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Shadows Over Europe
(orig.title: Ombres Sur L'Europe)
SB.819 (1 reel UK 9.5mm silent film release by Pathéscope August 1939)
"SHADOWS OVER EUROPE" (Orig.title: "OMBRES SUR L'EUROPE") FR 2Dec1933 Dir: Robert Alexandre ------------------------ 55mins (at 24fps) B/W sound Produced by: Bernard Natan (Approx 8mins on 9.5mm) Released by: Pathé-Natan Photography: Louis Cottard & Rene Brut A feature length documentary about the border problems in Europe - well before Hitler decided to settle the problems with large armies. Interesting that this situation existed in 1933 or perhaps before. I can maybe see the need to consult a Europeam history book! (gln) Propaganda film (made in 1933) on the threatened German seizure of the Polish Corridor to Danzig and supportive of Poland's right to retain its territory. The opening scenes are of Warsaw and Silesia, an industrial region, and Porun, capital of the "corridor" which gives Poland an outlet to the sea. This is a bone of contention with Germany, whose territory is split in two by the passage. They claim that, when crossing this strip of land, railway passengers receive bad treatment by the Polish authorities and there are too few lines to carry the traffic. The film replies that there are eight lines and twenty-four trains per day - but only thirty of the places are taken. Also German custom officials escort trains and seal the Goods Trucks upon arrival in the corridor. Cargoes travel without restriction as do passengers who are not subjected to any passport or customs formalities.
Despite German domination of these regions for more than a century, the young folk have not forgotten the songs and dances of their grandfathers. There are scenes of country dancing and Domerania, a rural area with lakes and windmills. Danzig does not belong to Poland but is a "free city". Their port constitutes common property belonging to them and the Polish government. However Germany will not renounce its claim for rights over Danzig. There is a Polish port - Gdynisa which has 132,000 inhabitants. A crowd of sea scouts sings patriotic songs, such as "We will never part with our Polish lands".
Poland has only 85 miles of coast, but love of the sea is a national cult. Every year the waters are feted with a national pilgrimage and also cavalry divisions come to swear an oath of fidelity to the sea. The film ends with the conclusion. "Poland wishes to live at peace with all her neighbours. But if a day should come when Pomerania faced danger, the Polish people would defend her to the last drop of blood".
A review in the trade magazine "The Cinema" said "Overlengthy but ingenious in treatment, with interviews with officials, peasants and plebs, and tediously treated industrial sequences". The Sprnig 1934 edition of "Sight & Sound" added "Inflammatory political propaganda which now that Germany and Poland have temporarily patched up their differences, remains an interesting museum piece".
(Notes from 9.5mm film historian extraordinaire Maurice Trace)
Pathéscope Monthly - August/September 1939
Letter enclosed with the August-September 1939 Pathéscope Monthly magazine
1940 Pathéscope Film Catalogue write-up
Notes: 1. Cinema release in the UK in 1934 as "Ombres Sur L'Europe" (French commentary) and then in 1935 as "Shadows Over Europe" (English Commentary) 2. Interesting that this French Pathé-Cinema documentary production had a 9.5mm reference number among those 9.5mm films released in 1936. From the 9.5mm film leader having a sideways "An" meaning "Anglais" (English) this may have been printed if not mastered for 9.5mm in France. 3. One of the 9.5mm "SB" titles that were released with a double set of main titles (a spare set of main titles to use in case the orginals were damaged.)
4. Also released in France as a '1 reel' 9.5mm silent film, titled "Angoisse Sur L'Europe" by the French Film Office company.
5. This 9.5mm documentary film release was listed in the three or four descriptive war-time Pathéscope 9.5mm film catalogues, and lingered in the few 1940s tiny, simple, 'title only' printed film lists, but didn't appear again in the 1950s descriptive catalogues. Maybe the stock had just sold out and Pathé in France were unable to reprint or if Pathéscope themselves had the negative, maybe it just wasn't popular or not really the subject to choose in the new look, post-war, world. 6. Robert Alexandre was a well known French documentary film maker - he was originally involved with the Pathe Journal French cinema newsreels. Another of his documentary films "Un Monastre" appears on 9.5mm as a 1 reel silent release SB806 "A Monastery" in the UK and a three reel 9.5mm sound release in France as GS.70010 "Un Monastre".
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