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Barcelone, principale ville de la Catalogne (1912)

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Documentary | Short

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1.33 : 1
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Filming Barcelona
9 September 2015 | by (France) – See all my reviews

The previous reviewer of "this film" is quite correct in saying that the film he has watched on the archive site is not Barcelone parc au crépuscule (Barcelona Park at Twilight), made by De Chomón for Pathé in 1904. The rubric and the title-page both identify "that film" as "Barcelona and its Park" and dates it 1911 (which rather late perhaps for such a short film).

I do not think it can be this film either. The Pathé catalogue description for this makes it clear that it is a kind of early "city symphony" with scenes of traffic, city lights and so on. It also, according to the catalogue, shows the area around Barcelona (Montjuich and the Montanas malas, which do not appear in the film reviewed. It was also - it may well no longer exist - about ten minutes long, so, unless the film reviewed here, which runs for 2-3 minutes, is a severely truncated version, it is not the same.

Unfortunately the "archive" version is slightly truncated (there is a fuller version available on youtube if you can stand the music that goes with it) so what you cannot see on that copy is that the film emerges after going through to show the river once more. It also shows the colophon (if that is the correct word) which reveals the film to have been made for Le Pathé Kok.

This means it must have been made after 1912 (not 1911) in which year a small but important revolution took place in the world of cinema when Charles Pathé brought out his first projector intended for home-viewing of films (ancestor of the cassette and the CD)which he called the Pathé Kok. Popular in the US but not a great success in Europe, the system was abandoned in 1920 to be replaced in 1922 by the more economical, more successful and better known Pathé Baby. Although the Pathé Kok, unlike the 9.5mm Baby, used 28mm film, both systems played very small reels of non-flammable film, so, for both, Pathé would produce abbreviated (often severally abbreviated) films for the home-viewing market. The "archive" film seen by the reviewer may very well therefore be "edited highlights" from this film of 1912, although it could also be a short compilation put together from more than one existing film.

Note that the date of 1911 is improbable for such a short film but the date 1912 is perfect if it was for home-viewing!


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