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3-Panel Poem Film - Unknown


Rental Format(s): Digital File

Alternate titles: Voices and Visions, In Youth, Beside the Lonely Sea, Tryptich Poem
Maker: Creators unknown
Original format: 35mm silent film 1:1.33
Courtesy: The Library of Congress

When I saw this, I assumed the filmmaker had seen the triptychs from Gance's Napoleon (1927). But Napoleon was stripped of its three screens in the United States, and this appears to have been made earlier. The Italian Ambrosio Company used a similar technique for 1920s travelogues. -Kevin Brownlow

The picture image is a series of 3 panels, with the center panel telling the main story, with the side panels sometimes related to the center imagery, sometimes not. The center panel is just about twice as wide as the 2 side panels. The aspect ratio is roughly about 2.3 to 2.4. There are various special effects (ghosts, fairies, and such) that move through the panels from time to time. There are no titles per say, but the imagery is set to a poem, the lines of which appear above and below the imagery. For those of you that have seen triptych sequences in Napoleon, you get a feel for the look of the film, though the poem is presented both above and below the picture. -Kenneth Weissman

Based on the poem Voices and Visions (1893), and subsequently as In Youth, Beside the Lonely Sea (1896 and thereafter, see below) written by Thomas Bailey Aldrich (1836-1907), an American writer, critic and long-time editor of The Atlantic Monthly. -Bruce Posner/Dan Streible

In youth beside the lonely sea
Voices and visions came to me

Titania and her furtive brood
Were my companions in the wood

In every wind I felt the stir
Of some Celestial messenger

From every flower that broke in flame
Some half articulate whisper came

Later, amid the city's din
And toil and want and wealth and sin

They followed me from street to street
The dreams that made my boyhood sweet

Ill fortune had no shafts for me
In this aerial company

Now one by one the visions fly
And one by one the voices die

More distantly the accents ring
More frequent the receding wing

Strange lights my errant fancies led
Strange watchers watch beside my bed

Full dark shall be the days in store
If voice and vision come no more.

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