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Gaumont Treasures Vol. 2: 1908-1916

4.5 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews

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(Apr 19, 2011)
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Editorial Reviews

During its second decade of existence, the Gaumont Film Company continued to prove itself an indomitable force in cultivating and advanceing the fledging art of cinema. This second series of releases of Gaumont Treasures surveys the work of some of its most influential filmmakers. EMILE COHL: (the screen's first great animator) disc includes Fantasmagoria (1908), The Puppets Nightmare (1908), The Living Fan (1909), Comic Mutations (1909), The Tweleve Labors of Hercules (1910), Petit Faust (1910), Bebes Masterpiece (1910) and many more. JEAN DURAND (who specialized in madcap comedy and American-style westerns) disc includes: Calino Wants to Be a Cowboy (1911), Onesime Goes To Hell (1912), Onesime, Clockmaker (1912), Onesime Loves Animals (1913), Zigoto Drives a Locomotive (1912), The Railway of Death (1912), Burning Heart: An Indian Tale (1912), Under the Claw (1912) and more. Also includes bonus documentary short: Jean Durand 1882-1946 and a sampling of innovative color and sound films from the 1910s. JACQUES FEYDER (whose sophisticated comedies made him the french counterpart of Ernst Lubitch and Cecil B. DeMille) and THE EARLY MASTERS OF FRENCH CINEMA (all featured on this disc) includes: Heads... And The Women Who Use Them (1916, Feyder), The Barges (1911, George-Andre Lacroix), La Marseillaise (1912, Etienne Arnaud), Childs Play (1913, Henri Fescourt), Feet and Hands (1915, Gaston Ravel). OVER TEN HOURS OF MATERIAL!!!

Special Features


Product Details

  • Actors: Kitty Hott
  • Directors: Emile Cohl, Jean Durand, Jacques Feyder, George-Andre Lacroix, Etienne Arnaud
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Box set, Black & White, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Dubbed: Japanese
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 3
  • Rated:
    Not Rated
  • Studio: Kino Lorber films
  • DVD Release Date: April 19, 2011
  • Run Time: 598 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B004NTXH68
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #124,812 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

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Top Customer Reviews

By Barry Berdt on April 27, 2011
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Fantasmagoria 1908 Emile Cohl
The Puppet's Nightmare 1908 Emile Cohl
drama at the puppet's house 1908 Emile Cohl
the magic hoop 1908 Emile Cohl
the little soldier who became a god 1908 Emile Cohl
the boutdebois brothers 1908 Emile Cohl
transfigurations 1909 Emile Cohl
let's be sporty 1909 Emile Cohl
japanese fantasy 1909 Emile Cohl
the happy microbes 1909 Emile Cohl
modern education 1909 Emile Cohl
The Living Fan 1909 Emile Cohl
spanish clair de lune 1909 Emile Cohl
the next door neighbors 1909 Emile Cohl
crowns 1909 Emile Cohl
delicate porcelains 1909 Emile Cohl
monsieur clown among the lilliputians 1909 Emile Cohl
Comic Mutations 1909 Emile Cohl
matrimonial shoes 1909 Emile Cohl
the enchanted spectacles 1909 Emile Cohl
affairs of the heart 1909 Emile Cohl
floral frameworks 1910 Emile Cohl
the smile-o-scope 1910 Emile Cohl
childish dreams 1910 Emile Cohl
en route 1910 Emile Cohl
the mind of the cafe waiter 1910 Emile Cohl
master of a fashionable game 1910 Emile Cohl
petit chantecler 1910 Emile Cohl
The Tweleve Labors of Hercules 1910 Emile Cohl
Petit Faust 1910 Emile Cohl
the neo-impressionist painter 1910 Emile Cohl
the four little tailors 1910 Emile Cohl
art's infancy 1910 Emile Cohl
the mysterious fine arts 1910 Emile Cohl
the persistent salesman 1910 Emile Cohl
a history of hats 1910 Emile Cohl
nothing is impossible for man 1910 Emile Cohl
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This second set of early films from the Gaumont Studios takes up where the first one left off. Not chronologically, as these films date from 1908-1916, but artistically as they focus on other contributors working there around the same time as Guy, Feuillade, and Perret who were the focus of the first set. The real discovery here can be found on DVD 1 which is devoted to the animated films of Emile Cohl who started out as a member of the forgotten 19th century art rebels known as the Incoherents. There are 40 short films on this disc none of them longer than 8 minutes. In them Cohl (1857-1938) extends the fantasy genre begun by Melies and experiments with the various possibilities of animation from pen and ink drawings to combining live action and stop motion animation thus setting the stage for the short films made by Ladislaw Starewicz, Winsor McCay and Walt Disney a few years later. Some of the titles like FANTASMAGORIA, THE PUPPET'S NIGHTMARE, and THE MAGIC HOOP are absolutely mindboggling to behold considering when these were made.

Discs 2 & 3 focus on Jean Durand (1882-1946) and Jacques Feyder (1885-1948). Durand specialized in wild slapstick farces and adventure films including American style Westerns. When once asked to describe his Keystone comedies, Mack Sennett said that "We stole it all from the French." A quick perusal of some of these films like CALINO'S BAPTISM, ZIGOTO DRIVES A LOCOMOTIVE, and the utterly bizarre ONESIME, CLOCKMAKER bear this out. Feyder was a Belgian filmmaker who settled in France and produced short sophisticated comedies a la Ernst Lubitsch (HEADS...AND WOMEN WHO USE THEM, FRIENDLY ADVICE) before coming to the U.S. where he directed Garbo in her last silent film (THE KISS - 1929).
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I am not really an Emil Cohl fan, and I was hoping this collection would convert me. Unfortunately, the musical accompaniment pretty much sucked the life out of these films. It is avante-garde calliope music that I found entirely inappropriate to Cohl's fantasies. Not to mention that I simply hate the sound in the first place. After watching a few of these movies with the music on, I felt like I was in the midst of the kind of bad dream I have after eating buttered popcorn before going to bed. And I HATE those dreams. These films are actually better watched silently than with the sound here provided--unless you LIKE music that attempts to turn these little whimsical vintage films into bizarre experimental cinema. I finally made it through all the Cohl films over a period of days, and frankly I don't like them very much. They are tiring, repetitive, frankly boring and creepy enough to leave me feeling a little depressed if I watched too many at a time. And the music certainly never helped, since it was always creepy in its own way. I suggest you go onto Youtube and watch about 4 of these things in a row to see if you can take it, before you decide to purchase this rather expensive compilation.

The next DVD of Jean Durand movies was more to my taste. Durand seems to take up where Melies left off, offering more medium shots, some close ups, explanatory intertitles, cut-away shots, and some stupendous double-exposure and split-screen work done with perfect exposures. He has perfected the substitution-shot so that the "jump-cuts" are almost imperceptible, a feat that Melies rarely accomplished. His movies are Sennett-like in terms of frantic pacing and wanton destruction.
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