Archivo de la etiqueta: Biograph Company

Fights of Nations (1907)

En México visto por el cine extranjero (Vol. 1, p. 20), Emilio García Riera, con título cambiado del original, comenta lo siguiente sobre esta cinta:

En una cinta de la Biograph, The Fight of the Nations (1907), exaltadora del crisol (melting pot) multinacional y multirracial norteamericano, un spaniard y un mexican enfrentaban sus cuchillos más quizá para definir una índole pintoresca y exótica que una naturaleza violenta.

García Riera en la misma obra, pero en el volumen 2, da una breve ficha filmográfica y sinopsis:

The Fight of Nations / P. EU (Bio) 1907. 8′. Sucesión de combates singulares entre parejas de diversos grupos étnicos y nacionales: escoceses (con espadas), judíos (con gestos y artimañas), irlandeses (con puños), “un castellano y un mexicano” (con cuchillos). Al final, todos desfilan frente a las banderas de las naciones aludidas.

La cinta resulta ser una serie de estereotipos de diversas razas y nacionalidades muy en boga a inicios del siglo pasado. En el primer número de The Moving Picture World publicado el 7 de marzo de 1907 (Vol. I, No. 1, p. 2) se publicó un anuncio de media página para promover la cinta:

The Moving Picture World del 7 de marzo de 1907 (Vol. I, No. 1, p. 2)
The Moving Picture World del 7 de marzo de 1907 (Vol. I, No. 1, p. 2)

La nota que sigue también es del primer número de The Moving Picture World (Vol. I, No. 1, pp. 9-10):

Fights of Nations

Affairs of Honor a la Mode Portrayed by the Biograph.

The Moving Picture World del 7 de marzo de 1907 (Vol. I, No. 1, p. 9)
The Moving Picture World del 7 de marzo de 1907 (Vol. I, No. 1, p. 9)

Our latest production, under six titles, represents various types and nationalities, with comedy and tragedy consistently intermingled. Every scene is beautifully staged and each nationality well represented. “Mexico vs. Spain,” the first scene, shows the rejected Mexican suitor, in a jealous rage, watching the lovemaking between Carlos, the Spaniard, his hated rival, and the beautiful senorita. With drawn stiletto he pounces upon the Don, but the senorita seizes his arm, thus saving her lover from a horrible death. After a terrific hand-to-hand encounter, the Don has the point of vantage over the Mexican, but through the pleadings of the girl releases him and bids him go. Next is shown two of “Our Hebrew Friends,” in a characteristic battle —all talk, but no blows. A third Hebrew is drawn into the argument, in the heat of which a policeman appears and threatens to arrest them. The third Hebrew is made the innocent victim. He offers the officer a bribe of a roll of money, which is accepted, but the Jew steals it back. Then follows “A Scottish “Combat”—a broadsword engagement between two of America’s leading actors in Scotch costumes, showing how quick and accurate these weapons can be handled. A comedy scene, “Sunny Africa,” takes place in a concert hall on Eighth Avenue, New York, frequented by the colored element. Buck dancing, cakewalking, etc., are indulged in. The bully resents the attentions paid to his sweetheart by a dusky gentleman. Immediately razors are drawn, and the affair winds up in a rough house. In “Sons of the Ould Sod” we show a laughable scrap between Haggerty and Fogarty, caused by the accidental dropping of a wet sheet by Mrs. Haggerty from her window upon the head of Fogarty. The men battle furiously, until that soothing balm to hurt feelings—beer—is proffered by the ever-thoughtful Mrs. Haggerty. “America” then serves as an appropriate finale. The scene is magnificently decorated with emblems of all nations, the American eagle surmounting them. In harmony, peace and good-will the characters of the different nations appear, making it an allegorical representation of “Peace,” with Uncle Sam presiding at a congress of the Powers.

La ficha filmográfica esta tomada de Silent Era y resulta interesante que sea el fotógrafo Billy Bitzer el único que se conozca por nombre y quien se hiciera famoso como camarógrafo de D. W. Griffith algunos años después.

Fights of Nations (1907), Norteamericana. B & N: 750 pies. Director e intérpretes desconocidos. Producción: American Mutoscope & Biograph Company; distribución: American Mutoscope & Biograph Company. Fotografía: G.W. Bitzer. Estrenada el 2 de marzo de 1907. Producción Biograph  número 3272. Uno de los duelos está tomado de la escena del duelo en la producción Biograph de “Macbeth” (1905).

In Old California (1910)

In Old California (1910), cinta Biograph, fue la primera película filmada en Hollywood. El director pionero D. W. Griffith descubrió este pequeño poblado durante sus frecuentes viajes a California y decidió filmar ahí debido a la belleza del escenario y lo amigable que eran los habitantes del lugar. El 6 de mayo de 2004 se develó un monumento en Vine Street, al norte de Hollywood Boulevard para conmemorar la filmación de la primera producción cinematográfica hecha en Hollywood. Según se cuenta, fue durante la filmación de In Old California que Griffith utilizo la famosísima expresión de ¡Luces, cámara, acción! por primera ocasión.

Durante años se consideró The Squaw Man de Cecil B. DeMille la primera cinta filmada en Hollywood, hasta el hallazgo de In Old California. Además resulta significativo que fuera un filme de temática hispano-mexicana. Fue en el Beverly Hills Film Festival de 2004 cuando se proyectó la cinta muda de D. W. Griffith a más de noventa años de su filmación.

La Biograph Company emitió al momento de su estreno un comunicado donde explica la cinta:

Anuncio de la Biograph Films publicado en The Moving Picture World de marzo de 1910

No land nor period was more given to romance than the Spanish American in the early part of the 19th century. The influence of the warm constant sun, without excessive amenity was conducive to lethargy and lethargy is the seed of romance. The dreamer is a romancer. This Biograph story starts some time before Mexican independence was proclaimed in California, which occurred in 1822. Perdita Arguello, the pretty Spanish senorita is beloved by Jose Manuella, a wealthy young Spaniard, who migrated to the new world in search of adventure. A man of qualities, he surrenders claim upon the girl when he finds her heart is given to Pedro Cortes, a handsome troubadour of the village. Cortes is just the sort of fellow to impress a thoughtless and unsophisticated girl with his gentle persuasive manner together with his talent as a musician. Of poetic temperament, she yields to his plan and marries him. But what a calamity! Twenty years later we see the result of her folly. Cortes proved to be a worthless dipsomaniac and reprobate. Spending his time and money she earns at the tavern. The most unfortunate feature is that they have a son, now nearly 19 years old. Perdita realizes that the environs and example of the father are not favorable to the boy’s well-being, hence she resolves to save him. It is at a time when Baja and Alta California are in conflict, and Manuella, Perdita’s former lover, is now Governor. So she appeals to him to provide a future for their son. The Governor takes the boy into his own company. But is there any wonder that the son of such a dog as Cortes should prove himself to be a despicable whelp? He is not long in the service when the blood of his father asserts itself. Drunkenness is one of the first offenses. Next theft of the meanest order, that of robbing his sleeping comrades-in-arms. Perdita has dispatched a letter of thanks to the Governor, which he is reading as the drunken boy is brought before him. The tone of the letter induces Manuella to be easy on the boy that she might live in ignorance of his real nature. However, later she writes that she is dying and believing her son has made a name for himself, she asks to be allowed to see him before she dies. As the Governor reads this letter the boy is brought before him, having been caught for thieving. Manuella is thoroughly disgusted with the boy, but in order to have his mother die happy, he decorates him, making him appear before her as a hero. When she breathes her last the medals are torn his breast and he is sent to prison where the punishment he justly deserves is inflicted. In this subject are shown a series of most beautiful scenes of Southern California, which are photographically perfect.

In Old California (1910), norteamericana. Cinta de un rollo en B & N y longitud de 991 pies o 17 minutos de duración. Productor: Biograph Company. Distribución: Biograph Company. Director: D.W. Griffith. Argumento: Stanner E. V. Taylor. Fotografía: G.W. Bitzer . Estrenada en Estados Unidos el 10 de marzo de 1910. Intérpretes: Frank Powell (Gobernador Manuella), Arthur V. Johnson (Pedro Cortés), Marion Leonard (Perdita Argüelles), Henry B. Walthall (hijo de Perdita), Mack Sennett (soldado), Francis J. Grandon (soldado), Charles H. West (asistente del gobernador).

Según Emilio García Riera en México visto por el cine extranjero, la trama de esta cinta sucede…

…en la California de 1822, recién declarada la independencia mexicana. Perdita es amada por José Manuella (sic), un joven español llegado a América en busca de aventuras. Sin embargo, ella se casa con el calamitoso trovador Pedro Cortés. Veinte años después, Pedro, convertido en un borracho, gasta en la cantina todo el dinero de su mujer. Para salvar a su hijo de tan mal ejemplo, Perdita acude a José Manuella, ahora gobernador de la Alta California en conflicto con la Baja California. José Manuella da al hijo del Perdita un puesto en la guardia, pero el joven se hace también borracho, además de ladrón. José Manuella se entera de eso, pero hace pasar al joven por héroe, y lo condecora, para satisfacción de su agónica madre. Una vez muerta Perdita, su hijo es encarcelado por el gobernador.