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An “Old Maid” from Brooklyn sounds off on the Moving Pictures

February 5, 2011

The Moving Picture News apparently solicited a number of everyday, respectable folks to write on the topic of the title below, after expressing her annoyance with being called an “old maid” this Brooklyn woman writes what sounds more like a love letter than an evaluation:

WHAT’S THE MATTER WITH THE MOVING PICTURES? THEY’RE ALL RIGHT, BUT —

By a Brooklyn Old Maid

I see from the Moving Picture News that the next article in Brooklyn is to be by “An Old Maid” Although I certainly do not identify myself by that title, being quite ready to marry of a suitable opportunity presents itself, i.e. a minister or an editor; but unless my writing brings me in contact with the eligible members of these professions, my chances of meeting one who will win my virgin heart are small, I fear. Why a lady who only acknowledges to thirty-five or thereabouts, should be called old (being single), I don’t know. All I know is she would not be called old (being married or divorced), but anyhow, this has not to do with what I have to say about “Animated Pictorials” (as I always call them). There are an immense number of Pictorial Forums in Brooklyn. Within a mile of where I live, I counted about twenty and you never go into any one of them on an evening but it is full of children and the respectable middle class mothers and fathers and Old Maids with a sprinkling of the colored element and other nationalities, who are as interested as the rest of us. But the way, I wonder when the Passion Play was presented how it was so many Jews went to see it? Now not the difference (I only speak as one old maid, remember). I went twice to see “Uncle Tom” and not a colored man, woman or child was at either performance. I must own to a weakness for the simple, earnest love scenes; they remind me of days gone. I also much enjoy any and all of Gaumont’s pictures. Last Sunday I say “the Duke de Poligny’s Death.” One of the grandest films I ever sway, only the man pitched out of the window was so unmistakably a dummy. The death of the Huguenots and the haunting of the King were very clever, and taking. I often have my little friends with me, and they one and all like pictures with animals in. There was one little tot of three years, who never forgot seeing the big bear at the foot of a tree and a man up on the branches. Yes! Children like animals, and birds, also. The great sea, rolling on, ever restless, ever changing. I also must confess to a weakness for cowboys. They are so brave and ride splendidly. I sometimes find myself wondering if I had been born a Westerner should I ever have had the courage to go flying across the prairies with my hair streaming in the wind, like the dear Bison depicts so grandly in their films. The boys and their horses seem to be one in their fidelity and affection for each other. I like the courtesy and attention you always receive at the Brooklyn houses. If you paid five dollars instead of five cents for your seat you could not be better treated, and the audience is generally as nice as their management. Every one is willing to take off their hats or move their heads to the right or left that some little insignificant person behind them can see better. I think the time is not far off when the music will be more in unison with the pictures and become really music, not a series of bangs and chords on a poor, hard-worked instrument. Also the songs illustrated will be of a higher quality. The moving pictures have come to stay to be a grand factor for good in our midst. They are already becoming purer in matter, more perfect in their lanterns, more critical in their audience, and more educational in tone. I should like to see some of the English films here, some of her grand old cathedrals, and the sweet stories woven round them would make a fine display.

It was a great pleasure to me to spend and hour this afternoon at the Imperial Theater (corner of Halsey and Saratoga). The courteous manager. Mr. Fyne, ushered me in in his usual pleasant way. His first thought seems to be “The best and earliest films that are to be got,” and the comfort and enjoyment of his audience. His films to-day were “The Empty Shell” IMP; “Charles Rene and the Countess” “The Fatal Necklace” Great Northern, and “Bud Brown and His Trials,” Bison. In this the cowboys and two girls ride splendidly, evoking cheers and claps from young and old. There were two pretty songs, nicely sung, and a very able musician. I was surprised at the large number of middle-aged men who came in. Every convenience and comfort is yours in this large and commodious building. I cannot help saying how happy we should be that we live in an age when all these new inventions come to help us to make our young people useful citizens. The moving pictures should be elevated, educating and beautiful. The last they always are, and wonderful; this is what we want. The world has room for all, and science has placed a magnificent power in the hands of the film manufacturers which they should be careful how they use, for “by their fruits ye shall know them.”

The next article will be by Sweet Sixteen.

 

Source: The Moving Picture News 4, vol 5 (4 February 1911): 7

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