The History of Motion Pictures

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

remained faithful to his text, he nevertheless attempted to give France some nature films in Jofroi and in Angèle. They were well worth seeing for the beauty of the landscapes, a certain fresh and hard sensuality, the way in which a horse, a house, a wall or a tree is photographed. Pagnol continued to contend that the most important thing in a film is its text and published the scenario of his next film in La Petite Illustration. It was all too evident that the text was without merit. He was responsible for the fact that we have almost forgotten how relatively unimportant dialogue is in a film. Otherwise, how would it be possible to enjoy films in a language we do not understand, such as Van Dyke Eskimo? Nevertheless to this pass was France rapidly coming: it had been for forty years her secret ambition, and right through from the Film d'Art down to Pagnol the same desire is evident. What France wants on the screen is theater, and bad theater at that. We may well recall what Louis Delluc said: Good films will perhaps be made, but they will be the exception.

In 1935 something quite important happened: the French film industry practically disappeared. Controlled by Americans or crippled by the depression, neither Eclair nor Gaumont was any longer of importance. Pathé-Natan, already ruined by a thousand extravagances, finally vanished amid an obscure financial scandal: only its distributing system is left. The few French films which appear are produced independently. As the history of the United States teaches us that it has always been the independents who have carried on the development of the film in opposition to the big firms, perhaps some good will spring from so much evil.


3. The German Film

IN Germany the early days of talking films were marked by the same hesitations as in America and in France. Ufa, under the powerful management of Erich Pommer, was chiefly anxious to guard

-341-

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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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