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Lift, The

Date produced: 1972

Filmmaker(s):

Robert Zemeckis

Description:

"A fickle (or is it haunted?!) elevator disrupts a man’s daily routine, ending tragically in a stairwell." Chicago Film Archives


Fourth in Hand: A Fantasy of the Card Table

Date produced: 1936

Description:

"A bridge party invite a mysterious stranger to make up a fourth at their table, only to be unpleasantly surprised by his card tricks. When their fourth player arrives late, the strange interloper disappears, leaving an oddly familiar Joker in his place" National Library of Scotland Moving Image Archive.


Mag the Hag

Date produced: 1925

Filmmaker(s):

Hiram Percy Maxim

Description:

"Mag the Hag" is a 1925 amateur fiction film shot and edited by Hiram Percy Maxim (1869-1936), founder of the Amateur Cinema League. It is one of the earliest amateur fiction films shot on 16mm in Northeast Historic Film's collections. It features Maxim's daughter, Percy Maxim Lee, in the lead role of Percy Proudfoot. oldfilm.org


Haunted Camera, The

Date produced: 1938

Filmmaker(s):

Huxley Darwin Kem

Mary Kem

Description:

"Supernatural thriller made by a teenage girl." Filmpreservation.org

"15 year old Mary is bored. With her parents permission she writes her chum Martha to come for summer vacation and they will make a movie. In the meantime two convicts escape from the nearby prison. To frighten the girls away the convicts decide to play ghosts. Film ends with posse, capture and hand colored inferno." Oregon Historical Society.


Fall of the House of Usher, The [1928]

Date produced: 1928

Filmmaker(s):

James Sibley Watson

Melville Webber

Description:

"The Fall of the House of Usher" not only represents a new cinema technique but it is also unique in that it does not attempt to tell Poe's story in detail, rather to invoke in its audiences the esthetic impressions and moods which the tale creates in its readers. This revolutionary approach to the cinema opens a fascinating field for further pioneering. Fortified with the new scientific instruments which have recently been devised for the detection and recording of emotional reactions, the amateur producer may now truly be said to face a new world for cinematic experimentation in translating such reactions into film. Properly motivated by medical authority films of this nature may even prove to have a tremendous psychological significance. From any viewpoint "The Fall of the House of Usher" represents a forecast of possibilities which are amazing." Movie Makers, January 1929, 847.


Witch Cat, The

Date produced: 1949

Filmmaker(s):

William A. Thomas

Description:

"A witch who tires of her venomous role decides to transmit her characteristics to the soul of a cat. In this utterly charming film, William A. Thomas shows that he understands this soul perfectly — in both its winsome and its wilder aspects. With inexhaustible patience, he has recorded all the mischievous doings of a lively kitten that finally sees the light of love and casts off the witch's spell — i.e., the cat has kittens. Mr. Thomas's staging of the witch scenes — a role played with relish by Olive Thomas — is eerie and effective, while his sequences on the satanic feline are done with amused affection. The Witch Cat will appall those who "can't bear the beasts," delight those who adore them." Movie Makers, Dec. 1949, 455.


Doomsday

Date produced: 1935

Filmmaker(s):

Ruth Stuart

Description:

"Science fiction film influenced by the style of inter-war European art cinema." East Anglian Film Archive.

"Each year the contest sponsored by the American Society of Cinematographers through this magazine seems to bring forth a surprise. For several years the 8mm cinematrographers have been setting the pace, but never has any of them reached the goal achieved this year by Miss Ruth Stuart. Miss Stuart has been a contributor to this contest every year for the past three years; in 1933 she was given the medal for travel pictures. Her 200 ft. 16mm subject 'Doomsday' was also awarded honors in the British Institute of Amateur Cinematographers. In the American Society of Cinematographers contest just closed she was given a recognition for the Outstanding picture, in photography and Documentary pictures. It will be surprising to many that this unusual honor should befall a woman. Photography, by the unwritten law, is supposedly the realm of male species. Miss Stuart, however showed such a fine understanding of the value of pictures that move, how to fabricate these moving photographs into an interesting document that would hold any audience anywhere in the civilized world. For a person who films she must have developed a stony heart in order to cut as judiciously as the picture indicates. There is a tempo to the production that is very seldom achieved by an amateur. There are no obvious pet shots or scenes. Each sequence, each scene, each picture was left in production for a purpose to give it atmosphere to help the story along." American Cinematographer, Jan. 1937, 25.


Three Wishes

Date produced: 1940

Filmmaker(s):

Earl L. Cochran

Description:

"Three Wishes is a fantasy, done by Earl L. Cochran with a delightful touch of originality. The story is told in footage that is relatively brief, yet clever editing and planning make it thoroughly complete. Here we have the familiar legend of the fortunate mortal who is given exactly three wishes by a supernatural power — and what happens when these three wishes are granted. The feat that Mr. Cochran accomplished was to tell such a story humorously and effectively, but without resort to complicated camera trickery. Except for one double exposed scene of the inevitable jinni which is evoked by rubbing a silver teapot (and this is a very good shot, too!) the film tells its story with straight cinematography. While the interior and exterior technique of scene recording, including a shot of an auction, was completely adequate, the outstanding feature of this film is its story telling quality, accomplished by careful cutting. An excellent performance was given by the single lead character of the photoplay, while the brief appearance of the jinni was very expertly handled." Movie Makers, Dec. 1940, 600.


Scalpel, The

Date produced: 1936

Filmmaker(s):

Richard H. Lyford

Description:

"Misdirected medical research, with gruesome and very exciting consequences, is the basis of the plot of The Scalpel, a photoplay produced by Richard H. Lyford, with the aid of a group of boys and girls of high school age. The plot is extravagant, the story is rather too filled with amazing action, and there is not a doubt that the melodrama as a whole puts too great a burden on the acting ability of a group of young people, even though they are surprisingly able. Nevertheless, here is an amateur made thriller of the Frankenstein and werwolf tradition that really sends chills chasing down your spine. The transition of the unfortunate doctor into a demented and abnormal creature involved makeup that is really astonishing outside of a theatrical studio. It can't be said that the handling of the episode is any less convincing in this amateur production than are the same undertakings in the best Hollywood films of this nature. In addition to being really successful in its object, this picture offers some excellent technical work and very competent management of a large cast." Movie Makers, Dec. 1936, 550-551.