Jean Durand (FR 1911)

This is a rather elliptical story of three miners, one of whom is accused falsely of killing one of his friends and can only be saved from hanging by the other friend. The mine owner entrusts Bill with a payroll bag that he is to deliver to a distant post (why is unclear), and he asks Burton to accompany him (which the owner overhears). After Burton goes off with Joë instead (why and where is unclear), Bill slips and falls into a deep pool of water and drowns. Rumors begin to circulate in the saloon that Burton is guilty, and, just before being arrested, he desperately asks the female saloon owner to find Joë, who alone can exonerate him (where he has gone also is unclear). In a series of skillful horseback rides, she is successful, and Joë rides up to the scene of the hanging in time to save his friend.
The film is notable for several deep-space exterior shots, and especially for Dagmar and Hamman’s horseback riding. One scene relatively smoothly tracks her horse through a dry gulch, over a narrow bridge (in a low-angle shot), and from the bridge up a steep hillside (in a corresponding high-angle shot). The next depicts Hamman’s ride, capped by an expert sideways descent down another steep hillside. In the end, he fires a single revolver shot (like the heroine in Selig’s later Sallie’s Sure Shot, shown at the Giornate last year) which miraculously severs the rope from which his friend is hanging.

Richard Abel

scen: Joë Hamman.
cast: Joë Hamman (cowboy Joë), Berthe Dagmar (proprietaria del saloon/saloon owner), Gaston Modot, Edouard Grisollet, Mégé Cadet, Lucien Bataille, Carlos Avril, Vesta Harold.
prod: Gaumont.
uscita/rel: 03.11.1911.
copia/copy: 35mm, 151 m., 7′ (18 fps), col. (imbibito e virato/tinted & toned); did./titles: FRA.
fonte/source: Cinémathèque française, Paris.