Friday, February 16, 2018

Lost World War I Film Scenes Now Online

In the early days of American film history production companies frequently deposited frame enlargements at the Library of Congress for copyright application purposes. Many of these reproductions can now be accessed online and are an important source for identifying lost films.

"Bandaging the Wounded". Film scene showing Austrian Red Cross soldiers in action at the Eastern Front. From Albert K. Dawson's World War I feature film The Battles of A Nation  (USA, 1915). Frame enlargement from the Library of Congress' Prints & Photograph Division. 

While researching our book American Cinematographers in the Great War we found a number of frame enlargements that had been deposited by the American Correspondent Film Company. The dates on the backside of the pictures, as well as the name of the production company, all pinpointed to cameraman Albert K. Dawson (1885-1967). From 1915 Dawson worked for this film company and he accompanied the German as well as the Austro-Hungarian and the Bulgarian army in wartime Europe.

Frame Enlargements 

At the time of our research these frame enlargements had not been digitized by the Library of Congress, but now the pictures can be viewed online. Dawson's pictures are in a special World War I collection named "Selected copyright deposit photos of the First World War" (Lot 880). Some of these pictures are scenes from his war films The Battle and Fall of Przemyƛl and Battles of A Nation (1915). Others are regular press photographs taken by Dawson during his trench tours along the Western and the Eastern Front.

We have uploaded Dawson's pictures from this collection on our photo channel.

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