Let the Movies Begin Series with Alice Guy Blaché, D W Griffith and The Keystone Cops
Digital restoration of a classic film with live music.
Making an American Citizen (1912)
Making an American Citizen is a short film by the pioneering French woman filmmaker Alice Guy-Blaché, produced at Solax Studios. Originally advertised as "educational drama" or "educational subject," it grapples with the theme of immigration, assimilation, and of becoming a "good American." The film carries an explicit feminist message: the lopsided power dynamics in an immigrant couple becomes increasingly equalized, as the couple spends more time in America. The wife learns to stand up to her husband's abuses, while the husband is repeatedly coerced by other American citizens into treating his wife as his equal, until he is able to internalize the ethos of the Progressive Era. The film works to allay anxieties over Eastern European immigrant men bringing "Old World" patriarchal values and practices to the "New World."
A Girl and Her Trust (1912)
There is more speed and complexity to the cutting in The Girl and Her Trust than previous Biograph pictures. D W Griffith was now experienced enough at setting up spaces and sequencing shots that he could get away with this many angles and set-ups without it looking like a jumbled mess. The result is often exhilarating, and the ride-to-the-rescue really seems to have come of age. What is really special about The Girl and Her Trust though is its tight, even structure. The tranquil beginning establishes the characters, the romantic angle and the possibility that danger may be near. The action then begins with a claustrophobic, "trapped heroine" scenario, which is followed up with the excitement of a chase.
The Bangville Police (1913)
The First Appearance of The Keystone Cops. A young, buxom farm maid overhears two cow-hands talking in the barn, and she's convinced they're about to rob her. She barricades herself in a room and calls the police. Her call wakes the chief, who rallies the constabulary and they set off toward the farm, in steam-car and on foot. Meanwhile, the maid's parents rush to save her, as do neighbouring farmers, armed with shotgun, pitchfork, and shovel. Everything points toward a showdown in the barn, where no one, including the police force, will be cowed.
The Golden pass ticket includes entry to the following ‘Let the Movies Begin’ sessions:
1. Georges Méliès – Saturday Jan 13th, 10:30am
2. Alice Guy Blaché, D W Griffith and The Keystone Cops – Saturday Jan 13th, 12pm
3. D W Griffith – Saturday Jan 13th, 2pm