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Burano, the Rainbow Isle

Date produced: 1960

Filmmaker(s):

Esther S. Cooke

Description:

"Burano by the sea, fisherman mending their nets, life along and on the canal. A visit with times of old, fine embroidery, the cobbler, children quietly at play, the market, the village square and its grand architecture and bronze statuary. It is feeding time in the square for a zillion pigeons. Another gem of Esther's visits to Europe" PSA Journal, Nov. 1960, 41.


Day Dreams

Date produced: 1936

Filmmaker(s):

Laurie Day

Stuart Day

Description:

"Film record of a 14-day tour of Italian cities by train, including a day excursion to the island of Capri" (EAFA Database) "Sequences include shots of sightseeing attractions in Venice, Florence, Rome and Pompeii; street scenes in these cities; encounters with the local population, notably interactions with local children. Prefaced and concluded by domestic scenes at the Day’s home in Stoke on Trent, the film is a travel record of a trip to Italy in 1936/37. As noted in Laurie Day’s descriptions of the making of the film, the film’s narrative was inspired by the song 'Isle of Capri'. The travelogue contains humorous incidents involving Stuart and Laurie Day, culminating with the aborted assignation on Capri" (EAFA Database).

"This is a clever travel film, but it is also something more, because it introduces the personal note and contains humour. A husband dreams of Capri while he plays on his banjoline a song of the lovely island. The alluring features of a girl on the cover of the music become real and when his wife shows him details of a tour which includes Capri, he agrees to go. Then there is an ingenious sequence covering time and distance – for his hand winding up the gramophone merges into railway wheels – which again merge into him winding up his movie camera as he stands on the banks of a Venetian canal. Thereafter the film contains interesting and well-chosen shots of Venice, Florence, Pisa, Rome – each divided by a tourist label super-imposed over the railway wheels whizzing along. Some witty titles help the travel material, one, “Two of the ruins Rome knocked about a bit” introduces the man and his wife – both tired out – and she holds up her shoe in which is a large hole. Another touch ... a vast crowd in the arena wherein lions were released to Christians are running away – but not from lions, states the title and there follows a close-up of a large snail. A clever piece of assembling. The film ends in colour for the voyage to Capri – but the romance is not carried on as well as it might have been, because a girl the husband casually meets is not the same one who appeared on the music cover. However, the whole thing ends well with a title advising that if one cannot get what one wants, one should make do with what one has got! And some flowers are placed on a symbolic piece of music. A well-made travel picture that is instructive, humorous and sustains interest" (Anon 1938).

"This year my wife and I decided to make a joint film of our holiday instead, as previously, of competing with separate pictures on 16mm and 9.5mm. We decided to go to Italy immediately it was announced that train cruises were again running, although we both felt that such a highly organised trip, where every moment was planned and accounted for, was not the ideal holiday for making a film. We had to try and think of some sort of a story to hold our proposed film together and one day, while gazing reflectively into the kitchen sink, my wife heard me whistling the “Isle of Capri” and her imagination was not long in evolving the scenes with which our picture opens. It was left to me to arrange how the “romance” should be carried on and as there was neither time nor opportunity for a lengthy entanglement and any dream beauty could not be brought home as a souvenir, I decided to take my cue from the song itself – “fate hadn’t meant her for me” – and arrange for someone else to take over before the situation became difficult. We were particularly fortunate in this sequence in finding a girl and a man in our party who at a moment’s notice played the parts for us with but a single rehearsal. The sun was rapidly sinking behind buildings and had quite gone a few minutes after the shots were taken, and the remains of our colour film only just lasted out. Another thing we had to plan before starting was our transition from home to Italy and also between the various centres there. As the picture promised to be long enough in any case, we thought that luggage labels on which were superimposed revolving railway wheels would be brief and to the point. We had merely to remember to fade out on a typical scene of each town we visited and in the case of Venice to get a shot of myself winding up the camera to join up with the sequence commencing with my winding up the gramophone. In a country so prolific of architectural beauty, it was inevitable that we should overload ourselves with still camera material and for this reason we decided not to film Florence, but my wife so regretted this that on the morning of departure she rose at 6 am to take the scenes featured in the picture, hence the heavy shadows on the river. When all our material was assembled for editing and rolls had been discarded, it was still too heavy with scenic stuff and we had to think of more personal incidents to lighten it. A worn out shoe gave us the idea for “Two of the ruins that Rome had knocked about a bit.” This sequence was not taken in Rome but at a ruined Abbey in Wales and a few disconnected shots of myself with children and one of a cafe scene were worked into an incident with the aid of two additional shots taken at home. The superimposition of a girl’s head on a piece of music while it dissolved from cover to interior was taken four times. Trouble arose with the label sequences on account of a temperamental clockwork train which either went mad or stopped dead in the middle of a shot and resulted in three re-takes being necessary. Re-takes also account, in the opening shots, for the fact that my wife brings me a holiday folder in August and returns happily to her seat towards the end of November, but the difference in vegetation is hardly noticed. It took us months to complete the picture, by which time we were nearly as sick of it as we were with one another, but needless to say, an Amateur Cine World Plaque has more than restored our connubial harmony and we look forward to competing again next year" (Day 1938).


Encounter on the River

Date produced: 1955

Filmmaker(s):

Massimo Sani

Ezio Pecora

Description:

"The combined efforts of Massimo Sani-photography and Ezio Pecora-directing. A slowly paced, sensitive portrayal of adolescent emotions. While in many amateur films the acting is such that we can never forget it is a movie and that the actors are aware of the camera, in "Encounter on the River", the acting is natural, making this tender, almost too subtle story most enjoyable. The best directed amateur film seen in years." PSA Journal, Dec. 1955, 36.


Europe I

Date produced: 1928

Filmmaker(s):

Alexander Black

Description:

"Travelogue with intertitles of Alexander Black's trip to Europe in 1928. It includes footage of air and sea travel, a phantom ride in a gondola, and footage of Black himself feeding pigeons in Venice, Italy." UC Berkeley Library.


Firenze, Queen of the Arts

Date produced: 1953

Filmmaker(s):

Oscar H. Horovitz

Description:

"Oscar H. Horovitz, in Firenze, Queen of the Arts, has once again produced an excellent record of a city, turning this time to Firenze (Florence), the Tuscan capital of the Italian Renaissance. Firenze is a monochromatic city of varying tones of brown, but a most attractive one as Mr. Horovitz has shown, existing today just as it did during the 16th Century. Belying the film's title, however, the many art treasures for which this city is justly famed are ignored, the filmer desiring apparently to show Firenze through an architectural eye. The film is, nevertheless, interesting, with lively pace and plenty of human interest. Here is a rewarding excursion to one of the fabulous cities of our time." Movie Makers, Dec. 1953, 334.


Four Chairs

Date produced: 1955

Description:

"This striking example of enthusiastic club production efforts, revolves around four amusing stories which stem from the simple theme of for chairs—each responsible for the contribution of one story and its filming. Because of the outstanding qualities of "Four Chairs", it was awarded a special cup for excellent club production" PSA Journal, Dec. 1955, 35.


Glimpses of Italy

Date produced: 1935

Filmmaker(s):

A. I. Willinsky

Description:

"Item is a film taken by Dr. Willinsky of a trip to Rome, Italy. In the form of a travelogue, footage of landmarks, ruins and the local population are interspersed with captions that were added in by Dr. Willinsky to provide information about the country's history and culture. Included are shots of the Pantheon, the Colosseum, a Roman market, the Appian Way and dinner at a Roman restaurant. Dr. Willinsky's wife, Sadie, is occassionally spotted in the footage with travel companions who are probably relatives or family friends." Ontario Jewish Archives.


Italian Diary

Date produced: 1964

Filmmaker(s):

Frederick C. Harshbarger

Description:

"Italian Diary takes us to Italy where we see many of the old familiar places but lots of little seen nooks and crannies as well. A young girl narrator gives life and effervescence to the film which otherwise could well be just another travelog. Harshbarger has tied the sequences together with a travel album, showing us color photos on the pages of the album which then come alive on the screen. The film also received the MPD Travel Film Award, judged as being the best travelog of well over a dozen that dotted this year's contest, six of which were among the top ten and the honorable mentions" PSA Journal, Sept. 1964, 50.


Italian Marble

Date produced: 1962

Filmmaker(s):

Fred W. Borgman

Description:

"The film opens in Florence, Italy, with the statue of David by Michelangelo, in marble. Then we quickly move to the quarry to observe the processes of opening a crack, part of the process of shearing off a piece from the huge mountain of marble. Later we see the cutting and slicing into useful slabs and polishing. Also, we visit a studio where, among other works, a large block of marble is being carved into a statue of Abraham Lincoln for the city of Boston. The commentary on tape is well done. This will be included in the Package" PSA Journal, Oct. 1962, 33.


Italy [1931]

Date produced: 1931

Filmmaker(s):

Stephen F. Voorhees

Description:

"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.


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