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Red Rooster Scare

3.42 of 5 stars 3.42  ·  rating details  ·  12 ratings  ·  5 reviews
Only once in cinema history have imported films dominated the American market: during the nickelodeon era in the early years of the twentieth century, when the Pathe company's "Red Rooster" films could be found "everywhere." Through extensive original research, Richard Abel demonstrates how crucial French films were in making "going to the movies" popular in the United Sta ...more
Paperback, 328 pages
Published March 15th 1999 by University of California Press (first published 1999)
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This book takes a fairly interesting period in film history and draws it out rather tediously. I found the writing to be quite dull and a bit repetitive, and the author relies far too much on documents of "proof" that are entirely unnecessary to prove his very basic points. Nearly every other page includes an advertisement from a trade magazine showing essentially the same thing- that Pathe presented his films as high quality entertainment- without much analysis of these provided examples. I wis ...more
Interesting account of the history of Pathe in the US film market between 1900 and 1910. With their high volume output, high technical and artistic quality, they apparently a big factor in supplying product for the nickelodeon boom and their films were popular with audiences. The American industry fought back by marginalizing them through them through trade agreements and suits, and by branding them in the industry press as "foreign," with vulgar and sensational content unsuitable to American au ...more
Carol B.
Like another alluded to, this book should've been interesting; the subject itself is. But the writing is beyond dry. I'm not saying this book doesn't have quality research in it; I'm sure Abel's insights are actually quite good, and I certainly wouldn't be qualified to say his research isn't. But this was simply not an engaging read.
This book discusses how Pathe Freres dominated filmmaking in the 1900s, and how American film became distinctly "American" primarily because of competition to knock Pathe from the top. I was unfamiliar with this whole aspect of American cinema, and it was interesting to learn how something that seems so indirect can really put a distinctive stamp on filmmaking.
So I was going to try and finish this, since we only read the first half for class, but that doesn't appear to be happening any time soon. Really interesting account of the role of Pathe, the French film company, in the formation of the American film industry.
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