Friday, November 30, 2012

A Salute to Tralfaz

If you look closely at the Blogger Friends list here at the Cartoons On Film blog, you might notice an inconspicuous link titled 'Tralfaz.' The blog is run by one Don M. Yowp, and it's relatively new--its oldest posts date to 2011. But it's filled with a lot of great material for the casual and serious animation historian alike, and there one can find awesome trade paper stills and other info that has been carefully culled from digitized volumes of historic film publications.

As 2012 comes to a close, I wanted to highlight several excellent posts on the Tralfaz blog from this year; several of which are related to my intense interest in silent animation. Check these out, and bookmark the blog!

Animation from a particular year:

Posts related to Krazy Kat:

Posts related to Felix the Cat:

Posts related to Oswald the Lucky Rabbit:

Posts related to the Fleischer studio:

Miscellaneous early sound animation and other oddities:

Ub Iwerks:

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

New York in 1912 at Museum of the Moving Image

As a silent film historian and native New Yorker, I highly recommend viewers in the NYC area check out the exciting series coming to Museum of the Moving Image in Astoria, Queens, this weekend.

Curated by historian Richard Koszarki, the screenings feature many films produced one hundred years ago, in 1912, by prominent filmmakers of the day. It’s a wonderful opportunity to see rare archival prints of films, all of which were produced right here in New York City in the same year. The films also feature live accompanist by Donald Sosin. Below is a rundown of the screenings.

For more information, visit the museum website.

A Night at the Nickelodeon

Saturday, November 10, 4:00 p.m.
Despite the release of a handful of feature-length films, most movies in 1912 still lasted only ten or fifteen minutes. Thousands of motion picture theaters across the country did their best to offer a balanced program of fiction and non-fiction, comedy and melodrama, with most of them changing the bill every single day.
Program runs approximately 70 minutes.

A Vitagraph Romance, How a Mosquito OperatesFlo’s DisciplineWinter Visit to Central ParkThe Land Beyond the SunsetAn Unexpected ReceptionA Grocery Clerk’s Romance.

Classical Cinema

Saturday, November 10, 6:30 p.m.
With theater owners doing their best to attract a more upscale clientele, 
producers responded by plundering history and literature. High-class 
French and Italian imports provided the model, and by 1912 most studios 
were looking to the classics to add a veneer of respectability to their 
programs of one-reel comedies and melodramas. 

Program runs approximately 70 minutes.
A Japanese IdyllDr. Jekyll and Mr. HydeThe Cry of the ChildrenRobin Hood

Griffith in Fort Lee

Sunday, November 11, 3:00 p.m.

Although he was already spending half the year in California by 1912, 
D. W. Griffith still spent every summer and fall in New York. Avoiding the
cramped Biograph studio on East Fourteenth Street whenever possible,
Griffith and his company preferred to take the ferry to Fort Lee where
exteriors for all the films in this program were shot (even those that seem
to have been shot on the Lower East Side). There he could work on
uncrowded streets and tap into a supportive infrastructure of local hotels,
businesses, and movie-struck extras, treating the town as his personal
back lot. 

Program runs approximately 85 minutes.

The Narrow RoadAn Unseen EnemyThe Painted Lady,
The Musketeers of Pig AlleyThe New York HatThe Burglar’s Dilemma 

Alice Guy Blaché, Queen of Solax

Sunday, November 11, 6:00 p.m.

The first woman to produce and direct her own films, and the only one 
ever to own her own studio, Alice Guy Blaché had been directing films in
Paris since before the turn of the century. Sent to America with her husband,
Herbert, to promote Gaumont’s talking film system in 1907, she saw the
opportunity to launch her own production company and three years later
opened the Solax studio in Flushing. As business took off, she built an
impressive new Solax on Lemoine Avenue in Fort Lee, which the company
moved into during the summer of 1912. But even when Solax was releasing
two or three films every week, this busy studio head still found time to direct
most of them herself.

Program runs approximately 85 minutes. 
A Fool and His MoneyFalling LeavesAlgie, the MinerThe Detective’s Dog,
The Girl in the ArmchairCanned HarmonyMaking of an American Citizen