Torino, gennaio 1914. Sotto la valente direzione del cav. Alfredo Gandolfi la Photo Drama Film, va iniziandosi a passi giganteschi e nella prossima primavera aprirà i battenti. Quanto di meglio possono fornire le modernità applicabili alla cinematografia sono state introdotte nel nascente Stabilimento non solo dal lato tecnico bensì da quello richiesto dall’arte. Lo stabilimento sorge a pochi chilometri da Torino in quel di Grugliasco, avente un’area di 10 mila mq. di terreno con annessa pineta, villa, bosco, giardini, laghi ecc. Nell’interno vi saranno spaziosi uffici per la parte amministrativa e tecnica, sale elegantissime di ritrovo e di lettura per gli attori. Il cav. Alfredo Gandolfi, coadiuvato dal solerte sig. Cesare Gani, ha già scritturato parecchi buoni elementi dei quali faremo il nome a suo tempo.
Chicago, March 1914. The memoranda tells me that George Kleine returned to his desk in Chicago, Friday, February 13, which should dispose for all time any notion that Mr. Kleine is superstitious. He isn’t. Friday the 13th has no terrors for him. No trip abroad that he has made in many years has left so many pleasant memories in the wake of his return. I saw him for a few precious minutes across that flat-top desk nearest the door. Mr. Kleine rarely hides behind the larger roll-top that stands further back in his office. And what do you imagine was the most important of the things that concerned him while I was there? A bunch of photographs that he had taken himself!
Mr. Kleine has been engaged for years and years in handling other people’s negatives and now he has taken to his own precious camera and the things that go into it and get in front of it and are taken from it. He found opportunity to push his camera button hundreds of times during his last prolonged visit abroad and it was my privilege to see many of the beautiful photographs. These views took me around with him in his travels. They covered many points of interest in and out of doors, principally in Italy, but none had greater charm for me than those showing glimpses of the magnificent estate which Mr. Kleine purchased up the road from Turin. It lies out from the town nearly five miles and it will be the place where the Photo Drama Producing Company will make films — big productions. One immense building, 330×66 feet is already underway. It will accommodate the actor folk and their wardrobes and properties; shops; the kitchen and dining rooms and serve as a modern utility building for the tremendous studio that will be erected as soon as the plans can be approved. These buildings will differ from other similar institutions in that country. They will include heating and ventilating systems in accordance with the best American practice — something that will be entirely new, because heating and ventilation problems have never entered into Italian studios heretofore. Just why not is a matter of conjecture, because the temperature isn’t always conducive to one’s best effort. Mr. Kleine told me that he had seen the thermometer at twenty degrees and players in films must have suffered due to the extreme cold. All of this will be corrected in the Photo Drama Producing plant.
Signor A. Gandolfi, former business head of the Ambrosio Company, is in charge of the affairs at Turin, and will be director for the big films that will be made at this new plant. The site is admirable, occupying the vantage point in a ten acre plot of land surrounded by a high stone wall. It is Mr. Kleine’s belief that it is the finest location for studio purposes in all Italy. The grounds are nicely wooded and there is a small lake within the enclosure. I hope to show you some views of it within a short time.
Mr. Kleine left America in the latter days of last September and of course this idea of making big films in Italy occupied much of his time and attention. If you will remember, he took some stage celebrities with him and it is reasonable to suppose that he has been overwhelmed with applications of Americans for positions in his foreign stock company. Mr. Kleine is enthusiastic about the possibilities for high-class big productions. He will bend every energy to maintain the standard he has already established and it is reasonable to suppose that with these prospective facilities; a company of his own selection and an organization of famous producers and camera experts, that he will be able to excel those films that have already made for the excellence of his output. Mr. Kleine is one of those men who frowns upon the term “this business is in its infancy.” An industry that has taken fifth place in the rank of the world’s big business can hardly lay claim to the title of infant. He is also practically convinced that a dollar is a low maximum figure for the admission price to the motion picture for the larger attractions. He still believes that he will open his beautiful New York theater with a dollar as the high figure, but he already sees the possibility of this price going higher.
I would like to get into that great pile of photographs that he brought back, but it would be like renewing a glimpse at Baedecker. I am sure that Mr. Kleine found his greatest pleasure at Venice, but points like Florence and Pisa held much for him if we are to judge by the snaps brought back. Mr. Kleine never looked better or seemed to be more fit for a hard day’s grind than he is now. What is more his office door is open!
The Goat Man
(Motography, March 7 1914)