I Accuse (United Artists) (1919)

Record Details:

Something wrong or inaccurate about this page? Let us Know!

Thanks for helping us continually improve the quality of the Lantern search engine for all of our users! We have millions of scanned pages, so user reports are incredibly helpful for us to identify places where we can improve and update the metadata.

Please describe the issue below, and click "Submit" to send your comments to our team! If you'd prefer, you can also send us an email to mhdl@commarts.wisc.edu with your comments.

We use Optical Character Recognition (OCR) during our scanning and processing workflow to make the content of each page searchable. You can view the automatically generated text below as well as copy and paste individual pieces of text to quote in your own work.

Text recognition is never 100% accurate. Many parts of the scanned page may not be reflected in the OCR text output, including: images, page layout, certain fonts or handwriting.

Advance Press Stories AUTHOR OF “I ACCUSE” A VERSATILE GENIUS Author, dramatist, poet, psycholo¬ gist, student of philosophy and motion picture producer—this is the type of versatile genius that has made it pos¬ sible for the United Artists Corpora¬ tion to present Abel Gance’s sensa¬ tional production, “I Accuse,” which is the feature announced by the manage¬ ment of the . Theatre, be¬ ginning . Abel Gance, author and director of this great picture, is a Parisian thirty years of age. Even as a boy he was an ardent devotee of the classic drama and while still very young conceived a desire to write plays himself. To carry out this ambition, he ran away from home, without money or ac¬ quaintances, and went to Brussels. For two years he was an actor on the speaking stage. In all this time he was a tireless student of the great drama¬ tists, gleaning much from Shake¬ speare, Ibsen, Tolstoi and Hugo. He was quick to appreciate the great chasm between the simple, direct and true words which touch the heart and stir the mind and that literary style which leaves but a frothy after effect. After writing two poetical dramas, he devoted himself to the study of philosophy. During this period fin¬ ancial stress made it necessary that young Mr. Gance find some new means of earning a livelihood and it was through this necessity that he entered the motion picture field. “The cinema did not interest me un¬ til I was given a free hand by my em¬ ployers,” Mr. Gance says. “I had ideas of my own about motion pic¬ tures but what could one do with a machine-like program? What could I say to an employer who commanded ‘Turn me out a three-reel adventure story in eight days’ time, and don’t spend more than 6,000 francs?”’ However, Mr. Gance soon was giv¬ en an opportunity to make a film with¬ out any restrictions, and it was from this date that his work as a serious producer commenced. Prior to “I Accuse,” he made several features which met with great success, but when “I Accuse” was shown it created a profound sensation throughout the French Republic as well as in other countries. M. Gance received innum¬ erable letters of commendation of the production from Czecho-Slovakia, Switzerland, Roumania and Japan, and when this great feature was seen in London and other English cities there came a veritable deluge of praise. LIVING PERSONS SEEN IN “I ACCUSE” FILM It is the quiet simplicity of the art employed in Abel Gance’s sensational production, “I Accuse,” which is be¬ ing presented in the United States by the United Artists Corporation, and which has been booked as the feature at the . beginning ., that aroused such widespread com¬ ment and praise when this great screen masterpiece was shown in the chief cities of Europe. Those who have seen this screen drama declare that it contains an over¬ powering realism through which there is a perfect blending of all the human emotions, laughter, pathos, romance and tragedy being interw,oven with consummate skill. It also will be found that Mr. Gance, the director, author and producer, has dispensed with a great many of the more ordin¬ ary film devices in the construction and picturizing of his work, and has, therefore, achieved a result that is singularly lacking in theatricality. The sincerity of Mr. Gance’s char¬ acter portrayals is carried out by the work of his actors who are real per¬ sonalities, living people—actually liv¬ ing, loving passionately and suffering acutely—and never appearing as mere puppets of the screen. The cast comprises an exception¬ ally large force of men and women recruited from the French and Ameri¬ can stage. Chief among them are the noted Romuald Joube, of the Odeon Theatre force, and a pupil of the great Sarah Bernhardt. He plays the diffi¬ cult role of the lover in the eternal triangle situation, and from his role comes the title of the play, “I Ac¬ cuse.” Mile. Marise Dauvray, who has in her several years of stage experience won a most enviable theatrical repu¬ tation, reaches exceptional heights in her portrayal of the part of Edith Laurin, the heroine, constituting the principal angle in the triangle, and the object of equally violent and passion¬ ate, but wholly different types, of love on the part of her poet lover and 'her husband. To M. Severin-Mars, known and honored on the stage in all the main centres of the Continent, was given the character of Francis, husband of Edith and comrade of the visionary, dreaming poet-lover. Picture a hus¬ band desperately in love with his wife, yet jealous and suspicious; treating her at times with the most lover-like tenderness and considerations, and at other times reverting to an almost brute-like bestiality, and you see the character into which Severin-Mars steps and which he makes startingly life-like. “I ACCUSE” CALLED ABEL GANCE’S BEST Abel Gance, the French author, dra¬ matist and producer of that sensational film production, “I Accuse,” which the United Artists Corporation is present¬ ing in the United States, and which will be shown as the feature at the . theatre next . had produced so many films formerly, all of which had created deep impres¬ sions because of originality of concep¬ tion and daring execution, that it was impossible to believe the man who had done so much could not do something better when the opportunity came his way. Consequently none who had followed closely the screen career of Mr. Gance was surprised when “I Accuse” first was shown in France where it met with an instantaneous and lasting suc¬ cess that later was duplicated in all the larger centers of Europe. This film, which quickly gained the right to be called a super play, created a furore wherever it was shown. “I Accuse” contains a theme which Mr. Gance has treated in a manner absolutely original, and having no re¬ semblance to the so-called war film. Mr. Gance makes the action center round a small group of persons, who are the actors in a tragic and deeply romantic love story which grips and holds the attention tightly in leash. The latter part of the film rises to a height seldom attained on the screen. One of the chief characters, a soldier who returns to the front, in spite of having been invalided, loses his reason, and is a last survivor of his battalion. In a scene which will stand out always in the memory of those who see it this soldier is posted as a solitary living figure on the battlefield^ In a moment of hallucination he sees all the recum¬ bent figures rise to their feet in order to ascertain if their great sacrifice has been in vain; if the little groups of persons they have left behind in their native villages made use of the sac¬ rifices of the soldiers to further their own selfish purposes, and to demand that all shall render a strict account¬ ing. Those who have made scandal¬ ous profit by taking shameless advan¬ tage of the necessities of their country are branded with the infamy they de¬ serve. “I Accuse” can only be described as a tremedous picture from which it is almost impossible to remove the eyes during the whole time taken in its showing. It is freely predicted that this sensationally great production will win in the United States as large a measure of popularity as it met in France, England and others of the na¬ tions of Europe. FILM LEAGUE URGED BY FRENCH PRODUCER “Let the people of the world under¬ stand the messages of all nations, let them remove the artificial barriers that divide them, and we shall have no more need for war,” declares Abel Gance, the French author, dramatist, and motion picture producer, whose sensational production, “I Accuse,” presented by the United Artists Cor¬ poration, will be the feature at the . Theatre, beginning . Mr. Gance would form, with the aid of the great producers of the United States, an international league for the motion picture, and maintains that such a league, with headquarters at Geneva or some other suitable center, is an artistic and industrial necessity. “Such an idea would have been laughed at a few years ago,” says Mr. Gance, “but today the great film pro¬ ducers are stumbling against great difficulties because there is no central body for universalizing the art. This difficulty is noticeable especially in the matter of censorship. The censorship in the United States is so severe that it forces foreign producers to take its judgments into account. It is quite possible that a tremendously big film might be approved in European coun¬ tries, purchased for American show¬ ing, and then forced into the discard because of a drastic censorship edict. An international court would seek to equalize such rulings. Something of this sort was found necessary in copy¬ right regulations and the postal ser¬ vice. “This centralization is practical and would work out very simply and na¬ turally and its functions primarily would be of a practical nature. But its greatest good would lie in the in¬ spiration it would afford to the creat¬ ors of motion pictures throughout the world. The approval of a central board of experts readily would con¬ stitute an incentive continually to bet¬ ter the art of the film. The real mer¬ its of great artistic productions would of necessity be recognized and spur artists to constantly better endeavors. “A censorship board should pass judgment as to the artistic merits of the films reviewed, and should not be concerned with the minor moral is¬ sues. In France the censorship body deals in an excluding capacity with scenes of murder, with questions of politics and with morbid subjects. It has no concern whatever with religi¬ ous filmings or with so-called moral questions.” ART IN THE FILM, SAYS ABEL GANCE “Art in motion pictures?” queries Abel Gance, author and producer of that sensational production, “I Accuse,” which the United Artists Corporation is presenting in the Uni¬ ted States. “Certainly there is art in the film; an abundance of it. But we must first learn the alphabet ourselves before we can hope to impart our knowledge to others. “Imagine ‘Pelleas and Melisande’ played by the mountebnks of Notre Dame bridge in the tenth century,” Mr. Gance went on, “and you will have an instant understanding of the aston¬ ishment and bewilderment of the great mass of the motion picture public if they first had seen on the screen work too far advanced; before having learn¬ ed the alphabet of the language of the eyes. They would only have laughed and ridiculed. “We have used the language of the masses so that they would be able to follow us. In the case of ‘I Accuse,’ because the art in question was essen¬ tially social and international it was necessary that it be of such a nature that it readily would be understood by all peoples.” “I Accuse” will be seen as the fea¬ ture production at the . beginning ., OLD MASTERS STUDIED IN GREAT FILM PLAY Abel Gance, who is a dramatist as well as a poet, psychologist and mo- tio picture director and producer, be¬ lieves that nothing is even half done unless it is done in the very best man¬ ner possible in all essentials. Hence in making his sensational film produc¬ tion, “I Accuse,” which is being pre¬ sented in the United States by the United Artists Corporation, and which has been obtained by the . for the feature beginning. Mr. Gance, in addition to making use of all the elements of dramatic art¬ istry with which he was familiar, went in addition to the Old Masters of paint¬ ing for inspiration to give him aid in the lighting and grouping of these splendidly realistic scenes through which are pictured all the human emo¬ tions. As a result of Mr. Gance’s study of the Old Masters one sees Botticelli in an exquisite group of dancing girls, with grass and figures flecked with flowers and light. One sees also, the grim realists with the sombreness of their canvas marked brilliantly by re¬ vealing flashes of light. FRENCH GOVERNMENT O. K. FOR “I ACCUSE” In addition to having been given a private showing at sea on shipboard at the wish of King Albert of Belgium, Abel Gance’s sensational production, “I Accuse,” which is being presented in the United States by the United Artists Corporation, and which has been obtained as the feature at the .. theatre next . comes with the semi-official approval of the French government, having re¬ ceived signal praise from Andre Hon- norat, French Minister of Public In¬ struction and Fine Arts. M. Honnorat declared that as a result of such films as “I Accuse,” the photoplay would take its rightful place as a legitimate art. The great Sarah Bernhardt, who was afforded a special showing of the film, at her own re¬ quest, warmly praised the artistry and dramatic qualities of the picture, and declared she did not believe the motion picture should be looked upon as a rival of the legitimate stage, but that, rather, the one should help the other.