Introduzione / Introduction
Schede film / Film Notes


More Tresaures from American Film Archives
As interest in silent film grows, archives are experimenting with new ways to reach audiences around the world. DVD technology provides an exciting approach. This screening celebrates the release of the National Film Preservation Foundation’s second and most recent DVD box set, More Treasures from American Film Archives, 50 Films, 1894-1931.
Like the NFPF’s earlier set released in 2000, More Treasures takes as its starting point the preservation work of American film archives. This new three-DVD, nine-and-one-half hour anthology with printed catalog covers the years from 1894 through 1931, when the motion picture grew from a peepshow curio to America’s fourth largest industry. The period represented is also the one from which fewest American films survive.
Five U.S. film archives have made it their mission to save what remains from these formative years: the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, George Eastman House, the Library of Congress, the Museum of Modern Art, and the UCLA Film and Television Archive. The More Treasures anthology (funded in part through a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities) reproduces their superb preservation work – fifty films followed by six previews for lost features and serials. The set includes commentary from seventeen historians, critics, and preservationists (many well known to Giornate audiences), newly recorded music featuring piano and instrumental ensembles, and a 208-page catalog by curator Scott Simmon and music curator Martin Marks.
Pioneering filmmakers and exhibitors experimented with virtually all the motion picture types still in use today – newsreels, cartoons, political ads, animation, avant-garde works, social advocacy films, folklife footage, sing-alongs, instructional shorts, product promotions, industrial documentaries, and serials, as well as comedies and dramas. Filmmakers also challenged film’s technical limitations, exploring new equipment, photographic techniques, and presentation formats. More Treasures includes a range of film types invented in the cinema’s first four decades as well as technical explorations in color, sound, special effects and animation, and long-abandoned exhibition formats, such as kinetoscope, kinetophone, and mutoscope.
In showcasing the breadth and creativity of American silent film production, More Treasures celebrates the role of archives in keeping silent film alive. Thousands more films await preservation at these and other archives; the process continues only thanks to public support.–Annette Melville

THE WONDERFUL WIZARD OF OZ (Selig Polyscope Co., US, 1910).
Director/Writer: Otis Turner, from the novel The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (1900) by L. Frank Baum and the stage musical The Wizard of Oz (1902) by L. Frank Baum and Julian Mitchell, with music by Paul Tietjens. Cast: Bebe Daniels (Dorothy), Hobart Bosworth (Wizard of Oz?), Robert Z. Leonard (Tin Woodman?), Eugénie Besserer (Aunt Em?), Winnifred Greenwood, Lillian Leighton, Olive Cox, Alvin Wyckoff, Marcia Moore. 35mm. 13 minutes (18 fps). Preserved by George Eastman House.
This first surviving film of L. Frank Baum’s The Wonderful Wizard of Oz is filled with characters and incidents that have a primal familiarity – thanks to the 1939 MGM musical. Squeezed into one reel are young Dorothy and her dog Toto in rural Kansas; the cyclone that carries them to the land of Oz ruled by its “humbug” Wizard; her faithful companions the Scarecrow, the Cowardly Lion, and the Tin Woodman; the good witch Glinda and a Wicked Witch of the West. Missing are the book’s munchkins and magic slippers, but added are such comic touches as the unionized women workers of Emerald City. As it survives, the film begins abruptly with a glimpse of Aunt Em, Uncle Henry, and the Kansas farm.
Due mainly to a popular musical adaptation that had toured for eight years, the Wizard of Oz story was so familiar by 1910 that the film could be structured as somewhat disconnected scenes. The film retains a charming theatricality as well as the stage version’s dance-and-comedy team of the Scarecrow and the piccolo-playing Tin Woodman. Dorothy is played by nine-year-old Bebe Daniels, and many others in the cast would have long Hollywood careers.
This film was the first of several Selig one-reelers about Oz – all but this one now lost. The sequel, Dorothy and the Scarecrow in Oz, released three weeks later, showed our friends lulled to sleep in the field of poppies and the good witch Glinda helping Dorothy find her way back home.–Scott Simmon

INKLINGS, ISSUE 12 (Inkwell Studios/Red Seal Pictures Corp., US, 1925). Director/Animator: Dave Fleischer. 35mm, 6 minutes (24 fps). Preserved by the Museum of Modern Art.
The pun in the title Inklings – suggesting both simple drawings and emerging ideas – matches the witty optical illusions in the films themselves. The director and lead animator of the series, Dave Fleischer, had a contentious relationship with his older brother Max, who received more credit for their celebrated Out of the Inkwell collaborations. Inklings was an effort by Dave to go it alone. Only three issues of this forgotten but brilliantly inventive series are known to survive, all preserved by the Museum of Modern Art.
In this twelfth issue, a painting of a bearded man inverts into the then-familiar image of Rin-Tin-Tin, ink drawings of children grow into unexpected adults, and a black panel is cut by knife to discover the characters literally within “The House That Jack Built”—a favorite children’s rhyme since the eighteenth century. The segments are introduced by the artist’s hand, animating and itself animated.
This Inklings screening will also feature a performance of the new score created by celebrated film and television composer Fred Steiner especially for the More Treasures from American Film Archives DVD set.–Scott Simmon

From C-V NEWS [Filming GREED in Death Valley] (Vanderbilt Newspapers, Inc., US, 1923). Director unknown. 35mm, 4 minutes (16fps). Preserved by the UCLA Film and Television Archive.
The second piece is a tantalizing glimpse of a legendary moment in location filmmaking—Erich von Stroheim’s shooting of Greed in Death Valley—documented in a brief segment from the now-forgotten newsreel series C-V News. In addition to national newsreels, American movie programs in the twenties often included local stories reported by regionally distributed newsreels, such as CV-News. Known only through a few surviving fragments, it appears to have been a short-lived Southern California newsreel from the Vanderbilt tabloid newspaper chain.
To recreate the final pages of Frank Norris’s McTeague with complete realism, Stroheim chose to shoot in Death Valley during the blinding heat of mid-summer. The men on horseback shown packing equipment also played the posse that trail McTeague after he murders his wife. The most revealing shots follow the intertitle “Countless hardships met with good grace by the company of thirty nine men and one lone woman over a period of thirty seven days.” Stroheim, wearing long white headgear, can be just glimpsed from behind, gesticulating as he walks backward in front of the camera car. Next to him is the “one lone woman,” Eve Bessette, his longtime script clerk. Photographed on horseback is Jean Hersholt as Marcus, who pursues McTeague, played by Gibson Gowland, who is seen (after a jump cut) leading his mule. This footage reveals another fascinating detail. Music was performed regularly on locations in the 1920s to help actors find the right moods, but who would have expected to see a violin and piano duo in the Death Valley summer?–Scott Simmon

THE INVADERS (New York Motion Picture Co., US, 1912). Producer: Thomas H. Ince. Director: Francis Ford and/or Thomas H. Ince. Writer: C. Gardner Sullivan
Cast: Francis Ford (Colonel James Bryson, the cavalry commandant), Ethel Grandin (his daughter), Anna Little (Sky Star), Art Acord (telegraph operator), Ray Myers, Luther Standing Bear and other unidentified Oglala Sioux. 35mm, 3 reels, 41 minutes (18fps). Preserved by the Library of Congress.
Thomas Ince’s The Invaders is one of the first great Westerns, a broken-treaty tale whose power owes much to its Native American actors. At three reels its portrayal of reluctant U.S. Cavalry troops forced to battle Sioux and Cheyenne was an epic in 1912, when most films still squeezed their stories into a single reel.
The change from earlier Westerns was partly in the scale of production. Soon after Ince arrived in Los Angeles in 1911 to take over the New York Motion Picture Company’s Westerns, the company made a deal with “The Miller Bros. 101 Ranch Real Wild West Show” to employ its performers, and leased twenty-eight square miles above Santa Monica. The impressive location—soon known as “Inceville”—could pass for the Dakotas when the camera was pointed away from the surf. Among the 101 Ranch employees were some fifty Oglala Sioux from the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota.
The Invaders allots equal time for personal dramas among the Native Americans, and is structured through parallel plots within the cavalry post and Sioux village: In each a father must approve a suitor for his daughter. The simple story derives some of its force by combining the two key American fables of self-sacrifice on the frontier: A Custer story (a contingent of the Seventh Cavalry is again slaughtered) is joined to a Pocahontas story (a chief’s daughter again saves a white community).
For all the conventionality in The Invaders’ portrait of Indians—who are ultimately both savage and sentimentalized—the film retains surprises. Audiences might presume its title will refer to some rampaging redskins, but it is the Eastern surveyors for the transcontinental railroad, laughing off cavalry protection and treaty terms, who will prove to be “the invaders.”–Scott Simmon