Title: Fake War Pictures Stir the East Side

Periodical: New York Times

Date: September 6, 1914

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Foreign Colonies of the Bronx Also See Movies Purporting to Show Battles.


Cost of Chemicals and Other Studio Supplies Rises — Employees Go to the Front.

A glance at the posters displayed in Fourteenth Street and on the east side in front of the motion-picture playhouses convinces one that war is the one current attraction which needs no arranged publicity.

Lawrence Marston, principal director of a motion-picture company, recently noted posters on the following bellicose productions: "War Is Hell," showing "burning war balloons and the last desperate stand of a fallen aviator"; "With Serb and Austrian"; "The Battle of Waterloo"; "The Battling British"; "The Tyranny of the Mad Czar"; "The War of Wars, or, the Franco-German Invasion of 1914 — the kickiest two-hour show ever — an eternal masterpiece of tremendous magnitude"; "The Last Volunteer," "so real you can see the damage of the bullets"; "Faithful Unto Death," advertised to contain scenes showing "actual engagements, bursting bombs, blown-up bridges, severed telegraph wires, and sparing none of the horrors of war."

In a short walk in the same district on the east side Mr. Marston jotted down the following film titles from the lithographs outside the playhouses: "Ambushed," "A Born Warrior," "Napoleon, the Warfare of One Man Against the Whole of Europe, Comparable with the Present Situation of the German Emperor," and "European Armies in Action," one section of which was advertised to show "an entire army crossing a chasm thirty feet wide," while yet another strip of the same 4,000 feet of film featured the making of a cannon, "an awe-inspiring, death-dealing monster."

"Up in the Bronx, in the foreign colonies," continued Mr. Marston, "I was startled by posters advertising an English film company's thriller, 'The Terror of the Air,' depicting the dangers which London fears from German Zeppelins; by an Italian film, 'The Next in Command'; a German release, 'Kaiser Wilhelm II'; 'Northern Lights,' a film in which a coward was billed to duly redeem himself on the battlefield; 'The Envoy Extraordinary: or, The World's War'; 'The Three Allies,' 'Germania,' 'England's Menace,' 'The Warfare in the Skies,' 'Under Fire in Mexico,' 'The Battle of Shiloh,' 'Dan,' an American civil war drama; 'The Dishonored Medal, Featuring the Death-dealing European Conflict at Close Range'; 'The War of the Powers,' 'the Man-o'-War's Man,' 'Private Denis Hogan,' 'The Birth of the Star-Spangled Banner,' 'Across the Border,' a Mexican war feature, which was followed on the programme by 'The Battle of Torreon' and 'The Life of Villa.'

Photo Dramas in Yorkville.

"In the Yorkville section I had my choice of the following, 'The Old Army Coat;' 'Buffalo Bill's Indian Wars;' 'The Foreign Spies;' 'All Love Excelling,' showing the 'undying devotion of a woman which carries her through the Crimean war'; 'The Boer War'; 'Shannon of the Sixth;' 'Wolfe, or The Conquest of Quebec;' 'Frances Marion, The Swamp Fox' a tale of Revolutionary days; a picture version of the battle of Fontenoy, entitled 'A Celebrated Case,' and 'Captain Alvarez,' a drama of the Mexican revolution. Even the peace propagandists were represented with films entitled 'Lay Down Your Arms,' and 'The Curse of War.'

"The slide and poster companies aim to outdo one another. Long range actions are not in favor with the artists and the favorite themes seem to be close views of Uhlan charges and executions of prisoners tied to the cannon's mouth.

"Unless the local authorities take some steps to curtail the activities of some exhibitors, I am afraid we will have riots on the east side before the war is over. Already in San Francisco, exhibitors have been warned by the police against showing pictures dealing with the present war. A riot at one of the photoplay houses between excitable French and German reservists resulted in the arrest of the theatre proprietor who displayed a film showing re-enacted scenes from the Franco-Prussian conflict in 1879.

"The 'weeklies' which furnish moving picture theatres with a topical or current event programme are foaming over in their war furor. 'War extras,' compiled from sections of film released many moons ago, are being advertised as having been 'just released from the front.' 'Educationals,' showing last year's manoeuvres and exhibition drills of the German Army; the 1910 cavalry practice of the Uhlans, the barrack reviews of Russian Cossacks filmed in 1911, and the target tourneys of French riflemen billed as 'smashing events from the theatre of war.'

"Scenes showing the torpedo and battle formation practice of English torpedo boats taken two and three years ago are advertised as 'stirring events now taking place off the Kiel Canal where the German fleet is in hiding,' while even scenes showing the coaling of American battleships have been dragged out of the storehouse and rushed up to the firing line.

"Practically every motion-picture company in the business is searching its fireproof vaults for anything which contains more than a Corporal's guard of actor-soldiers. I wish to say for the benefit of the public that not a single foot of film showing scenes from the present war has been received from Europe since the beginning of hostilities. All views purporting to have been received from the front are merely reissues of old films.

Rise In Prices of Supplies.

"The war really has affected the American end of the film industry. Soft core carbons have gone up from $29 to $40 a thousand, while metol, used in the development of film, has jumped in price from $3 a pound to $10. Hydrochinon, which was selling at a dollar a pound a month ago, is now quoted at $5. Both of these chemicals can be produced in this country, however, so unless the market has been cornered manufacturers should feel no immediate concern. American condensing lenses do not come up to the requirements of motion picture projection, and as no more German and French lenses can be obtained until the cessation of hostilities the supply in America is now at a premium.

"Gun cotton, which serves as one of the bases from which raw film stock is made, is now at low prices, however, and as most of the film is manufactured in the United States, there need be no legitimate rise in the price of film stock in this country. The best photographic gelatine, which also is used in the manufacture of raw film, comes from Germany and film manufacturers must expect a rise in the price of this product. Printing colors from Germany and France also have markedly advanced in price of late.

"Large numbers of the foreign-born employees of American studios have gone back to Europe since the beginning of hostilities, among the most prominent being Claude Patin, general secretary of the Eclair plant, Lieut. Gustave Ehrhart of the Essanay Company, Guy Standing of the Famous Players, Arthur Roussel and L. P. Bonvillain, the two Vice Presidents of the Pathé Frères American branch in Jersey City; together with the son of Chief Director Monca and various office clerks, cameramen, actors, directors, and other employes in the mechanical departments of the Franco-American film companies.

"Corporal of Dragoons Escoffier, a member of the Pathé Stock Company, who was one of the first to leave for the front, has been decorated for 'gallantry in action,' according to a cable report received by the remaining American officials of the plant. Henry Gachon, photographic expert of the Universal's Bayonne laboratories, left on La Lorraine on Aug. 5 and A. R. Ferrand, recently an American manager of the Eclipse-Urban Film Company, who is a Corporal in the French reserves, left on the same vessel.

"The closing of the French and German plants and the limitation of the output of the Italian concerns enables American manufacturers to make a strong bid for the South American film market, which hitherto has bought largely on the Continent. In the neutral countries and even in England the market, which formerly has been supplied by the French and German manufacturers, will turn toward America for photoplays. American films predominate in Russia, and American manufacturers will soon be able to supply that market by the Pacific route.

"Only in Germany, France, and Belgium have imports and exports practically ceased. The suspension of the importation of French and German films to this country of course leaves the American market wholly to American manufacturers — and that circumstance spells profit and prosperity for American film men."

Title: Fake War Pictures Stir the East Side

Periodical: New York Times

Date: September 6, 1914

Topic: Buffalo Bill on Film

People: Marston, Lawrence

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