The History of Motion Pictures

By Maurice Bardèche; Robert Brasillach et al. | Go to book overview

was never to attain again. Whether she portrayed a convincing Joan of Arc may be debated. Physically she did, in the scene in which she appears haggard and tormented before the executioners. But her mood throughout is one of suffering; there is nothing here of the optimism or of the insolence of the real Joan that Madame Pitoëff revealed in the trial scene. Here she is only a young, martyred saint and this arbitrary limitation of the character cannot be denied. Once it has been admitted, her performance provides some prodigious moments--the childish gesture by which Joan reminds her executioners that justice exists, her glance at a tuft of daisies trembling in the breeze, her expression as they crown her, like Jesus, with thorns and arm her with a mock scepter and, above everything else, the moment at the stake when she stoops to pick up the rope which has fallen and offers it with divine complaisance to the executioner.

This extraordinary film was extremely daring; it could probably not be repeated. It offers a fine contrast to Gance Napoleon, as a spiritual epic opposed to a physical epic. No doubt it was a dead end, an oversimplification of drama, but it was one of those magnificent failures which provide much food for thought.


4. The Russian Film

AFTER the inevitable years of experimentation, Russia succeeded in organizing her industry and created in 1925 the big central organization of Sovkino. Two masterpieces had already been made, Eisenstein Potemkin and Pudovkin Mother.


THE SOVIET FILM

In his essay on the Soviet film in which he seems more interested in economic conditions than in films, Léon Moussinac explains clearly why production was quite quickly organized in Russia. Each year a scheme of film production is drawn up by

-266-

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The History of Motion Pictures
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page ii
  • Contents v
  • Foreword xi
  • Translator's Note *
  • Part One - The Birth of the Film 1895-1908 1
  • Part Two - The Prewar Film 1908-1914 37
  • Part Three - The Cinema during the World War 1914-1918 91
  • 1 - The Italian Film 95
  • 2 - The American Film 98
  • 3 - The French Film 127
  • 4 - The German Film and the Danish Film 134
  • 5 - The Swedish Film 136
  • 6 - The Russian Film 140
  • Part Four - The Emergence of an Art 1919-1923 145
  • 1 - The French Film 147
  • 2 - The Russian Film 168
  • 4 - The German Film 187
  • 5 - The Italian Film 196
  • 6 - The American Film 199
  • Part Five - The Classic Era of the Silent Film 1923-1929 223
  • 1 - The French Film 225
  • 2 - The German Film 251
  • 3 - The Scandinavian Film 263
  • 4 - The Russian Film 266
  • 5 - The American Film 283
  • 6 - The Death of Art 300
  • Part Six - The Talking Films 1929-1935 303
  • 1 - The American Film 305
  • 3 - The German Film 341
  • 4 - The Russian Film 353
  • 5 - A World Industry 361
  • Part Seven - Forty Years of Film 367
  • Editorial Postscript: 1935-1938 381
  • Index of Film Titles 391
  • General Index 405
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