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Gaumont Treasures: 1897-1913

4.5 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

10 HOURS 75 FILMS 3 DISC

The invention of cinema and its growth into a sophisticated art form are vividly brought to life in this massive collection of films from the early years of the influential Gaumont Film Company. Each disc is devoted to one of Gaumont s artistic directors, who oversaw all film production at the studio, and profoundly influenced not only the identity of the studio but also the evolution of the cinema itself.

FOR MORE INFORMATION ON THE FILMMAKERS PLEASE READ DIRECTOR BIO

ALICE GUY (1897) The Fisherman at the Stream / Bathing in a Stream / Serpentine Dance by Mme. Bob Walter
(1898) The Turn-of-the-Century Blind Man / At the Hypnotist's / The Burglars / Disappearing Act / Surprise Attack on a House at Daybreak
(1899) At the Club / Wonderful Absinthe
(1900) Avenue de l Opera / Automated Hat-Maker and Sausage-Grinder / At the Photographer's / Dance of the Seasons: Winter, Snow Dance / The Landlady / Turn-of-the-Century Surgery / Pierrette s Escapades (Hand-Tinted Color) / At the Floral Ball (Hand-Tinted Color) / The Cabbage-Patch Fairy
(1902) Serpentine Dance by Lina Esbrard / Midwife to the Upper Class / An Untimely Intrusion / Miss Dundee and Her Performing Dogs
(1903) How Monsieur Takes His Bath / Faust and Mephistopheles
(1905) The O Mers in The Bricklayers / The Statue / The Magician s Alms / Clown, Dog and Balloon / Spain / The Tango / The Malaguena and the Bullfighter / Cook & Rilly s Trained Rooster / Cake Walk, Performed by Nouveau Cirque / Alice Guy Films a Phonoscene / Saharet Performs the Bolero (Hand-Tinted Color) / Polin Performs: The Anatomy of a Draftee (A synchronized-sound Phonoscene) / Dranem Performs: The True Jiu-Jitsu (A synchronized-sound Phonoscene) / Dranem Performs: Five O Clock Tea (A synchronized-sound Phonoscene) / Felix Mayol Performs: Indiscreet Questions (A synchronized-sound Phonoscene & Hand-Tinted Color) / Felix Mayol Performs: The Trottins Polka (A synchronized-sound Phonoscene) / Felix Mayol Performs: White Lilacs (A synchronized-sound Phonoscene)
(1906) The Birth, the Life and the Death of Christ / An Obstacle Course / Madame s Cravings / A Sticky Woman / The Hierarchies of Love / The Cruel Mother / A Story Well Spun / The Drunken Mattress / The Parish Priest s Christmas / The Truth Behind the Ape-Man / The Consequences of Feminism / Ocean Studies / The Game-Keeper s Son
(1907) The Race for the Sausage / The Glue / The Fur Hat / The Cleaning Man / A Four-Year-Old Hero / The Rolling Bed / The Irresistible Piano / On the Barricade / The Dirigible Homeland -- 225 Minutes - Full-Frame (1.33:1) - Music by Sorties d Artistes

LOUIS FEUILLADE - The Colonel s Account (1907, 4 min.) / A Very Fine Lady (1908, 3 min.) / Spring (1909, 7 min.) / The Fairy of the Surf (1909, 7 min.) / Custody of the Child (1909, 11 min.) / The Defect (1911, 41 min.) / The Roman Orgy (1911, 8 min.) / The Trust (1911, 24 min.) / The Heart and the Money (1912, 17 min.) / The Obsession (1912, 23 min.) / Tragic Error (1913, 24 min.) / Bout de Zan Steals an Elephant (1913, 9 min.) / The Agony of Byzance (1913, 29 min.) 217 Minutes - Full-Frame (1.33:1) - Music by Patrick Laviosa -- SPECIAL FEATURE: Louis Feuillade: Master of Many Forms - This collection of scenes from more than twenty films demonstrates Feuillade s mastery of (and influence upon) a wide range of cinematic genres.

LEONCE PERRET - The Mystery of the Rocks of Kador (Le Mystere des roches de Kador) (1912) Color Tinted 43 Minutes - The Child of Paris (L Enfant de Paris) (1913) Color Tinted 124 Minutes SPECIAL FEATURE: Leonce Perret: The Filmmaker s Filmmaker - Illustrated with rare film clips, this mini-documentary reveals the artistry and wit of French cinema s unsung hero.

About the Director

ALICE GUY - Few individual artists have exerted as profound an influence upon the evolution of cinema as Alice Guy (later known as Guy-Blache). With this collection of more than 60 films, culled from the world s leading archives and carefully mastered, Guy may no longer be seen as a (woman filmmaker.) These films, produced by Guy for Gaumont before she moved to the US, reveal her to be an unqualified pioneer whose work stands alongside that of the Lumiere Brothers, Georges Melies, and Edwin S. Porter, in cinema s rapid growth from an optical illusion to a storytelling medium to an art form. Among the highlights are a 19th-century serpentine dance, early (trick) films, experiments with hand-coloring and synchronized sound, comedies, social commentaries, and (as the collection s centerpiece) a 33-minute religious epic: The Birth, the Life and the Death of Christ (1906).

LOUIS FEUILLADE - Best remembered today for his espionage serials Les Vampires and Fantomas, Louis Feuillade had a more varied and profound influence upon French cinema than many of his followers realize. For more than a decade, he was the artistic director at Gaumont, encouraging the rise of such filmmakers as Abel Gance and Leonce Perret. This collection of films offers a wider view of Feuillade s directorial efforts -- but, admittedly, it is only a small portion of the nearly 800 films he is believed to have directed. These films run the gamut of ribald comedy (The Colonel s Account), charming fantasy (Spring), tragedy (The Heart and Money), social commentary (The Defect) and historical epic (the remarkably poignant The Agony of Byzance). No Feuillade collection would be complete without a sampling of thrillers. To that end, we offer The Trust: Or the Battles for Money and The Obses-sion, which are characterized by the brisk pacing and diabolical tone for which he would become famous.

LEONCE PERRET - Until now, the films of Leonce Perret have been virtually unseen in the United States, yet he was a hugely influential figure in the growth of the French film industry. As an actor, he appeared in more than 100 films from 1909 to 1916, including the long-running series of (Leonce) comedies. But his greater contribution was as a director. Working at Gaumont under the supervision of Louis Feuillade, Perret set the standard to which other French filmmakers aspired. His films had a technical mastery and aesthetic grace that allowed them to reveal subtleties of character and meaning. Perret s artistic maturity is beautifully represented in the influential feature The Child of Paris, a naturalistic drama reminiscent of Emile Zola. Of this film, critic Georges Sadoul proclaimed, Leonce Perret was able to render a graceful and lively story by using an extraordinarily refined cinematic repertoire: backlighting, low-angle shots, close-ups, moving shots and numerous other innovations, all of which Perret implemented with flair, in stark contrast to...the still somewhat primitive technique of David W. Griffith at that time. Perret made a number of self-referential films, in which the medium of cinema is a component of the plotline. In The Mystery of the Rocks of Kador, an amnesiac woman undergoes a sort of cinematic hypnosis as a means of recalling the details of a tragic crime.

Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: Felix Mayol
  • Directors: Alice Guy, Louis Feuillade, Leonce Perret
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Box set, Black & White, Color, NTSC
  • Language: English (Unknown)
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 3
  • Rated:
    NR
    Not Rated
  • Studio: Kino Lorber films
  • DVD Release Date: September 1, 2009
  • Run Time: 600 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0029R81JO
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #88,504 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Gaumont Treasures: 1897-1913" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

I have been waiting for this set to arrive for a long, long time. Now that it is here, I can say without a doubt that it was well worth the wait and more. Although Edison, the Lumieres and others had been working on the development of movies before Gaumont was founded in 1896, no studio did more to help establish them. This 3 DVD set focuses on three of their production heads (one per disc) between 1897-1913. One of them, Louis Feuillade, is well known to today's audiences thanks to the success of his silent serials FANTOMAS, LES VAMPIRES and JUDEX. The other two, Alice Guy and Leonce Perret, are hardly known at all especially Perret.

This set is invaluable in many ways. For me the primary reason is that it contains over 3 hours of material by Alice Guy (later Guy-Blache'). Guy was the first woman pioneer of cinema and the short films collected here show her to not only have command of the new medium, but a willingness to experiment as well. There are comedies, trick films, dramas, even attempts to introduce color and synchronized sound. For too long she has been relegated to footnote status due to the unavailability of her output but this set changes all that. One invaluable film shows her shooting a synchronized sound short allowing us a glimpse into turn-of-the-last century moviemaking.

The other real discovery here are the two films of Leonce Perret. He began as an actor and then took over production from Feuillade shortly before World War One while still managing to appear in many of Gaumont's films including his own. THE MYSTERY OF THE ROCKS OF KODOR shows him using the new technology of movies to solve a crime. The full length feature THE CHILD OF PARIS from 1913 is as good if not better than any film I've seen from that time period.
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Much of the following information is currently in the product description. However, this information seems to come and go without warning, so I am placing this information in my review. First, from the Press Release for this three disc set:

DISC 1: ALICE GUY

Alice Guy (later known as Guy-Blache) was an early woman director at a time before the movies were taken seriously as an industry and the men took over. These films were produced by Guy for Gaumont before she moved to the US, reveal her to be an unqualified pioneer whose work stands alongside that of the Lumiere Brothers, Georges Melies, and Edwin S. Porter, in cinema's rapid growth from an optical illusion to a storytelling medium to an art form. Among the highlights are a 19th-century serpentine dance, early (trick) films, experiments with hand-coloring and synchronized sound, comedies, social commentaries, and a 33-minute religious epic: The Birth, the Life and the Death of Christ (1906).

(1897) The Fisherman at the Stream / Bathing in a Stream / Serpentine Dance by Mme.
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DVD1: Alice Guy
Yes, yes, very, well, ...interesting... I am sure that those of you who absolutely love silent films of all kinds and film history in particular will be wild about this Gaumont volume, and especially this first DVD in the set. Historically, it is a highly desirable release. But if you are looking for entertainment, you must know that Alice Guy just does not have the snap and verve, the panache, of a George Melies, nor his amazing artistic drawings and backgrounds, and his sharp sense of humour. Also missing is the continuity of having a recognizable troupe of actors and a strong sense of directorial style. Since Melies actually plays a character (if not the main character) in so many of his own films, part of the fun of the Flicker Alley release of Melies DVDs ("George Melies: First Wizard of Cinema") is watching him develop a cinematic presence out of his already highly-honed stage personae. He also develops a certain style of directing his films so that later in his oeuvres you can really tell when he stops directing his "Star" films and someone else is handling things, because the style of direction changes drastically. Alice Guy's films don't seem to develop much of anything until about 1906, when she does seem to "come into her own".

By 1905, Melies had completed his "Trip to the Moon" and other fantastic and enchanting featurettes. But according to this collection, Alice Guy is still doing exclusively short, cheapie and fake-looking substitution-shot trick films (at best). Her indoor sets look primitive in comparison to Melies', and in her outdoor settings the films often have a flavor of being a home movie, or an amateur production. In 1905 she does do some little sound films, an area which Melies never ventured into; but...
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