# 16 - Lost 35mm Nitrate Film FOUND !

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Silencebound
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# 16 - Lost 35mm Nitrate Film FOUND !

Unread post by Silencebound » Wed Sep 10, 2014 12:59 am

This # 16 film finally came here at last after the recently new-discovered 110 years-old 35mm film print article was billed around the corner of 'Collecting and Preservation' last week, as I have a bad hideous five-days' delay before uploading this fragment masterpiece due to unexpectedly shut-down of my Internet connection until this morning. Okay, let me given a fantastic saying about this wonderfully early 1900's Acrobatic pantomime event with a guy and his Victorian-dressed gal swirlin' around on the well-lighted studio stage. Possibly a French production but not sure but why this film presented the artistic background of two old fashioned Kimono-costumed Japanese women with confused and laughably Japanese Kanji-stroke character texts painted up above. Maybe the couple is in a 'Japanese Restuarant' scene, for instance ? See why the guy walking awkwardly as he is performing 'so ridiculous drunk' after their night dinner outing ! This 82ft fragment must be 'complete' version with few footage missing thereafter. I found it in Germany with six separated clipped-out frames and rolls ( see the photos of it at '110 years-old film FOUND !' article ) and very extremely painstaking reconstructed and almost difficult to join the torn-out clips into an almost perfectly film roll. And, additionally, the restoration is madly very hard to achieve but nicely done, quite successfully. Now, let's see this early-1900 masterpiece right now and judged yourselves whether if you have might seen this as in case if it is a lost film until now . . .

Last edited by Silencebound on Thu Sep 11, 2014 7:01 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: # 16 - Lost 35mm Nitrate Film FOUND !

Unread post by doctor-kiss » Wed Sep 10, 2014 5:28 am

This is a really nice find, and as always, it's wonderful to see it scanned in such quality.

The couple performing here are turn-of-the-century French stage duo Harry and Alaska, known in France as 'Les Harry-Alaska', and I believe this is the first film of them which is known to have survived.

The background is a 'Chinese' (no, really!) set constructed at Pathé's studios in 1901, on which several films were shot. The film that you have is Pathé production #397, LES HARRY-ALASKA AU RESTAURANT CHINOIS (shot 1901, usually dated according to its first inclusion in the French Pathé Catalogue for 1902), released in Britain as THE HARRY-ALASKA IN THE CHINESE RESTAURANT, in Germany as DIE HARRY-ALASKA IM CHINESEN-RESTAURANT, and in the U.S. as CHINAMAN'S ACROBATIC GUESTS. The movie's length was given as 30 metres [=98.5 feet] in France and Germany, and as 100 feet in Britain and the U.S., so your copy really does constitute most of the film.

Here's the entry from the May 1903 Illustrated Pathé Catalogue for Great Britain:
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Edison released LES HARRY-ALASKA AU RESTAURANT CHINOIS in the U.S. under the title CHINAMAN'S ACROBATIC GUESTS, listed in the Edison Supplement for October 1903. Many sources (including the IMDb) mistakenly identify this as an American production rather than an import.

A number of other Pathé shorts were filmed on the same 'Chinese' set, including DANSE CHINOISE (Chinese Dance, 1901) and CHINOISERIES (Chinese Juggler and Mesmerizer, shot 1901, first listed in French Pathé Catalogue for 1902):
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Re: # 16 - Lost 35mm Nitrate Film FOUND !

Unread post by silentfilm » Wed Sep 10, 2014 6:49 am

Excellent find and transfer, Silencebound! And great detective work as always, Dr. Kiss.

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Re: # 16 - Lost 35mm Nitrate Film FOUND !

Unread post by Silencebound » Wed Sep 10, 2014 11:55 pm

Million thanks, doctor-kiss !!! I'd never know that anyone who could immediately find this long-lost short classic up-to-date here much faster than doctor-kiss ! I have changed and recorrected the text subtitles as what he mentioned about it. Indeed, the year is 1901, as this lost film have finally been resurfaced after being unseen for more than 110 years, as my earlier suggestion is correct. I've deleted the first-run # 16 fragment down from YT and changed it with master title, year and country that it was made. It's film producer is Charles Pathe ( 1863 - 1957 ) that he produced so countless many shorties from 1896 to 1929, his retirement year. For presumably completed film listing of Charles Pathe can be found here :-

http://www.lesgensducinema.com/biograph ... harles.htm

But 'Les Harry-Alaska au Restaurant Chinois' was released in 1902, right ? Well, I think that the three short films with Chinese B/G stage was filmed in 1901 and probably being pulled-down before the coming of the year 1902.
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Re: # 16 - Lost 35mm Nitrate Film FOUND !

Unread post by doctor-kiss » Thu Sep 11, 2014 5:44 am

Silencebound wrote:But 'Les Harry-Alaska au Restaurant Chinois' was released in 1902, right ?
Probably. :) It might already have been shown during Winter 1901, but there's no proof of that, due to a lack of surviving Pathé catalogue supplements for those months, and due to the fact that most showings of Pathé films at the time in variety theatres, fairgrounds and circuses didn't list the individual titles of the films included on the programmes. Hence, the earliest provable date for a release is in the surviving 1902 French Pathé catalogue.

===

Anyway, I did a little more research into 'Les Harry-Alaska', and it turns out that most of the very small amount that has been written about their 1901 Pathé appearance is incorrect. For one thing, they were not individually named Harry and Alaska. Rather, 'Harry Alaska' was the stage name of a Russian-born acrobat who made his name primarily as a performer in British music hall. Billed with his (reportedly French) wife as 'Mr. and Mrs. Harry Alaska', or as 'The Harry Alaskas' (and often, due to confusion, as 'Mr. and Mrs. Harry Alaskas'), the pair enjoyed success in Britain from the 1890s through to Mrs. Alaska's death in 1911.

More importantly, however, Harry Alaska was the personal dresser and valet of British music hall star Little Tich, with the Alaskas accompanying him during his many performances in Paris during these years. This is significant, because Little Tich also made three shorts at the Pathé studios in Vincennes at this time... and it seems that the 'Les Harry-Alaska' short was shot more or less simultaneously with these. Indeed, the link between Little Tich and The Harry Alaskas becomes clearer when one looks at the listings in the surviving May 1903 illustrated Pathé Catalogue in context, where their films are listed alongside each other:
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There can be no doubt of how close Little Tich and The Harry Alaskas were; after Mrs. Alaska's death in 1911, Little Tich and his wife adopted the Alaskas' child Rodolphe. (Actually, the story is a little more complicated, since Rodolphe had already been adopted by the Alaskas, and was in fact Harry's orphaned nephew).

At any rate, it seems that LES HARRY-ALASKA AU RESTAURANT CHINOIS may well be a significant title for those interested in British music hall of the period, as the lone known surviving performance of an act whose members were so closely linked with one of the absolute top performers in the business.

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Re: # 16 - Lost 35mm Nitrate Film FOUND !

Unread post by oldposterho » Thu Sep 11, 2014 8:58 am

Simply outstanding work, the both of you. What a treasure for fans of early Pathé films (and this is early!). Kudos and many, many thanks!

--Peter

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Re: # 16 - Lost 35mm Nitrate Film FOUND !

Unread post by Silencebound » Thu Sep 11, 2014 7:11 pm

Many thanks again to doctor-kiss for his extend 'scoped' infos. Well, to reconfirming you all that this # 16 video was redone again with changed year from '1901' to '1902' with my 'apologizes' toward my YT viewers. No more further changes was made. The exact year 1902 was mentioned from the long film listing of producer Charles Pathe's 1896-1911 shorties of that Harry-Alaska title, and again was also shown from IMDB site under the same title with the year 1902. This 1902 H.A. outing must be loving and be loved . . . :D
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