retreat, the troops marching into Strasbourg, the Victory Parades in all the capitals. Here are the Americans, slain by the thousands the first time they went into battle, the turbaned Indians and that strange white war of the Italians in white uniforms amid the Alpine snows. There must be much else also hidden away in the archives, awaiting the hand of a master editor. The little that we have seen, usually issued upon the occasion of the death of some distinguished figure like Albert of Belgium, Alexander of Serbia or Clemenceau, or in one of the clumsy war-record films, remains of abiding interest. In these artless reels, born of accident and catastrophe, is some of the finest material of all the war years.
IN OTHER countries film production continued as before. For the first months of the war Italy was not a participant, and when she did come in, her position was such that she could easily continue to turn out those movie spectacles so popular at the time.
Each big producing firm in Italy had its own company of actors under annual contract. Actors like Emilio Ghione (who was a director as well as an actor, and has written a brief essay on the Italian film), actresses like Maria Jacobini, Gianna Terribili- Gonzales of the unforgettable name, and the pre-eminent star Francesca Bertini, directors like Gabriellino d'Annunzio, Negroni, Righelli and Guazzoni all made up a picturesque and lively group. There were also Augusto Genina and Carmine Gallone, who were later to direct some fairly good films in France. Ghione's films, such as The Masked Amazon and particularly the series called Za-la-Mort, as well as those of Negroni and of Pasquali ( Gipsy Love, Between Men and Beasts, etc.), all exhibited the same emphatic style, the same rather touching naïveté, the same overabundance of gestures and declamatory motions. The worst faults of the American film were already apparent here, and on an even larger scale. Film stars in Turin and Rome were far more pretentious and exigent than they have ever been in Hollywood.
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Publication information: Book title: The History of Motion Pictures. Contributors: Maurice Bardèche - Author, Robert Brasillach - Author, Iris Barry - Editor, Iris Barry - Translator. Publisher: W. W. Norton/Museum of Modern Art. Place of publication: New York. Publication year: 1938. Page number: 95.
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