Wednesday, January 07, 2015

Last Licks

Jesse Walker isn't done yet.  After looking, filmwise, at every decade in the last 100 years that ends in a 4, he has a few quick mentions of what he likes in 1914 and 1904.

In 1914, it's Feuillade's series Fantomas.  In 1904, it's Melies' The Impossible Voyage.  A bit of a reminder that in the early days of cinema, France was almost as central as America--but then something happened around 1914, can't quite remember, that changed all that.

To me, 1914 is, above all, the year Chaplin first appeared in film. His earliest work with Sennett is far from his best, but you can still see flashes of brilliance.  It's also a time when film language was becoming well-developed (just a year before Birth Of A Nation) with serials like The Perils Of Pauline and features like Brewster's Millions, not to mention European work like Cabiria.  And I'm surprised we're getting no love from Jesse for Winsor McCay's Gertie The Dinosaur.

1904, of course, is more rudimentary, with lots of shorts. Melies may be the big name, but he's not the only one.

PS  In all the years this blog has been around, I've never once mentioned Fantomas.  Just by coincidence, I was planning to run my review of Kenneth Turan's book today--see below--which lists Fantomas as his earliest favorite. (His next favorite is Sherlock, Jr.). Then Jesse's latest went up.  So on this date there are two mentions of the series, and it'll probably never be mentioned again.

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