Well, I hope it’s sunny at any rate. The Bioscope is heading for Trieste, Italy for a few days, to speak at a conference on James Joyce and cinema. Then it’s a few days more in Florence. So, as I’m under stern instructions not to go anywhere near a computer for the period, normal service will have to be resumed on January 22nd.
Meanwhile, for your amusement, I’ve included a few frame stills from films that are known to have been shown at the Volta Cinematograph in Dublin, between December 1909 and January 1910, the period when Joyce was either managing the cinema or immediately afterwards (he left Dublin on 2 January). So they are likely to have been films that he saw, indeed programmed. All images are from prints held by the BFI National Archive (via a DVD copy).
Une Pouponnière à Paris (Éclair 1909), an interest film about a Paris nursery. The only surviving film from the inaugural programme of the Volta Cinematograph, 20 December 1909.
Aviation Week at Rheims (Pathé 1909), newsfilm about the world’s first aviation meeting (the aviator is Henry Farman). Shown at the Volta 3-5 January 1910.
Francesca da Rimini, or The Two Brothers (Vitagraph 1907), classical drama based on Dante, with Florence Turner and Paul Panzer. Shown at the Volta 6-8 January 1910.
Come Cretinetti paga i debiti (Itala 1909), special effects comedy starring André Deed as Cretinetti, ingeniously avoiding those to whom he owes money. Shown at the Volta 17-19 January 1910.
Il signor Testardo (Itala 1909), bizarre comedy about a grotesquely stubborn man, shown at the Volta 17-19 January 1910.
Have fun and one grappa for me.
I found this article very helpful towards my current research into the Volta cinema. I wondered if you could advise me on one matter. In you article it mentions that the stills are from a DVD with the origional films on. Who, or where might I get a copy of this DVD? I would really appreciate any help or advice.
Good to hear of someone else researching the Volta cinema. The DVD I refer to is a DVD-R internal reference copy made of some of the ‘Volta’ films held by the BFI National Archive. It is not a commercially available DVD.