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Two Minutes to Play

Date produced: 1932

Filmmaker(s):

Hal Morey

Description:

"Two Minutes to Play, running two reels, 16mm., and a production of the Greenbrier Amateur Movie Club under the direction of Hal Morey, ACL, stands out among the year's films because of its unusually deft cutting and shrewd camera treatment. Although plotted on the standard football yarn, the picture tells its story swiftly, smoothly and with a rising tempo of excitement that is a direct tribute to the production and to the editing. Consistently good photography, effective and varied camera angles and a well planned script were contributing factors in the success of this genuinely entertaining film story." Movie Makers, Dec. 1932, 538.


Lot in Sodom

Date produced: 1932

Filmmaker(s):

James Sibley Watson

Melville Webber

Description:

"Lot, two reels 35mm., produced by Dr. James S. Watson, jr., ACL, and Melville Webber, may be said to be as much of an advance in motion picture technique over Fall of the House of Usher, their earlier production, as that film was an advance over standard professional cinematography. There are very few cinematographers in the world who have devoted the whole of their efforts to experimentation with the motion picture as an art medium and, in the opinion of Movie Makers' staff, there is none who has achieved the signal results of these two. Lot represents a complete innovation, not only in the treatment of the theme as a whole, but in the cinematic interpretation of the sequences. In it, the familiar tools of the advanced cinematographer, multiple exposure, trick printing, complicated lighting, symbolism, models and models in combination with life size sets are used to secure an entirely new and very beautiful cinematic representation of the Biblical story. In Lot these two amateurs have mastered the world of illusion of the motion picture but, in doing so, they have produced more than a mere novelty; they have founded a new cinematic art." Movie Makers, Dec. 1932, 538.

An avant-garde retelling of the biblical story of Lot and the destruction of Sodom (from the Book of Genesis, chapters 17-19), this film was controversial for its nudity and homoerotic overtones. (D.J. Duffy)


Portrait of a Young Man

Date produced: 1932

Filmmaker(s):

Henwar Rodakiewicz

Description:

"Portrait of a Young Man, by Henwar Rodakiewicz, ACL, is a triumph of fine photography and sensitive imagination. Abstract in treatment, and speaking through delicately rhythmed scenes of smoke, leaves, grasses, the sea, machinery and the heavens, this film is an attempt to portray in graphic terms a young man's reactions to the beauty, force and mystery of the natural world. In producing the final three reel version, Mr. Rodakiewicz has filmed deliberately toward the one end for more than three years and in many different locales. Although using largely material to be found in nature, he has so transmuted it, by the creative artistry of his selection and control, as to get from each selected scene, not a mere reproduced likeness, but a trenchant and symbolic image. Portrait of a Young Man is beautiful, exciting, workmanlike and distinguished." Movie Makers, Dec. 1932, 538.


Last Entry, The

Date produced: 1932

Filmmaker(s):

James F. Bell, Jr.

Description:

"Among the ten best, The Last Entry, running seven reels 16mm., is one of the most ambitious amateur photoplays ever undertaken and completed. The plot, requiring many elaborate interior sets, is based on a mystery story that opens with a house party. While a room is darkened for the projection of amateur films, one of the guests is murdered and all present may be suspected equally. The detective handling the case uncovers the fact that the murdered man, an author, has lived on blackmail effected by threats of exposure through publication, which throws suspicion on several of the guests of the house party who were discovered to be his victims. However, in the end, the murder is solved by screening the same pictures that were on the projector when it was committed. Although this plot offered great difficulties in the direction of large group scenes, the creation of the necessary lighting effects and the interpretation of the actors' roles, it is beautifully and suavely handled. In the film are several lighting treatments that may be listed as among the most effective ever achieved by amateurs. One chase sequence staged through long corridors, a large, dimly lighted attic and on the roof of the mansion at night in the rain, can be likened only to the effects secured in the best professional mystery photoplays. James F. Bell, jr., ACL, was director with Charles H. Bell, ACL, and Benjamin Bull, jr., ACL, cameramen and Lyman Howe, ACL, in charge of lighting." Movie Makers, Dec. 1932, 537-538.


Forgotten Frontier, The

Date produced: 1930

Filmmaker(s):

Marvin Breckinridge

Description:

"The Forgotten Frontier, filmed by Miss Marvin Breckinridge, is the most ambitious amateur made welfare film yet recorded. To show the operation of the Kentucky Nursing Service, Miss Breckinridge spent several months filming in the mountain districts reached by that organization. With the cooperation of the mountain folk, she staged several short dramas, each demonstrating the usefulness of one of the centers or some phase of their work. The completed picture runs 6000 ft., 35mm., and, in spite of the numerous technical difficulties, it is excellently photographed." Movie Makers, Dec. 1930, 788.


Galleon Gold

Date produced: 1930

Filmmaker(s):

John C. Waterhouse

Description:

"Galleon Gold, 1600 ft., 16 mm., produced by the San Jose Players under the leadership of John C. Waterhouse, strikes a more sober note. This entertaining drama of the youth of a venerable Spanish family, who discover the treasure trove of the Conquistadores in time to save the family hacienda from the encroachment of the lime quarries, contains much good photography, a smooth continuity, experienced acting and first rate direction." Movie Makers, Sept. 1930, 569.

"Galleon Gold, 1600 ft., 16mm., produced by the San Jose Players, deserves special mention for its smooth flowing continuity alone. Although the difficulty of securing a lucid continuity is greatly increased in a longer dramatic picture, the producers of this film have achieved perfect clarity. This film was made during a summer vacation at a mountain ranch and it seemed at first that the lack of electric current for lighting would be an insuperable obstacle since the script called for many interior scenes. The problem was finally solved by a portable motor generator driven by a gas engine which, with proper lighting equipment, made ample illumination possible." Movie Makers, Dec. 1930, 788.


America

Date produced: 1930

Filmmaker(s):

William H. Barlow

Description:

"America, among the three films given special mention, is an ambitious scenic epic being compiled by William H. Barlow. The plan is to cover all of the prominent beauty spots of this country, building the sequences of them into a monumental film document. Yet each reel is so planned and titled that it can be separately screened. The reels that have already been completed present a combination of beautiful photography, intelligent planning and editing and skillful titling that has not been surpassed in similar professional work." Movie Makers, Dec. 1930, 788.


Hero, The

Date produced: 1931

Filmmaker(s):

Arthur Smith

Description:

"The Hero, 150 ft., 16mm., is perhaps the best of the very short, simple film stories. Its most remarkable quality is the clarity with which a fairly complicated plot is presented within the limited footage. The greatest difficulty faced by all amateur producers of film stories, short or long, is that of making the story completely clear, with the right emphasis on the introduction of characters and plot and the development of the action. In The Hero, the Silver Screen Players have overcome this problem and, in addition, have achieved fine economy of footage and action. The acting is natural and the photography excellent." Movie Makers, Dec. 1931, 686.


Pets

Date produced: 1931

Filmmaker(s):

F. S. O'Hara

Description:

"Pets, 350 ft., 16mm., filmed by Dr. F. S. O'Hara, won its position on the list of special mention because of the many remarkably well composed closeups of family pets that it contains and because of the cameraman's patience and skill in securing many delightfully natural bits of action. Included in the film is a sequence of a cat and dog playing together. The film offers much grace and photographic beauty as well as that amazing attractiveness animals always possess on the screen." Movie Makers, Dec. 1931, 686.


When The Red Gods Call

Date produced: 1931

Filmmaker(s):

W. H. Dodge

Description:

"When The Red Gods Call, 1600 ft., 16mm., is noteworthy as an exceptional record of wild animal life in the great north woods and was made by W. H. Dodge. With infinite patience and camera skill, Mr. Dodge succeeded in recording the natural movements of moose, bear and other wild animal subjects and his photography under difficult conditions, as exemplified in this film, is exceptional. The results gained in many of the telephoto shots and in shots taken with fast lenses and superspeed film were made possible by a specialized cine outfit, developed by the maker of the film himself. Beautiful nature shots, as well as exceptional night and flare work, add to the original qualities of this film." Movie Makers, Dec. 1931, 685-686.


Total Pages: 170