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Danish Silent Film: Sherlock Holmes at Elsinore

Danish Silent Film: Sherlock Holmes at Elsinore/Sherlock Holmes pa Marienlyst; Asta Nielsen, Ebba Thompsen, Betty Nansen, Valda Valkyrien and the Nordisk Film Kompagni, Great Northern Film and Carl Th. Dreyer: News Flash- missing Lost Silent Sherlock Holmes Films found and restored!!


Swedish Silent Film

Sherlock Holmes pa Marienlyst/Sherlock Holmes at Elsinore

In regard to The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark, written by William Shakespeare being compared to a lost film, there are elements to the characterization that lend themselves to the methods of the armchair detective, no matter how readily: ostensibly that the line "How all occasions do inform against me" appears in the First Quatro of Hamlet but is omitted from the First Folio printed posthumously by the Shakespearean acting company, the Kingsmen, and playwright Ben Jonson- it remains a fragment The pith of its events were designed by Shakespeare from the Danish legend Amlet that seems to not have had a character named Ophelia, nor a ghost- the Ghost first appeared in what is now a lost manuscript mentioned in Lodge's Wif's Miseries, and the allusion is to a ghost that cries like an oyster wife, "Hamlet Revenge" and, earlier than Shakespeare's Hamlet, is attributed to Thomas Kydd. While we wait for a filmmaker to add the play in its entirety despite its length, any production of Hamlet must confront that there are in fact three versions written by William Shakespeare. Notwithstanding, the history of silent film might at any time bring in not only the play as performed on stage, but the indefatigable Sherlock Holmes. It would only cause Conan Doyle to delight that after online discussions with the University of Edinburgh about time travel that of course neglect to connect the idea that assassination attempts on Queen Victoria lead to a theory that King Edward was the real Jack the Ripper, but that time travel is still a perpetual loop, and after online discussions from the Universities of Birmingham and Warwick that Shakespeare had based the play Hamlet on long lost Scandinavian literature, that currently Harvard University Online poses the question ,"Is the Ghost of Hamlet's Father, The King, a lost soul? Is he within historical context in purgatory? " Technically, it would seem that visitations from the deceased were not allowed in Shakespearean England.
     Basil Phillip St. John Rathbone, who portrayed the fictional character Sherlock Holmes, had also appeared in silent films- Trouping with Ellen (T. Hayes Hunter, seven reels) in 1924, The Masked Bride (Christy Cabanne, six reels), starring Mae Murray, in 1925 and The Great Deception (Howard Higgin, six reels) in 1926. Rathbone and his wife had been present at the premiere of Flesh and the Devil. Anna Karenina (1914), filmed by J. Gordon Edwards, had starred Betty Nansen. On learning that Greta Garbo had already had the film Mata Hari in production, Pola Negri deciding between scripts that were in her studio's story department chose A Woman Commands as her first sound film, in which she starred with Basil Rathbone. Of Rathbone she wrote in her autobiography, 'As an actor, I suspected Rathbone might be a little stiff and unromantic for the role, but he made a test that was suprisingly good.' Directed by Paul L.Stein, the film also stars Reginald Owen and Roland Young.
     And like Rathbone, another Sherlock Holmes, Clive Brook who appeared in the 1929 film The Return of Sherlock Holmes (Basil Dean) and in the title role of Sherlock Holmes (Howard) in the film of 1930, was appearing in silent films during the early 1920's, including Woman to Woman (Cutts 1923) and Out to Win (Clift, 1923). As part of an interesting study, Clive Brook had appeared in the mysteries Trent's Last Case (1920), directed by Richard Garrick and based on the novel by E.C. Bentley and The Loudwater Mystery (1921), based on the novel by Edgar Jepson, before his appearing with Isobel Elsom in the 1923 film A Debt of Honor directed by Maurice Elvey. One of the most sought after lost, or missing films, listed by the British Film Institute as having been filmed but not surviving today in an existing print is The Mystery of the Red Barn (Maria Marton) dircted by Maurice Elvey in 1913. The following year Elvey was to direct the mysteries The Cup Final Mystery and Her Luck in London. One of the first directors Philip St John Basil Rathbone had appeared in front of the camera for had been Maurice Elvey, who had directed the 1921 film, The Fruitful Vine, adapted for the screen from the novel.
     Motography, the motion picture trade journal, reviewed the Sherlock Holme sof 1916, "Much of the photography is very good. A number of bog scenes standout prominently, in which the suspense is cleverly managed. But as a whole, seven reels seems too lengthy. The play drags in the first part and some of the story is vague. The acting is in keeping with the melodramatic situations. Gillette shows himself a clever screen actor in the title role."  Motion Picture World noted that William Gillette was over sixty years of age at the time of its review and at the time of the release of the film. It reviewed "the Photoplay adaptation of his famous play in seven parts" in which he used members of Essanay and of his own stage company, "theater goers will never tire of looking at his characterization of Conan Doyle's Greta detective.. And leave in comparatively permanent form, his Sherlock Holmes for the delight of future generations. Mr. Gillette acts like an old-timer before the camera...The seeming lapses into sleepiness of manner and action suddenly resolve into a display of imperiousness and overwhelming mentality and wit." Sherlock Holmes (Arthur Berthelet, 1916) starring William Gillette, for nearly a century a silent film that if found in magazines has been reported as a lost film in regard to being seen on the movie projection screen, according to Photoplay magazine although not remade was the basis for the film Sherlock Holmes (nine reels) of 1922, starring John Barrymore, John Barrymore not only in the title role but also in a dual role as Moriarty. Photoplay magazine claimed that it was Barrymore's acting ability that was worth seeing, not so much the character itself being portrayed, but added that followers of the Arthur Conan Doyles stories were recommended to see the film, "You should see this film if you are a devotee of John the Barrymore...Albert Parker, the director, has not been afraid to follow his imaginative impulses, with interesting results." As the stories of Edgar Wallace were beginning to appear serialized in The Stand Magazine, alongside  a Sherlock Holmes rejuvenated by its creator after the death of illustrator Sidney Paget, a Sherlock Holmes created by John Barrymore appeared in The Strand Magazine in the interview The Youth of Sherlock Holmes, conducted by Hayden Church during 1922. A photocaption read, "A well known incident from 'A Scandal in Bohemia', the first of the famous Sherlock Holmes stories. John Barrymore's wonderful makeup as the old clergyman is seen to better advantage in the small photograph." Jounalist Hayden church divulged to The Strand, "It was in a bedroom of the Ritz that I discovered Mr. Barrymore, who arrayed in flowered silk pajamas was at that very moment engaged in making up as the great Sherlock." The article explained that there was a prolouge to the film that provided biographical information on the fictional character and his youth that had been left out in the cannon. In the interview, Barrymore explains that the film was shot on location not in Baker Street or Gower Street, but in Torrington Square, for authenticity. "Our film will bring out the romantic side of Holmes...'At the beginning of the hour,'Holmes in our script, 'I met love and it passed me  by. At the end of the hour, I met mysterious evil'" Film Daily magazine during 1922 described the film favorably with the provision, "It is too long and it is not easy to follow the story. In an effort to clarify matters numerous long titles and used that often confuse more than try to explain. The result is a 'talks' picture and if you happen in after the first half reel you are about lost because it's not the kind of story that you can pick up readily." The magazine described the lighting as "sometimes too dark on interiors" and the exteriors as "views of England and Switzerland; splendid". The scenario is listed as having been written by Earle Brown and Marion Fairfax, the cameraman as having been being J. Roy Hunt. In the film, Holmes is seen smoking a pipe in his armchair at 221 B Baker Street with a human skull on the end table where the Conan Doyle often kept his Stradivarius violin, his being seen reading a letter, the later shown in an intercut insert shot. Watson, now married, enters as Holmes reads a newspaper account of his having solved the Darton Mystery, the newspaper also shown in insert shot. There is a globe visible in the far corner of the room, a teapot diagnally in the foreground, and yet, the bust, remaining unidentified, but presumably Roman, can only be espied as a shadow, the light seeming to fall from a window that is blocked by its silhouette. The Persian slipper is on the mantle, ready for when Holmes' is in need of filling his pipe. It is there that Holmes attributes to Moriarty over fourth as of then unsolved mysteries. The film quickly concludes, first by Holmes disguising himself as Moriarty, then as he is removing the greasepaint he apprehended Moriarty, who in turn is in disguise, at that moment his announcing that he is embarking upon his honeymoon.
While deciding whether Stoll and Ellie Norwoord could film the Adventures of Sherlock Holmes with Arthur Conan Doyle's remonstrance not to use the name Sherlock Holmes as it more properly belonged to William Gillette, Film Daily printed during 1922, "The author said he saw the film version in which John Barrymore appeared and stated that there was one act which was not authorized, nor in accordance worth his plots. 'That was the act in which Sherlock Homes goes to college', said Doyle." It added, without intimating that today an owner of a ouigi board would be more favored to acquire an interview with Doyle than a trade magazines from the twenties, "Doyle said that Gillette wired him for permission to make changes in the original theme in order to 'work in a romance' and that Gillette cabled,'May I marry Holmes?' Doyle replied,'Marry him, murder him or do anything you like with him.'"
Sherlock Holmes as a film shot at the Essanay Studios in 1916 was lost, presumed nonexistent, found as a copy of a French print and restored in 2014. Edward Fielding essays as Doctor Watson in a scenario written by H.S.Sheldon. Actress Majorie Kay stars in references to "the woman". A nitrate dupe negative was found in the Cinemateque Francaise with French intertitles and color annotations which having had been being restored for its premiere in the United States, will be seen for the first time during May of 2015 at the San Francisco Silent Film Festival. The film, and the film version starring John Barrymore in which Roland Young appears as Dr. John H. Watson have not been seen in what appears to be more than three quarters of a century- the director of the 1922 film, Albert Parker assisted William K. Everson and Kevin Brownlow in restoring the Barrymore version during 2001.
In regard to Sherlock Holmes at Elsinore, actor Jens Fredrick Sigfrid Dorph-Petersen brought an unauthorized four act version of the play Sherlock Holmes written by William Gillette to the Folkteatret for Christmas in 1901, sixteen years before Gillette himself had adapted the stage performance for the cinema. The play was performed in Stockholm, Sweden with actor Emil Bergendorff onstage as Sherlock Holmes during April of 1902. That same year, the play was staged in Kristiana, Norway with actor Ingolf Schanche as Gillette's Sherlock Holmes.

     Maurice Elvey in 1921 directed actor Eille Norwood in the first 15 of 45 shorts in which he would star as Sherlock Holmes to begin with The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes. Published in The Strand Magazine by  Hayden Church was his perception, "Almost simultaneously we have had a Sherlock Holmes in the person of Mr. Ellie Norwood, who, in "movie versions" of some of the most renown of the Adventures has revealed a genius of disguise worthy to rank with that possessed by Holmes himself."  
     Motion Picture News gave advanced notice of fifteen completed subjects, each two reels in length to begin release during January, 1922. "All the advantages in casts, appointments and elaborate direction types in the various stage enterprises of the Stoll concern were brought to the picturization of the Doyle tales, a feature said to be specially notable in this connection being the erection for Stoll in London a studio built after the most modern American manner, appointed with the latest doings in American lighting and other advances made in this country to bring screen adaptation to their finest interpretations of life itself. The exteriors fro the Sherlock series are said to have been taken for the most part at the actual scenes employed by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle in recounting the Holmes adventures, these involving at times magnificent estates."
      The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes would  include The Empty House, which was reviewed by Film Daily Magazine, "This time the criminal takes a pot shot at the famous detective and for a moment you think all is lost. The suspense is great...While no women enter into the story it is well up to the standard of the series and holds the attention throghout." Elvey would also direct Norwood in the film The Man With The Twisted Lip, "Instead of opening in the usual manner of these stories in Holmes's office with a visitor describing the case in question, The Man With the Twisted Lip opens in an opium den with the well known detective is nowhere in evidence. However after a little while, you will begin to see him through his disguise. How the case is unravelled with a most unexpected kick at the end makes very good entertainment." The Beryl Coronet was reviewed with, "How Sherlock Holmes, the great detective, very well played by Ellie Norwood, unravels the mystery makes very good entertainment. The suspense is well held and though you are comparatively sure of the villian, the way in which the case is slowly drawn around him by the detective holds the interest closely.". Of The Priory School it was esteemed by Film Daily that "Ellie Norwood who plays the part of the famous detective has a most pleasing personality and gives an enjoyable performance.". To Film Daily, "The Resident Patient follows closely the Conan Doyle story of the same name." Also included in the series were A Scandal in Bohemia, The Red Headed League, The Yellow Face, The Copper Beeches, The Solitary Cyclist and The Dying Detective. Seperate from the two reel adventures, Maurice Elvey that year directed Norwood in the feature films The Sign of the Four and in the silent Sherlock Holmes film The Hound of the Baskervilles. Of Maurice Elvey's direction of The Hound of the Baskervilles Film Daily wrote that there was an exingency of "telling the story rather than in production values; some good effects." It continued, "Ellie Norwood looks the part of Holmes but has little to do" and noted that he was "not given much prominence as Holmes...Betty Cambell is a poor choice of leading lady." Photoplay Magazine in 1922 reviewed the work of Ellie Norwood as "the real Sherlock Holmes", declaring, "There is no sticky love interest to be upheld-this is the cool detective of the test tubes and the many clues- who walks, step by step, toward a solution." Exhibitor's Trade Review described the work of Ellie Norwood, "Ellie Norwood, famous English actor, portrays the role of ShePrlock Holmes the detective in all of the adventures. His quiet repressed acting adds immensely to the power of these stories of mystery...The release of The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes begins at a paticularly opportune time, since the author of these famous stories is now in the United States on a lecture tour, which will attract added interest to his work, by far the most popular of which have always been the Sherlock Holmes Stories."  After his having directed Matheson Long in the Stoll Film Company's 1919 production of the film Mr. Wu, Maurice Elvey had been earlier teamed with Eille Norwood in 1920 for two silent films before their having entered into the Sherlock Holmes series, The Hundreth Chance, adapted from the novel, and The Tavern Knight, also adapted from the novel. George Ridgewell would direct Eille Norwood in 30 short films in which he would star as the consulting detective, The Further Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (1922) and The Last Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (1923), among them being The Boscome Valley Mystery (1922), The Six Napoleons (1922), The Golden Pince-Nez (1922), The Reigate Squires (1922), The Musgrave Ritual (1922), Black Peter, The Norwood Builder, The Red Circle, The Stockbrokers Clerk, The Abbey Grange, The Engineer's Thumb (1923), The Dancing Men (1923), The Mystery of Thor Bridge (1923) , The Cardboard Box, Silver Blaze  (1923) , Lady Frances Carfax, The Gloria Scott, The Crooked Man, The Mazarin Stone and The Final Problem (1923). George Ridgewell during 1922 also directed the mystery The Crimson Circle with Clifton Boyne. In regard to Maurice Elvey, there still lies the possibility that modern detective of lost film could find any conceivable treasure; in 1926 the director filmed several films in a series entitled Haunted Houses and Castles of Great Britain. Like Holmes, counterpart Nyland Smith, portrayed Fred Paul, was extended into a second series of films, the British studio and director A. E. Coleby, after having completed The Mystery of Dr. Fu Man Chu (1923), which when completed ran to fifteen individual short stories, having added The Further Mysteries of Dr. Fu Man Chu to make the number of adventures twenty two. During 1924, the studio added a series of silent adventures entitled Thrilling Stories from the Strand Magazine. During 1923, Pathe had ran an advertsiement asking, "Is Spiritualism Fake? See Is Conan Doyle Right? Two Parts by Cullom Holmes Ferrell. A sensational picture with a sensational pull." A second ad for the film read, "Can the dead talk with the living? It is reported that Sir Author Conan Doyle has said that in case of necessity the spirit of the great and good man for whom the nation mourns could communicate with his successor. Scientists are interested in studying spiritualism. See Is Conan Doyle Right? Two Parts by Cullom Holmes Ferrell. A real big oppurtunity for exhibitors if there ever was one. A third advertisement read, "Did you ever see a spirit? Do you know what "ectoplasm" and the aura are? See Is Conan Doyle Right? Sensational, startling, a miraculous money maker." "A sensation in two reel featrues", Exhibitor's Trade Review introduced the film, "It is said that the picture is in no way offensive to those who believe in spirit control, mediumship, or manifestations of the return of the departed. In fact, a portion of the picture deals with this phase and proceeds to sound its warning in a seance climax of unmistakable power."
     By all sccounts, Sherlock Holmes at Elsinore Sherlock Holmes pa Marienlyst, written by Danish author Carl Muusmann during 1906 and republished by the Baker Street Irregulars on the fiftieth anniversay of its first appearance, has not been translated into filmic form and on to the screen, it detailing the pariculars to a visit Holmes made to a seaside hotel. Nor has The Vanished Footman, published in the Danish magazine Maaneds-Magisinet in 1910 by Severin Christensen. Sherlock Holmes in a New Light, an anthology of short stories published in Sweden by Sture Stig and the New Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, which he followed with two years later, also seem missing. What Carl Muusmann had in fact written in 1903 that was to find its way into Danish cinema was a novel that Carl Th Dreyer had adapted while a scriptwriter for Nordisk, Fange no 113, directed by Holger-Madsen in 1917 and he had contributed to a script Dreyer had been involved with in 1917 entitled Herregaards Mysteriet. Carl Muusmann had written the background material that went to three films directed by Hjalmer Davidson during 1915 and 1916, Manegens Born, Grevide Clara and Filmens Datter (The Films Datter, adapted from a novel published in 1914. Denmark had had its own early silent cinema with the Nordisk Film Kompagni, founded in 1906, and Swedish film historian Forsyth Hardy can be quoted as having written, "The Danes claim to have made the first dramatic film, in 1903." Most of its early narrative films having had been being directed by Viggo Larsen, they were for the most part "thrillers, tragedies and love stories" (Astrid Soderberg Widding) or "the social melodarama and dime novel that made a hit from 1910 onwards" (Bengt Forslund). Lisabeth Richter Larsen, writing on the internet about the films The Candle and the Moth, The Great Circus Catastrophe and Temptations of a Great City, looks specifically to actor Valdemar Psilander, and quite frankly, his daring, as bringing a wider international audience to Danish silent films, "The film is one of the first in a long row of 'erotic melodramas'- a genre that almost became the trademark of Danish film abroad- and Psilander was born for this type of film with his masculine charm and elegant poise..worth noting. Maybe not so much for Psilander's acting, but for the sensational, action packed story lines that he was in." Anne Bachmann, author of Locating Inter-Scandinavian Silent Film Culture: Connections, Contentions, Configurations, at first quotes a "caustic" Charles Magnusson, "In 1913, the head of Svenska Bio, Charles Magnusson disparingly used a Danish term to express his regret that Stockholm audiences statistically preferred "thrilling" dramas to nature films. Magnusson even contrasted it with overtones of the Romantic sublime associated with breathtaking nature, 'It is sad that I need to state that natural scenery as a rule is not appreciated at its full value. It is not sufficiently thrilling for our restless kind to stop in admiration before Swiss Alps and banal things like that.'" Whether or not Magnusson had adapted his choice of scripts to the Danish vogue, or had added scenes to Scandinavian literature to compensate for a lack of action-centered scripts, the quote displays "a covert critique of the sensationalism of Danish melodrama." Bachmann fittingly adds a quote from the Norwegian director Peter Lykke-Seest (Unge Hjerter, 1917; De Foraeldrevrelose, 1917), who had scripted six films for Nordisk during 1912-1916, "I think the public will soon have had enough of crime films, sensations and empty decorations. It will demand beauty. Beauty and atmosphere. And in that respect, nature will provide more than humans." Author Anna Strauss, while examining Danish silent film as an international cinema, cinema that was exported, writes that, "Danish film was associated with 'social drama' and 'erotic melodrama', so much so that she examines the alternative endings that were filmed in order to export narrative films (not films that are lost, but seperately filmed final acts to conclude their respective feature films). Isak Thorson also writes of the Russian endings to Nordisk films, "It is not easy to say exactly how widely these alternative endings were used. More than half the scrips of over 1100 Nordisk films made between 1911 and 1928 have survived in the NordPisk Special Collection, amid them we find various indications that some at least had alternative endings....On the basis of surviving films, letters and scripts, we know that at least 56 alternative endings were made from 1911 to 1928. Curiously enough, however, there are no indications that alternative endings were created for the five films in which we still have the actual endings. This demonstrates that Nordisk produced alternative endings for more films than the 56 which we know have double endings because they survive." The author notes in particular the American film Flesh and the Devil, with Greta Garbo and Lars Hanson as being a film that had an alternative international ending. More can be learned about the nature of early Danish narrative film as Isak Thosen titles his paper, "We had to Be Careful, the Self-Imposed Regulations, Alternations and Censorship Strategies of Nordisk Films Kompagni 1911-1928". It is taken from a quote from Ole Olsen, "We had to be careful and make films in such a way that the could be understood everywhere. As an example, I might mention that a film could not be sold in England if a man walked through a bedroom and no one else was in the room." Thorsen begins his premise about the Danish erotic melodrama and sensational film by writing, "What's striking about Olsen's recollection is that in his mind there is little distinction between making a film "understood everywhere" and getting it past the often obscure and culturally contingent censorship regulations- in this case the eyes of the British censors and their monitoring of sexual morality." Bo Florin gives an account of there being similar difficulty for Victor Sjostrom in Sweden, in that the censorship board, "continued to irritate producers by cutting out sequences or, worse still, banning entire films." What is in agreement with the Danish concept or necessarily leaving part of the erotic melodrama to the imagination is the later writing of director Peter Urban Gad. If only to characterize Gad as an artist or intellectual, Thomas J. Sanders writes, "Most emphatic was the prominent Danish author Urban Gad, who in early 1919 identified monumentalism, brutality and sentimentality as America's dominant film traits and advised German producers to focus on consistency and substance." Bela Belaz introduces the new subjects and the new characters of the "form language" with a discussion of Urban Gad, "Urban Gad, the famous Danish film producer, wrote a book on film as far back as 1918...According to him, every film should be placed in some specific natural enviornment which must affect the human being living in it and plays a part in directing their lives and destinies." Belaz, in Theory of Film-character and growth of a new art, looks at "photographed theater", and that including Scandinavian film, sees it as no longer being only the "photographed play", that nature itself could be included in the cast of players by the "dramatic features through the present action of the immediate effect of nature on the moods of human beings which sometimes excersise a decisive influence on their fate." While providing an analysis of the grammar of film, including the internal framing (proscenium arch, foreground figures, receding planes) of the shot within the temporal-spatiality of continuity, as well as the "tableau plus insert", Bordwell refers to Filmen:Dens Midler Og Maal, written by Peter Urban Gad, "Gad recommends recording a scene in long shot then replacing part of it for a closer view...Gad explicitly declares that one should not 'cut a scene into small bits'." Marguerite Engberg quotes Gad's volume in that there is an entire chapter on the tinting and toning of film, "He tells us that in the early years of cinema it was common to use loud colors such as scarlet, bright yellow, grass-green and purple in a jumble regardless of style and action and he continues, 'It is still important to pay attention to the use of light colors.'"Since then, as many as 19 films have been listed as lost and as having been directed by Peter Urban Gad, including Die Flasche Asta Nielsen (1915) in which Nielsen plays both her double, Boulette, and herself; after Gad's publication director, as the use of tint and toning was in decline Benjamin Christensen decided to change the color plan, using only three colors: light brown, dark brown and blue. Film historian Mark B. Sandberg, using the advent of the multi-reel film between 1910-1912 as a point of departure, adds, "Although Danish films often framed the most aggressive of female sexuality with diegetic performance situations or punished such transgressions with token strategies of narrative closure, the powerful female desire in the course of the erotic melodrama seems to have trumped any onscreen tactics of containment, at least judging from contemporary reactions. Danish films were not famous for their narrative frames, in other words, and the main force of their gender poetics was anything but recuperative." Amanda Elaine Doxtater, in Pathos, Performance, Voliton, a dissertation written for Mark Sandberg, after citing authors that view erotic melodrama itself as a reaction to gendered spectatorship and the need for the emerging Scandinavian female audience to find the sensational, explains, "The Kunst Film, as these mulit-reel features were called, played a key role in Nordisk's phenomenal success in the teens, both financial and artistic. Although literally meaning "art film", kunstfilm was originally used to designate all multi-reel films...for in contrast to the one-reel films...the longer format allowed Nordisk to develop characters and experiment with complex narrative structure. This would lay the ground work for Nordisk's great combination of humanistic stories, psychologically interesting drama and sensational spectacles." Kirsten Drotner, in Asta Nielsen, A Modern Woman Before Her Time summarizes, "The downfall of the female protagonist is a standard element in early film melodrama", but adds that the "first modern sensational drama" belonged to Fotora and that by 1914, there were 24 film studios in Denmark. "The phenomenal economic success of Nordisk Films rested largely on its export of multi-reel films, intiated in 1910 by a rival company, Fotorama...Longer films set new technical standards and demanded novel forms of narration. while it was Nordisk Films that first reaped the profits of these innovations, it neither invented the feature-length film nor initiated its form of narration." And yet the newsreel-like "life-fact" filming of Ole Olsen and Charles Magnusson had crossed into fiction and fantasy as the one-reel film, in summary, had begun to legnthen after the cinema of attractions- while awaiting the pastoral narrative films of Robert Olsson in Sweden, simultaneous to the release of Danish erotic melodrama, mysteries like Pat Corner (Masterdetektiven) and Nat Pinkerton, The Anarchists Plot (Det Mislykkede attentat), both in which the director Viggo Larsen appeared on screen with Elith Pio, had appeared in Denmark, not as early as 1909 but earlier, the Danish photographer Axel Graatjaer Sorensen having begun filming for Larsen in 1906 and having had continued solely for Larsen untill 1911, when he then began photographing first for Danish silent film director August Blom and then for danish silent film director Urban Gad under the name Axel Graatjkjae. Viggo Larsen by 1910, was in Germany, where he directed and starred with Wanda Treumann in Arsene Lupin Against Sherlock Holmes (Arsene Lupin contra Sherlock Holmes), which appears to have been a series consisting of The Old Secretaire, The Blue Diamond, The Fake Rembrandts, Arsene Lupin Escapes, and The Finish of Arsene Lupin.  In 1911 he directed the more successful Sherlock Holmes contra Professor Moriarty, which having been filmed by Vitascope, was two reels in length. It has been reported from Norway that Viggo Larsen had resigned from Nordisk Film in 1909 due to a financial disagreement with Ole Olsen that had also include concerns about his artistic integrity.   During 1908 Great Northern, The Nordisk Film Company, advertised "Next Issue: Sherlock Holmes the Noted Detective's Capture of the King of Criminals. An Absorbing Subject, the interest of which is enhanced by novel stage effects. The fight in the moving train is the Perfection of Realism. Undoubtedly this season's biggest feature." Moving Picture World wrote about the film, "a detective story by Great Northern Film Co. to be issued next week is a masterly production in every respect. The plot in itself is interesting and well worked out. The staging is splendid and introduces some novel effects, not claptrap contraptions, but very realistic in all details. The action throughout is natural and spirited in some parts."  In Denmark, Larsen had played Holmesin one reel films to Holger-Madsen's Raffles in both Sherlock Holmes Risks His Life (Sherlock Holmes in Danger of His Life/ Sherlock Holmes i livsfare,1908), a film running seventeen minutes on screen in which Otto Dethefsen appeared as Moriarty and Sherlock Holmes Two, both films photographed by Axel Sorensen, the latter having a running time of ten minutes. Great Northern during 1909 advertised, "Among Many Headliners to go on the market in the very near future is Sherlock Holmes: Series II and III. Series I issued recently is crowding every theater in which it is exhibited." Moving Picture World reviewed the film, "It is quite as much of a thriller as the first. The audience will watch with the most intense interest as they see Raffles escape and afterward see Holmes enticed into a lonely place and into a sewer. But he escapes and captures Raffles in the act of shooting at an image in Holmes' window which Raffles takes to be Holmes himself...The cleverness of the film and the success of Holmes compensates for any shortcomings in other directions." Moving Picture World, surrounding with its text a photograph from the film caption, "The Capture of Raffles by Sherlock Holmes", wrote, "Once free, Raffles' first thought is to revenge himself on Sherlock Holmes and for this he enlists the services of a pretty, but depraved girl to decoy the detective to an old house, where he is met by Raffles under the disguise of an old woman. Sherlock Holmes, taken by suprise is thrown through a masked opening in the wall into an old sewer. When Raffles and his associates discover that Sherlock Holmes has been rescued they plan a second attempt on his life. Raffles takes lodgings opposite the detective's home and watches for a good chance to fire his gun...Sherlock Holmes guessing the intention of the criminal, pulls down the window blinds and arranges a dummy at the window." Raffles shoots, only to "find himself face to face with Sherlock Holmes in the flesh....In Sherlock Holmes II, you will find the same quiet, cool and possessed detective."   Einar Zangenberg played the armchair detective in Larsen's Sherlock Holmes Three (The Secret Document/Det Hemmelige), a film with a running time of fourteen mintues, and in Hotel Thieves (Hotelmystierne/Sherlock Holme's Last Exploit) in 1911. Hotel Theives was screened that year in the United States as a Great Northern Film, its advertisement reading, "Another of our celebrated detective productions. A brimful of of exciting and sensational incidents." It shared its advertising space with the "exceedingly well-staged drama" Ghost of the Vaults. Which in Denmark, was seen as Spogelset i Garvkaeldern, directed by August Blom and starring Otto Langoni, Thilde Fonss and Ingeborg Larsen.
     One of those productions from Great Northern that year was The Conspirators, " A sensational drama of the Sherlock Holmes type." Rather than a detective, Einar Zanberg was to play a journalist in the 1911 film The Disappearance of the Mona Lisa (Den forms under Mona Lisa), directed bu Eduardo Schnedler-Sorensen and starring Carl Alstrup and Zanny Petersen;Einar Zangerberg then stepped behind the camera as director in 1912 to bring the photography of Poul Eibye to the screen in the films Kvindhjerter and Efter Dodsspriset, both with Edith Psilander, The Last Hurdle (Den Sidste Hurdle), in which he appeared on screen with Edith Psilander, and The Marconi-Operater (The Marconi Telegrafisten). Viggo Larsen would also direct the Sherlock Holmes films The Singer's Diamond (Sangerindens daiamanter (1908), starring Holger Madsen with Aage Brandt as the singer:  int the case of Margaret Hayes, Sherlock Holmes returns the necklace after having climbed to the roof and then on to a balcony for a duel with revolvers near the chimney. Along with the synopsis of the film, Moving Picture World explained that it was often invited to visit Mr. Oes for advanced screenings of forthcoming releases and praised his for their photographic quality and variety of subject matter. It reviewed Theft of Diamonds, "This firm has made an attraction feature of films of this type in the past, its Sherlock Holmes series being graphic representations of this fact. In this film some very dramatic situations are reproduced and the acting is so sympathetic, and the actors develop so much capability in developing their parts that the audience becomes absorbed in the picture and regrets when it closes." The running time of the film was seventeen minutes. The Great Northern Film Company incidently would during 1910 run an advertisement for a film titled The Theft of the Diamonds crediting it  only as "a stirring detective story" without identifying it as a Sherlock Holmes mystery. To follow were the films The Gray Lady (Den Graa Dame, 1909) with a running time of seventeen minutes and Cab Number 519 (Drokes 519), in which Larsen would play the consulting detective with co-star August Blom.  Moving Picture World described Sherlock Holmes in the film, "Holmes, after all, is only a clever man of the world with highly developed reasoning powers. he is not a mere stage detective looking preternaturally wise and relying only upon time-worn expedients. No, he goes about his work in an ordinary matter of fact style, plus, of course, a little permissible exaggeration of acumen...The picture is full of excitement from start to finish...Melodrama such as Cab Number 519 does not call for subtlety of dramatic interpretation; it all has to be plain, decisive and incisive...Holmes works on very slender materials; he also works rationally."  The Baker Street Journal mentions that the Nordisk Film The Gray Lady is often held to be the first film version of The Hound of the Baskervilles despite that it "does not feature a hound at all, but rather a phantom lady used for much the same purpose." Great Northern advetised the film in 1909 as "From Sherlock Holmes' Memoirs" while it was reviewed mostly as a synopsis outline, "There is a legend in a noble English family that when the Gray Dame, a respectable family ghost, appears then the eldest son of the house dies...In this dilemma, Sherlock Holmes is sent for and he discovers the secret doors...Disguising himself as the son of the house he awaits the next appearance of the Gray Dame...The story is full of exciting movements and the plot is worked out with decision. There is not a lingering moment in the story, which moves rapidly, tensely and convincingly, as all detective stories should". In Cab Number 519, "The only clue in the case is the number of the cab but this is quite sufficient to the intelligent detective. In less than an hour the cab is found and Sherlock Holmes is on the box dressed as a driver." Great Northern included "Cab Number 519" in its regular magazines advertisements by claiming it to be "A meritorious subject in every respect. One of the finest detective stories. Holding the interest continuously fro start to finish." Before becoming one of the finest, and most prolific, of Danish silent film directors, August Blom also starred as an actor with Viggo Larsen in front of the camera of Axel Sorensen in the film A Father's Grief (Fadern (1909), directed by Larsen. Ole Olsen in 1910 produced Sherlock Holmes in the Claws of the Confidence Men (Sherlock Holmes i Bondefangerkler) for Nordisk Films Kompagni, in which Otto Langoni starred as Holmes with the actress Ellen Kornbech. Langoni appeared as Holmes in the 1911 films Den Sorte A Haand (Mordet id Bakerstreet with the actress Ingeborg Rasmussen and in The Bogus Governess Den forklaedete Barnepige, both listed by the Danish Film Institute as being photographed by an unknown director-a pastiche titled Den Sorte Haand was filmed by William Augustinus. Great Northern advertised the film The Bogus Governess  in Motion Picture World magazine with "One of the best Sherlock Holmes detective films ever produced...Secure a booking of this attraction at once...Don't delay in booking this headliner." It shared advertising space with The Love of a Gypsy Girl, "feature drama" and consequently Love Never Dies. Translators had added the titles Night of Terror and Who is She to the films produced by Nordisk Film chronicling the adventures Sherlock Holmes.
      During 1911 magazine readers in the United States were introduced to Alwin Nuess- Hamlet, Prince of Denmark, the film, directed by August Blom co-starring  Emilie Sannom and Einar Zangenberg, who plays Laertes. Produced in the grounds of the original Castle Cronenberg (Elsinore) Denmark,  the Great Northern film, "surpasses any previous Shakespearean productionin acting,  natural scenery and ensemble. Although a classical subject appeals forcibly to every class of audience." Author Astrid Soderberg Widding recently noted that August Blom had Concieved Hamlet as a three act stage play but that the company had abridged the work to a one-reel play. In the article Hamlet of the Film, published in Motion Picture World during 1911 the author declined evaluating the actor Alvin Nuess by comparing him specifically to the elder Southern, Keanu and Irving with, "The pleasure of comparing many great Hamlets will belong to the critics of the following generations. But the Great Northern Film Company is to be congratulated on having the photograph of so interesting a Hamlet as Herr Neuss...Herr Neuss' Hamlet of the film vividly accents the heart qualities of character, when he first comes out on the castle's platform- it is the actual Castle Cronsberg (Elsinore)..Again, when he advises Ophelia (Fraulien Sannom) to enter a nunnery, his guest urges convey so deep a tenderness that the scene is poignantly affecting. Fraulien Sannom makes a very beautiful Northland Ophelia...she wasn't as pathetic as she might have been." Of interest to Skakespearian actors, underneath an advertisement for the 1910 detective film The Diamond Swindler, Great Northern proclaimed the release of the film Kean or The Prince and the Actor, based on the life of "Edward Kean, the famous tragedian, who was not only a great actor, but an intense self human man." The advertisement praised the film for its actors having originated from the Royal Theater at Copenhagen, the film an adaptation of a play by Dumas. The film had been directed by Holger Rasmussen, and it's actor were in fact Einar Zangenberg and August Bloom paired on screen with Agnes Nyrop Christensen, Thilda Fonss and Otto Langoni. Underneath the advertisement for Hamlet was mystery: A Confidence Trick, "A detective story full of exciting situations" and The Stolen Legacy, "a feature detective film of thrilling character." Motion Picture News reviewed The Stolen Legacy without naming its leading actor, "This is an exceedingly powerful detective story. Sherlock Holmes is in make up a life-like presentiment of Conan Doyle's famous character." A synopsis of the film was provided, there having had been being a Countess who was captured in an automobile chase by Dr. Morse, who instructed his assistant, a hunchback to kill her at midnight should he not return. Morse then goes to Baker Street and makes a "forcible entry" to find Holmes and bring him to his awaiting hostage, the Countess, whom Holmes saves." Great Northern advertised The Stolen Legacy alongside The Cossack and the Duke; in its place were in turn advertisements for The Nun and The Voice of Conscience. Alwin Nuess would portray Sherlock Holmes in the films The One Million Dollar Bond (Millionobilgationen) in 1911 and in The Hound of the Baskervilles (Rudolf Meinert) in 1914. The Baker Street Journal attributes the photography of The Hound of The Baskervilles to Karl Fruend; it also adds a sequel that was sped off under the title The Isolated House (Das einsarne Haus),  Alwin Nuess continued playing Holmes in in the 1915 films William Voss and A Scream in the Night., reviewed in Motion Picture World during 1916. "A Sherlock Holmes drama, was written by Paul Rosenhayn and arranged by Alwin Nuess, who has won great popularity through his numerous interpretations of the world famous detective, chief among which as Holmes in Hound of the Baskerville...Contrary to a recent American criticism of the European depiction of the famous detective, thisSherlock Holmes neglected appearing at a soiree in his checkered cap with the inevitable pipe in mouth...That Mr. Nuess has made a careful study of American films is plainly evident in A Scream in the Night. Alwin Nuess had in fact preceded John Barrymore twice; Nuess also appearred in the with Emilie Sannon, portraying the title role in Den Skaebnesvagngre Opfindelse (August Blom, 1910), known to readers of British literature as The Strange Case of Dr, Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Great Northern Film advertised the film in Moving Picture World, "This artistic and beautiful film admirably illustrates Stevenson's remarkable word renowned story. It is a production of genuine and thrilling interest and will hold every audience spellbound to the very finish. Splendidly enacted and reproduced in magnificient photographic sequence. Season's Biggest Headliner" Without mentioning the director August Blom in its advertisement, it very often billing films by title and synopsis only, it was next to advertise another film directed by August Blom, Necklace of the Dead (Dodes Halsband), "Enacted by Actors of the Royal Theater Copenhagen, a magnificient production of intense thrilling interest." The cast of the film includes Otto Langoni, Rasmussen Otteson and Ingeborg Middlebo Larsen. Moving Picture World carried an advertisement for the Great Northern Film Necklace of the Dead during 1910 claiming it was the "Biggest and Strongest Headliner of the Year, squeezing it into a half page with the films The Christmas Letter and the comedy Dickey's Courtship. During 1910 Great Northern Films also advertised the film The Diamond Swindler, "A detective story of the highest type. Adapted from the Adventures of Harry Taxon, the cleverest pupil of the celebrated Sherlock Holmes. A snappy production which will prove itself popular."
     Valdemar Psilander appearred as the fictional detective Otto Berg during 1913 in At the Eleventh Hour (Hven var Forbryderen) with Otto Langoni and Alma Hinding, the film being directed by August Blom. During 1913, Robert Dinesen directed both Otto Langoni and August Blom, together with Agnes Blom, in the mystery horror film, The Man With the Cloak (Manden med Kappen), which uses blue tint to create mood and stmosphere for a double exposure of a ghost-like character, one predating, but reminiscient of, Victor Sjostrom And his use of the device in The Phantom Carriage- the double exposure continues from shot to shot; while the spatio-temporality of the continuity trails behind the two characters in a follow-shot, the camera cuts from interior to exterior to show the progress of both the protagonist and the double-exposed spectre, who then suddenly disappears during the shot as though there had been a stop-motion. In turn, August Blom during that year of 1913 returned behind the camera to direct both Robert Dinesen and Otto Langoni with actress Emma Thomsen in the film The Stolen Treaty (Det Tredie Magt), adapted from a script written by Peter Lykke Seest.
Sherlock Holmes in the Great Murder Mystery, a film produced by Crescent, was reviewed during 1908 as having a plot similar to The Murders in the Rue Morgue, Holmes returning to his study to play violin before proving his client innocent, but overall it seems like the film Miss Sherlock Holmes commanded just as much if not more publicity.There is in fact a film made in Hungary during 1908 and starring Bauman Karoly that is purportedly a synchronized sound film listed as Sherlock Hochmes, which is astonishingly early when compared to the Swedish Biophon synchronized sound film of that year He Who Catches a Crook (Hans som Klara Boven), a film which under the title He Who Takes Care of a Villian, produced by Franz G Wiberg in Kristianstad Sweden, is thought by film historians to be a film that was never released theatrically. More sensational may seem the Hungarian silent filming of Dracula, Dracula's Death (Drakula halala), which is believed to be a lost film of which there are no existant copies. More of a comedy than pastiche, Den firbende Sherlock Holmes directed by Lau Lauritzen for Nordisk in 1918 and starring Rasmus Christiansen, from its posters would seem to lack mystery, despite its being compared to the films made in the United States by Benjamin Christensen.
The one reel film The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes or Held for Ransom directed in the United States by Stuart Blackton in 1905 and drawn from The Sign of Four, is thought to be a lost film. Harry Benham would later play Sherlock Holmes in in the two reeler Sherlock Holmes Solves the Sign of the Four, written and directed in the United States by Lloyd Lonergan. Thanhouser, during 1913 tucked away its advertisement for The Sign of the Four on the same page as its advertisement for the film The Ghost in Uniform as part of their Three-A-Week full page that seems to have relented after its mere brief announcement while Eclair had ran a full page advertisement with oval portraits of Conan Doyle, Longfellow, Poe and Washington Irving claiming that it had acquired the exclusive rights to film the Holmes stories, several of them having been filmed previously in England. The film listed by the Library of Congress as being from 1912 and titled The Stolen Papers, while being listed as being from the Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Arthur C. Doyle and having no director was in all probability directed by George Treville, with he himself starring in the role of Holmes. During 1913, Motion Picture World magazine carried an advertisement that read, "There was never but One Sherlock Holmes and that one Originated in the mastermind of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, who personally supervised the only authorized Sherlock Holmes series of motion pictures on the market. This wonderful series consists of eight complete stories, each featuring the inimitable Sherlock Holmes." The Dead Man's Child was unmistakably a "sensational three reel detective drama", the full page advertisement ran by Great Northern in Moving Picture World Magazine showing stills of the detective Newton "on the trail" and his "daring leap from the bridge", as well as three players in the drama and "Edith in the family vault". It was later that year advertised as "a detective drama that will start them all talking." A second advertisement for the film claimed "The Most Thrilling Detective Drama Ever Staged, a wonderfully exciting film." During 1913 while in the United States a diamond necklace had been the center of The Great Taxicab Mystery, among Nordisk Films that were being shown by Great Northern were The Man in the White Cloak, a "spectral and supernatural interest blend with Heart Throbs and thoroughly human thrills" and A Victim of Intrigue. Motography magazine in 1914 reviewed another Nordisk mystery, "a three-reel detective drama entitled The Charlotte Street Mystery. It is said to contain some novel and startling effects. The story deals with the interesting adventures of an exceptionally clever woman who seeks to elude the law and succeeds in baffling a detective for some time, but is finally captured after several thrilling escapes. The role of the woman is in the hands of Elsie Frolich, the capable Greta Northern leading woman, who gives a very vivid characterization. "In the United States during 1914 The Mystery of the Fatal Pearl with a plot premise reminiscent of The Moonstone was reviewed, of interest to the film detective being the mysteries of the photoplay, the secrets kept by the scenario. "It has been a generally accepted theory that the screen story must be told in chronological order-that events must be shown in a sequence- as opposed to the freedom of relation obtained in literature...there is a departure from the usual custom. The story is told in two sections, the first consisting of three parts, the second of two. The climax is reached at the end of the third part. We are deeply in doubt as to the situation of affairs-it is one that would give occasion for the consumption of many pipefuls of real strong tobbacco on the part of a most competent Sherlock Holmes."  

One could begin looking for The Rivals of Sherlock Holmes in the United States with the 1911 film King, the Detective, "introducing the scientific methods of the modern detective and weaving in a love story to maintain the love interest". Denmark and Great Northern during 1910 offered The Diamond Swindler, "This great feature is another of our famous detective stories. It is adapted from the adventures of Henry Taxon, a clever pupil of the celebrated Sherlock Holmes." Great Northern that year also offered the film The Somnambulist, "a well told and thrilling story that will strongly interest any audience." A synopsis was provided when reviewed, the film centering around a museum director that carried off valuable objects of art, bringing them back to his room. "The acting of the principal character is good and gives a good determination of what a person will do under such circumstances." The film was to be of interest to those audiences that  had never seen examples of sleepwalking. Great Northern also that year distributed an adventure film titled The Hidden Treasure, the films The Jump to Death, The Duel, and The Captain's Wife, bringing audiences up to the midyear of summer. The film that is most haunting is the The Trunk Mystery- it seems unlisted as a Danish film and as a lost film, as though it disappeared, but there is also no mention of who the director or actor pictured in its advertisement was. There is only a photo of an actor smoking a pipe and wearing a plaid, or checkered, Scolley cap and underneath its the caption "The Trunk Mystery Detective". The advertisement from Great Northern during 1911 reviews the film as "A more thrilling, sensational and intensely interesting detective feature has never been released." while another line reads, "A sensational and intesensely interesting story of impersonation to secure an inheritance. The fraud is brought to light by a clever detective who will win the admiration of every spectator- Get busy at once in getting booking for this big feature." The film was accompanied by the advertisement for "a well acted dramatic production" entitled The Homeless Boy. Moving Picture World described the film as a detective story where a love story ensues, "The hiding of the man in the trunk is not novel. It is the keeping him alive after he has been hidden there that in

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Danish Silent Film: Sherlock Holmes at Elsinore


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