Released: December 26th, 1913
Directed by: August Blom
Written by: Axel Garde & Karl Ludvig Schroder
Story By: Gerhart Hauptmann
Cinematography: Johan Ankerstjerne
Runtime: 113 minutes
Well this is the last movie from 1913 that I’ll be watching and boy was it a pretty good one; I’d say the first real “classic” that I’ve viewed so far. My top two of 1913 were this and The Child of Paris. Both were captivating and used innovative movie making techniques. This movie was based on the book Atlantis, written by Gerhart Hauptmann. The book is not about the Titanic but the stories are eerily similar. This caused Norway to actually ban the film because it was thought the movie was exploiting the tragedy, which it probably was in some ways.
August Blom directed this film, which I guess was actually the first feature length film made in Denmark, and it was such a big deal with all the locations and cast members and other movie mumbo jumbo he hired two assistant directors. One of those assistants was Mihaly Kertez, but you may know him better as Michael Curtiz, future famous Hollywood director, who directed classics like Casablanca and White Christmas. What a great start, Mikey!
Released: December 1st, 1913
Directed by: Enrico Guazzoni
Written by: Enrico Guazzoni
Story By: William Shakespeare
Runtime: 74 minutes
Well, I’ll be honest; I couldn’t watch this movie all the way through. I had it on, I peeked at it once in a while, I read some of the title cards but basically this movie was just a complete bore and couldn’t keep my attention. It was your typical “epic” movie with scenes of large crowds, fancy costumes, and giant battles. The battle scenes were actually kind of cool. But nothing in this movie was really interesting or innovative in my eyes; the acting was pretty poor as well.
Director Yevgeni Bauer & moustache
Released: November 26th, 1913
Directed by: Yevgeni Bauer
Written by: V. Demert
Cinematography: Nikolai Kozolovskii
Runtime: 48 minutes
This is a sad sad tale written by V. Demert and directed by early Russian filmmaker Yevgeni Bauer. Vera Dubovskaja (played by Nina Chernova) is bored with her bourgeois existence and decides to help the poor, but unfortunately she falls into the clutches of a desperate man who assaults and rapes her. Vera gets revenge by murdering him but must live with her secret. Eventually she falls for the dashing Prince Dol’skii and they are married, but when Vera decides to tell him her secret he doesn’t take it well. He ends up regretting his decision and wants to be with her again, but unfortunately more bad stuff happens. It’s real bad, trust me, you don’t want to know… or maybe you do?
“Okay, your motivation is that you’re really tired of this seat, so you want to move to that seat. Alright? Action!”
Anyway this film was actually quite good, really good use of light and framing. And wow! A dolly shot. First I’ve seen of those. It is perplexing though that it was only used once in this film. You’d think that if they used this really cool technique they’d want to do it more or come up with other cool stuff, but no, the rest of the movie is just boring static camera work. The acting was also decent but the story did tend to drag on in parts and the title cards really only explained scenes, which I am not fond of.
Released: November 24th, 1913
Directed by: George Loane Tucker
Written by: George Loane Tucker & Walter MacNamara.
Runtime: 88 minutes
Country: United States
Sex sells, and this film proved that back in the early 20th century. Although there’s no actual sex, or even sexiness in the film, just being about prostitution and white slavery made this movie a box office success and helped Carl Laemmle make the move out west to start a studio in Hollywood, that studio became Universal, home of the tram ride.
My favorite part of the tram ride. You tell ‘em, King Kong!
It was also banned in several cities and helped put the Hays Code into effect in the 30’s, which banned movies whose topics included drug use, prostitution, and white slavery among other things. Here’s some other goodies it said couldn’t be in the pictures: Any nudity (even in silhouette), any mention of sexual hygiene, scenes of childbirth (also not allowed in silhouette), any kind of relationship between black and white folk, and any ridicule of the clergy.
Released: October 27th, 1913
Directed by: Victor Sjöström
Written by: Victor Sjöström
Story by: Nils Krok
Cinematography: Henrik Jaenzon
Runtime: 72 minutes
Victor Sjöström directed this 1913 social drama. This wasn’t Sjöström’s first film but one of the first he is remembered for. Victor started his career in his home country of Sweden and is considered a pioneer of Swedish film. He later went on to direct The Phantom Carriage in 1921 and after moving to the U.S. directed He Who Gets Slapped in 1924 and The Wind in 1928, which are the films he is best known for, but he also directed a number of others. Sjöström also acted in and wrote several of the films he directed.
Old man Victor Sjöström.
This film, Ingeborg Holm, is based on a play written by Nils Kork. It follows a supposedly based on true events tale of Ingeborg Holm (portrayed by Hilda Borgström) and her middle class life that spiraled out of control after her husband dies. As a result the family goes bankrupt and her three children are forced to be taken in to foster care and Ingeborg goes to live in a workhouse, basically a prison for poor people that government set up in the 19th and 20th centuries. The story is very grim and despressing and was eye opening to the Swedish public. It is said this film helped change the opinions and laws regarding poor/work houses in Sweden in the 20th century.