Tag: silent film

Cinematografia Italiana ed Estera Gennaio 1911 II

“Anna Karénine” di Maurice André Maître (Le Film Russe- Pathé Frères 1911)

Are Advertising Films Wanted.
To the Editor of The Bioscope.
Sir, — I have been an interested reader of your article on “Are Advertising Films Wanted?” and also Mr. W. H. Rothacker’s reply thereto, and venture to express my own personal opinion on the matter. As the proprietor of a group of West of England Shows, I must emphatically assert that if I were to put on a film advertising and booming somebody’s whiskey, even if it merely showed the whole process, but included one particular firm’s name, and kept running that film, my business would fall off. I fully agree with you that the patrons of picture theatre pay to see a picture entertainment, not picture advertising, and consider it would indeed be the height of foolishness to even attempt such a procedure.
Mr. Rothacker says that “we build moving picture plays, arranged in scenic form, around a commercial subject, so that, while they accomplish their object with publicity force, the ulterior motives are successfully veiled.” To my mind —and I think a good many of your readers’ also—this ingenious argument is much on a par with the exciting article we read in a magazine, which as the story progresses, is merely a puff for somebody’s pills, or a patent medicine. We all know how irritated we feel when we have been tricked into reading it. And I am very much afraid that my audiences would see through such a device as Mr. Rothacker suggests, and I should suffer.
Advertising films are not required, Sir, and never will be, in my opinion.—Yours, etc.,
WIDEAWAKE.
Bath, January 11, 1911.

To the Editor of The Bioscope.
Sir,— I think Mr. Rothacker gives his entire case away when replying to your editorial comments of December 8th. Though his arguments are very persuasive and ingenious, yet they lack conviction, and I feel certain the majority of exhibitors endorse your opinion, that advertising films—of whatever nature—are not required.
I should like to the point out that a very large number of exhibitors are the opinion that all industrial subjects are of an advertising nature, and while not committing myself entirely to this way of thinking, I certainly agree that it is possible to produce an educational subject, dealing with any industry, without in the slightest degree advertising anyone. People visit picture theatre to see the pictures; if they wish for anything else they go elsewhere. And they will very quickly resent any attempt to introduce a “puff” in any shape or form.
You have, I feel sure, convinced all thinking men that the best interests of the picture theatre lie in entertaining and instructing. Therefore, when a film is shown merely for the purpose of advertising any commodity, or individual, or company—whether it be an industrial subject, comedy, drama, or whatnot, and even if the actual “puff” is carefully veiled—to quote. Mr. Rothacker—it is merely descending to the level of a “pictorial advertising hoarding.”—Yours, etc.,
W. H. B.
London W., January 13, 1911.

To the Editor of The Bioscope.
Sir,— As an advertising agent of many years’ experience, may I state that I am in full agreement with Mr. Rothacker’s views, as expressed in his letter appearing in a recent number of The Bioscope. There is a big field, with unlimited scope, open for a film manufacturer courageous enough to commence producing films advertising, in an inoffensive and pleasing manner, anything worth pushing. There is no need to make such films obvious advertisements, but to combine with an interesting story a carefully prepared suggestion. It is done every day in magazines and newspapers of every description, yet no one objets and says he has not got value for his money. The advertisement pages of a magazine afford much interesting reading, and are practically as much appreciated as the literary matter. So it is with the advertising film. The audience would certainly not object, but would appreciate the inclusion of an extra subject in the program, and there is no reason why such a film could not be the most popular feature of the entertainment.
No, Sir, there is no real argument to be advanced against advertising films, only by those who have not as yet grasped the fact that business can be done through them—business fort the showman, the manufacturer and the actual advertiser, to say nothing of the general public.—
Yours, etc.,
S.
London, E. C., January 12, 1911.

L’Affiche au Cinéma. Le mode le plus intéressant de publicité cinématographique est, sans contredit, l’affiche artistique qui, placée à la porte du théâtre, attire le passant et le familiarise dès l’abord avec les personnages, les costumes et les décors du spectacle.
L’art de l’affiche, dans lequel s’illustrèrent des maîtres comme Chéret, Steinlein, Grün et Capiello, a transformé en quelque sorte la publicité. Mais ce serait mai connaître le goût éclairé du public que de vouloir lui faire accepter les innombrables horreurs bariolées dont certains maisons avaient naguère le monopole. Dans le Cinéma tout se perfectionne avec une rapidité admirable, tout s’épure. De même que la scène a cessé d’appartenir à ces mercantis interlopes qui s’étaient érigés en éducateurs et en amuseurs des foules et les a remplacés par de véritables travailleurs épris d’art et de beauté, de même l’affiche a dû être confiée à de véritables artistes. Les Etablissements Gaumont l’ont admirablement compris en ouvrant dès le début leurs ateliers d’imprimerie lithographique, d’où sortent chaque semaine les superbes affiches en couleurs universellement connues et recherchées même des collectionneurs.
Mais à côté des affiches, dont la préparation est fort longue, la nécessité s’imposait de créer un autre genre plus expéditif et s’adaptant aves les nécessités d’una maison qui édite chaque semaine un programme de huit à dix bandes nouvelles et tend à avoir une affiche pour chacune. C’est pour cela qu’ont été faits ces agrandissements photographiques, avec encadrements artistiques, qui ont conquis l’approbation générale.
Ils ont un double avantage, d’abord ils donnent au public l’expression exacte de la bande et du jeu des artistes, puisque l’image agrandie est une coupure de la vue elle-même, dans le mouvement et dans l’action; ensuite ils permettent de reproduire les titres en toutes langues et contribuent ainsi plus facilement que l’affiche en couleurs à porter la joie et l’émotion dans les pays les plus reculés du monde.
C’est une affiche de ce genre qui vient d’être tirée pour la très artistique bande Les Danses Silhouettes de Mlle Hyppolyta d’Hellas, dont nous avons parlé dans notre dernière chronique.
Les Etablissements Gaumont en ont assuré la luxueuse édition pour pouvoir la livrer en même temps que la bande et moyennant un supplément de trois francs.
S. Le Tourneur

“Santa Cecilia” (La martire cristiana) di Enrique Santos (Cines 1911)

Giganti e Pigmei. Si persuadano i nostri artisti di prosa, che la Cinematografia non è l’arte del palcoscenico, ch’è loro famigliare; è un arte nuova, nella quale entra, coefficiente principalissimo, una gran parte di tecnica, e senza la perfetta conoscenza di questa, anche i giganti del palcoscenico non valgono gli oscuri pigmei che da anni lavorano, studiano e lottano, e superano difficoltà sempre nuove, crescendo sempre i valore nell’arte della cinematografia, ed essendo sempre più desiderati dai loro direttori scenici, perché hanno imparato e sanno far comprendere molte cose con un solo gesto, netto, incisivo, e riesce loro facile esprimere, con uno sguardo, i sentimenti che agitano l’animo del personaggio che rappresentano. È vero che per loro non ci sono ancora onori, non articoli laudativi, non paghe mirabolanti: ma è anche vero che i tempi stanno mutando anche per loro e che quello che fino ad ora non hanno ottenuto, otterranno ben presto. Il pubblico dei cinematografo ha già più di un beniamino: per ora distingue l’attrice con gli occhioni espressivi dell’altra bionda ed esile, o da quella fortemente passionale, veemente; ma presto s’impossesserà dei nomi delle artiste e degli artisti prediletti e citandoli spesso, formerà attorno a loro una aureola di piccola celebrità, e le Case produttrici se li contenderanno a colpi di biglietti di banca… Così, nella cinematografia, ai volenterosi ed agli studiosi, saranno riservati quelli allori e quella fortuna che i colossi dell’arte della scena non hanno saputo conquistare, perché, quantunque privi di troppe qualità per essere buoni attori cinematografici, nulla vollero fare per acquistarle. Ben vengano, dunque, giovani e nuovi discepoli, all’arte muta e giovane…: i vecchi poltriscano!
Emmeci
Roma, Gennaio 1911

Immagini e testi: Archivio In Penombra, Media History Digital Library, The British Newspaper Archive.

Cinematografia Italiana ed Estera Gennaio 1911

Cinema Rivista cinematografica quindicinale, Napoli 1911
Il 5 gennaio 1911 esce il primo numero della rivista Cinema, direttore Alfredo Morvillo, direzione e amministrazione, Molo piccolo 8, Napoli.

Les Danses Silhouettes
Les Établissements Gaumont toujours à la recherche du progrès viennent d’éditer un film des plus artistiques: les danses silhouettes de Mlle Hippolyta d’Hellas.
Le procédé ordinairement employé en cinématographie consiste à reproduire les sujets avec tous les détails de lumière et d’ombre. Les Silhouettes, au contraire représentent les images dans une teinte uniformément noir, dont les contours seuls se détachent sur un fond clair.
C’est le procedé employé jadis dans la décoration des poteries anciennes et plus récemment dans les théâtres d’ombres. Appliqué au cinématographe avec tous des perfectionnements; sur impressions et éclairage variés, il donne des résultats merveilleux.
Mlle Hippolyta d’Hellas qui s’est spécialisée dans la reconstitution des dances antiques a bien voulu prêter son concours è la reproduction de trois tableaux différents:
1° Le sacrifice à Pallas Athéna, déesse de la beauté des arts et de la prudence guerrière chez les Grecs.
2° Le réveil.
3° Fantasie orientale.
Les danses sacrés chez les Grecs se faisaient sur un rythme lent et religieux avec des inflexions de corps du plus gracieux effect. C’était comme une prière vivante de tout l’être s’élevant dans des gestes suppliants vers la divinité.
Il semble que la reproduction en silhouettes, en dégageant les personnages de tous les détails de costumes, fasse mieux valoir que tout autre la souplesse incomparable et la grâce lascive des mouvements.
Le Réveil, jolie composition où les nymphes éveillant leurs compagnes les appellent pour saluer la lumière, rappelle una bande célèbre que les habitués des théâtres Gaumont n’ant pas encore oubliée.
La Fantasie Orientale, sorte de danse des poignards dans un mouvement endiablé, complète cette très artistique série de danses qui recevra, nous en sommes certains, di grand public épris d’art et de nouveauté, l’approbation qu’elle mérite.
S. Le Tourneur

film Pathé
Bande Pathé Frères Exhibition Interdite en France en Suisse (Archivio In Penombra)

La Compagnie Générale de Phonographes, Cinématographes et Appareils de Précision (Anciens Établissements Pathé Frères) met en garde la clientèle, Messieurs les Exploitants et Messieurs les Loueurs, contre certaines vues dont elle fait l’édition à titre exclusif, notamment les vues de sa marque Pathé Frères, offertes venant de l’étranger, dont l’exhibition est interdite en France, ainsi qu’ils pourront facilement s’en rendre compte dans le cas où ils passeront outre, car ces vues, sur toute la longueur, portant en manchette: « Exhibition interdite en France, en Suisse, en Belgique ».
La compagnie fait toutes ses réserves dans le cas où elle apprendrait qu’une ou plusieurs de ses vues passent dans un Établissement quelconque, et au besoin des poursuites seront exercées à ce sujet.

Didone abbandonata (S. A. Ambrosio, 1910) from Cineteca MNC on Vimeo.

Didon
Parmi les grands sujets de l’Antiquité légendaire dignes de tenter le bon goût dramatique de la maison Ambrosio, l’histoire de Didon, jusque là inédite au cinématographe, s’offrait particulièrement attrayante. Ce n’était pas là mince entreprise, car le metteur en scène, guidé par la poésie majestueuse de Virgile, se devait à lui-même de ne pas trahir son modèle et de faire œuvre vraiment artistique. Disons tout de suite che M. Ambrosio y a triomphé et que le nouveau chef-d’œuvre ouvre solennellement l’année 1911.
Les décors y sont traités avec une splendeur et un pittoresque auxquels les films Ambrosio doivent leur prestige. Les costumes y sont variés, riches et conformes aux rares données historiques de l’époque. Quant à l’action, très clairement conduite, elle nous montre en une série de tableaux harmonieux  et dramatiques, les progrès d’une passion fatale inspirée à la reine Didon par le fameux héros troyen Enée, fils d’Anchise et fondateur de Rome, selon quelque tradition. Eperdue d’amour, la malheureuse Didon oublie des devoirs de reine et, finalement abandonnée par celui qu’elle croyait s’attacher, n’a recours que dans le suicide. Elle meurt consumée par les flammes du bûcher.
Interpretation puissante, photographie irréprochable; choix excellent des paysages; mouvements de foules, défilés et cortèges… toute l’œuvre est réussie.
Très gros succès assuré.

Roma, 15 gennaio. In questi giorni le Case Cinematografiche sembra abbiano fatto a gara nel produrre delle films d’arte, che tanto nella parte scenica, come nell’interpretazione dei singoli personaggi, sono riuscite interessanti e del massimo effetto.
Sono meritevoli da notarsi: l’Angusta, la Morte di Camoens, la Semiramide, l’Erede, Agrippina; ma fra tutte quella che ha destato maggior interesse è stata l’Inferno, tratta dalla Divina Commedia di Dante, della Casa Helios di Velletri.

Joachim Murat From the Tavern to the Throne
The Bioscope, January 19, 1911

(Fine della prima parte)
Immagini e testi: Archivio In Penombra, Media History Digital Library, The British Newspaper Archive.

Further Film Facts from America

May 1916

In previous articles we have discussed the broader issues and given past results and future possibilities for foreign films in America. In this article we will give you some facts and figures and discuss existing actualities in general.

About the first thing that a foreign film man would have to do in opening an American branch would be to advertise; speaking now of the present conditions here. Abroad a full page advertisement in the leading film journals will cost about 50 liras or ten dollars in American money. In America, the leading film journals charge dollars 75 for a page advertisement and the page is not only smaller than the foreign page but the advertisement is by no means so prominent and attractive. When we consider the number of pages which a big film concern takes at times, the tremendous expense is easily computed. Large releasing concerns here frequently take from 12 to 20 pages at a time and do this in three different film journals the same week, not mentioning smaller advertisements they take in minor publications. These concerns are supposed to get a ten per cent rebate from the dollars 75 per page price, but they no doubt get a rate of about dollars 60 per page and in one case at least of dollars 50 per page. Even at this latter price it will be seen that the weekly expense sometimes runs as high as dollars 3.000.

These advertisements are put in to attract the eye of the theatre manager or exhibitor. Naturally in the end he, as the consumer, pays the bill. The natural question suggests itself, why should there be such a vast difference between the advertising rates abroad and here? The foreign journals, generally speaking, are much better papers than the American ones. They use better material and reproduce better photographs. Admitting that labor may be much cheaper abroad, that in itself does not explain the difference. Summing it all up it would appear that there is a big field here for the foreign editor to start something new. The Americans are already making moves in this direction. One of the prominent film journals has started a separate edition in Spanish for the South American countries, while another has announced a Great Britain edition. Let a live Italian Editor come over here and put up a sort of International journal, with a schedule of advertising prices of not over dollars 25 per page with sufficient financial backing to stand a strain during the building to stand a strain during the building up period and there is not much doubt as to the result.

Another angle of interest is the salary end for artists and directors. It is rather difficult to give actual figures on these ends as no two cases are just alike. A few instances, however, will give a fair idea.

Directors, termed I believe in Italian as metteur en scène, are paid largely by reputation. When a new film concern starts in business they immediately arrange to get some director with a reputation away from some other concern and start bidding for his services. One case is of special interest. The director in question was a stage manager for a theatrical stock company in a large city and was paid a salary  of about dollars 75 per week. He was a competent man and well worth that money. About five years ago he went with a film concern which was a member of the trust and, while we have no information as to his salary there, we judge it was about dollars 100 per week. One of the large independent producing-releasing organizations, which has made a specialty of corralling all the stage plays and stars, they could gather, made a big bid for this director’s services and it is reputed he received dollars 350 per week from them. The salary is absurd, as the man is worth nothing like that amount to this concern or anyone else. He is undoubtedly a capable man but has had no great experience except in the making of ordinary stuff and, in the opinion of the writer, would never be capable of competing with Italian directors in the making of great films. And it was recently stated that another new concern had made an offer to this director to join their staff and name his own salary for a term of one year. In any event, he has left the dollars 350 per week place and is going with a new company which has announced the starting of  entire new city for the making of pictures. Such a concern cannot possibly be successful.

Another director, and by the way the best in America, was with one of the oldest companies for about 12 years. He resigned a few years ago to join a new concern and was reputed to be drawing a salary of over dollars 100.000 per year. The statement is absurd on the face of it, and yet it is generally accepted as true. It is safe to assume that his salary is about dollars 500 per week with a percentage of some sort on certain big films in the making and producing of which he is interested. The usual run of directors are probably getting from dollars 50 to dollars 100 per week and at that are enjoying far better positions and salary than they ever earned in the theatrical business.

Extras or supernumeraries receive all sorts of prices. In many cases they select a lot of unemployed men who are found in cheap hotels and similar places and give them one dollar per day; possibly a meal besides. They are most unsatisfactory from every standpoint . Higher grade concerns employ regular acting people and pay them from dollars 2 to dollars 5 per day. The ideal condition is to employ people on a weekly basis when a big production is to be made and pay them dollars 15 per week which is the usual scale for chorus and small grade people for big ensemble scenes in the theatres. This refers to people who can make up and who can be properly drilled and not to the common supers who receive 50 cents a performance in the theatres. People of the dollars 15 per week class could be drilled to really act and play the part properly as units in big scenes and equal those people who appear in similar scenes in Italy.

Salaries of actors in the pictures have been very much inflated not only in the press but in actual fact. Stars of course are in a class by themselves, but for dollars 50 per week fine people may be had to play any and all kinds of parts and for smaller and less important parts dollars 25 and 35 per week will get all one needs.

It is true that fabulous salaries have been paid theatrical stars but that is practically over now. They have been most unsatisfactory. They look old and unattractive before the camera; their camera acting is in most cases a great disappointment and their names have failed to draw anything like the money that they were expected to draw. It has been clearly demonstrated in alla cases that people who have worked for pictures for a long time and have any natural ability for camera acting, have in the long run been the best investment. The biggest and most successful films ever shown in America have had no stars’ names featured with them.

People like Charles Chaplin must not to be confused with theatrical stars above mentioned. Chaplin was an actor but an unknown one and all his popularity and prominence has come about through his screen or camera acting.

W. E. Heal