"Electra, 400 ft., 16mm., produced by Clyde Hammond, is a picturization of that Greek drama. Its most novel quality is the evidence of an intelligent search for the best motion picture treatment to present an accurate film version of the story. A series of tableau like sequences were finally used with much better results than if the plot had been adapted and scenarized in the customary manner. Certainly this film version is much truer to the original than would otherwise have been possible. Not being able to erect the complicated sets that would seem necessary, Mr. Hammond used flat gray walls, producing the suggestion of ancient Greek palaces and dwellings with "props," costumes and occasional wall ornamentation. The photographic quality is uniformly good throughout and, one sequence has very good double exposures." Movie Makers, Dec. 1930, 787-788.
"The feature length photoplay produced in Siam by Nai Bernard Juangbhanich is one of the best of the serious dramatic efforts produced by amateurs. The story deals with the profligacy of a young Siamese who has been educated in Europe. Feeling superior to an ordinary business career, the young man determines to write, with the consequent search for "experience and atmosphere." In the succession of romantic episodes that follow, the theme of the tale is developed with extraordinary skill and, in spite of the manifest satire in several of the sequences, the picture includes many sincere glimpses into the social life and customs of the upper classes of Siam. Completely blinded and embittered as the result of his folly, the protagonist finally comes to terms with himself and actually does succeed as an author. Although this plot follows a familiar outline, Mr. Juangbhanich again proves that it is not the essential plot but the treatment that counts. The picture includes flaws both in photography and continuity but they appear unimportant in view of the general photographic quality and the epic nature of the treatment. It was recently screened for the staff of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences." Movie Makers, Dec. 1930, 759, 787.
"The production of the Flower City Amateur Movie Club of Rochester, N. Y., Terror, 400 ft., 16mm., was written and directed by Frank J. Buehlman. It was recently screened as a special, added feature on a week's run at the Little Theater in Rochester. Terror is a psychological study of the effect of fear. Its story is based on a practical joke engineered by friends of the victim who, to the end of the film, remain ignorant of the disastrous results. As the story develops, we see the commonplace incidents of every day life through the eyes of the fear obsessed principal character. The handling of the theme required great care but the producers succeeded in making the highly fantastic reactions of the character seem plausible. With its exquisite lighting effects and the dramatic power achieved in the climactic sequences through cinematography, this film is certainly outstanding." Movie Makers, Dec. 1930, 759.
"Operation On The Brain, 300 ft., 16mm., made by Ernest Page and William Palmer, is a splendid record of a surgical operation. The film's most prominent quality is its fine definition. Correct exposure and careful lighting produced a clean cut and understandable scientific record. Closeups, made with a telephoto lens, were correctly interspersed with the longer shots to emphasize the important details. Variation in camera position is as important in films of operations as in other types of subject matter. Continuous closeups, often used in films of this nature, may be as unsatisfactory as would be continuous medium shots. Although not planned from the viewpoint of instruction, this picture is probably as satisfactory a surgical record as is possible to make under amateur conditions." Movie Makers, Dec. 1930, 759.
"Carl Weagant's sea epic, The Cruise Of The Carlsark, 3000 ft., 16mm., is a complete film record of the voyage of the ketch, Carlsark, across the Atlantic. Three Cornell men began the adventurous trip at Ithaca, N. Y., sailing through the Erie Canal system into the St. Lawrence and thence out into the Atlantic. Crossing the ocean in the little yawl, they cruised through the Mediterranean and returned home, stopping at the Canaries. The film record of the trip, made by Mr. Weagant, who was skipper as well as cameraman, is almost as important an advent in the annals of amateur movie making as the trip itself is in yachting circles. Excellent in exposure throughout, the picture contains few of the errors that would have been excusable. The continuity follows the chart of the voyage but the reels of sea scenes in the midst of the film can be considered as a separate subject. These scenes, telling the every day life aboard the ketch and the exciting incidents on the trip, are as interesting and as well photographed as any amateur made sea pictures that have come to the attention of League headquarters." Movie Makers, Dec. 1930, 759.
"The Art of Photo Engraving, 1600 ft., 16mm., filmed by Edward J. Schon, tells the story of photo engraving from the first step to the last. It makes the complete process clear to the nontechnical audience while its interest to the engraver is such that Mr. Schon was invited to attend the recent American Photo Engravers' Convention in Philadelphia to screen the film and speak on his experiences in making it. It is probable that this excellent amateur made industrial has initiated a series of similar films on the same topic. Because of the unusually careful focusing and consistently even exposure, in spite of the wide variety of lighting conditions met with in interior scenes, this film is photographically outstanding. The continuity, presenting the plant's operations in natural sequence, is commendable for its clarity, particularly in view of the numerous complicated processes featured." Movie Makers, Dec. 1930, 759.
"Havana, 400 ft., 16 mm., made by Herman Danz, is outstanding among the recent travel and vacation films rather more for its photographic quality than for its continuity. The film presents Havana, its harbor, street scenes and architecture. Mr. Danz has avoided almost all of the amateur's pitfalls, for the film contains no instances of wobbly "pamming," [sic] jerky shots or unfortunate camera angles, encountered so often in films of foreign cities. Even more important, the treatment is impersonal throughout and purely intimate shots were either not taken or were edited out to be included in a family reel. Thus the film is the type that strangers and friends can enjoy as much as a professional treatment of the same subject. Filters used with panchromatic film brought out cloud formations hanging over the picturesque harbor and emphasized the colorful architectural detail of the buildings." Movie Makers, Dec. 1930, 758-759.
"Autumn, filmed by Bernard Van H. Schultz, successfully demonstrates that Kodacolor can be used for long shots of landscapes and similar subjects. This record of a New England autumn, with its accompanying riot of color, leaves very little to be desired as a representation of the spirit of the season. Of particular note was the evident care used in choosing appropriate viewpoints, not only with relation to the framing principle but also from the point of view of both color and motion. The continuity was rather static which was appropriate to the subject. The film was bound together remarkably well by the choice of successive scenes which followed a time sequence, starting with shots taken in the bright light of midday and ending with sunset shots. However, Mr. Schultz's principal achievement lay in the selection of the proper neutral density filters, yielding uniformly excellent color results which are all the more remarkable because of the preponderance of long shots." Movie Makers, Dec. 1930, 759.
"The Spruyt's film of their children was made with a particular purpose in mind. In Holland the venerable Dutch grandparents of the children were to celebrate their fortieth wedding anniversary and particularly wanted their three sunny haired grandchildren with them for the occasion. Since such a journey could not be made at that time, the film was planned. After an easy introduction into the life of the children, we see them in secret conclave planning a special "surprise" for their grandparents across the sea. As the plot thickens, a secret paper is involved and, after a glorious birthday party of the youngest, there comes the denouement. The children have prepared a scroll, bearing the family's greetings to the distant relatives. With the scroll was sent the film giving the story of its preparation. This ingenious continuity was carried out with excellently chosen and varied camera angles and consistently good photography. Most notable are the many child portrait shots." Movie Makers, Dec. 1930, 759.
"The first on the list, Rushes, 300 ft., 16mm., filmed by J. V. D. Bucher, is an unusual effort, for it presents a continuity theme woven about a single subject, the wild rice plants in a marsh. It well illustrates what distinctive subjects for amateur movie making are offered by scenes close at hand that are often ignored. It is a satisfyingly beautiful study of the rushes, telling the story of their resistance to the assaults of nature, climaxed with their defeat by fire. The plan offered a large number of exposure problems which were successfully handled. Of particular beauty are the scenes of the burning rushes, taken with a fast lens, and fog effects and closeups of the plants' plume like heads, taken with filters against cloudy skies. The continuity motif used is simple and yet unites the subject into a complete entity rather than a series of disjointed sequences which happened to be taken of the same subject." Movie Makers, Dec. 1930, 758.
Total Pages: 198