Wednesday, April 25, 2012

The Silent Oscars: 1913

One of my favorite of the early silent directors, Louis Feuillade, made a big splash in France with Fantômas, five interlinked feature films (each running between fifty and ninety minutes) based on a series of novels about the eponymous master criminal, one of film history's first anti-heroes. Feuillade alone of the great early directors anticipated the chief maladies of the coming century—violence, anxiety, paranoia, alienation—and even this century's scourge, terrorism. His film serials Fantômas, Les Vampires and Judex directly influenced filmmakers as diverse as Luis Buñuel, Fritz Lang and Alfred Hitchcock. Throw in the fact that Feuillade's films are extraordinarily entertaining—not just as film history but in a 21st century sense—and he winds up, along with Charlie Chaplin, as my favorite director of the first three decades of film history (1888-1918).

winner: Fantômas (The Complete Saga) (prod. Romeo Bosetti)
nominees: Der Student von Prag (prod. Deutsche Bioscop GmbH); Sumerki zhenskoi dushi a.k.a. Twilight Of A Woman's Soul (prod. Aleksandr Khanzhonkov); Suspense (prod. Rex Motion Picture Company); Traffic In Souls (prod. Jack Cohn and Walter MacNamara)

winner: Roscoe Arbuckle (The Keystone Comedies)
nomiees: René Navarre (Fantômas); Ford Sterling (The Keystone Comedies); Paul Wegener (Der Student von Prag)

winner: Hilda Borgström (Ingeborg Holm)
nominees: Lillian Gish (The Mothering Heart); Mabel Normand (The Keystone Comedies)

winner: Lois Weber and Phillips Smalley (Suspense)
nominees: Yevgeni Bauer (Sumerki zhenskoi dushi a.k.a. Twilight Of A Woman's Soul); Louis Feuillade (Fantômas)

winner: Louis Feuillade, from the novels by Marcel Allain and Pierre Souvestre (Fantômas)
nominees: Victor Sjöström, from a play by Nils Krok (Ingeborg Holm); Walter MacNamara, from a story by George Loane Tucker (Traffic In Souls)

Nikolai Kozlovsky (Sumerki zhenskoi dushi a.k.a. Twilight Of A Woman's Soul) (Cinematography)


Page said...

Enjoying these awards on my favorite era in cinema. Go Fatty go!

Sorry for Lillian's loss though.


Mythical Monkey said...

Lillian Gish and Mary Pickford could just about trade the award back and forth every year from 1913 to about 1928, but I wanted to spread the wealth -- trying to introduce my legion of fans to as many silent greats as possible.

If it helps, Lillian will win for what I think is her best performance in the pre-Oscar age (to go with the Katie Award she won in 1928-29 for The Wind). Great actress.