Francia, alla fine del Cinquecento. Enrico III ha deciso di eliminare il suo rivale, il duca di Guisa, e, perciò, lo convoca nel castello di Blois. L'amante del duca, avvertita delle ... See full summary »
Charles Le Bargy
Charles Le Bargy,
A romance between a railroad engineer and the switchman's daughter is nearly ruined by train wreckers who knock out the girl and leave her on the tracks to be run over. The engineer perches... See full summary »
The story, while not biographical, is founded on incidents in his life, showing his devotion for his sick wife, Virginia. Desperate from his utter helplessness to ameliorate his dying ... See full summary »
Clara T. Bracy
This subject will give rise to unrestrained laughter and will infect your entire audience with the jovial microbe. A learned man is seen in his laboratory studying microbes. His friend ... See full summary »
At a tramcar in Copenhagen the piano teacher Magda Vang meets the young man Knud Svane, who falls in love with her. She is invited to spend the summer with him and his parents at the ... See full summary »
A coal miner says good-bye to his wife and children, and heads off to work. He reaches the mine, prepares his lamp, and then descends into the mine along with some other workers. As he and ... See full summary »
Ramona is a little orphan of the great Spanish household of Moreno. Alessandro, the Indian, arrives at the Camulos ranch with his sheep-shearers, showing his first meeting with Ramona. ... See full summary »
Henry B. Walthall,
Francis J. Grandon
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Henry B. Walthall,
"Le Duel d'Hamlet" is a milestone in many respects. It has a reputation of being the first movie screened with a synchronized soundtrack. (The sound of swords striking one another were recorded on a now-lost cylinder recording.) Also, this is the first fiction film with a major star in the lead role.
There are various surviving prints of this film. I've seen a 45 second version with titles, and a nearly 2 minute version without titles.
The movie consists solely of a saber fight. Bernhardt plays a cross-gender Hamlet, and Pierre Magnier is her fellow duelist, Laertes. A few bystanders, in Rennaissance dress, stand off to the right of the screen, and in the background, next to a painted backdrop.
The filming style is very 'Lumiere-esque.' Single, stationary camera shot. Brief running time. All action is clearly presented on a stage. A documentary of one scene from a theater production.
Near the end of the film, Bernhardt is slashed by Laertes' poisoned-tipped knife. She staggers, and in a daze, gives her most restrained death scene on film. She falls backwards in a faint. The bystanders catch her before she hits the floor. Hoisting her horizontal body up in the air, they act as pall bearers, somberly carrying her offstage.
On a historical note, this is the only footage taken of Sarah Bernhardt before her disastrous knee injury - which occurred in 1905, when she jumped off a parapet in the final scene in a production of La Tosca, during a South American tour.
She's very nimble in this film. She's 56 years old in this film, and is more buoyant than anyone else on the screen. There's no leaning on other actors, or clutching to sturdy furniture for support - as she tends to do in later films. "Le Duel d'Hamlet" is the closest we can get to see what Bernhardt was like in her prime. In 'Hamlet', she has the grace of a dancer.
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