Thursday, September 9, 2010

Montreal 1900 Video Search

Here's a still from a Gaumont 1910 newsreel, capturing an "Indian Chief" in the 1910 Eucharist Convention Parade. Montreal.

Canada likes to put its native people on public display for the world: they just did it for the 2010 Olympics. And in 1908, for the Quebec Bicentennial, which Margarent and Norman Nicholson attended, they went all out.

Although I am simply mesmerized by the quality of the early film footag now available on YouTube, especially the British Film Institute's films that have been restored to near perfect quality, (and plays at normal speed) I am upset because I can't find any footage of Montreal.

St. John's Newfoundland, yes. But no Montreal.

The only other film of 1910 era Montreal I have found was an Edison short of a firetruck. Very dull. In winter too.

Sad, really. But I'll keep on looking. Maybe the National Archives has some or the Bibliotheque Nationale.

I watched the beginning of It's a Mad Mad Mad Mad World last night. In 64, I went to see it at the cinema and remember laughing so hard it hurt. I was ten years old then and of 'legal' age to go to the movies. In 1927 there was a fire in a Montreal theatre, where children and babies died, so they made a law that no one under 10 could attend the cinema. I was tall, I think I saw certain movies at 9 years old. Not many though.

Last night, I was enjoying the film, (I remembered only the 'kick the bucket' bit, which my brother adored)but I was too tired to stay up. I will watch the rest later. Compared to say, the Great Race, it seems really low budget. I mean the movie was filmed along that highway between Las Vegas and L.A. and wherever else in studio (I'm guessing). But all those famous actors, most of whom are dead. Well, Mickey Rooney is still alive, I think. (I know that road. My husband got a migraine during a drive from Los Vegas to LA in 1996 and my California cousin, who was driving, had to find a place to get off the road so he could throw up. Not easy.)

Let's face it, I can count on the fingers of one hand the comedies which made me laugh really really hard. (My personal favorites are Trading Places and Ruthless People oh, and Billy Crystal comedies. Oh and the Panther movies and Python movies too.) Today's comedies I find a little crude (not that there's anything wrong with excrement, urine and semen jokes.)

Jim Carrey movies work for my husband, but I find his comedies (except for Liar Liar) a little stupid. (Well...) I count Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and Truman Show among my top 10 movies, however. With respect to Eternal Sunshine I am not alone. About 6,000,000 Facebook users list it as one of their favourite movies. (I think I saw that!)

Anyway, all this to say, Mack Sennett, the Richmond Quebec Native (wikipedia says Danville) died in 1960. I wonder if he would have been given a cameo were he still alive in 63.

He was sick (and broke) at the end, I think.

I bet Edith and Flo both say It's a Mad Mad Mad Mad World. My husband's mother, Marion, daughter of Marion Nicholson loved the comedy The Russians are Coming The Russians are Coming. So my husband tells me.

The Nicholson women, especially Marion, loved a good laugh.

Anyway, I've also taped some March of Time newsreels off Turner Classic Movies. Too bad they aren't running the 1953 television versions. I have been trying to track down Number 19, about the Malayan Emergency (Fight against an Invisible Enemy) because I have figured out that there's a sequence with my grandmother, Dorothy Nixon, scoring cricket at the Selangor Club - I guess to show that life is going on as normal.

The Malayan Emergency is not a part of history widely remembered in North America. Odd, because it has many parallels to this current so-called War on Terror. No less a person than Lewis Mackenzie said so in a speech I heard him give last year.

Today, the BBC Radio Four website has a home page teaser: Has the Taliban won in Afghanistan? According to General MacKenzie, if we had conducted the War In Afghanstan like the Malayan Communist Emergency, it would have gone better.
My story, Looking for Mrs. Peel, is about Dorothy's trials as a Japanese Prisoner of War.