"Stephen F. Voorhees's 400 ft. travel film of Italian architectural scenes deserves placement in this list because it combines three factors but rarely brought together in pictures of this type. First, the photography is extraordinarily good, not only with reference to the routine requirements of exposure and focus but because it is artistic throughout and the composition never descends to the casual or the "snap shot" level. Second, Mr. Voorhees's film has a natural and easy continuity, jogging amiably through Venice and its environs, much as a traveler might do himself, pausing for a bit of incidental human interest and catching a scene that the filmer felt was unusual but presenting it without any preliminary flourishes, as one friend who might have said to another in the course of a stroll, "Don't miss that, by the way," pointing to something seen on the way. Last of the three things, so unusual to find combined, is a professional study, made by the filmer, himself a great architect, preserving those details which he wished to bring from northern Italy for later possible use. The great Colleoni statue is studied from many angles. Details of tiles and other wall ornamentations are offered and buildings are presented from one viewpoint after another. Yet all of this is done unpedantically and the nonprofessional audience is not aware that this subtle architectural record is more than a delightful travel film." Movie Makers, Dec. 1931, 658.
"The Wonder Trail, 1000 ft., 35mm., filmed by Ralph C. Wildes, has also met with the approval of professional critics, for it has been released as a professional short subject and has received general praise. One reviewer wrote, "The Wonder Trail is an unforgettable picture; the restful, sheer beauty of it is an experience in entertainment." This is high praise, indeed, for an amateur picture since it must be remembered that the reviewer was comparing it with the hundreds — even thousands — of professional short subjects released each year. It is a scenic built from sequences of the Grand Canyon, Yosemite and the Redwood forests of California. Its photography is superlatively good and rare artistic judgment was exercised in the selection of camera viewpoints to effect beautiful compositions and to emphasize the dramatic value of mountains, falls and trees. The quality of the film's continuity lies in the leisurely sequences which display skill and care in both planning and editing." Movie Makers, Dec. 1931, 658
"The Tombs Of The Nobles, 400 ft., 16mm., is distinguished both in its subject matter and technical triumph over seemingly insuperable photographic odds. In it Mr. Hansen has achieved a clear and valuable record of Egyptian art and history as he found them presented on the interior walls of countless Egyptian tombs. Only by a careful placing and manipulation of sheets and mirrors in the cramped space of each tomb was Mr. Hansen able to cast sufficient light from the doorways onto the hundreds of paintings which he photographed. The film's continuity has been planned and edited in a simple, documentary style, adapted for use as an informal lecture subject. Its technical accomplishment seems unparalleled in the annals of amateur filming and has been well employed in recording subject matter entirely different from the general amateur picture." Movie Makers, Dec. 1931, 658.
"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.
"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.
Total Pages: 33