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The Translation of Films, 1900-1950$
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Carol O'Sullivan and Jean-François Cornu

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780197266434

Published to British Academy Scholarship Online: September 2019

DOI: 10.5871/bacad/9780197266434.001.0001

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Early titling on films and Pathé’s innovative and multilingual strategies in 1903

Early titling on films and Pathé’s innovative and multilingual strategies in 1903

(p.41) 3 Early titling on films and Pathé’s innovative and multilingual strategies in 1903
The Translation of Films, 1900-1950

Claire Dupré La Tour

British Academy

The shift from titles on lantern slides to the practice of titling on the film itself dates to the turn of the 20th century. Early examples of preserved filmed titles are rare, but occasional advertisements can be found in the UK in catalogues of James Williamson (1899) and Robert William Paul (1901), and in France in a catalogue of the Parnaland film company (1901). Although evidence shows that Pathé was using this technique in 1901, catalogues from its British branch reveal that it advertised it from May 1903. The advertisements highlighted positive outcomes for producers and exhibitors, and promoted titles in a variety of languages. This early titling strategy allowed Pathé to get ahead of its competitors in terms of industrialisation, control over its product, and domestic and foreign market share. This chapter focuses on early filmed titling and intertitling practices, Pathé’s innovative offer in 1903, and its evolution until 1908.

Keywords:   early cinema, early film distribution, film history, film titling, intertitles, Pathé, silent film, subtitles

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