Jlewis

Making some "Shortie Checklists"...

33 posts in this topic

Time to add a few videos of shorts covered in the "shortie checklists". Sorry it has been a while. Above are the threads you can link to. Not sure how long these stay on YouTube, but it is fun to give life to what is merely a title in a "filmography" list.

First one is from Universal and included in that thread.

Going Places with Graham McNamee was the studio's key black and white travelogue and "human interest" series of the thirties, produced by Thomas Mead and Joseph O'Brien with scripts by Henry Clay Bate. No. 66, released September 25, 1939, covers a Florida "Man Made Jungle" near Vero Beach. It is always fun to compare old travelogues to the modern locations covered, especially when there is little change in one locale. Here is the official website for McKee Botanical Gardens: http://www.mckeegarden.org/

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Now heading south to Cuba as it appeared in 1933 in a title covered in the RKO-Pathé-FBO thread.

Amadee J. Van Beuren is more famous for his animated cartoons featuring a human version of Tom & Jerry, Little King, Cubby Bear and color "Rainbow Parades" featuring Felix the Cat. Yet he also supplied both Pathé and later RKO-Pathé with many short films including a couple comedy series and multiple documentary shorts. The Vagabond Adventures initially featured Tom Terriss, later ones were written by Russell Spalding. This is one of Spalding's with Alois Havrilla as your host traveler, called simply Cuba. It was released November 10, 1933 and includes a fleeting newsreel shot taken that August when Gerardo Machado was forced out of his presidency due to unrest among struggling workers hit hard by the Depression. This was an interesting sign of things to come 25 years in the future. However the contrast between the lower classes and the tourists of leisure are not fussed with here. Our armchair traveler would much rather spend time with an heiress who is destined to inherit 11 million as she plucks from a honey berry tree.

This film is courtesy of Periscope Films: http://periscopefilm.com/

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Back to the states to view Kentucky horse racing, with races shown in Florida and Saratoga of New York, in one of the earlier RKO-Pathé Sportscopes (covered under that series heading on the RKO-Pathé-FBO thread). Produced initially by Frederic Ullman Jr., Turner Classic Movies shows only the last entries of this long running series, those produced post-Howard Hughes RKO in the closing years of 1955 through 1957. The earlier entries are harder to see due to all kinds of ownership issues.

Bluegrass, directed by Frank Donovan with some of the narration from then popular commentator Clem McCarthy, was released December 2, 1938. This copy from the Prelinger Archives unfortunately has its RKO title card replaced by a 16mm reissue Sears Roebuck & Company opening, but is otherwise identical to the original theatrical. At least the personal credits are spared.

Nice shots of Man O'War in his retirement are shown here. Two years later, Robert Carney filmed him in Technicolor for a MGM FitzPatrick Traveltalk called Glimpses Of Kentucky, but the footage is more extensive here and we can see America's favorite horse at his most playful.

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Covered this title here: http://forums.tcm.com/topic/114972-a-shortie-checklist-an-assortment-of-culinary-delights/

 

Kilauea: The Hawaiian Volcano (The Volcano Kilauea)

William Horsley Laboratories Inc./PrizmaColor

camera: Ray J. Baker

released December 29, 1918

Sadly the color doesn't hold up too well and it all looks more like a tinting process. Yet the reds featured in the lava scenes look better preserved than the other portions. Uploaded by apeters on YouTube, this is still a great rare find.

 

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Covered this one as part of the Learning Corporation of America's delightful “Classics Dark & Dangerous” series here: http://forums.tcm.com/topic/114972-a-shortie-checklist-an-assortment-of-culinary-delights/

 

The Rocking Horse Winner is a short story by D.H. Lawrence initially published in Harper's Bazaar back in July 1926 and adapted into several short films and at least one 1949 feature with John Mills that is occasionally shown on TCM. However short stories do not adapt as well to feature treatment as the half hour framework as seen here, although this version has a more contemporary seventies feel to it than other versions. Also, being that its intended audience is younger than some of the other versions, the ending is a bit nebulous (does the kid actually die?) and less gloomy.

Highgate Associates was a company that William Deneen combined with his Learning Corporation of America that was responsible for much television production (“After School Specials” on ABC included) given 16mm versions for classroom use as well. Many younger Baby Boomers and Generation Xers in school remember this material well. The seventies was a quirky decade for juvenile entertainment.

produced by William Deneen and directed by Peter Medak

cast: Kenneth More, Nigel Rhodes, Angela Thorne, Peter Cellier, Chris Harris & Gwen Nelson

Released January 11, 1977

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Oliver G. Pike (see http://www.olivergpike.info/ ) is an interesting pioneer in “wild animals in their natural habitat” cinematography who was profiled a bit earlier with British Instructional and Gaumont British's “Secrets of Nature” and “Secrets of Life”.

We take such films for granted since it is so easy to make them today with all of our hand held appliances. Animal Planet and famous BBC series narrated by the still-kicking David Attenborough are making it all a virtual reality experience that no longer requires you getting your shoes muddy and your body munched on by mosquitoes. Unfortunately it is also adding to our own false illusions that all of these lovely critters will remain with us indefinitely, when the reality is that many species are becoming extinct at a rapid rate. As suggested in the thread listed above, the very sight of a Tasmanian thylacine in a zoo picture was considered no big deal back in 1930, but now it is a big deal since we only have old black and white films like it, along with some dusty stuffed museum specimens, to remind us that such a dog like marsupial ever existed.

Back in the era of King Edward VII and Teddy Roosevelt, movies were a laborious affair and required a ton of patience even with cooperative humans, horses and dogs. Most in the business would not even attempt, in an era when there were fewer telephoto lens available and no night-time “cams”, to even try capturing a bird outside of its cage with a camera. Oliver Pike began pretty early with his first major film release, In Birdland, shown at London's Palace Theatre (of Cambridge Circus) on August 29th, 1907.

He later moved to the British branch of Pathé and was blessed with their color stencil process for such titles as Wild Birds In Their Haunts. This interesting, if sometimes hopelessly awful looking, process was mentioned in the thread A Shortie Checklist: RKO... and Pathé... and FBO under “Pathé Review”. Obviously Kinemacolor was the superior system available for British filmmakers prior to The Great War and the birth of Prizmacolor and Technicolor on the other side of the Atlantic, since that color system was achieved with a camera and rotating filters... even though it sometimes gave movie-goers eye strain with the frequent red and green outlines popping up as the people moved on screen. Pathecolor involved the laborious frame-by-frame tinting of originally black and white films, if industrialized in order to get the product out faster than during the early days. The effects, when good, were still... well... pretty good. At least there were attempts to match the actual colors of the stars.

As mentioned by H. Kent Webster in an article "Little Stories of Great Films" for the Chicago-based The Nickelodeon on March 15, 1910, "taking the pictures of the ten species of birds of Great Britain shown in this film required practically sixty hours of waiting for the right opportunity, and that during much of that time he was practically doubled up in a small tent watching that particular bird and its nest through a tiny peephole."

 

Pike released his short bird documentaries through British Pathé until 1917. Wild Birds At Home focuses on the high art of nest building

 

For British Instructional's “Secrets of Nature” series, he took on The Nightingale for this April 13, 1932 release. It was filmed the previous year with on location sound recordings, still a novelty at the time. However it wasn't the first attempt to shoot birds in the wild with the new “talkie” technology. Arthur A. Allen had camera teams in Ithaca, New York busy during the spring of 1929 doing the same thing. (As one of the last to document on camera the Ivory Billed Woodpecker before its official extinction, Allen and contemporaries like Olin Sewall Pettingill Jr. would, in the late thirties, push the novelty of birds-on-film further when they adopted the faster speed Kodachrome process for color slides printed in National Geographic magazine and 16mm educational documentaries for Coronet Films. Earlier color birdie pics, like the 1933 MGM “Oddity” Fine Feathers in 2-strip Technicolor that is frequently shown on TCM, were shot exclusively at zoos where the cast was forced to stay put.)

Despite being in black and white with the actual audio segments restricted to barely a minute's worth of footage, The Nightingale was still an impressive feat for its time.

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

OK, I was a day late celebrating Charles Urban's 151st birthday. Sorry!

Of source, the TCM site says my thread is a "hot topic" but that is only because I was plopping the posts on the thread like aerial bombs from the sky. I need to refrain myself.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

On Charles Urban's thread, I mentioned a certain William Friese-Greene who was in battle with him in the courts over competing color film processes, his Biocolour being similar to Kinemacolor in its two color filter system. Friese-Greene is a very interesting character in his own right, being a pioneer who developed one of the earliest movie cameras around 1888-89 and was toying around with his own color movies just one decade later, years ahead of the Urban backed Edward Raymond Turner and George Smith. He also was subject to much controversy (as described on the BFI site) since some of his patents involved rather faulty equipment that didn't always work well and some of his claims for being “first” were later disputed.

His unexpected death by heart failure on May 5, 1921, while attending a speech at Connaught Rooms, London, happened when he wasn't doing very well financially. Yet his reputation grew over time, partly thanks to one of his sons, Claude, who worked as a successful camera technician in the British film studios until his own untimely death in 1943, and a biographer named Ray Allister. Both men received just enough attention in the history books for daddy to receive his very own glossy biopic in 1951 called The Magic Box, starring Robert Donat (plus too many familiar faces to include in poster credits) and directed by John Boulting with Jack Cardiff's trademark Technicolor cinematography to boot.

33520746016_48d7469fea_b.jpg

 

In fact, most of the criticism regarding the senior Friese-Greene's contributions really snowballed after this feature overly romanticized him, in addition to Allister's book it was based on being questioned as well. Peter Domankiewicz's blog dedicated to him, https://friesegreene.com/ , sums up his career both alive and deceased as “Famous. Ignored. Celebrated. Damned.”

Great grandson gives a nice family introduction to the real William here:

 

 

Claude continued after his father's death with Biocolour by creating Spectrum Films in 1923. A trio of experimental shorts were showcased in March of 1924: Quest For Colour, a series of Spain and UK travel scenes, Moonbeam Magic, a clever fantasy, and Dance Of The Moods, featuring the Margaret Morris Dancers. Later that same year, he took his camera on a motor journey from Cornwall to John O'Groates at the northern end of Scotland (filmed by early 1925) and back to London by way of Edinburgh, including a stop at the zoo. The first batch of these, listed as a series called The Open Road, were presented as one reel (under ten minutes) short subjects at a December 3, 1925 trade show with Wardour Films providing distribution. A total of 25 short films were in wider release by April 1926 with episode #26 added that fall with newer London “back home” material shot in August (presumably a year and half after the Scottish footage was filmed).

While so much Kinemacolor has been lost, Claude's Biocolour material of this particular travelogue has been well preserved over the decades and modern digital technology has solved some of the double images and flickering involving a system that was only marginally better than Kinemacolor and not a “bi pack” system like contemporary Technicolor. (Claude himself later worked with both Dufaycolour and the more advanced three strip Technicolor while working for the major studios, the latter process only a year before his death.) The British Film Institute successfully issued a slightly edited down version of the shorts on DVD in 2006 as Claude Friese-Greene: The Open Road. Autumn foliage looked especially good in the system as this clip reveals. Hard to believe this was filmed about November of 1924, but it was!

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

New Members:

Register Here

Learn more about the new message boards:

FAQ

Having problems?

Contact Us