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Saturday, August 09, 2014

Another Hundred Year Look-Back ...

A Reassuring Final Shot For a Short That Really Needed It

A Dog's Love (1914) and Proof That This Era Was Nothing Like Our Own

Don't go here if you have a tender heart for dogs, as oceans of tears await viewing of a still effective recount of what loss means to a pooch left behind. Death was treated different a century ago, spirits laying less still than today. Maybe it was for so many being taken premature to reward. They wanted back in to life, and so returned frequent in ghostly raiment. They say dogs can see the otherwise departed, that being case here for Thanhouser's accomplished collie, Shep ("as himself"), able to follow still a child who's been killed and buried in a first half of this single reel. Grim? Admittedly yes, and I'll not deny creeps instilled by camera-effects of a diminutive ghost leading her beloved Shep back to the grave from which she rose. Just watch this in The Thanhouser Collection, Volume Two, then try forgetting it afterward. I'll bet 1914 crowds weeped copious over A Dog's Love, so much as to necessitate a final cheery shot of dog-and-little girl to assure them that all was  make-believe. You could argue for horror themes giving patronage nightmares back in the day, but I'd wager subjects like this did a better job at disturbing sleep.

1 Comments:

Blogger John McElwee said...

Michael Hayde supplies some most interesting background re "A Dog's Love":


According to the NY DRAMATIC MIRROR of October 21, 1914, "NOLAN GANE of the Thanhouser forces has attempted his first scenario. 'A Dog's Love,' recently produced at the New Rochelle studio, will give us a chance to tell Nolan what we think of him as a photo-playwright." He was then 22 years old.

Gane was indeed a wunderkind, having begun on the stage as a boy actor, and worked his way in three years at Thanhouser from supporting player to, in VARIETY'S words, the "world's youngest director." On February 12, 1915, at age 23, Gane died of typhoid-pneumonia.

Usually irony just bubbles to the surface; here it's a slap in the face.

5:42 PM  

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