Directors at home

August 15, 2011 § Leave a comment

(Photoplay, may 1927)

dialogue balloons – the cartoon take

July 29, 2011 § 2 Comments

An addition to the still ongoing series on words on the image theme we have here at flycz: the cartoon version. This is an example from Bobby Bumps, the 1916-1919 cartoon series from Bray studios (thanks to the Bray Animation Project) :

A simple solution to the inter-title problem, in line with other cartoon-based methods of commenting and orienting the action on screen used widely at the time — I’m thinking of the question or exclamation marks so frequent in more famous Felix the Cat series, or the literal eye-line used also in this same Bobby Bumps :

What’s odd is that earlier in that Bobby Bumps usual inter-titles are indeed used :

Does this incoherence reflect an ambiguous positioning of American cinema’s aesthetics circa the late 1910s as regards the inter-title issue and the whole question of allowing words to appear on the image ? Not that words on the image disappear later in the 1920s either, as we’ve started to document on this website (see here for a live-action example, there for another, later, cartoon example).

Realism’s in the eye of the beholder

December 11, 2008 § Leave a comment

Life, oct. 28, 1920:


Thought-O for the day

December 4, 2008 § Leave a comment

Rather today, cartoon for the day 

"The chief impression I received last night was that Mr. Ingram has become neurotic, and is ridding himself of some of his inhibitions. The direction seemed totally uninspired and old fashioned." (Anabel Lane in The Film Mercury--the cartoon is from the New York Times)(New York Times, 28 march 1926)

The chief impression I received last night was that Mr. Ingram has become neurotic, and is ridding himself of some of his inhibitions. The direction seemed totally uninspired and old fashioned.

Alice Terry and Antonio Moreno appeared passionless; the spectator could not feel sorry for them and their sorrows.

(Anabel Lane, The Film Mercury, 10 sept. 1926)

Battle Music

October 29, 2008 § Leave a comment

From Pictures and the Picturegoer, 7 oct. 1916, p. 25, Fred Adlington’s take on the music for Battle of the Somme (1916):

What if !

June 25, 2008 § Leave a comment

What if film conventions were set aside for a change ? Motion Picture Magazine of nov. 1927 suggests the following results:

Film Cartoon – news – 1924, or 2004 ?

May 30, 2008 § Leave a comment

From realist painter / cartoonist William Gropper, in Motion Picture Magazine, Feb. 1924, a little “edukational news” reel:


Film cartoon – more hokum !

May 30, 2008 § Leave a comment

One of the obsessions of film criticism in the 1920s was about film hookum. Motion Picture Magazine offers a good illustration of that: in the Feb. 1921 issue, G. Kauffman had already provided cartoon treatment to 4 “hokey” situations. Eldon Kelley is put to the task of illustrating yet another “hoke” story, by Frederick Van Vranken, in the July 1923 issue (“The Film Drama Versus Life”). 

Here are the six illustrations drawn by Kelley for the article (my favorites are #1 — because I’ve actually not seen it that often in silent films — and #5):


Film cartoons – ideas for censors, 1923

May 30, 2008 § Leave a comment

This from Leo Kober, 1923: “If I were Will Hays”….

Film cartoons – Olive Butter 1922

May 27, 2008 § Leave a comment

The Bioscope has another of those informative posts on where to find (mostly British) cartoons around the web for (mostly the 1910s) silent film period, and if you haven’t checked it out then you really should now.

My own contribution is more limited in scope: after Kaufman’s old hokum bucket comes a series of five witty cartoons by Olive Butter published in Motion Picture Magazine, april 1922, dealing with “Shadow-Drama in the South Seas” (yes I’m currently going through my pile of material xeroxed from the University of Southern California archives, and that includes all 1920s volumes of Motion Picture Magazine):




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