Crazy Cinématographe on DVD

As promised, a little more information on Crazy Cinématographe, released this month by Edition Filmmuseum. Crazy Cinématographe is a concept centred around the programmes of touring fairground film shows in the early years of the twentieth centuy. It is a touring show, the inspiration for a conference (Travelling Cinema in Europe, 6-8 September 2007, Luxembourg), and now a DVD.

It is a 2-DVD set presenting a European “cinema of attractions” 1896-1916, such attractions including piano-playing dogs, contortionists, circus acts, trick films, serpentine dances and animated toys. It’s an odd mishmash, and it’s unlikely that all the titles were shown in fairground shows (for example, Dr John Macintyre‘s X-ray films of 1897), but it’s the spirit of the thing that counts. This is the line-up of titles:

DVD 1: Europäisches Kino der Attraktionen

* Will Evans, the Musical Eccentric GB 1899, 1′
* Anarkistens Svigermoder DK 1906, 4′
* Dansa Serpentina F 1900, 1′
* Le Roi des Dollars F 1905, 2′
* L’Homme mystérieuxF 1910, 6′
* Le Réveil de Chrysis F 1897-99, 1′
* Premier Prix de violoncelle F 1907, 3′
* Agoust Family of Jugglers GB 1898, 1′
* Les Tulipes F 1907, 4′
* Dr. Macintyre’s X-Ray Film GB 1896, 1′
* Dr. Macintyre’s X-Ray Cabinet GB 1909, 1′
* Bain des dames de la cour F 1904, 1′
* 13 The Adventures of “Wee Rob Roy” No. 1 GB 1916, 4′
* Les Kiriki, acrobates japonais F 1907, 3′
* The ? Motorist GB 1906, 3′
* Photographie d’une étoile F 1906, 2′
* Les Chiens savants F 1907, 5′
* Horrible Fin d’un concierge F 1903, 2′
* A Peace of Coal GB 1910, 3′
* Miss Harry’s femme serpent F 1911, 3′
* Bain de pieds à la moutarde F 1902, 2′
* Scène pornographique F 1909, 2′
* L’Amblystôme F 1913, 7′
* Le Barbier fin de siècle F 1896, 1′
* Lèvres collées F 1906, 2′
* The Tale of the Ark GB 1909, 6′
* Fâcheuse Méprise F 1905, 1′
* Sculpteur moderne F 1908, 6′
* Acrobati comici I 1910, 5′
* Fox terriers et rats F 1902, 1′
* Saïda a enlevé Manneken-Pis B 1913, 7′
* Au revoir et merci F 1906, 2′

DVD 2: Lokalfilme aus der Großregion Luxemburg/Trier/Saarbrücken

* Das malerische Luxemburg 1912, 6′
* Übertragung der Gebeine des Hl. Willibrord 1906, 2′
* Echternacher Springprozession 1906, 5′
* Schlussprozession Octave 1911, 3′
* Kavalkade 1905, 2′
* Blumenkorso 1906 1906, 3′
* Trauerzug für Großherzog Wilhelm IV 1912, 5′
* Eidesleistung der Großherzogin Marie-Adelheid 1912, 5′
* Marie-Adelheid im Kino 1912, 1′
* Ein Besuch in der Champagnerfabrik Mercier 1907, 9′
* Autofahrt durch Trier ca. 1903, 2′
* Domausgang zu Trier 1904, 2′
* Domausgang am Ostersonntag 1909, 3′
* Fronleichnamsprozession in Trier 1909, 3′
* Bilder aus Trier 1902-1909, 5′
* Leben und Treiben auf dem Viehmarkt 1909, 2′
* Blumenkorso 1914 1914, 3′
* Straßenszenen in Saarbrücken ca. 1908, 5′

Musical acompaniment is by John Sweeney and Günter A. Buchwald, there is audio commentary in German, English, French, Luxemburgish and Trier dialect, and an eight-page booklet written by early film scholar Martin Loiperdinger. And it’s Region 0, so all DVD players can play it. The DVD is released on June 25th. Further details from the Edition Filmmuseum site.

3 responses

  1. The material selected for the DVD is taken from five distinct film programmes that was curated by myself (Dr Vanessa Toulmin), Nicole Dahlen and Claude Bertermes from Cinémathèque Luxembourg
    There are five programmes that have been selected for the travelling show and are split into the following groups
    General show of classic titles and treasures, Comedy & burlesque: slapstick,
    performance titles or acts, Cabinet of the bizarre: freak shows, exotic bodies,
    weird animals, Magical Mystery Tour: fairyland films , fantastic
    films, science-fiction, etc, The sexual life of Grandma and Grandpa – erotics
    soft (striptease, etc.) and erotics hard (pornography) and a selection of
    views of Luxembourg and the Greater Region, especially from Trier (Germany),
    Saarbrücken (Germany), A full listing of titles can be found at and details of the DVD which can be
    ordered online or through the NFA.

    Will be happy to do a post for the rationale for the selection – I based it on the types of material I know was shown on fairground shows based on our programmes in the NFA and also material that reflected the times. The later erotic material was actually commissioned for use in brothels as opposed to the fairground. I’ve just returned from the first event which despite the torrential rain and minor teething problems was a fantastic occasion as Martin Loiperdinger (one of the project instigators) and I cheered at bringing a show back to the Trier region for the first time in nearly a century. Visitors to the show on Saturday past will have been met by the sight of Martin and myself selling tickets, billeting the leaflets and generally getting our hands dirty! The main show will be in Luxembourg where it will be on the fair and showing daily from 3pm to 12.

  2. So not an odd mish mash at all, but instead a carefully curated and apposite mish mash. Thanks for the rationale, Vanessa – this is the kind of film material which seldom gets out of the archives, whether on DVD or in any other form, and contextualising it all is a challenge. Well done to all concerned.

  3. Pingback: Freak shows and cinematographs « The Bioscope

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