Slapstick Summer Series: Ladies, Please! | Those Awful Hats (1909)

Although rudimentary and often too-easily dismissed, Those Awful Hats is a must-see for all fans of early cinema and film history. Reasons being (in no particular order):

  1. We’re treated to a live-action PSA of the famous theater slides which asked women to remove their giant hats so as to not obstruct the view of those behind. (And you thought cell phones were annoying) 
  2. It’s not just one of the oldest surviving films directed by D.W. Griffith, it’s also one of his rare comedies.
  3. That energetic man with the checkered jacket, top hat, and cane? Yeah, that’s Mack Sennett. Three years later he would found a little something known as Keystone Studios.

Besides, that giant hat-grabber is EPIC!

The Original Music Videos of Alice Guy [part 6] – Indiscreet Questions (1906)

Felix Mayol performs Indiscreet Questions (by A. Trebitsch & G. de Nola / G. Maquis) in this phonoscene by Alice Guy. This early form of music video was created using a chronophone recording of Mayol, who was then filmed “lip singing”. Guy would film phonoscenes of all three major Belle Époque celebrities in France: Polin, Félix Mayol, and Dranem.

 

Happy Birthday, Lois Weber – America’s 1st Female Filmmaker

Born on this day in 1879, Lois Weber was a child prodigy pianist and silent film pioneer – an actress, screenwriter, producer, and director (the 1st woman as such in the United States) of over 100 known films. As a progressive activist, Weber’s movies often contained her ideals of social justice, which included support for women’s rights and birth control, as well as opposition towards censorship and the death penalty.

Her films are also known for being technically and narratively advanced for the time, groundbreaking in their usage and advancement of existing film language. One such example is the pre-Hitchcockian Suspense, directed in 1913 by Weber, below with a piano score by the lovely and talented Robbie Kaye from Beauty and Wisdom.

That Weber has been largely forgotten with the passage of time is as much a tragedy as the final years in her own life. I hope this changes and she begins to receive a more recognized and deserving place in history.

The Original Music Videos of Alice Guy [part 5] – White Lilacs (1905)

Felix Mayol performs White Lilacs (Lilas Blanc, by Theodore Botrel) in this phonoscene by Alice Guy. This early form of music video was created using a chronophone recording of Mayol, who was then filmed “lip singing”. Guy would film phonoscenes of all three major Belle Époque celebrities in France: Polin, Félix Mayol, and Dranem.

The Original Music Videos of Alice Guy [part 4] – The Trottins Polka (1905)

Felix Mayol performs The Trottins Polka (La Polka des Trottins, by A. Trebitsch and H. Christine) in this phonoscene by Alice Guy. This early form of music video was created using a chronophone recording of Mayol, who was then filmed “lip singing”. Guy would film phonoscenes of all three major Belle Époque celebrities in France: Polin, Félix Mayol, and Dranem.

The Original Music Videos of Alice Guy [part 3] – Five O’Clock Tea (1905)

Armand Dranem Performs Five O’Clock Tea (by J. Combe / D. Berniaux) in this phonoscene by Alice Guy. This early form of music video was created using a chronophone recording of Dranem, who was then filmed “lip singing”. Guy would film phonoscenes of all three major Belle Époque celebrities in France: Polin, Félix Mayol, and Dranem.

The Original Music Videos of Alice Guy [part 2] – The True Jiu-Jitsu (1905)

Armand Dranem performs The True Jiu-Jitsu (Le Vrai Jiu-Jitsu, by P. Briollet & G. Fabri / C. D’Orviet) in this phonoscene by Alice Guy. This early form of music video was created using a chronophone recording of Dranem, who was then filmed “lip singing”. Guy would film phonoscenes of all three major Belle Époque celebrities in France: Polin, Félix Mayol, and Dranem.