Robert Flaherty

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Scharphedin2
Joined: Fri May 19, 2006 7:37 am
Location: Denmark/Sweden

Robert Flaherty

#1 Post by Scharphedin2 » Sun Apr 01, 2007 12:30 pm

Robert Flaherty (1884-1951)

Image

I was an explorer first and a motion picture maker
a long way after.



Filmography

Nanook of the North (1922) Criterion / Editions Montparnasse (R2 FR)*

The Potterymaker (short, 1925)

Moana (1926)

The Twenty-Four-Dollar Island (short, 1927)

White Shadows in the South Seas (directed by W.S. Van Dyke with some scenes by Flaherty, 1928)

Tabu (directed by F.W. Murnau with some scenes by Flaherty, 1931) Milestone (R1) / Masters of Cinema (R2 UK)

Industrial Britain (1933)

The Glassmakers of England (short, 1933)

The English Potter (short, 1933)

Art of the English Craftsman (short, 1933)

Man of Aran (1934) HVE (R1) / Editions Montparnasse (R2 FR)*

Elephant Boy (1937) Network (R2 UK)

The Land (1942) Editions Montparnasse (R2 FR)*

Louisiana Story (1948) HVE (R1) / Editions Montparnasse (R2 FR)*

The Titan: Story of Michelangelo (1950)


* Coffret Robert Flaherty (Editions Montparnasse, R2 FR)


DVD

Louisiana Story (HVE)

Nanook of the North (Criterion)

Robert Flaherty Boxset (MoC)

66 Tabu - A Story of the South Seas


Recommended Web Resources

Cinemaweb -- a very nice selection of essays by Flaherty on the making of his films, and an appreciation written by Dennis Doros

Film Reference

Images Journal -- Review of Home Vision's DVD releases of Man of Aran and Louisiana Story by Derek Hill

Not Coming -- Review of Louisiana Story (July, 2004)

The Robert Flaherty Film Seminar

Robert J. Flaherty - A Biography by Paul Rotha -- Paul Rotha's biography of Flaherty available in its entirety online

Senses of Cinema -- Profile of Robert Flaherty written by Deane Williams

Screenonline -- Career overview by Annette Kuhn

Shooting Down Pictures -- Extensive blog entry on Louisiana Story by Kevin Lee (May, 2007)
Last edited by Scharphedin2 on Tue Aug 19, 2008 3:59 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Scharphedin2
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#2 Post by Scharphedin2 » Sun Aug 10, 2008 6:30 am

With Tabu released in a sumptuous edition by Masters of Cinema, I thought it was time to go back and revisit this thread. Aside from the short films, Moana is now the only major work not available on DVD. Has anyone ever seen this film, and can comment on it and its place in Flaherty's body of work?

Amongst other links added to the profile above is a very nice collection of essays by and on Robert Flaherty at Cinemaweb, as well as Paul Rotha's entire biography on Flaherty, which is available online.

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MichaelB
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#3 Post by MichaelB » Sun Aug 10, 2008 2:20 pm

Industrial Britain is the first film on the BFI's Land of Promise documentary collection.

(It can also be watched in full on BFI Screenonline, but only in UK-based educational establishments and public libraries. Clips from Man of Aran and Elephant Boy are also available, as is a biography)

wpqx
Joined: Sun Jun 15, 2008 5:01 am

#4 Post by wpqx » Sun Aug 10, 2008 5:01 pm

As for Moana it probably most closely resembles Tabu at least in terms of Flaherty's work. It was part of a series of films made at the time that showed "exotic" tropical paradises but doesn't really say much new. Unfortunately I haven't watched it for about a year and didn't take very good notes when I did so I can't provide further details. A rather low grade VHS does exist however if you're desperate to see it.

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lubitsch
Joined: Fri Oct 07, 2005 4:20 pm

#5 Post by lubitsch » Tue Aug 12, 2008 4:45 pm

wpqx wrote:As for Moana it probably most closely resembles Tabu at least in terms of Flaherty's work. It was part of a series of films made at the time that showed "exotic" tropical paradises but doesn't really say much new. Unfortunately I haven't watched it for about a year and didn't take very good notes when I did so I can't provide further details. A rather low grade VHS does exist however if you're desperate to see it.
I saw it very recently, it is a good film, but maybe it lacks the harshness of NANOOK or MAN OF ARAN. On the other hand it surely isn't Murnau's poetic vision of TABU, so it comes off as slightly unmemorable though there are some very remarkable moments as seeing a boy climbing up a single standing palm tree, the camera moves up a bit, the boy climbs on, the camera moves up ... and so it goes until it's frightening and astonishing to see how high the boy goes.

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HerrSchreck
Joined: Sun Sep 04, 2005 11:46 am

#6 Post by HerrSchreck » Tue Aug 12, 2008 5:12 pm

There's a shot like that in Tabu, too. When the boat arrives to announce the taking of Reri.

wpqx
Joined: Sun Jun 15, 2008 5:01 am

#7 Post by wpqx » Sat Aug 16, 2008 11:11 am

The palm tree scene was definitely what stuck with me the longest, but this probably has more to do with a pathologic fear of heights, no thanks for that I don't even like coconuts.

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myrnaloyisdope
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#8 Post by myrnaloyisdope » Sat Aug 16, 2008 12:31 pm

I think 1928's White Shadows in the South Seas should be listed. I know directorial credit is given the W.S. Van Dyke, but Robert Flaherty is listed as having directed some scenes.

I'm not sure how involved he was, but stylistically it looks very much like a Flaherty film, and works as a companion piece of sorts with Tabu as a piece of narrative-documentary fiction set in the South Pacific.

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tryavna
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#9 Post by tryavna » Sat Aug 16, 2008 8:02 pm

I've always understood that Flaherty left the production of White Shadows before any significant filming took place. Of course, since we're listing Tabu, which basically has the same production history, perhaps we ought to list it as well -- although we really ought to asterisk both entries if we do. Both films in their finished form have virtually no footage of Flaherty's, and anyway, doesn't Tabu merely give Flaherty writing and production credit?

I wouldn't pin White Shadows's authorship on its style, though. Van Dyke was an extremely gifted documentary filmmaker himself, and he was primarily known in his lifetime for his efficiency at on-location filmmaking. Certainly, he was heavily influenced by Flaherty. But White Shadows's style is very similar to Van Dyke's 1933 film Eskimo, which has no connection to Flaherty (apart from the obvious influence of Nanook.)

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myrnaloyisdope
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#10 Post by myrnaloyisdope » Mon Aug 18, 2008 1:58 pm

Ok, I wasn't aware of Flaherty's minimal involvement. Just watching the film and seeing Flaherty's name attached, I assumed his influence was substantial. Even without Flaherty, it's still a darn good film, that's virtually unknown. Heck the only version I could find had spanish intertitles.

Thanks for the info on Van Dyke, I seen a few of his films, but didn't know of his documentarial bent. I've just thought of him as "one-take Woody". Eskimo sounds interesting, is it any good?

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tryavna
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#11 Post by tryavna » Mon Aug 18, 2008 3:05 pm

myrnaloyisdope wrote:Eskimo sounds interesting, is it any good?
It's not bad, and since you liked White Shadows, there's a very good chance you'll like Eskimo, too. It also deals with the corruption of a "primitive" people by white colonialism. In fact, Van Dyke made a group of films along this same line, of which my favorite is probably The Pagan even though it's the least documentary-like. The last one was probably Laughing Boy, and it is easily the worst -- possibly Van Dyke's worst. After that, he seemed to work primarily at the studio itself.

wpqx
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#12 Post by wpqx » Thu Aug 21, 2008 6:51 pm

I can definitely see an influence in White Shadows, but I'm also under the impression Flaherty's involvement was negligible at best.

broadwayrock
Joined: Thu Jun 22, 2006 9:47 am

Re: Robert Flaherty

#13 Post by broadwayrock » Wed Nov 05, 2008 6:20 pm

UK band British Sea Power have revealed that they are planning to record a soundtrack to Robert Flaherty's 1934 film 'Man Of Aran'. Flaherty's estate are also hoping to release a DVD of the film along with their soundtrack.

Live performance of soundtrack on youtube in three parts.

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antnield
Joined: Tue Jun 28, 2005 1:59 pm
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Re: Robert Flaherty

#15 Post by antnield » Wed May 27, 2009 8:09 am

broadwayrock wrote:UK band British Sea Power have revealed that they are planning to record a soundtrack to Robert Flaherty's 1934 film 'Man Of Aran'. Flaherty's estate are also hoping to release a DVD of the film along with their soundtrack.

Live performance of soundtrack on youtube in three parts.
CD/DVD combo of the British Sea Power album is out now. Anyone picked this up yet and care to comment on the presentation of 'Man of Aran'?

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JacquesQ
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Re: Robert Flaherty

#16 Post by JacquesQ » Wed Sep 26, 2012 1:42 pm

Not many posts related to Flaherty for now...
I just wanted to mention (sorry if that's already been done seomewhere else) that, much to my surprise, when doing a routine check-up of the movies my collection painfully misses, I found Moana on sale for $22 on Amazon - I had to buy it there rather than on the publisher's site, myriahsbazaar.com ("Myriah's Polynesian Bazaar", no less !), that charges out of this world prices for shipping abroad (I'm in France).
OK, they fully admit it's a DVD-R, unrestored, and you can clearly see the VHS lines before the film begins, but hey, call it much better than nothing : image is acceptable, frame is a bit jumpy but apparently not tampered with, and getting the only missing Flaherty film (reminder : The 24 dollar island is on the "Unseen Cinema : Picturing a Metropolis" disc) is a joy whatever the details...

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hearthesilence
Joined: Fri Mar 04, 2005 4:22 am
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Re: Robert Flaherty

#17 Post by hearthesilence » Wed Sep 24, 2014 9:58 pm

The brand new restoration of Moana is playing as part of the New York Film Festival's Revival Series. They still have tickets (just $10 for members, $15 for the public), but it's showing in one of their smaller theaters, so get them quick! It screens this Tuesday, Sep. 30 at 6:15pm. It will also be screening with a long-lost Flaherty short, A Night of Storytelling / Oidhche Sheanchais, that was only recently discovered in the Harvard Film Archive.

I think this may be the U.S. premiere - the restoration premiered in Moscow over the summer, and you can read about it (and this unique restoration) at IndieWire.

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