Monday, February 2, 2015

Working in the Roof of the Peerless Studio -- February 2, 2015

Motography, 27-February-1915
Director Maurice Tourneur began making films for Éclair in France.  In 1914 he came to America to make movies for Éclair's subsidiary.  Later he moved to the World Film Corporation.  In this photo, we see him directing Alias Jimmy Valentine in the Peerless Studio in Fort Lee, New Jersey.  Earlier we saw another image of the Peerless studio:

When the photo appeared in the 11-July-1915 Washington Evening Star, this was the caption:
"'TO take the film 'Alias Jimmy Valentine' Maurice Tourneur built a fifty-foot platform, sent his camera man to the top of it, climbed up himself, and went to work. Below him was the bank, set for one of the famous scenes of this problem thriller. Ordinarily it is impossible to take more than two sides of one room in a movie. Tourneur took the whole of three rooms with one camera. He did it with this platform; and the resulting film showed three different bits of acting by three different sets of actors in three different rooms all at once.  The fact that the platform was not strong enough the first time that it almost threw the camera man and director to the floor below is a detail. It was rebuilt and the picture went on."

Tourneur was famous for making visually beautiful films.  His son was director Jacques Tourneur.

East Oregonian, 29-March-1915
This ad from Pendleton, Oregon's Pastime Theater shows the relative importance of the feature Alias Jimmy Valentine and the Chaplin Essanay short "The Champion." 

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