Archive for Mimir the panther

The Sunday Intertitle: Damn this War!/This Damn War! (with added panther)

Posted in Comics, FILM, Politics with tags , , , , , on August 23, 2020 by dcairns

Continuing to investigate the work of Alfred Machin. I thought at first there was little available, but actually a good bit of his early work is on YouTube.

MAUDIT SOIT LA GUERRE (1914) is fascinating because it’s an early feature, because it’s an anti-war movie made mere months before WWI broke out, and because it sorta predicts aerial warfare, with biplanes blowing up balloons and stuff, all staged full-scale.

But I’m also impressed by the stencil colour, which firstly is used to differentiate one side from the other: the two main tints are those applied to the unnamed rival nations’ uniforms. But then we get bright green grass, red roof tiles, and then, for the numerous explosions, flashes of all-over red.

Machin was doing his very best to personalize the concept of “the enemy” with this story of friends from different countries who find themselves fighting to the death on opposite sides. If we thought of the other side as people like us, it would be a lot harder to kill them.

Another thing I devoured recently was Jacques Tardi’s similarly titled graphic novel Goddamn This War!, translated and released by Fantagraphic Books, which paints a remorselessly grim (series of) picture(s) of the whole of WWI, largely from a French infantryman’s viewpoint. Tardi chooses to make his protagonist politically aware and cynical about the war from the get-go, eschewing the traditional journey from naive patriotism to war-weary cynicism. By starting downbeat, Tardi seems to leave himself nowhere to go, which is kind of true, but then he GOES THERE. So we get bludgeoned by page after page of horror and misery, and it’s exhausting — as it should be. I could barely finish it.

Light relief: Machin casts his favourite star, Mimir the panther, in an earlier short, SAIDA A ENLEVE PIS (1913).

The Sunday Intertitle: Babylas Zoo, AKA Menagerie a Deux

Posted in FILM with tags , , , , , , , , , on August 9, 2020 by dcairns

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MADAME BABYLAS LOVES ANIMALS is from the age when intertitles were optional (1911), it seems, or maybe they got lost. But it does have an attractive main title card, which has been removed from the porno English-language version, MRS PUSSY LOVES ANIMALS ~

I sought it out because I was impressed by LE MANOIR DE LA PEUR (1924) and wanted to see more from its two directors, Alfred Machin & Henry Wulschleger, but there’s not much available. Wulschleger is only represented by CAPITAINE FRACASSE, which I’d seen but only because his co-director was the great Alberto Cavalcanti. I rather ignored HW.

This one is a very short Machin comedy with a childishly simple premise: Madame Babylas loves animals so much she adopts everything she sees. Since she lives in the country with her exasperated husband, her household is soon exploding with livestock.

A panther chases a pig out of the house in one striking (and concerning) moment.

Madame Babylas ends the film consoling her poor porker, bandaging it and kissing its ear. Pig looks very chill.

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It’s a very, very simple plot but the movie manages to make it quite incoherent. Maybe there’s an hour of lost footage. There was apparently a whole series of shorts about M. Babylas (Louis-Jacques Boucot) but Madame (uncredited, identity unknown) and her dumb chums have taken over this one entirely.

Machin was a hot-shot young producer who set up Pathé’s production base in Belgium, then in Holland. But prior to that he’d been their man in Africa, and he was fond of placing animals in his movies thereafter, particularly the panther Mimir. (The IMDb says, “Mimir is an actress…”)

LE MANSION also has a displaced African beast, but I’ll tell you about that next week…