Alice Guy Blaché at the Kennington Bioscope

June 2nd at 7.30 p.m. and available until June 30th on Kennington Bioscope You Tube Channel.

Women and the Silent Screen’ is a conference held bi-annually in New York City. Number 11 this year is on line between June 4th and June 6th. A series programmes will have papers and discussion on the work and art of women film-makers in early cinema; the central theme this year is ‘Women, Cinema and World Migration’.

Before the Conference there will be a tribute screening to the important pioneer of early cinema, Alice Guy Blaché and this is being made available on the Kennington Bioscope. Alice worked as a secretary at the firm of Gaumont, soon to become the first major production company in the new cinema industry. She was a pioneer in making short narrative films as the Head of Production at Gaumont between 1896 and 1906.

In 1907 she married Herbert Blaché and the pair moved to the USA to work for Gaumont in that territory. In 1910 she, with partners, formed the Solax Film Company, a production company based first in an ex-Gaumont Studio in New York and then in a new production facility in the film town Fort Lee, near New York. She continued directing and producing films up until 1920.

The programme streaming on the Bioscope offers nine titles from her period at Solax.

The titles included present Alice Guy as producer, writer and director. A number of archives have contributed including producing newly digitised versions. As can been seen the surviving information available varies and some of the transfers still show the ravages on the original prints. The Bioscope also  offers musical accompaniments streamed alongside the titles. The programme is in two parts and runs for 120 minutes

Frozen on Love’s Trail. Directed and produced by Alice Guy Blaché (Solax, USA, 1912), running time: 13:30 minutes. Source Archive: Eye Filmmuseum. Music: Costas Fotopolous.

An early western.

Two Little Rangers. Directed and produced by Alice Guy Blaché (Solax, USA, 1912). running time: 14 minutes. Source Archive: Eye Filmmuseum. Music: Andrew E. Simpson.

Another western adventure; possibly a tinted version

The Strike. Directed and produced by Alice Guy Blaché (Solax, USA, 1912). running time: 11:10 minutes. Source Archive: BFI.  Music: Lillian Henley.

A ‘labour problem’ drama.

A Man’s a Man. Directed and produced by Alice Guy Blaché (Solax, USA, 1912). running time: 9.5 minutes. Source Archive: GEM. Music: Andrew E. Simpson.

A drama of social justice.

Starting Something. Directed and produced by Alice Guy Blaché (Solax, USA, 1911). running time: 10:30 minutes. Source Archive: LOC/Lobster Films Collection. Music: John Sweeney.

A suffragette comedy.

Part 2.

The Sewer. Directed by Edward Warren (Solax, USA, 1912). Produced with scenario by Alice Guy Blaché. Set design by Henri Ménessier. Running time: 18:40 minutes. Source Archive: LOC. Music: John Sweeney.

A crime drama.

Cousins of Sherlocko. Directed and produced by Alice Guy Blaché (Solax, USA, 1913). running time: 12 minutes. Source Archive: LOC. Music: Colin Sell.

Mistaken identity leads to a criminal investigation.

The Detective’s Dog. Produced by Alice Guy Blaché (Solax, USA, 1912). running time: 11:30 minutes. Source Archive: LOC. Music: Meg Morley.

One for Canine fans; unfortunately the final scene is missing.

Greater Love Hath No Man. Directed and produced by Alice Guy Blaché (Solax, USA, 1911). running time: 15:20 minutes. Source Archive: LOC. Music: John Sweeney.

A western romance.

The programme offers an interesting insight into the developing genres of early cinema and the films directed by Alice Guy stand up in their own right. There are interesting plays with developing narrative: some fine exteriors: and excellent cinematography. And KB silents are always enhanced by the musical accompaniments.

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