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Posts Tagged ‘Alice Guy Blaché’

Reset! Check Out Frame by Frame from 2011 To The Present!

Monday, December 29th, 2014

Click on the button above to check out this blog from the first entry to the present!

Frame by Frame began more than three years ago with a post on Rebel Without A Cause – now, with more than 590 posts & much more to come, we’re listed on Amazon, in the New York Times blogroll,  the Film International blogroll and elsewhere on the net, as well as being referenced in Wikipedia and numerous other online journals and reference websites. With thousands of hits every day, we hope to keep posting new material on films and people in films that matter, as well as on related issues, commercial free, with truly open access, for the entire film community. So look back and see what we’ve been up to, and page through the past to the present.

There are also more than 70 videos on film history, theory and criticism to check out on the Frame by Frame video blog, arranged in carousel fashion to automatically play one after the other, on everything from Fritz Lang’s Metropolis to film aspect ratios, to discussions of pan and scan, Criterion video discs, and a whole lot more. So go back and see what you’ve been missing – you can always use the search box in the upper right hand corner to see if your favorite film or director is listed, but if not, drop me a line and we’ll see if we can’t do something about it. We’ve just updated our storage space on the blog, so there will be plenty more to come, so check it out – see you at the movies!

So click on the button & see what you can find!

Frame by Frame Videos on Film History, Theory, and Criticism

Tuesday, June 24th, 2014

Here’s a carousel of more than sixty videos in my Frame by Frame series; click here, or above, to play!

Frame by Frame is a series of short videos I made with Curt Bright on film theory, history, and criticism — each is about 3 minutes long or so. Episodes of Frame by Frame cover The Hollywood Blacklist, Ridley Scott, Commercials in Movie Theaters, Inception, 3-D, Film Critics, War Movies, Film Composers, Buster Keaton, Charlie Chaplin, Subtitles vs. Dubbing, The Aura, John Ford, Remakes, Special Effects, John Huston, Ridley Scott, Fritz Lang, Howard Hawks, Alice Guy Blaché, Oscar Micheaux, Horror Movies, Deep Focus, Pan and Scan, Jean-Luc Godard, Camera Movement, Metropolis, Psycho, Movie Trailers, Laurel and Hardy, The Three Stooges, Minorities in American Film, The King’s Speech, Alfred Hitchcock, The Great Gatsby in 3-D, Digital Cinema, Special Effects, John Huston, Manoel de Oliveira, Orson Welles, Martin Scorsese, Westerns, Nicholas Ray, Busby Berkeley, Claire Denis, Woody Allen, Film Archives, George Cukor, Roger Corman, Billy Wilder, trailers, the Hollywood Ratings System, and many other topics.

Check it out! Useful for your classes; feel free to download as you see fit; use as you wish.

For Your Consideration: Women Directors Missing From the Oscars

Saturday, February 25th, 2012

This video has been tearing up the web, as well it should.

As far as I can tell, it’s the work of Melissa Silverstein, and she’s absolutely right about everything she says.

Women created the cinema. Alice Guy was arguably the first person to make a film with a plot, La fée aux choux (The Cabbage Patch Fairy, 1896); the first to make a film with sound; the first to make a film in hand-stenciled color; the first to make a film longer than 1 minute; the first to make a multi-reel film; and she started her long career in 1896, long before D.W. Griffith even thought of making a film. Her contemporaries were Georges Méliès, The Lumière Brothers, and numerous others, but Alice Guy’s more than 354 films stand as a monumental achievement at the dawn of cinema.

As Ms. Silverstein points out, “in 2011, only 5% of the top grossing films in Hollywood were directed by Women. The number has decreased since 1998. In 84 years only 4 women — Lina Wertmuller, Jane Campion, Sofia Coppola and Kathryn Bigelow — have been nominated for best director. One 1 has won.

Please feel free to send this video out far and wide, and on Sunday, remember that women directors voices and visions are missing from this very large cultural conversation. Telling people this is a cultural problem and not just a gender equity problem is a first step.”

Happy to help. A change would definitely do you good . . .

For more information on women in film, check out Gwendolyn Audrey Foster’s book Women Film Directors: An International Bio-Critical Dictionary, by clicking this link.

Alice Guy

Wednesday, August 24th, 2011

Alice Guy Blaché is the true pioneer of the cinema; born in 1873, she directed more than 300 films before she was forced to retire in 1920.  D.W. Griffith didn’t get behind a camera until 1908’s The Adventures of Dollie; by that time, Alice Guy had directed more than 150 films, and invented most, if not all, of the narrative and editorial techniques Griffith would later take credit for. Her first film was 1896’s La Fée aux Choux, a one minute short; the film was so popular, she wore out the negative making copies, and was obliged to shoot a remake in 1900 to meet public demand. Other films, soon one-reel, then two-reel and longer, quickly followed.

She presented a vision of the world very different from that of her male counterparts — at that time confined to Georges Méliès and Auguste & Louis Lumière – one in which women and children played a major role, along with men, even in such huge historical spectacles as La vie du Christ (1906), a thirty four minute film — nearly four reels — completed at the dawn of cinema.

Here are links to just a few of her many films: these are, for the most part, put up by a fan who loves Alice Guy’s work; they have a logo on the top of Alice Guy looking through a stereoscope, and then smiling for the camera — that’s Alice!

They’re all cheerful, lighthearted, and fun; some are hand colored, frame by frame; and one of them is early sync-sound, using the Chronophone method of recording sound on wax cylinders, with a hand cranked camera.

Here they are:

The Irresistible Piano (1907; with a Ray Charles sound track added later, but it’s got the right spirit; Alice Guy was very much a fan of “pop” music of her era);

Baignade dans un torrent (1897; a very early actuality film);

Danses Gitanes (1905; Gypsy Dance), another actuality, with an extra hand-colored short, Malaguena, tacked on the end;

Au Bal de Flore (1900, hand colored), coupled with Les Fredaines de Pierrette (1900, handcolored), again with a music track added later;

and an early sync sound film, Five O’ Clock Tea, featuring the music hall performer Dranem, made in 1905.

Finally, here’s my own brief tribute to Alice Guy, from my series Frame By Frame, which shows Alice Guy on the set of one of her sync-sound films. See the difference? Women not objectified, children present in the shot, a whole different way of looking at the world.

Alice Guy – the true pioneer of the cinema.

About the Author

Wheeler Winston Dixon

Wheeler Winston Dixon, Ryan Professor of Film Studies at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, is an internationally recognized scholar and writer of film history, theory and criticism. He is the author of thirty books and more than 100 articles on film, and appears regularly in national media outlets discussing film and culture trends. Frame by Frame is a collection of his thoughts on a number of those topics. To contact Prof. Dixon for an interview, reach him at 402.472.6064 or Visit him at his website,

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