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Anna Pavlova movie stillsTHE DUMB GIRL OF PORTICI


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#1 rg

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Posted 20 February 2007 - 01:55 PM

i am posting scans of two photos that date from 1915, when ANNA PAVLOVA made THE DUMB GIRL OF PORTICI, a silent film released that same year, "In Eight Reels," as the poster noted.
some filming was done in chicago and some in Universal's California studios.
an article from a 1985 issue of alexandra tomalonis's WASHINGTON DANCEVIEW by Suzanne Levy (now Carbonneau) gives much information about the filmmaking in the US. in 1915 - apparently the chicago locale was to allow for filming to go on concurrent with a season Pavlova and co. were having in the area.
my yellowing issue of WASHINGTON DANCEVIEW came into view by sheer chance when i was moving some papers soon after acquiring these photos.
the outdoor picture shows the ballerina as Fenella climbing down a wall, clearly a piece of scenery painted to look like stone; the indoor (candid?) shot shows the ballerina seated next to Douglas Gerrard, who played the script's Albrecht-like Alphonso (son of a Spanish Viceroy).
this second, smaller photo is inscribed as having been "photographed and tinted by Mireio de Coriche'.
according to Levy's article Pavlova agreed to this film project in order to help support her stage production of Auber's opera LA MUETE DE PORTICI, with the boston grand opera, which the ballerina was touring around this same time and on which theme the film was somewhat loosely based.

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#2 Paul Parish

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Posted 20 February 2007 - 11:18 PM

Wonderful!

#3 Mme. Hermine

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Posted 21 February 2007 - 01:35 AM

in 1981 in london i went to an exhibit at the barbican for the 50th anniversary of her death and john and roberta lazzarini gave a lecture, they also showed this film. she was a good actress! :clapping:

#4 rg

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Posted 21 February 2007 - 06:35 AM

the film is rarely shown to the best of my knowledge.
the NYPL digital coll. on line includes an excerpt which web readers can access - i don't have the link handy - which comes from what i take to be the complete version in its holdings. the full film was shown by the library if mem. serves, a good time ago, but not since.
i'm not sure if the film is available for individual viewing or not on the library's premises.

#5 bart

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Posted 21 February 2007 - 06:55 AM

Thank you. The second photo especially conveys how very contemporary (does that mean "natural"?) Pavlova looked when compared with many of her dancing and acting colleagues of the day.

#6 Paul Parish

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Posted 21 February 2007 - 08:46 AM

She has an appeal intensely immediate, so soft, seductive but not in an obvious way -- reminds me of Garbo, but without the hip-thrust.

#7 FauxPas

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Posted 22 February 2007 - 10:52 AM

She has an appeal intensely immediate, so soft, seductive but not in an obvious way -- reminds me of Garbo, but without the hip-thrust.


Kultur Video put out a Canadian TV gala on VHS called "A Tribute to Pavlova" hosted by Leslie Caron. Classic pas de deux and oddities danced by Anne Marie DeAngelo, Ron Reagan Jr. (!), Jolinda Menendez, Frank Augustyn, Marianna Tcherkassky, the handsome and tragic Patrick Bissell, Valentina Kozlova and a young Amanda McKerrow are interspersed with Caron discussing Pavlova's life and career illustrated with historical film and photos. It included scenes from "The Dumb Girl of Portici" - including a bit of Pavlova doing a sort of tarantella dance on a rocky beach with a tambourine. So I guess a few reels of the film have survived...

Faux Pas

#8 Mme. Hermine

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Posted 22 February 2007 - 11:26 AM

no, actually the whole movie has survived, i saw the whole thing in 1981 and it seemed in quite good shape.

the national archive has this: I also saw in other sources where the movie is popularly supposed to have been the debut (as an extra) in film of Boris Karloff! Not to mention that it had a woman cinematographer, Lois Weber, who later became a director:


The Dumb Girl of Portici
An adaptation of a French opera recounting the seduction and abandonment of the mute Fenella by the unscrupulous Alfonso. Fenella seeks the protection of Elvira, Alfonso's bride, and when the couple emerge from the chapel, Fenella reveals to Elvira that her new husband was her seducer.

USA 1916 Dir Lois Weber, Phillips Smalley,
With Anna Pavlova. 83 mins

Availability

A VHS print of this title is available to hire

The print of this title is from the National Archive

Cast and Crew

Director
Lois Weber, Phillips Smalley

Cast
Anna Pavlova

Technical information
Country
USA

Year
1916

Black and white

Running time
83 mins

#9 Natalia

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Posted 22 February 2007 - 11:54 AM

....The print of this title is from the National Archive ...


Do you mean as in THE National Archives here in Washington...like five blocks from my office? Or a dance-specific national archive in NYC or elsewhere?

NN

#10 rg

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Posted 22 February 2007 - 01:15 PM

catnyp says its copy of the film, in 2 reels, clocks in at 129 min.

#11 carbro

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Posted 22 February 2007 - 01:45 PM

As a point of clarification for those who don't know the acronym,

catnyp says . . .

CATNYP is the catalogue of the NYPublic [Research] Libraries.

#12 Mme. Hermine

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Posted 22 February 2007 - 02:00 PM

now that would go along with my somewhat fuzzy recollection 26 years later, as i seem to recall that it was over 2 hours.

pardon me, natalia, yes i meant the national archive in washington, though i don't know why there is a greater than 40 minute discrepancy.

#13 leonid17

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Posted 12 August 2012 - 02:16 PM

in 1981 in london i went to an exhibit at the barbican for the 50th anniversary of her death and john and roberta lazzarini gave a lecture, they also showed this film. she was a good actress! Posted Image


I also saw the film in1981 and it was reprised at the British Film Institute yesterday, as part of the Pavlova 2012 celebrations.

Appropriately, with a live piano accompanist in the shape of the extraordinary John Sweeney, who recreated a period experience of technical brilliance that was unforgettable in his use of themes from Auber's opera, which I believe was also used at the original 1916 screenings.

The Dumb Girl of Portici is remarkable in its filming and Pavlova is also remarkable as the main protagonist.

The photography is vivid and startling, even more so it appeared to me than when I first saw the film as I had not quite appreciated the technical brilliance of the direction and camera work.

Other professionals from the ballet world including Jane Pritchard of the V &A Museum who has been responsible for the BFI programming, was as enthusiastic as were many other knowledgeable connoisseurs who one knew, that attended this single showing.

The Dumb Girl of Portici is also a tribute to Lois Weber (June 13, 1879 — November 13, 1939) screenwriter, producer and director who is considered "the most important female director the American film industry has known" with a prolific record in the silent movie era becoming the first woman to own her studio. See the extraordinary biography of Lois Weber on Wikipedia at
http://en.wikipedia....wiki/Lois_Weber

#14 Paul Parish

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Posted 12 August 2012 - 04:25 PM

I would give a lot to see this film -- or the opera it's based on. Wagner himself said that no poera had ever struck a nerve with the public like Auber's did - indeed, it caused a riot at its first performance in Brussells which led directly not only to the Belgian revolution -- the fighting spilled into the streets and the regime came down - -but also to the Petipa family's [who were important folks at the Opera] having to leave town in a hurry. It's important to notice that the heroine/title character of hte opera is played by a dancer -- she can't speak, and obviously can't sing.

WHAT can this opera be like?

What can this MOVIE be like? By all accounts, Pavlova was electrifying then and her performance still looks alive and fresh now. if i were an enterprising silent-film-festival programmer, I'd include this in my festival.

#15 puppytreats

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Posted 16 August 2012 - 07:50 AM

She has an appeal intensely immediate, so soft, seductive but not in an obvious way -- reminds me of Garbo, but without the hip-thrust.


Kultur Video put out a Canadian TV gala on VHS called "A Tribute to Pavlova" hosted by Leslie Caron. Classic pas de deux and oddities danced by Anne Marie DeAngelo, Ron Reagan Jr. (!), Jolinda Menendez, Frank Augustyn, Marianna Tcherkassky, the handsome and tragic Patrick Bissell, Valentina Kozlova and a young Amanda McKerrow are interspersed with Caron discussing Pavlova's life and career illustrated with historical film and photos. It included scenes from "The Dumb Girl of Portici" - including a bit of Pavlova doing a sort of tarantella dance on a rocky beach with a tambourine. So I guess a few reels of the film have survived...

Faux Pas


Ron Reagan Jr. had surprising facility with lifts (although needed a lot of additional work in other areas). What was his training and professional experience?

Aurora in this tape had the most tapered points I can currently recall seeing. Are shoes made in a special way to create this effect, or do some people really have feet shaped like this?


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