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THE RUSSIAN STATE DOCUMENTARY FILM & PHOTO ARCHIVE
AT KRASNOGORSK - (RGAKFD)


Narrative Index

Film
(continued)

During World War I, cameramen captured events on all fronts. Before 1915, the exclusive rights to film battles belonged to the Film Department of the Skobelev Committee. The Skobelev Committee of the Assistance to the Wounded Soldiers of the General Staff was founded in November 1904 as public organization.

By the order of the Scobelev Committee many cameramen filmed the events of the World War I, such as Englishman Arcol (representative of Pate Company, filmed on Southwestern and Caucasus fronts), cameramen E.D. Dored (represented American companies) and P.V. Ermolov, (filmed events on Caucasus front); P.K. Novitskiy (Gaumont Company), NM Toporkov, K.E. von Gan, A.K. Gan-Jagelskiy, made filming in the General Headquarters. Other cameramen such as: A. G Lemberg, S, Zebel, Trushe, etc. also worked at the fronts.

Cameramen filmed the war not only on the fronts but also from the rear. Since the first month of the war until 1917 the Scobelev Committee produced about 70 newsreels. From 1914 to 1915 cameramen of the Scobelev Committee produced 21 series of the newsreel "Russian Military Chronicle". The materials of this newsreel were used many times for the separate films made by Scobelev Committee and other film companies.

There were several other film companies and cinema factories which produced and showed military newsreel. Among them: Joint-stock Company " biokhrom", Joint-stock Company "A. Khanzhonkov and Company", (produced and show newsreels 'Journal-Pegasus" and others), firm of Drankov, cinema factory P.L. Pendrie, firms of Kozlovskiy and Uriev, Luisogorskayia, Libken and others. There were many newsreels on the Russian film market showing the events of 1914-1917. Montage and demonstration of the newsreels were done by the branches of the companies working in St.-Petersburg and Moscow. Such as the series: "Gaumont Chronicle", "Pate Journal", "Parisiana Chronicles", "Eclair-Journal", "Alliance Chronicle" and "Pegasus Chronicle". "Pate Brothers" company, using footage of military topics taken from the other countries, made montages and showed its newsreels - "Chronicle of the War", "Military Review" and others. News from different fronts of World War I were included in the newsreels: "Gaumont Chronicle", "Parisiana Chronicle", "Eclair-Journal", "Alliance Chronicle" and "Pegasus Chronicle".

Many foreign documentaries were shown in Russian movie-theaters at that time. For example, a production of Italian company -"Ambrosia," a Danish company - "Nordisk,"a French company - "Gaumont and Pate", works of the Cinema Department of the French Army, (newsreels -"Chronicle of the War" marked by the trademark "COFA"), production of the Cinema Department of the General Staff of the British War Ministry, " Serbia-Film", etc.

There is a lot of material about the French and British allies of Russia. Some Chronicles are devoted to battles near Champagne in 1915-1917, near Verden in the Winter of 1916, battles on the Somme and Ankre rivers in 1916, in the Argon Forests and in Flanders between 1915-17. In the newsreels, Italian, Serbian, USA, Swiss, Greek, Canadian, Portuguese, Rumanian, Polish, Austrish, etc. armies were advertised.

Documentaries showing events on the Russian front form a separate group which is the biggest part of Archive's World War I collection. Newsreels of "Pate", "Gaumont", Khanzhonkovs, Drankovs companies show the mobilization of Russian soldiers, their techniques and transportation on the fronts; war supplies, the collecting of donations and the making of bandages by different charity organizations, patriotic demonstrations.

Cameramen K.E. von Gan, A.K. Gan-Jagelskiy, Toporkov, and Erkole filmed the events in the General Headquarters during the war (1914 - Summer, 1915 in Baranovichi, and from Summer, 1915 in Mogilev). Until 1915, the rights to film military events belonged exclusively to the "Military Cinema Department of Skobelevs Committee."

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