Film: 9336

Media | 1980 | Sound | B/W + Colour

Synopsis:

Film Pioneers of Croydon. Rosenthal and Cricks and Martin. Part one (see 14824 for Part two)
Film introduced by Chris Kelly with John Huntley including long archive extracts.
Archive of 1911 fireworks display to celebrate Coronation of King George V and Queen Mary, catherine wheel followed by faces of King and Queen depicted by fireworks.
Colour - Chris Kelly piece to camera standing on a pavement in modern built up area of Croydon talks of previous firework film shot at Crystal Palace. Introduces film about film pioneers. Will discuss films of Joe Rosenthal and Cricks and Martin.
B/W archive - more of the 1911 film of fireworks. Workers in the factory creating large firework 'netting' and screwing pieces onto it by hand.
Colour - Chris Kelly talks to film historian John Huntley, both seated on a wall with Fairfield Halls to the rear. They discuss early days of documentaries or 'actualities' and how John has unearthed early films from Croydon. He talks of a film show given in Croydon of old films and audience reaction to it. They talk about Cricks and his background, he began in advertising in Fulham, made a temperance film and was chucked out by brewery landlords to come to Croydon. John says early audiences appreciated 'industrial' films that may seem boring today. (4.26)
B/W Archive 1900s Cricks and Martin films. Match factory. Man operates thumping machine spewing out matches.
Peak Frean biscuit factory, women pack biscuits into boxes (this is actually a Cricks and Sharp film - predates Martin).
Colour John and Chris talk about exporting the films abroad. Only needed to change the titles. However films sold outright so some showmen resented lots of titles when films were sold 6d a foot.
B/W 1900s - two more clips from match making industrial film - a woman loads wood into a machine and a view of a large conveyor belt machine with turning wheels.
Colour - John and Chris now talk about Joe Rosenthal. Worked for Charles Urban
B/W Still of Rosenthal at Boer War standing with wooden camera.
B/w Rosenthal clips circa 1900 - Ostrich farm. Oxen pulling supplies along a road during Boer War.
Another B/W still (painting) of Rosenthal filming troops during 1905 Russo Japanese war. B/W archive of Japanese soldiers advancing through rushes. Soldier firing rifle. Artillery cannon firing. Faked film of Japanese soldiers attacking Russian artillery position on a hill. Japanese cavalry advance along a road. Japanese soldiers climb over a tall wall. (7.52)
Colour - Huntley and Kelly discuss the fakery of Russo-Japanese films. Rosenthal came to Croydon in 1906 and set up a company called Rosie Films. Then discuss patriotic 'How the British Bulldog Saved the Union Jack'.
B/W extract of the film (1906) White man captured by African natives or Zulus, is wrestled to the floor and carried away, one native waves the Union Jack around and steals his horse. Next scene he is tied to a post by a native hut, native exits and starts to burn the flag, trusty bulldog appears and puts the fire out, somehow the tied up white man finds a rifle and shoots the fleeing Zulu. White man kisses the flag and waves it around. Final shot has the soldier posing with his dog in a medium close up. (10.28)
Colour - Huntley speaks of Rosenthal's other non fiction work. B/W still of fisherman.
B/W North sea trawler 1909. Men on deck of fishing boat unload net of fish.
Colour - Kelly and Huntley have now changed location, standing next to a fence behind Ventnor Villas, Croydon - site of Cricks and Martin studio. B/w still of the studio building.
John tells of how early studios were often set up on a platform in sunlight in back gardens. Martin joined Cricks, his background was making trick films for Robert Paul.
Example of trick film - B/W 'When The Devil Drives', steam train approaches. Fireman and driver in the engine cab, devil jumps out of the firebox and wrestles with the driver. Model train then travels along a harbour wall and off the end. It falls to the bottom of the sea. Passengers looking out of the window as fish swim past. Train hurtles along the sea bed. Travels out of the sea and up the side of a mountain. Interior of a carriage - perturbed passengers as image spins around and upside down. Train exits tunnel but upside down on the roof of the tunnel. It then flies through the clouds in the sky and round in a circle. Final brief close up of the Devil's head. (13.19)
Colour - John says Cricks and Martin then move into trick film business - need for a studio.
B/W 'Japanese Magic' trick film. Magician in Japanese costume waves a wand over a bowl and flowers grow and then a geisha appears.
Another trick film - magician stands in various places in front of a painted backdrop and men and women appear behind him, they then disappear again.
Colour - John then talks about 'Boxing Fever' an early chase comedy film, was filmed partly in the studio and partly in local streets.
B/W 1909 'Boxing Fever' (Cricks And Martin). Boxing ring - spectators watch boxing bout with one little boxer jumping around, he knocks his opponent out and runs off. He leaves the fairground tent and fights with the man on the door. He then attacks a sandwich board man in a city street. He then attacks a man at a book stall. His victims now give chase. In another street he attacks and punches a man on a cart, the donkey pulling the cart and a policeman who comes to help them. He then punches a cyclist who cycles backwards where he has just come from (quite a neat visual trick). Chase continues, he punches a pram over and punches the soldier father into a pond. He hides behind a wall and as his pursuers run around the corner he punches each one in turn onto the ground. They get up and chase continues. He hides in a plumbers yard and the others run past. (17.18)
'A Bolt From The Blue' (Cricks and Martin 1910) Chase comedy with excellent shots of local streets as backgrounds. Exterior of Fox and Hounds public house, policeman drags suspect criminal across the street. He struggles loose and runs off. In another street the policeman chases and falls over him. They struggle with each other and a woman carrying shopping gets caught in the middle. Thief runs into small house. He goes into kitchen and pushes housewife into tub of water and jumps out the window. Policeman then chases along a more rural road, he grabs the thief by his coat but he pulls free and runs off without it. They run past a man working at a trestle table and push it over. They both now run off down the road and jump into the back of a car. They struggle and eventually fall out the back. They next run into a house (actually a studio mock up) and into a kitchen. They fight around the kitchen table and exit. Thief slides UP a ladder, policeman climbs it. Thief wrestles roofer off the roof and dives into the chimney as does the copper. Next shot shows a cross section of the interior of the chimney with the two grappling inside. Downstairs smoke is filling a room, man there throws something onto the fire which explodes and the two men inside are shot out of the chimney. They fly up through the air. A crowd on the ground point up at them (good shot). They then fall down through the roof of a courthouse where the thief is put immediately in the dock. (20.07)
Colour - Chris says to John he thinks early filmmakers were technicians rather than 'artists'. John agrees - many pioneers went back to making cinematic equipment etc. but says Cricks and Martin film 'Pirates of 1920' (1911) is a notable exception. It is a proto science fiction film using the studio, models and so on. John also says Cricks and Martin were first to credit a screenwriter. People not credited in early cinema as they would then ask for more money.
B/W 'Pirates of 1920' extract. (1911) Airship hovers over a ship at sea (models) Men climb down a rope ladder from the airship onto the deck of the ship. Captain remonstrates with them, he is killed. The robbers then take some boxes from a trap door in the floor of a cabin. They go back up ladder. Intertitle 'Jack Manley's leap in the air'. Sailor leaps onto the rope ladder as it is hoisted back up to the airship. Airship drops bombs onto deck of the ship. People die on deck. Model ship in flames. The criminals look at their stolen loot. Jack then climbs over the side onto the airship platform. The airship crew grab him and restrain him (they find a picture of his girlfriend but this is not entirely clear unless you have been told!). They open a trap door and lower Jack down on a rope. He pulls out a penknife and cuts the rope. He falls into the sea and swims off. Back to the airship now flying at night against a painted backdrop of stars. They see a woman on a balcony, Jack's girlfriend (shown as if seen through binoculars). The airship descends out of the sky. The crew throw the ladder over the side of the deck. Two men climb down onto the balcony and creep through the doors. They climb back on board with the kidnapped woman. She panics and runs about.

End


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