Dear Leo,

Thank you for your information about intertitles.  I am going to look at
other versions of NANOOK to see how they differ.  I also received the
following response from David Shepard:

"The NANOOK intertitles were almost certainly written by Carl Stearns Clancy,
with input from both Frances and Robert Flaherty.  According to documents
in the Flaherty papers at Columbia University's Butler Library, Revillon
Freres turned the roughly assembled film over to Pathe for final editing
and titling and the work was done by their newsreel department, of which
Clancy was editor-in-chief. I actually knew him and he did make the claim
set forth above."

I love the Goldwyn quotation!  I plan to use it in class.  My students
definitely need more exposure to international film--they are


At 12:14 AM 12/8/1999 -0800, you wrote:
>Sharon Zuber writes:
> >Does anyone have information about who wrote and/or designed the graphics
> >for the intertitles for Flaherty's NANOOK?
>Can't help on this specific point, but here's a general one, for what it's
>worth.  Intertitles were often changed/edited/completely re-designed from
>scratch by distributors in foreign countries, or for different versions of
>a domestic release (perhaps due to censorship regimes that varied from
>state to state, for example).  The most obvious form this took was
>translating the text between languages.  This was very cheap and easy to
>do, which was one of the reasons why a lot more films from non-English
>speaking countries got released in Britain and the US during the silent
>period than has been the case since.  The huge cost increases necessitated
>by dubbing and superimposed subtitles hit European film exports to Britain
>and the US very badly - it also, of course, gave US films a massive
>advantage in the British market (because Brits could understand American
>English without any form of translation, and so the films could be exported
>without any additional cost).  It was this state of affairs that lead
>Samuel Goldwyn to remark in the early '30s that "If the US spoke Spanish,
>Britain might still have a film industry".
>The only version of NANOOK that I've seen just had plain text intertitles
>(i.e. no graphics of any description).  This suggests to me that the
>provenance of your graphic intertitles may well have nothing to do with
>Flaherty (although I stress this is a wild guess) - not that this
>possibility makes them any less interesting.
>Leo Enticknap
>Projection and Sound Engineer
>City Screen Cinemas Ltd., London, UK
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Sharon L. Zuber, Writing Program Director
English Department, P.O. Box 8795
College of William and Mary
Williamsburg, VA 23187-8795
Phone:  757-221-3939; Fax:  757-221-1844
E-mail:  [log in to unmask]


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