Kinetoscope (Derby Castle-Palace & Opera House, juin-septembre 1895)

La presse de l'île de Man s'y prend tôt pour annoncer l'arrivée d'un kinetoscope. Il est en effet question d'un appareil dès le mois d'avril 1895. Il s'agit en l'occurrence de le coupler avec un phonographe :

The combination of the kinetoscope with the phonograph, upon the perfection of which Mr. Edison and his assistant Mr. Dickson, have been working for several years, is said to have been made pratical and will be offered to the public within a short time, in the shape of an instrument which will show action and give phonetic expression simultaneously.

Isle of Man Examiner, April 27, 1895, 6.

Ça n'est que quelques semaines plus tard que nous apprenons qu'un certain H. S. Williams, de Liverpool, demande l'autorisation de présenter un kinetoscope :

Read letter from Mr H. S. Williams, Liverpool, applying for permission to exhibit Edison's Kinetoscope and Phonograph on Douglas Head. Recommended. "That permission be granted upon the usual terms and conditions, the weekly rental to be ten shillings each."

Mona's Herald, Douglas, May 22, 1895, p. 5.

Compte tenu de la situation géographique de l'île de Man, cette arrivée est finalement assez précoce, et elle a lieu dans le Derby Castle. Quelques jours plus tard, le Isle of Man Times va consacrer un premier long article à l'invention d'Edison. On peut apprécier, en particulier, les nombreux détails concernant les vues présentées qui appartiennent, pour l'essentiel, aux premiers films tournés pour le kinetoscope :

One of the wonders of the age is on view at Derby Castle in the shape of the Kinetoscope, one of Edison's latest inventions. Really, the capabilities of the thing are appalling. By its means the following, all working as if in life before the spectator, are shown: Blacksmiths shop, contortionist, cock fight, Highland dance, saloon (where a loafer raises a disturbance and is unceremoniously put out), Armand d’Ary (French chanteuse and danseuse, the latest Paris and New York “rage”), wrestling match, prize fight, tumbler, Carmencita, Sandow, reproduction of Buffalo Bill’s Wild West scenes, prize fights, &c. Perhaps the simplest method of explanation will be to describe an actual scene. Among many subjects thus far secured for the Kinetoscope is the interior of a barber’s shop. The beholder, who is looking down through the window of the Kinetoscope cabinet, sees the interior of a barber’s shop. A man is reclining upon a barber’s chair about to be shaved. The barber goes to his case, secures his cup, makes a lather with which he proceeds to lather the man’s face. Meanwhile, a coloured gentleman, who is probably acting in the capacity of porter, boot-black, and Jack-of-all-trades, is moving about the room. He picks up a newspaper and sits down to read it. Another customer comes in; pulls off hat and coat; the smoke is plainly seen rising from his pipe; picks up a paper to read and await his turn. The coloured gentleman, aforesaid, finds something very funny in the newspaper he is reading, and thereupon he crosses the room and points out the amusing article to the waiting customer. They both laugh and show every sign of amusement. Meanwhile the barber has been shaving his man, and both the “shaver” and the “shevee” have been going through many motions, the one plainly evincing his desire to hurry through the work of shaving and be ready for the “next.” Now, it should be understood that this is not an imaginary scene, emanating from the pencil or brush of some artist: but it is an accurate photograph of a scene which has actually taken place. Every movement, from the walking of the man across the floor to the sweep of the razor, is recorded, and is witnessed by the beholder through the window of the Kinetoscope.

Isle of Man Times, 4 June 1895, 2.

ile of man derby castle

Ile de Man, Douglas, Derby Castle (c. 1900)

La presse, régulièrement, va informer les lecteurs sur les programmes jusqu'au 9 juillet, date à partir de laquelle le kinetoscope quitte le Derby Castle pour s'installer au Palace and Opera House où il va continuer à présenter des vues Edison jusqu'à 21 septembre 1895 The Isle of Man Times, 21 septembre 1895, p. 2), date de la clôture définitive.  

Répertoire (autres films) : A Boxing Match, A Performance of Japanese dancers, Two Ladies fencing, A fire escape at work at a fire in New York. (Isle of Man Times, 23 Juillet 1895, p. 2.)


Le Cinematographe de M. Mahew (mai 1896)

C'est à Mr. Mahew que les habitants de l'île de Man doivent les premières images animées projetées sur écran. Comme il se doit, le premier article explique le fonctionnement de l'appareil :

One of the attractions of The Palace is to be the "Cinematographe," an ingenious adaptation of the photographic camera which reproduces, enlarges, and projects life-size photographs on a screen, at lightning speed. This wonderful result is the out-come of the very latest combinations in optical, electrical, and mechanical science. On an endless transparent band, actuated by the most delicate mechanism. a series of "snap-shot" photographs are taken at the unprecedented speed of 900 per minute. Thus a succession of images follow one on the other at such infinitesimal intervals that the effect conveyed to the eye is perfect in its illusion of continuous vitality. The size of the projections on the screens are such that entire audiences can simultaneously witness the enactment from a scene in a stage play, an athletic contest, a dance, a procession, or, in fact, any domestic, social or artistic incident worthy of living and moving reproduction. It must be seen!

The Isle of Men Times, May 23, 1896, 4.

Mais les informations sont rares et aucune indication n'est fournie au sujet des vues présentées, ni sur l'origine de l'appareil. Certes la publicité évoque les séances organisées à Londres, à l'Emprie Theatre of Varieties, mais sans indiquer un rapport direct. Les séances ont lieu au Palace.

ile of man cinematographe 1896

The Isle of Man Times, 23 mai 1896, p. 8.

Pourtant, la nouveauté va susciter l'intérêt des autorités, au premier rang desquelles le gouverneur. L'opérateur Mahew va se fendre, comme il se doit, de quelques explications, mais aucune information sur cette présentation exceptionnelle et sur le fonctionnement du cinématographe :

His Excellency the Lieut.-Governor visited The Palace, on Thursday evening, accompanied by the Hon. Miss Henniker, Mrs Freeth, Miss Freeth, Miss Moore, Colonel Freeth, and Mr Walker. His Excellency and party arrived at about nine o'clock, and stayed till nearly closing time. His Excellency expressed his gratification with the whole of the entertainment and all the surroundings, manifesting special interest in the Cinematographe, the working of which was fully explained to him by the operator, Mr Mahew.

The Isle of Man Times, May 30, 1896, 4.

Et puis l'appareil disparaît aussi vite qu'il est arrivé... Toujours est-il qu'il s'agit du premier cinématographe que découvrent les habitants de Douglas. C'est déjà ça...

Le Cinematograph du Professor Wood (décembre 1896/juin-septembre 1897)

Il faut attendre le mois de décembre 1896 pour qu'un nouvel appareil soit présenté à l'occasion des fêtes de fin d'année. C'est en réalité tout un spectacle que propose le Professor Wood, un tourneur qui vient pour la douzième fois à Douglas. Il présente, et cela est inédit, un Grand Dioramic Excursions, c'est-à-dire " Animated or Living Photographs produced by aid of the Cinematograph. (Pictures that can do all but talk)." Par ailleurs, il est accompagné de plusieurs chanteurs pour l' " Entertainment Party " (The Isle of Man Examiner, Douglas, 19 décembre 1896, p. 4).  On aurait pu croire que la presse locale allait couvrir l'événement, mais difficile de se mettre sous la dent un article détaillant les projections et les vues présentées, et ça n'est qu'un entrefilet général qui nous informe assez vaguement :

We paid a visit to Professor Wood's show and pronounce it to be a first-class all-round entertainment, and well worth a visit. The animated photographs produced by the Cinematograph, which is really a wonderful invention, are very pleasing. The dioramas, for which Professor Wood's entertainments are famed, are as good as ever, under the control of Mr T. R. Wood. Mr J. T. Wood, the Yorkshire Humorist, and winner of 20 first prizes, sings nightly, and is a terrific success as a comic singer. He is about one of the best we have heard in Douglas for a long time. Mr Henry Grey, Dramatic and Musical reciter of the principal London and provincial concerts, gives a very refined and first-class entertainment. The remainder of the entertainers are Miss A. J. Bell, Miss L. Williamson, Mr W. Kewley, and Mr J. Cretney, with Mr Harry Rushworth as accompanist.

Mona's Herald and Fargher's Isle of Man Advertiser, Douglas, December 20, 1896, 4.

Les séances qui ont lieu au Grand Theatre de Douglas se terminent le 31 décembre, et il faut attendre le 2 janvier 1897 pour enfin avoir une précision sur le contenu des vues présentées :

The part of the performance, however, which excites the most absorbing interests is that described on the programme as animated or living photographs by the cinematograph (pictures that do all but talk), and really the reproductions by this latest development of photography were simply marvellous. One of the most interesting of these pictures depicits the recent entry of the Czar into Paris, the imperial carriages, the mounted guard, and the cheering spectators passing before the audience as if they were realities, and not shadows of shades. Altogether the entertainment is a most remarkable one, for its combination of amusement, instruction, and novelty.

The Isle of Man Times and General Advertiser, Douglas, January 2, 1897, 4.

En l'absence d'autres informations, il est impossible de savoir de quel éditeur proviennent les vues de la visite du Tsar à Paris, en octobre 1896, car presque toutes les maisons ont leurs vues de cet événement important des relations franco-russes. De toutes façons, M. Wood est déjà parti lorsque l'article paraît.

Dans les mois qui suivent, deux demandes d'installation d'un cinématographe vont être rejetées, pour une raison que l'on ignore. La première émane de W. Cottier Cubbon, de Liverpool : " Mr W. Cottier Cubbon, Liverpool, has been refused permission to erect a wooden pavilion on Douglas Head for an exhibition of the cinematograph during the season. (The Maxman, Douglas, 13 mars 1897, p. 12). La seconde date du mois d'avril : " The Highways Committee have refused to grand applications for cinematographe exhibitions on the foreshore and Douglas Heead. (The Manxman, Douglas, 7 avril  1897, p. 15).

Finalement, M. Wood revient avec son cinematograph à la fin du mois de juin pour toute la saison d'été. Il s'installe pour ses " Lectures and Dioramas and Animated Photographs " au Public Hall (The Manx Sun, Douglas, 26 juin 1897, p. 8). Si les annonces sont fréquentent au cours des semaines, elles n'apportent guère d'informations, ni sur le répertoire, ni sur l'appareil. Il semble d'ailleurs que M. Wood ne dispose que d'une quantité assez limitées de vues.  :

Professor Wood, the celebrated physiologist and phrenologist, who is in Douglas for the thirteenth consecutive season, has during the week been giving his highly interesting lectures and dioramas, with exhibitions of the cinematograph, in the public hall under the Loch Parade Primitive Methodist Church. The entertainments have been well attended and highly appreciated. On Sunday night Professor Wood gave a high-class sacred musical and pictorial recital in the Grand Theatre, which was well tilled on the occasion. The professor's consulting rooms are open daily.

Isle of Man Examiner, Douglas, July 10, 1897, 5.

En tout état de cause, le cinématographe n'occupe pas une place prépondérante dans le spectacle de M. Wood et les dioramas semblent d'une plus grande importance. Pour le reste, aucune nouveauté pendant toutes les semaines de présence à Douglas. Ça n'est finalement qu'en septembre que l'on apprend, de façon rapide, que l'appareil donne quelques signes de faiblesse : " Last week, it will be remembered, the pictures were somewehat indistinct, the light not being powerful enough. This week Mr Wood had a new machine, and the pictures were clearly defined. They were most enthusiastically received, and evidently form a most popular form of entertainment. During the scene of the Jubilee procession, a verse of the National Anthem was loyally sung. " (Peel City Guardian and Chronicle, September 25, 1897, p. 3.). À ce moment-là, le Professor Wood est déjà en train de parcourir l'île pour présenter son spectacle :

Mr T. R. Wood, the popular and enterprising manager for Professor Wood's dioramas and lectures, has been touring the Island with a capital entertainment. Castletown was visited on Monday evening; Peel on Tuesday; Ramsey on Wednesday. Thursday and Friday; while to-night Laxey will be entertained. In Castletown and Peel Mr W ood's effort was heartily supported, there being crowded houses on both of those evenings At Ramsey, there were satisfactory audiences though somehow the Ramsey people did not crowd the hall as at the other towns. Mr Wood presented a capital entertainment each evening, and gave a new programme nightly. The dioramas exhibited were "Bound the World; "A Trip to London," " Ireland," " Canada," etc., and each evening a series of "animated photographs" was exhibited by means of the cinematographe. Both the dioramic views and the cinematographic views greatly pleased the audiences. Mr Wood was also assisted in filling up the evening by Miss A. A. Turner. R.A.M., our most popular Insular soprano Mr Sydney Dawson, of Manchester; and Mr J. T. Wood , comedian. Miss Turner was everywhere very successful with her charming singing. Her most enjoyable song, perhaps, was " The dear little Shamrock," which captivated her audiences, and always evoked a recall. Mr Sydney Dawson, who is a very popular vocalist at the leading Manchester concerts, sang with excellent taste and splendid voice. Mr J. T. Wood is a clever comedian and never failed to raise a hearty laugh. Last Monday. Mr Wood made a second journey to Castletown where his entertainment was again very successful. On Tuesday a return visit was made to Peel and a fair audience assembled. The rapturous applause that greeted the "living pictures" was an eloquent testimony to their excellence and popularity. The entertainment here also included dioramic views, illustrations of "A Trip to London," and the "lions" of the great Metropolis were vividly represented. Solos were contributed by Miss A. A. Turner and Mr Sydney Dawson in excellent styles, and Mr J. T. Wood! did the comic business to perfection, receiving several recalls. Mr T. R. Wood intimated at each of the places visited that, as his tour had been so successful, he intended to repeat it next year.

The Isle of Man Times and General Advertiser, September 25, 1897, 5.

Ainsi met-il un terme à cette longue estivale. Mais il est loin d'être le seul à tenter de séduire les habitants de Douglas...

Répertoire (autres vues) : The Paris BoulevardChurch Parade of SoldiersStormy day at Brighton (The Isle of Man Times and General Advertiser, Douglas, 10 juillet 1897, p. 4), Views of the Royal Procession in St. Paul's on Jubilee Day. The Manxman, Douglas, 17 juillet 1897, p. 22.


Le Theatrograph de R. W. Paul (juillet-août 1897)

Mais la concurrence est grande à Douglas en cet été 1897. C'est d'abord R. W. Paul qui arrive, lui aussi, à la fin du mois de juin avec son Theatrographe. Le Britannique dispose de son propre appareil et l'occasion lui est donnée de le présenter avec quelques vues de son cru. Il s'installe au Palace, parmi d'autres numéros, avec bien entendu des vues du Jubilé de la Reine Victoria, la grande affaire du moment. 

ile of man theatrograph 1897

The Manx Sun, Douglas, 3 juillet 1897, p. 8.

La presse se contente, la plupart du temps, de passer les publicités pour les projections de Paul, et nous ne disposons d'ailleurs pas d'informations précises sur le - bon ou mauvais - fonctionnement du théâtrographe. Il faut attendre la seconde quinzaine du mois de juillet pour qu'une information attire notre attention. L'opérateur ne se borne pas à projecter des films, mais il est là également pour tourner des vues qui vont d'ailleurs se retrouver dans le catalogue. Paul met à profit le départ de l'Empress Queen, un steamer de l'Isle of Man Steam Packet Company dont le lancement a eu lieu, le 4 mars 1897, pour filmer la scène, ainsi que d'autres vues :

On Thursday, Mr. R.-W. Paul, whose " Theatrographe” has delighted the patrons of The Palace for the past few days, took several cinematographic photographs of scenes in Douglas, including the departure of the Empress Queen on her trip round the Island, and a view of the Loch Promenade with all its life and gaiety. The photos, we believe, will be reproduced by Mr. Paul's "Theatrographe" at The Palace next week.

Isle of Man Times, 24 July 1897, 4.

Sans aucun doute, les vues sont parmi les premières qui sont tournées sur l'île de Man, même si Clément Maurice a précédé Paul de quelques jours. Ce dernier dispose d'ailleurs des moyens pour développer les vues puisque quelques jours plus tard, comme annoncé, elles sont présentées au public :

Every night at ten o'clock, Mr R. W. Paul exhibits his Theatrographe, otherwise animated photographs. Included are several pictures of the Jubilee procession, and some local scenes.

The Manx Sun, Douglas, July 31, 1897, 5.

Les projections vont ainsi se prolonger jusqu'à la fin du mois d'août où les annonces disparaissent de la presse.

Répertoire (autres vues) : The Jubilee Procession-The Queen and Suite approaching St. PaulThe Soldier's CourtshipDerby of 1897(The Manxman, Douglas, 17 juillet 1897, p. 20).

Le Cinématographe Lumière de Félicien Trewey (juillet-septembre 1897)

Félicien Trewey arrive le dernier, mais ça n'est pas le moindre. Il vient de triompher pendant plusieurs mois à l'Empire Theatre avec le cinématographe Lumière. C'est donc un homme de scène parfaitement connu des Britanniques qui présente l'appareil au Pavilion Theatre of Varieties. En réalité, la presse annonce sa venu dès le mois de mai :

A conspicuous feature in the show will be introduction of several up-to-date novelties. Lumiere's cinematograph (direct from the Empire, Leicester Square, London), under the sole control of the famous Mons. Trewey, is certain to be a big draw. This is acknowledged to be the finest machine in the world.

The Manxman, Douglas, May 29, 1897, 7.

Le contrat est donc sans doute déjà signé pour ces présentations. Mais à la différence de ce qui se produit souvent, des tournages vont avoir lieu avant même l'inauguration des projections. Le cinématographiste porte le nom de Mons. Morris... mais on apprendra par la suite qu'il s'agit de M. Maurice... c'est-à-dire Clément Maurice, collaborateur des frères Lumière sur Paris. La presse n'est pas avare d'informations, et nous avons même la chance de connaître le sujet de certains tournages :

Mons. MORRIS, one of the leading photographers of Paris, is now on the island taking a series of photographs for Mons. Trewry's Cinematographe, which commences an engagement at the Pavilion on Monday next. On Thursday he secured some capital views of the bathing scene at Port Skillion, feeding the sea lions at Groudle, and on Friday, he secured a view of the crowd on Douglas Head breaking up after listening to the Minstrel performance, and some views of the Electric Cars at Laxey Station. It is also intended to get a view of the Empress Queen approaching the Port, and other local scenes of interest. Mons. Morris, who is staying with Mr Radcliffe at Greenwood House, expresses himself as charmed with the richly diversified and beautiful scenery of the Island. It may interest our readers to know that each scene taken for one of these instruments, necessitates some 1.200 photographs, all of which are taken in the space of one minute. No doubt the local views will lend additional interest to the Cinematographic views at the Pavilion, but Mons. Trewey has hundreds of interesting scenes taken in all parts of the world, which will be exhibited next week while the local views are being got ready.

The Manx Sun, Douglas, July 17, 1897, 4.

Or ces vues ne vont pas figurer dans le catalogue Lumière,  mais dans celui de la maison Gaumont. Rien d'étonnant à cela, puisque cette dernière est en pleine restructuration après l'abandon du chronophotographe 60 mm et à la recherche de vues animées pour faire face à la demande et nourrir son catalogue. Une information complémentaire semble indiquer que le propre Trewey n'est pas à la manoeuvre, mais qu'au contraire Clément Maurice est accompagné d'un collaborateur dont on ne connaît pas le nom :

Mons. Trewey has two operatives now on the island taking a series of views for this cinematograph which is to appear at the Pavilion next week. Mons. Trewey has just recently completed an engagement of over eighteen months at the Empire London, and his machine is generally acknowledged to be the best in the world.

The Manx Sun Special Edition, July 15, 1897, 2.

Et en effet, le cinématographe Lumière est inauguré le 19 juillet 1897 comme annoncé depuis longtemps. Parmi les nombreuses annonces, celle du 24 juillet est peut-être l'une des plus complètes :

Mons. Trewey's cinematograpbe exhibition was left till late on the programme, but was none the less welcome when it came. Direct from the "Empire,” London, after an engagement of eighteen months, the residents and visitors of Douglas may think themselves extremely lucky to have the opportunity of seeing the famous pictures here exhibited. They include several fine representations of the recent Jubilee procession, all of them extremely fine.

The Manx Sun, July 24, 1897, 3.

En parallèle, Clément Maurice et son complice anonyme sont toujours sur l'île de Man pour un nouveau tournage pour immortaliser le récent steamer Empress Queen et son arrivée au port :

There were also on the Pier two gentlemen with a camera for the purpose of taking views of the arrival of the steamer to be exhibited in a cinematographe.

Isle of Man Times, 24 July 1897, 2.

En réalité peu de temps s'écoule entre le moment du tournage et la présentation au public. Cela indique que les deux collaborateurs sont à même de développer les négatifs dans des délais très brefs et sur place. D'ailleurs, quelques jours plus tard, les vues sont largement commentées par la presse, dont en particulier celle de l'arrivée du tram électrique :

THE animated pictures shown at the Pavilion by Mons Trewey’s Cinematograph are really wonderful representations of interesting and dashing events; for instance, thousands of people could not possibly get to London to see the Jubilee procession, but Mons. Trewey and the Pavilion managers have brought the scene within reach of everyone in Douglas, by means of this wonderful instrument which claims up to now to be the best in the world. It is not only Jubilee pictures, however, that the eye is feasted with, for the mind is now fired with a vivid representation of the exciting fire brigade call, and again, amused with the Toboggan on water, or the snowball battle. By the local views shown, the beholders may form some idea of the realism of these pictures. Douglas Promenade is depicted to the very life, the Queen Victoria with her thousands of passengers is seen coming alongside the pier, with the gallant Capt. Keig on the Bridge to the letter. The electric car reaching the summit of Snaefell is perfect, for the operator has caught the good-natuaed doctor, who is never so happy as when he is enlightening the minds of his fellow-mortals on the beauties of Mona. and particularly that portion over which the electric railway wends its way. The doctor is blessed with great vigour, great versatility, a keen interest in the welfare of our electric system— whether they lie north or south, but perhaps especially north— and a sociable nature that delights itself in imparting information to his fellow-mortals. Mons Maurice, the famous photographer of Paris, is to be congratulated on having snapped the picture of the doctor in the midst of the work in which he delights, and all unknowingly handed him down to posterity as an example of what an enthusiastic man can do for the benefit of his country; and, believe me, the gentleman in question has done more this quiet way than many people wot of. But those who wish to behold the wonder of the age must really see the animated pictures at the Pavilion; for they are great.

The Manx Sun, August 21, 1897, 4-5. 

Alors qu'au cours de l'année 1896, il est plus habituel de voir les pionniers organiser des présentations sans pour autant disposer de vues locales - simplement pour des raisons techniques -, en 1897 les choses ont évolué, et Félicien Trewey peut sans difficulté offrir, dès la première, des vues de Douglas. Le journaliste est d'ailleurs sensible à un aspect rarement évoqué dans la presse, à savoir, la publicité que les films sont susceptibles de faire en faveur de l'Île de Man :

The majestic approach of the steamer was operated by cinematograph on the pier, and the moving picture is no doubt destined to afford delight to thousands throughout the kingdom in months to come, as well as to make a valuable advertisement for the Isle of Man.

Mona's Herald and Fargher's Isle of Man Advertiser, Douglas, July 28, 1897, 3.

En revanche, nous n'avons que peu d'informations relatives aux autres vues présentées au cours de ce séjour à l'exception des films tournés à l'occasion du Jubilé de la Reine Victoria, un sujet en or, bien entendu, et que proposent également les deux autres concurrents sur l'île de Man :

Perhaps the attraction of the evening is the Cinematographic exhibition. In addition to the pictures of the Diamond Jubilee Procession, Mons. Trewey shows some recently taken Manx views, which on being recognised by the audience, are loudly applauded. Several of the pictures have to be shown twice over.

The Manx Sun, August 21, 1897, 3.

Un doute subsiste. À quel éditeur appartiennent les vues présentées à Douglas ? En effet, autant Lumière que Gaumont disposent d'une série de films de cet événement exceptionnel.

C'est au bout d'un mois et demi que le cinématographe Lumière commence à annoncer son départ : " Visitors who have not yet seen the animated pictures at the Pavalion should note that the present week will conclude the engagement of Mons. Trewey's Cinematographe. " (The Manx sun Special Edition, Douglas, September 7, 1897, 3).

Mis à part les trois appareils qui fonctionnent à Douglas, on a aussi un spectacle parodique " The Cinematographic Dance " qui fait les beaux jours du Derby Castle... Par ailleurs, l''Association Pearson's Fresh Air Fund organise une soirée de bienfaisance pour les enfants deshérités (Mona's Herald and Fargher's Isle of Man Advertiser, Douglas, 4 août 1897, p. 3).