammento di/Possibly a fragment from DER “ENTFLOHENE” HAUPTDARSTELLER [La fuga dell’interprete principale; The Fleeing/Flea-ing Star] (DE 1921) regia/dir: Josef Schmidt. cast: Karl Valentin, Liesl Karlstadt, Hanna Lierke, Ludwig Wengg, Hans Schön-Matz (sposa/bride). prod: Bavaria Film GmbH
    Musical commentary: Mauro Colombis, Frank Bockius.
    Teatro Verdi, Pordenone, Le Giornate del Cinema Muto (GCM): Slapstick: Appetitzers, 12 Oct 2023

Ulrich Rüdel (GCM 2023): " This fragmentary and somewhat clumsy yet still charming one-reeler about a visit to the fairgrounds of the Oktoberfest – the world’s largest beer festival/funfair, where Karl Valentin himself worked as a showman in 1921 – reminds us that Valentin’s silent film career largely remains terra incognita, and has been for a century. In 1929, film collector and writer Walter Jerven compiled a programme of roughly two hours, Aus der Kinderstube des Films (From the Kindergarten of Cinema), which included four comedies, among them a Max Linder short and Karl Valentins Hochzeit, plus this piece, Mit Karl Valentin und Liesl Karlstadt auf der Oktoberwiese. "

" The enthusiastic audience reaction resulted in an organized search for additional Valentin shorts – many of which remain missing to this day, but the ads led to the discovery of a print of Die lustigen Vagabunden – along with the realization that Germany did have a major but neglected silent comedy genius, longing for a film comedy career. “But then, German slapstick. Karl Valentin and Liesl Karlstadt films. What you could still do with these two guys today! Valentin, this venturesome clown form, a Munich Buster Keaton, and Liesl in her smothering femininity. Of course, the two films – Valentins Hochzeit and even the more recent Oktoberwiese – still exhibit yesterday’s comedy. But there are moments prefiguring Chaplin in the cabinet of laughter, in the fairground stalls […] Who is courageous enough to re-start from there?” (Lotte Eisner, Film-Kurier, 4.3.1929) "

" Ultimately and thankfully, Jerven himself did, and produced the sole Valentin–Liesl Karlstadt silent feature, Der Sonderling [The Nerd] (1929), screened at the 2019 Giornate. Unlike other rediscovered shorts (see this year’s note for Karl Valentins Hochzeit for an open question regarding that film’s genesis), the source and history of the extant Oktoberwiese short remains quite unclear; even the (assigned?) title and production year vary between filmographies. Valentin dates it to 1923, but it is generally believed to be a fragment from a 1921 two-reeler, Der “entflohene” Hauptdarsteller, a title employing a flea (circus) pun (“flea/fled”) that lends credence to the identification, where Valentin and Karlstadt may have been relegated to mere supporting parts, with their scenes extracted here. "

" The Valentin estate contains a 1921 film typescript, Oktoberfest-Schau, which may or may not be a related project. The titles in the surviving version screened here are apparently sound-era re-creations, and may well have been re-written (Chris Horak actually reports that the surviving materials entirely lack intertitles); their blunt, basic, and naïve dialect-infused attempts at humor represents one of all-too-many attempts to frame Valentin (a favorite of critics and intellectuals, including Brecht) as a mere low regional folk comedian, prompting Filmmuseum München to create a new alternate reconstructed version that substitutes Valentin quotes from other sources for the titles. Nowadays, Oktoberwiese, with its rather standard settings and jokes (including some unfortunate but common ethnic stereotyping, as well as a brief but uneasy detour into what could be called “digestive body” comedy) as background for the duo’s violent and rascally comedy, is perhaps best approached as a partially improvised fairground romp, not unlike a 1910s Keystone park comedy, thus fitting stylistically, if coincidentally, with the earlier Jerven-rediscovered Valentin shorts from the 1910s. Exceeding the limitations of a script is perhaps a litmus test to distinguish true funnymen from mere comic actors – and funny women of course, with Liesl Karlstadt, stuffed with pillows to grotesquely extend her physique, sharing in the shenanigans, and preserving the duo’s comic and personal chemistry in this comedy of Schadenfreude. " – Ulrich Rüdel

AA: Epic sense of fun on the Oktoberfest fairground with knife-throwing, hall of mirrors, flea circus, Ferris wheel, carousel, reverse riding, apple cider, boxing matches, electric shocks. Charming intertitles in Bavarian dialect. Triangle comedy leads to a wild chase. A somewhat duped look.

Livjægerne paa Amager / [The King’s Volunteers on Amager]

Peter Elfelt:  Livjægerne paa Amager / [The King’s Volunteers on Amager] (DK 1906) performed by Hans Beck, Valborg Guldbrandsen (later Borchsenius), and Ellen Price. Screenshot at European Film Gateway from: Det Danske Filminstitut, København.

(DK 1906) regia/dir: Peter Elfelt. cast: Hans Beck, Valborg Guldbrandsen, Ellen Price. copia/copy: 4K DCP, 1' (da/from 35 mm, 16 fps); senza did./no titles. fonte/source: Det Danske Filminstitut, København.
    Musical commentary: Mauro Colombis, Frank Bockius.
    Teatro Verdi, Pordenone, Le Giornate del Cinema Muto (GCM): Early Cinema: Dance Films, 12 Oct 2023

Thomas Christensen (GCM 2023): " A lively reel from the 1871 ballet by August Bournonville, set in the early 19th century on the Danish island of Amager. Performed by Hans Beck, Valborg Guldbrandsen (later Borchsenius), and Ellen Price. "

AA: Looks like a folk dance with one man and two women, against a painted backdrop. Low definition.

Wednesday, October 11, 2023

Film concert Hindle Wakes (1927) score composed and conducted by Maud Nelissen, performed by a quintet (GCM 2023)

Maurice Elvey: Hindle Wakes (GB 1927). John Stuart (Allan Jeffcote), Humberston Wright (Chris Hawthorn), Peggy Carlisle (Mary Hollins), Estelle Brody (Fanny Hawthorn). Photo: BFI, London.

Evento del mercoledì / Mid-Week Event

HINDLE WAKES (GB 1927) regia/dir: Maurice Elvey. scen: Victor Saville, dall’omonima pièce di/based on the play by Stanley Houghton (17.6.1912, Aldwych Theatre, London, the Stage Society; 16.7.1912, Playhouse, London). photog: William Shenton, Jack Cox, [Basil Emmott]. supv. mont./ed: V. Gareth Gundrey. scg/des: Andrew L. Mazzei. 
    cast: Estelle Brody (Fanny Hawthorn), John Stuart (Allan Jeffcote), Norman McKinnel (Nathaniel Jeffcote), Humberstone Wright (Chris Hawthorn), Marie Ault (Mrs. Hawthorn), Irene Rooke (Mrs. Jeffcote), Peggy Carlisle (Mary Hollins), B. Graham Soutten (Mr. Hollins), Arthur Chesney (Sir Timothy Farrar), Gladys Jennings (Beatrice / Betty Farrar), Jack Rowal (George Ramsbottom), Alf Goddard (Nobby), Cyril McLaglen (Alf). 
    trade show: 4.2.1927. première: 3.3.1927 (New Gallery Kinema, London). prod: Gaumont-British Picture Corporation. 
    Unreleased in Finland. All four film adaptations seem unreleased in Finland. Neither has Stanley Houghton's play been produced in Finland.
    copia/copy: 35 mm, 8,682 ft, 116' (20 fps); did./titles: ENG. fonte/source: BFI National Archive, London.

Score composed and conducted by Maud Nelissen; performed by Daphne Balvers (sax), Lucio Degani (violino/violin), Francesco Ferrarini (violoncello), Maud Nelissen (piano), Rombout Stoffers (percussioni/percussions).
    The composition was commissioned in 2019 on the occasion of Remake. Frankfurter Frauen Film Tage by Kinothek Asta Nielsen and made possible by the generous support of the Bareva Foundation.

Teatro Verdi, Pordenone, Le Giornate del Cinema Muto (GCM): Special Events, Wednesday, 11 Oct 2023

Bryony Dixon (GCM 2023): " For one week every year the workers from the Lancashire town of Hindle leave the daily grind of the cotton mills and give themselves up to hectic holidaymaking, known locally as the “Wakes”. Breathtaking scenes at Blackpool’s seaside resort take us on a literal and emotional rollercoaster. Adapted from Stanley Houghton’s trailblazing social play – a classic of the “Manchester School” – about the tensions between generation and class, it creates a role model in Fanny Hawthorn, who refuses to comply with the hypocrisies of her parents and employers concerning her holiday romance with the mill owner’s son. "

" In Maurice Elvey’s film version of Houghton’s play, released in 1927, our “thoroughly-modern” mill girl might chime with our preconceptions about the “New Woman” post-WWI and the shift in attitudes after women got the vote (although working mill girls wouldn’t have qualified to vote at that time). But we’d be completely wrong. Houghton’s play was written in 1910 before any of these things happened. Elvey made the first film adaptation for Samuelson’s in 1918. This is long lost, but Elvey liked it enough to want to remake it. He told historian Denis Gifford he thought it was “a really great play; it is really about something” and demonstrated that cinema could be a force for social progress. He and Victor Saville added the holiday scenes, only referred to in the past tense in the play. With healthier post-war budgets he made it his masterpiece, with exterior scenes shot at Monton Mill near Salford, on Blackpool Pleasure Beach, in the Tower Ballroom in Blackpool, and on the Welsh coast at Llandudno. C. A. Lejeune thought that for the first time in his career Elvey showed “a bit of kinematic genius”. "

" Viewers today will appreciate the fabulous whirlwind of the Blackpool trip. Uncredited cameraman Basil Emmott tied himself on to the carriage of the scenic railway to get fabulous point-of-view shots and 6,000 people turned up at the Tower Ballroom to be f ilmed as a dancing throng. The second half of the drama is more staid and claustrophobic, but this is integral to the atmosphere of the story, as the young people have to own up to the life-changing consequences of their all-too-brief taste of freedom. We see them full of life and fun and love, then in the dreary and oppressive setting of home as the moralistic parents and paternalistic employers conspire to sweep the potential scandal under a carpet of respectability. We’ve seen this story a thousand times before, but the denouement when it comes is almost as shocking as it must have been for playgoers in 1912. Despite the controversy it caused then, it became a classic feminist work of the mainstream, adapted repeatedly as film and television drama in 1918, 1927, 1932, 1950, 1952, and 1976. "

" Various incomplete prints of Hindle Wakes have been deposited with BFI National Archive over the decades; the longest is a print acquired in 1973. Although this is not a restoration – it has plenty of wear and tear – it is a new print from the preservation dupe negative, very near to the complete advertised release length. One day we hope to add back its original tints and tones. " – Bryony Dixon

The music 

Maud Nelissen (GCM 2023): " In the spring of 2019 I received an inspiring invitation from the Kinothek Asta Nielsen to compose a new music score for Maurice Elvey’s Hindle Wakes. This film is truly remarkable, not only for the humanity and sensitivity of all the performances, but also for Elvey’s spectacular location shooting in a Northern textile factory and the fun-fair ambience of Blackpool. "

" The challenge has been for me to compose music which not only enhances the vibrancy of the exuberant first part of the film, but is also able to support the deeper psychological layers of the second part. To get closer to the essence of the story, I went to Blackpool where the film was shot. I visited the cotton mills in Burnley, went by train (as in the film) to Blackpool, slept, like Fanny, in a former boarding house, went to the Pleasure Beach to have an absolutely horrifying ride on the still existing “Big Dipper” rollercoaster, and spent quality time watching people dance at the impressive Blackpool Tower Ballroom. I also interviewed several Lancashire men and women to try to understand the virtues and values of the “working class”. The working class in Great Britain is something totally different from the Dutch equivalent, so therefore I needed to learn more. For the musical line-up I opted for a classical “Piano trio setting”: Violin, Cello, and Piano, combined with Soprano / Alto Saxophone and Percussion and Accordion. This variety of instruments enables me to change quickly between the more worldly (modern) scenes and the intimate scenes with dramatic depth. " – Maud Nelissen

AA: According to my informal poll, the film concert Hindle Wakes was the greatest favourite at this year's Giornate. Both the immediate reception and the reverberation on the following days were exceptionally warm. 

There was also an element of bemused surprise. Hindle Wakes is not an unknown or forgotten film, but for decades it seems to have been hiding in plain sight. Even British colleagues seemed amazed to discover the true distinction of Hindle Wakes here.

The last time Hindle Wakes was screened in Pordenone (in the Maurice Elvey retrospective of 1997), I missed it, instead visiting a simultaneous screening of Kevin McDonald's Howard Hawks documentary

In 1997, the 35 mm print was 8658 ft / 2637 m, 96 minutes at 24 fps. Today, the print was 8682 ft / 2645 m, practically the same, but the projection speed was slowed down to 20 fps. It looked fine. At times it could have run faster.

The Hindle Wakes discovery reminds me of the screening of State Fair (1933) in Bologna's Henry King retrospective four years ago, another movie that everybody was aware of but few had seen. Both take place at an exciting annual event, life-changing for the young protagonists. Both are often filmed subjects based on popular properties, but only one adaptation is exceptional.

Hindle Wakes is a tender and realistic saga of the éducation sentimentale of Fanny Hawthorn (Estelle Brody). It is an ensemble piece focusing on two families (upper class, working class) and a portrait of life in Greater Manchester, Lancashire, dominated by textile industry.

The subject could be handled as melodrama, but Hindle Wakes is anti-melodrama. It could be a story of "seduced and abandoned", but the greatest surprise and the most gratifying reward is how beautifully and consistently it defies stereotypes.

The play is subtle and sophisticated, and in Maurice Elvey's direction, the performances do justice to nuance and complexity. From the beginning to the end, the film is full of life. It starts with a journey, the extroverted part, and ends as a chamber play, in interiority. But it keeps growing in intensity, and it keeps growing in the viewer's mind long after the screening.

There is no seduction, nor abandonment. What Fanny and Allan experience, both want. It is neither Liebe nor Liebelei. But it is beautiful, a mutual pleasure. The parents are scandalized. Fanny and Allan refuse to participate in scandal. They separate as friends.

Allan is set for a marriage of convenience with Beatrice (Betty), for their parents, "the marriage of the two biggest mills of Lancashire". But Allan and Betty also love each other.

Fanny's father is a classic example of the deferential worker, but Fanny belongs to a new generation of modern women. She leaves her home and the oppressive rule of her mother.

Hindle Wakes has been impressively shot on location in Lancashire (Monton Mills, Blackpool) and Wales (the love paradise of Fanny and Allan in Llandudno). The dance sequence at the legendary Tower Ballroom is epic.

Personally, there is something fondly familiar to me here. In two periods, I grew up in the city of Tampere, also known as "the Manchester of Finland" or "Manse", and I wrote my master's thesis on the history of Tampere. Fanny Hawthorn as played by Estelle Brody evokes the formidable women of the Tampere textile mills. In Finland's Civil War in 1918 they were the most fearless fighters for justice and liberty.

The score by Maud Nelissen is tender and lyrical, with pastoral passages and train ride music. The orchestra played it with full and resonant love.

St. Croix (US 1918)

Clyde E. Elliott: St. Croix. Post Travel Film No. 2 (US 1918). Photo: Nasjonalbiblioteket, Oslo/Mo i Rana. Photomontage: GCM Catalogue 2023. Please click on the images to make better sense of them.

ST. CROIX. Post Travel Film No. 2 (St. Croix, Jomfruøyene) (US 1918) dir, prod: Clyde E. Elliott. prod: Post Pictures Corporation. dist: Pathé Exchange. rel: 23.6.1918. copy: DCP, 12'48", col. (orig. 234 m, imbibito/tinted); titles: NOR. source: Nasjonalbiblioteket, Oslo/Mo i Rana.
    Grand piano: Maud Nelissen.
    Teatro Verdi, Pordenone, Le Giornate del Cinema Muto (GCM): Hans Berge Travelogue, 11 Oct 2023

Michelle A. Tisdel (GCM 2023): " St. Croix, released in 1918, depicts scenes from the daily life of the former Danish-Norwegian colony, which had only recently become the U.S. Virgin Islands. This historic document shows the aftermath of European colonialism and U.S. imperialism on this Caribbean island less than one year after Denmark had sold its former territory to the United States in April 1917. Clyde E. Elliott was a globe-trotting director whose Post Travel Series began releasing one-reel travelogues through Pathé Exchange beginning in June 1918. The first series focused on the Virgin Islands, British Guyana, and Venezuela, with St. Croix being the second release of this initial series, following St. Thomas. In last year’s programme we presented another film in the Post Travel Series, Japan of Today, which was made sometime after Elliott’s Caribbean tour and released in December of the same year. "

" The film captures a unique period of transition, continuity, and change in Black, Caribbean, and colonial history. The documentation-style reportage depicts scenes in the former Danish colonial capital Christiansted, built on the proceeds from Danish-Norwegian participation in the transatlantic slave trade and based on an entanglement of broader global political and economic processes. Depictions of local populations of African heritage, aspects of everyday life, and activities of the new imperial/colonial power on the island comprise an important historical record. Principal elements, such as the sequence at a U.S. military base and the archaic language and descriptions of the populations and historical events, give the form and content of the work ethnographic and metahistorical relevance. "

" Berge traveled extensively in both North and South America, and there are strong indications he also visited Central America. It is not unlikely he visited the Caribbean, which perhaps made the acquisition of Elliott’s St. Croix especially attractive. His company’s logo also appears at the end of the film. The Norwegian title on the film, St. Croix, Jomfruøyene, translates as “St. Croix, Virgin Islands”. " – Michelle A. Tisdel

AA: A travelogue from St. Croix, and a piece of colonial cinema. I become curious to learn more about the slave rebellions of the island. In the intertitles there are references to crushing "a malicious revolt" in Haiti and US Marines "ready to take action against any kind of riot".

Until 1917 St. Croix was known as Dansk Vestindien, De Vestindiske Øer or De Danske Jomfruøer.  The names of the cities are still Danish. The capital, Charlotte Amalie, is on St. Thomas. St. Croix is also known as "twin cities" because of the two towns Christiansted and Frederiksted.

There is a beautiful slow panoramic shot from aboard a ship to Christiansted. Pastoral idylls are intercut with appearances of police force. Nature does not like modern machines. The sun sets in the Caribbean.

Mavedanserinde / The Belly Dancer

Peter Elfelt: Mavedanserinde / The Belly Dancer (DK 1905). Photo: Det Danske Filminstitut, København. From: Le Giornate del Cinema Muto 2023.

[Danzatrice del ventre / A Belly Dancer] (DK 1905). regia/dir: Peter Elfelt. cast: ?. copia/copy: 4K DCP, 1' (da/from 35 mm, 16 fps); senza did./no titles. fonte/source: Det Danske Filminstitut, København.
    Grand piano: Maud Nelissen
    Teatro Verdi, Pordenone, Le Giornate del Cinema Muto (GCM): Early Cinema: Dance Films, 11 Oct 2023

Thomas Christensen (GCM 2023): " An erotic dance performed by an unknown female dancer. "

AA: In sensuous abandon, an unknown dancer performs a wonderful number of رقص شرقي (Raqs sharqi), the belly dance, the Oriental dance.

In Fustra, a Finnish physical exercise method to help reset posture, body control and harmful positions, and cure neck and back pain - largerly due to excessive sitting and computer screen time - the key concept is core. A series is exercises is taught to connect with and strengthen the three sets of abdominal muscles. "Core consciousness" is pursued.

It occurred to me that there is an affinity in the fundamental insight of the belly dance and the "core" concept of Fustra. Probably it goes to other dance forms, as well.

Mindy Johnson: The Only Woman Animator - Bessie Mae Kelley & Women at the Dawn of an Industry (The Jonathan Dennis Memorial Lecture 2023), GCM Pordenone

Bessie Mae Kelley, ca 1920. Photo from Wikipedia.

Mindy Johnson. Photo: Le Giornate del Cinema Muto 2023.

The Jonathan Dennis Memorial Lecture: XIX Conferenza: Mindy Johnson: "La sola donna animatrice - Bessie Mae Kelley e le donne agli albori dell'industria"
Teatro Verdi, Pordenone, Le Giornate del Cinema Muto, 11 Oct 2023

GCM 2023: " In the earliest days of the animation industry, one woman animated and directed alongside the men who later became titans of the artform, yet her name and work have been lost – until now. Beginning at Bray Studios circa 1917, Bessie Mae Kelley quickly rose to assistant animator and then to animator/director, as well as one of the first animators to reveal the animation process to sold-out audiences “on the circuit” within the final decade of vaudeville. This ground-breaking artist, and her surviving films, are finally introduced to the world, featuring the earliest-known hand-drawn animation – animated and directed by a woman. "

" Author/historian/filmmaker Mindy Johnson is an Academy Film Scholar and 2023 Annie Award recipient for her groundbreaking work into the history of women within animation. A frequent speaker/lecturer on her continued research, books, and films, Mindy explores a range of diverse subjects in our cinematic past in addition to teaching at CalArts in Los Angeles, CA, and Drexel University in Philadelphia, PA. "

The Bessie Mae Kelley films screened:

Flower Fairies (US 1921). 2023 restoration.
A Merry Christmas (US 1922). 2023 restoration.



" Bessie Mae Kelley (fl. 1920s) was an early American animator. Her work is believed to be the earliest surviving hand-drawn animation drawn and directed by a woman.

Kelley began her career in animation late in 1917, working her way up through the ranks, cleaning cels and assistant animating, before quickly animating at Bray Studios. She contributed animation to Fleischer Studios' Koko the Clown series and others, before directing and animating short films. These included Gasoline Alley (1920) and Flower Fairies (1921) and A Merry Christmas (1922) in Chicago. She also contributed character designs and animations to Paul Terry's "Aesop’s Fables" series. She collaborated with Terry in drawing a mouse couple named Milton and Mary, which predated the creation of Mickey and Minnie Mouse.

Kelley's work remained largely unknown until her collection was rediscovered and two of her films were restored by animation historian Mindy Johnson in 2022. Johnson discovered Kelley in a series of images of male animators from the early 1920s. Other historians had previously assumed her to be a secretary or cleaning woman. "


AA: A fascinating illustrated lecture by Mindy Johnson on Bessie Mae Kelley and other talented women in silent animation.

This is the Centenary of the Walt Disney Company, and on Sunday's beloved Striking a New Note event (with children of Pordenone playing to silents), two animated Alice comedies were shown: Alice Solves the Puzzle and Alice the Whaler. They were animations about the adventures of the live action Alice in cartoonland. I saw them at the groundbreaking "Walt in Wonderland" retrospective at GCM in 1992 and did not revisit them this time.

The first leading character in Disney's animation world was female.

Let's also pay attention to the name above title: M. J. Winkler presents. M  J. Winkler was Margaret J. Winkler (1895-1990) who together with her partner Charles Mintz ran Winkler Pictures.

Walt Disney: Alice Solves the Puzzle (US 1925).

Margaret Winkler (1895-1990). Photo: Wikipedia.

Early British Films from the Filmoteca de Catalunya, 1897-1909 (2023 restoration) (GCM Pordenone)

An Affair of Honour (GB 1904)
Fixing the Swing (GB 1904)
Her Morning Dip (GB 1906)
Eccentric Burglary (GB 1905)
The Robber’s Ruse, or Foiled by Fido (GB 1909)
Filmoteca de Catalunya, Barcellona.
Please click on the photos to expand them on the largest screen.

[Drill of the Reedham Orphans] (GB, c. 1904-1912)
Venice and the Grand Canal (GB 1901? 1904?)
Edge’s Motor Boat. The Napier Minor (GB 1904)
Automobile Fête Before King Alfonso and Princess Ena (GB 1906).
Filmoteca de Catalunya, Barcellona.
Please click on the photos to expand them on the largest screen.

Grand piano: John Sweeney.
Teatro Verdi, Pordenone, Le Giornate del Cinema Muto (GCM): Early Cinema, 11 Oct 2023
Rosa Cardona Arnau (GCM 2023): " It is a commonplace in the early history of cinema in Spain that the first moving images and equipment came from France. They were certainly not the only ones, but the French films that arrived in Spain via Barcelona or Valencia were those that were most covered in the press. "
" On 11 May 1896, a year after the presentation of Edison’s Kinetoscope, and only a few days before the Lumière shows in Madrid, Robert W. Paul’s Animatograph was featured for the first time at the Circo Parish, and that summer W. H. Short filmed the 18 short items of Paul’s A Tour in Spain and Portugal, of which only Sea Cave near Lisbon has survived. For many reasons, they had a far lesser impact than the Lumière Cinématographe shows and the films shot by Alexandre Promio in Barcelona, Madrid, and Seville. Lumière, and especially Pathé and Gaumont, built a solid distribution network dedicated to the sale and rental of films, which clearly dominated the Spanish market until at least the mid-1910s. "

" A wider perspective is proposed by historians such as Begoña Soto-Vázquez, who reflects on this cultural bias and investigates the exhibition circuits through the Atlantic route, and Jean-Claude Seguin, who has extensively documented the exhibition and production of Warwick and Urban films shot in Spain on the website GRIMH (Grupo de reflexión sobre el mundo hispánico). "
" Within the framework of a preservation and research project on the early films in our collections, we have focused on the identification and restoration of the British films contained in the GK Collection, donated to the Filmoteca in 1994. "
" The GK Collection has its roots in what was the private collection of Eduardo Gimeno Correas, a key figure in early Spanish cinema, a pioneer in the exhibition business from his time as a fairground worker in 1895 to the establishment of cinemas in Madrid that were active until the mid-1980s. Gimeno was the director of one of the first Spanish films, Salida de misa del Pilar de Zaragoza, shot in 1899. "

" Of the 220 films in the GK Collection (dated between 1896 and 1911), 39 have been identified as English productions. "
" Through contemporary press reports and documents in the Madariaga Collection held in the Filmoteca Española, we can work out how Gimeno may have acquired his films: directly from foreign producers (Lumière, Méliès), through customs agents (F. Yglesias in Irún), importers of precision or electrical equipment such as the Barcelona-based González Ricart & Co, or through the connections of Madrid-based Antonio G. [García] Escobar and his monthly photography magazine Graphos Ilustrado, published from January 1906 to December 1907. As for the English companies themselves, we know that from 1901 onwards Warwick appointed Nordbeck in Barcelona as their representative, and Marró Tarré in 1906. Baltasar Abadal became the exclusive representative of the Charles Urban Trading Co. for the Spanish market from 1904. "
" The conservation of the GK Collection began in 1999 with the duplication of materials that had deteriorated, and has been carried out since then in parallel with the identification of the titles – undoubtedly one of the most complex tasks in an archive, cutting across disciplines, requiring historical research and physical inspection of the materials. It has truly been a team effort; from the first steps we were fortunate to have the invaluable expertise and collaboration of Bryony Dixon, silent film curator at the BFI National Archive. "

" The identification of many of the British films presented in this programme was slow, compared to the productions of other countries, particularly those of Pathé or Lumière, with clearer physical characteristics, and in some cases, because the fragility of the material meant that their digitization had to be postponed due to the task’s technical complexity. "

" None of the films retained the original titles, and identification was based on detailed examination of their physical characteristics (a day-to-day realization of the practices of pioneering British preservationist Harold Brown’s invaluable reference handbook, and the excellent new expanded edition by Camille Blot-Wellens). "
" In a few cases, the films retained the original embossed stamp with the company’s trademark, which has helped to identify the two main groups: 8 Warwick productions and 18 Urban films. "
" Digitization and digital restoration were carried out “in house” between 2019 and 2023, on a Northlight scanner at 6K and 4K. The fragile and badly damaged films have been captured with minimal manipulation, using a camera system (Canon 5D-5K) installed on a slider. " – Rosa Cardona Arnau
Bryony Dixon (GCM 2023): " It’s vanishingly rare now to find a whole new cache of films from the early days of film. For a curator this is like Christmas – you get to unwrap each fascinating individual film or fragment. These films, with the exception of a couple of British Gaumont comedies, are all associated with the career of the remarkable Charles Urban, American encyclopedia salesman turned film producer and distributor. In a long career in Britain he ran the Warwick Trading Company – a major distributor owned by Americans Maguire and Baucus – and then struck out on his own to found the Urban Trading Company, which also distributed the films of all the filmmakers represented in this selection from the Filmoteca de Catalunya’s find: George Albert Smith, James Williamson, Cricks and Martin, and Cecil Hepworth. "
" There’s a good variety of films, such as you might have seen in a film show of the 1900s – actualities, comedies, interest films, and even a drama demonstrating the evergreen popularity of the animal rescue film. The earliest film is one most eagerly anticipated – actual film footage of the legendary Volk’s Brighton to Rottingdean Seashore Electric Railway, a short-lived tourist attraction christened “Daddy Long-Legs”, that took passengers on a ride through the surf on great tall legs, one of the more delightfully crazy pieces of Victorian engineering. Other marvels are previously unseen comedies of G. A. Smith, Alf Collins, and James Williamson, spectacles such as the parades of Sanger’s Circus, long only known from still photographs, the military-style drills performed by orphans, and an extraordinary “phantom ride” across the Forth Bridge in Scotland very reminiscent of the famous crossing of Brooklyn Bridge made in the same year. There are sporting events, such as skiing in the Alps, children battling in the snow (like the scene in Abel Gance’s Napoléon), and a rigorous cross-country paper chase. The newly motorized world creates almost palpable excitement: there are films featuring motor cars and motor boats, and even Venice’s Grand Canal, serene as ever, has its motorized vaporetto. Only Hepworth’s film looks back to the past, to the old lacemakers of Devon manipulating their bobbins with practiced hands. This selection of films preserved and restored by the Filmoteca in Barcelona is a delightful snapshot of British filmmaking in film’s age of wonder. " Bryony Dixon

BRIGHTON SEAGOING ELECTRIC CAR (GB 1897) dir: George Albert Smith. prod: GAS Films. dist: Warwick Trading Co. (Cat. no. 3025). rel: 3.9.1897. copy: DCP, 45" (from 35 mm pos. nitr., 13.8 m., 16 fps); no titles. source: Filmoteca de Catalunya, Barcelona, GK Collection. 4K digital restoration done from the original nitrate print, 2007.
  " A view taken from Brighton beach on the Channel coast of the transit of Magnus Volk’s amazing seagoing electric railway, long celebrated as one of the world’s more bizarre railway experiments. All aboard for “A Sea Voyage on Wheels”! "
    AA: Non-fiction. Wonders of modern technology in Victorian days. "Rain" on the image.

THE INEXHAUSTIBLE CAB (GB 1899) dir: George Albert Smith. cast: Tom Green (Clown), Laura Bayley (mother with baby). prod: GAS Films. dist: Warwick Trading Co. (Cat. no. 1018). copy: DCP, 1'11" (from 35 mm pos. nitr., 21.7 m., 16 fps); no titles. source: Filmoteca de Catalunya, Barcelona, GK Collection. 4K digital restoration done from the original nitrate print, 2020.
    " The perennial challenge of how many people can you get in a cab may have started here. George Albert Smith’s lively comedy shows a pantomime Clown packing them in. "
    AA: Hyperbolic comedy in Méliès style, filmed on a stage. An impossibly big crowd tries to fit into a cab, and when all fails, the clown is beaten.

DALMENY TO DUNFERMLINE, SCOTLAND VIA THE FIRTH OF FORTH BRIDGE (series) (GB 1899) prod: Warwick Trading Co. (Cat. no. 5398-5402). copy: DCP, 7'18", col. (from 35 mm pos. nitr., 140 m., 16 fps, imbibito/ tinted); no titles. source: Filmoteca de Catalunya, Barcelona, GK Collection. 4K digital restoration done from the original nitrate print, 2023.
    " A beautiful phantom ride across the Firth of Forth from Dalmeny near Edinburgh to Dunfermline, crossing the famous Forth Bridge, then less than a decade old. The existing print runs 7 minutes; the Warwick catalogue entry lists it as 12 minutes, “all from one continuous negative, the longest, most picturesque and interesting cinematograph film ever photographed”. "
    AA: Non-fiction, an exceptionally long phantom ride even in this short version with cuts, meeting an incoming train, crossing a bridge, going through a tunnel. Fascinating perspectives, even bordering on abstraction. Some damage on the image, a duped look.

REVIEW OF LORD GEORGE SANGER’S CIRCUS BY THE QUEEN (series) (GB 1899) prod: Warwick Trading Co. (Cat. no. 5338-5342). copy: DCP, 3' (from 35 mm pos. nitr., 82 m., 16 fps); no titles. source: Filmoteca de Catalunya, Barcelona, GK Collection. 4K digital restoration done from the original nitrate print, 2022.
    " Several scenes of Sanger’s Circus parading through Windsor Great Park after meeting Queen Victoria on the terrace at Windsor Castle. This scene is missing, but the rest of the extraordinary cavalcade of circus wagons (or “tableaux carriages”, as they were known) and animals are present. "
    AA: Non-fiction. A mighty cavalcade with all the wonders of the circus, under the Union Jack, only the Queen is missing.

SANGER CIRCUS PASSING THROUGH INVERNESS (GB 1900) dir: John McKenzie(?). prod: Warwick Trading Co. (Cat. no. 5789). copy: DCP, 1' (from 35 mm pos. nitr., 18 m., 16 fps); no titles. source: Filmoteca de Catalunya, Barcelona, GK Collection. 4K digital restoration done from the original nitrate print, 2023.
    " The parade of carriages, costumed riders, and exotic animals passing over the bridge at Inverness, Scotland, has attracted a crowd, despite the rain. "
    AA: Non-fiction, a follow-up to the previous title. A high angle shot covers the bridge at Inverness with circus attractions including elephants, camels and horses of different sizes.
THE “POLY” PAPER CHASE (GB 1900) prod: Warwick Trading Co. (Cat. no. 5948). copy: DCP 1'27", col. (from 35 mm pos. nitr., 26.6 m., 16 fps);  no titles. source: Filmoteca de Catalunya, Barcelona, GK Collection. 4K digital restoration done from the original nitrate print, 2023.
    " The famous Polytechnic Harriers, one of Britain’s premier athletic clubs, who would later open the 1908 London Olympics, running a paper chase – a gruelling cross-country race in which the “hares” lay a paper trail for the “hounds”. " 
    AA: Non-fiction. An account of a challenging match of paper chase, a cross country game on a difficult terrain, in mud and through puddles. Long takes, long shots, multiple shots.
THE WINTRY ALPS (series) (GB 1903) photog: Frank Ormiston-Smith. prod: Charles Urban Trading Co. (Cat. no. 1049, 1046, 1047). copy: DCP, 5'06" (from 35 mm pos. nitr., 93 m., 16 fps); no titles. source: Filmoteca de Catalunya, Barcelona, GK Collection. 4K digital restoration done from the original nitrate print, 2023.
    " Several scenes from this stunningly photographed series filmed for Urban by mountain expert Frank Ormiston-Smith, including The Battle of the Snow, Ski Jumping in the Alps, and Outing of the Ski Club. "
    AA: Non-fiction. Long takes, long shots. These scenes partly or all were also included in William Barnes's wonderful Frank Ormiston-Smith programme at the GCM in 2014. Charles Urban had a habit of repackaging compilations, also of his winter sports films, which makes identification difficult. The Battle of the Snow includes a lot of children and women. In the Ski Jumping and Ski Club sections there are a lot of falls. Winter sports can be fun. My memory does not serve, but I guess the visual quality today was superior to the 2014 show in which it was mediocre to awful.

AN AFFAIR OF HONOUR (GB 1904) dir: James Williamson. prod: Williamson Kinetograph Company. copy: DCP, 4'40" (from 35 mm pos. nitr., 85.4 m., 16 fps); no titles. source: Filmoteca de Catalunya, Barcelona, GK Collection. 4K digital restoration done from the original nitrate print, 2021.
    " A daft comedy of faux Frenchmen who engage in a duel over some slight disagreement and who manage to shoot everyone but each other. Nicely filmed by James Williamson on the South Downs, near England’s famous white cliffs. "
    AA: Fiction, comedy, in exteriors. The concept evokes Mark Twain's story "The Recent Great French Duel" (1879) with the memorable suggestion for last words: "I die that France may live".

PERZINA’S TROUPE OF EDUCATED MONKEYS (GB 1904) prod: Charles Urban Trading Co. (Cat. no. 1392). copy: DCP, 2'23" (from 35 mm pos. nitr., 43.6 m., 16 fps); no titles. source: Filmoteca de Catalunya, Barcelona, GK Collection. 4K digital restoration done from the original nitrate print, 2023.
    " Austrian animal trainer Ernst Perzina puts his educated rhesus monkeys through their paces. This was a popular act in premier music halls such as the Alhambra in London’s West End. "
    AA: Non-fiction, straight record of a music hall act. Eight rhesus monkeys in suits give a performance.

ELEPHANTS BATHING IN CEYLON RIVER (GB 1904) dir: H. M. [Harold Mease] Lomas. prod: Charles Urban Trading Co. copy: DCP, 1'16", col. (from 35 mm pos. nitr., 23.4 m., 16 fps, imbibito/tinted); no titles. source: Filmoteca de Catalunya, Barcelona, GK Collection. 4K digital restoration done from the original nitrate print, 2021.
    " Lomas, a talented photographer specializing in wildlife and hunting subjects, turned his hand to filming for Charles Urban, making several trips to the Far East, including Borneo. Here he is in Ceylon, showing mahouts bathing their elephants. "
    AA: Non-fiction, travelogue, nature documentary. Long take, long shot, camera move, there is a cut. Sri Lankan people help elephants wash in the river. Today, there is no Ceylon River. There are 103 rivers in Sri Lanka. Might this be the Mahaweli River? It is a mighty one, and the camera catches its exciting movement.
[DRILL OF THE REEDHAM ORPHANS] (GB, c.1904-1912) prod: Charles Urban Trading Company. copy: DCP, 2'17" (from 35 mm pos. nitr., 41.8 m., 16 fps); no titles. source: Filmoteca de Catalunya, Barcelona, GK Collection. 4K digital restoration done from the original nitrate print, 2022.
    " An annual event which clearly impressed Charles Urban enough to bring him back several years in a row. These elaborately choreographed exhibition drills in military style were used as fundraising events to support the schools. We haven’t yet pinned down which year this is, but we believe it is somewhere between 1904 and 1912. The Reedham orphanage was located in Purley, Surrey, just outside London. "
    AA: Non-fiction, straight record of a performance of strictly disciplined action at the Reedham orphanage. (Inside, I hear the voice of Emilia Unda in Mädchen in Uniform: "Wir Preussen haben uns gross verhungert"). Long shot, a montage of different numbers including pushups, impeccable acts. 

VENICE AND THE GRAND CANAL (GB, 1901? 1904?) prod: Charles Urban Trading Co. (Cat. no. 3068). copy: DCP, 1'32" (from 35 mm pos. nitr., 28.2 m., 16 fps);  no titles. source: Filmoteca de Catalunya, Barcelona, GK Collection. 4K digital restoration done from the original nitrate print, 2023.
    " A particularly nice view of Venice from the Grand Canal with well-executed pans, described as “stereoscopic” in the Urban catalogue, taking in the scene as the boat goes under the Rialto bridge and arrives at the Rialto vaporetto stop, looking remarkably like it does today. Made as part of the series “Through Italy with the Bioscope”, by G. A. Smith and Charles Urban himself. "
    AA: Non-fiction, travelogue, phantom ride, a cargo of barrels on the vaporetto, destination Ponte di Rialto.

EDGE’S MOTOR BOAT. THE NAPIER MINOR (GB 1904) prod: Charles Urban Trading Co. (Cat. no. 2661).copy: DCP, 1'05" (from 35 mm pos. nitr., 20 m., 16 fps);  no titles. source: Filmoteca de Catalunya, Barcelona, GK Collection. 4K digital restoration done from the original nitrate print, 2022.
    " Powerboat racing was a brand-new sport in 1904. Selwyn Edge initially won the race off Cowes (Isle of Wight) in the British-made Napier Minor as a substitute for the Napier II, but was later disqualified. Clearly the filmmakers thought at the time that they were filming the victor. "
    AA: Non-fiction, sport documentary. Exciting camera movement at sea. Scratches on the image.

FIXING THE SWING (GB 1904) dir: Alf Collins. cast: Alf Collins (father). prod: Gaumont. copy: DCP, 1'51" (from 35 mm pos. nitr., 34 m., 16 fps); no titles. source: Filmoteca de Catalunya, Barcelona, GK Collection. 4K digital restoration done from the original nitrate print, 2023.
    " Filmed in south London, this slight comedy stars director Alf Collins as an exhausted father who bungles putting up a swing for his two small daughters. "
    AA: Fiction, comedy, simple joy of movement, dad is too tired to fix the swing, daughers dance of joy when he finally sets to repair it.

ECCENTRIC BURGLARY (GB 1905) dir: Frank Mottershaw. prod: Sheffield Photo Company. copy: DCP, 5'18" (from 35 mm pos. nitr., 97 m, 16 fps); no titles. source: Filmoteca de Catalunya, Barcelona, GK Collection. 4K digital restoration done from the original nitrate print, 2023.
    " You may find the location for this film familiar if you know the classic Daring Daylight Robbery from the same company in 1903. This is almost a spoof of the former film, using reverse-action and stop-motion effects to turn this burglary into an anarchic comedy. "
    AA: Fiction, comedy, trick film, special effects, optical effects (stop motion, reverse motion), chase film. A precursor of Tenet?

HER MORNING DIP (GB 1906) dir: Alf Collins. prod: Gaumont. copy: DCP, 5'29" (from 35 mm pos. nitr., 100 m., 16 fps); no titles. source: Filmoteca de Catalunya, Barcelona, GK Collection. 4K digital restoration done from the original nitrate print, 2020.
    " Magnificent location work in Margate, on England’s southeast coast, compensates for rather misogynistic comedy in which a well-dressed “young lady” is pursued by every male in the vicinity to the beach, where “she” is revealed to be distinctly scrawny and unattractive. "
    AA: Fiction, comedy, on location, cross-dressing. A reversal of expectations: the "she" intrusively surrounded by aggressive males turns out to be a he, as well. Misogynistic perhaps, but the joke is on men. Misanthropic, then?

AUTOMOBILE FÊTE BEFORE KING ALFONSO AND PRINCESS ENA (GB 1906) THE ROYAL SPANISH WEDDING (series) dir: Félix Mesguich. prod: Charles Urban Trading Co. (Cat. no. 3133). copy: DCP, 3'20" (from 35 mm pos. nitr., 61 m., 16 fps); no titles. source: Filmoteca de Catalunya, Barcelona, Collection Miquel Porter Moix. 4K digital restoration done from the original nitrate print, 2021.
    " This elaborate automobile rally was mounted as part of the wedding festivities of the new Spanish King and his bride Ena, Princess of Battenberg, a granddaughter of Queen Victoria. The King was a keen motorist and participated in the parade of 200 flag-bedecked cars in his Panhard-Levassor. "
    AA: Non-fiction, actuality, official ceremony, car historical. The car parade is the attraction of this piece.

LACE MAKING (GB 1908) dir: Cecil Hepworth. prod: Hepworth Manufacturing Company. copy: DCP, 4'20" (from 35 mm pos., 79.5 m., 16 fps, 1.37 optical reduction from 1.33); no titles. source: Filmoteca de Catalunya, Barcelona, Collection Gremi Téxtil Minorista. 4K digital restoration done from the original 35 mm acetate print, 2020.
    " Wonderfully picturesque film by Cecil Hepworth of the lacemakers of Honiton, a small town in Devon, who have made bobbin lace since the 16th century. Particular attention is paid to Mrs. Woodgate, who made lace for Queen Victoria’s wedding dress in 1840. "
    AA: Non-fiction, record of arts and crafts. Visual beauty in the coverage of a craft still like in Vermeer's De kantwerkster (The Lacemaker) (1670). An early instance of the essence of Flaherty: the spirit of a person caught in a record of an action in which one totally immerses oneself, forgetting oneself while completely expressing oneself. (Of course all dance movies in early cinema are also in the Flaherty spirit in this sense).
THE ROBBER’S RUSE, OR FOILED BY FIDO (GB 1909) dir: A. E. Coleby. prod: Cricks and Martin. copy: DCP, 5'18" (from 35 mm pos. nitr., 97 m., 16 fps); no titles. source: Filmoteca de Catalunya, Barcelona, GK Collection. 4K digital restoration done from the original nitrate print, 2020.
    " A lively drama in the vein of Rescued by Rover, in which a young girl is menaced by a burglar disguised as a poor old lady and is saved with the help of the family terrier. "
    AA: Fiction, thriller, crime, race to the rescue, dog hero, a subject familiar from literature, introduced to the cinema by Cecil Hepworth and Lewin Fitzhamon in their three Rescued by Rover versions (1905).

AA: For many of us, this was the best show of Le Giornate 2023. Also on my top list. Restored and curated with loving care, this show enhances and deepens our understanding of (British) early cinema. An excellent recommendation for cinematheque programmers as a showcase of early cinema and restoration of the highest order.