…a film event for 1918 Franco Biddeford?
This advertisement ran in La Justice de Biddeford as almost a full page of the newspaper – it certainly caught my eye, and begged for some attention. What I found was, this was a huge “war picture”, filmed partially on location during WWI in Europe by one of the biggest names in film at the time, D.W. Griffith. The excellent silent-film history blog, Silent-ology, had a great write up on the history of the film, with analysis and further reading resources also. (See below to read the article!)
What is interesting, to me, is that the English-language papers (Biddeford Journal, Biddeford Record) didn’t run similar 3/4 page ads for this film like the French paper did…now why would that be? Was the war of more interest or concern to the Franco population of our city than to the rest of the population? Why would that be? Some deeper socio-economic and cultural differences at play methinks. Maybe some of the greater minds will decide to ponder it. On a quick check, the Biddeford Journal didn’t run any cinema ads; Biddeford Record only ran ads for the City Opera House – and most of the year City Opera House was the only advertiser in La Justice too. It’s just curious to me that this huge film event was advertised only in the Franco paper…the draft lists printed in the papers had plenty of non-French names in them.
ANYHOO. Amazingly enough, in this digitized world you can watch the film yourself on YouTube! The copy is not exactly as you would have seen it in the theater, but a close-enough approximation – the fact it survived at all is pretty cool. Probably not for kids as there are war scenes and such. However, if you want to experience a taste of Biddeford cultural life in 1918, check it out.