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Vintage original 8.5 x 11 in. typed correspondence pertaining to the booking of the epic early feature-length Italian silent film drama, CABIRIA, released in 1914 and directed by Giovanni Pastrone.


Sent from the E-L-K Film Co. of Chicago, Illinois and dated August 16, 1915, this typewritten letter was addressed to Mr. H.E. Hanson, manager of the Palace Theatre Co. in Antigo, Wisconsin. Therein is discussed the potential booking of this massive feature-length film at the Palace Theatre and the writer notes that " might write us, giving us a line on what the seating capacity of your house is, and also whether you have new and up-to-date operating machines [projectors], for we are very anxious to see that "CABIRIA" does not get into any house wherein the film will be injured, or it will not do justice to this production."
The letter was signed in black ink by the company's Secretary. In fine+ condition, the top and bottom portions of the right edge have been folded back and all of the paper is present with one horizontal and two vertical folds.

*"Cabiria is a 1914 Italian epic silent film directed by Giovanni Pastrone and shot in Turin. The film is set in ancient Sicily, Carthage, and Cirta during the period of the Second Punic War (218–202 BC). It follows a melodramatic main plot about an abducted little girl, Cabiria, and features an eruption of Mount Etna, heinous religious rituals in Carthage, the alpine trek of Hannibal, Archimedes' defeat of the Roman fleet at the Siege of Syracuse and Scipio maneuvering in North Africa. Apart from being a classic on its own terms, the film is also notable for being the first film in which the long-running film character Maciste makes his debut. According to Martin Scorsese, in this work, Pastrone invented the epic movie and deserves credit for many of the innovations often attributed to D.W. Griffith and Cecil B. DeMille. Among those was the extensive use of a moving camera, thus freeing the feature-length narrative film from "static gaze". The historical background and characters in the story are taken from Livy's Ab Urbe Condita (written ca. 27–25 BC). In addition, the script of Cabiria was partially based on Gustave Flaubert's 1862 novel, Salammbo, and Emilio Salgari's 1908 novel, Cartagine in fiamme (Carthage in Flames). 


Italian author Gabriele d'Annunzio contributed to the screenplay, writing all of the intertitles, naming the characters and the movie itself. The film was noted as being the first popular film to use the tracking shot – the camera is mounted on a dolly, allowing it to both follow action and move within a film set or location. The tracking shot in itself was nothing new. "Panorama" effects (lateral and vertical) had been used frequently in film since 1896, but Cabiria, with the new freedom provided by the dolly, is innovative in introducing "zoom" movement, towards and away from the scene, which for years afterwards was referred to by both cameramen and directors as a "Cabiria" shot. This movement was such an innovation at the time that other film makers quickly incorporated it. The film was a major influence on D.W. Griffith's, Intolerance (1916), but he never uses "Cabiria" shots; the famous crane shot moving down and into the festival in Babylon is a "panorama" effect. The elephants used in several scenes in the film are Indian elephants, rather than the much smaller and less intimidating North African elephant (which, though used in Hannibal's invasion, was long extinct at time of filming) or the African elephant (which is undomesticable)."

*(source: Wikipedia)



CABIRIA (1914) E-L-K Film Company Exhibitor's Document

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