Theatre Revue with Seven Short Films

On 27 September 1899, a revue entitled ‘De nieuwe prikkel’ premiered at the Amsterdam Grand Théâtre. In this farce, Roland Krimmetart played a well-to-do bachelor with ambitions of joining an exclusive club. In order to gain membership, he must prove that he can resist feminine wiles. The problem, however, is that no women are attracted to him. In order to stir up the ladies’ interest, he steals a love potion from the opera star Camilla Chelsea. The result: at a ball – the Illustrated Postcard Congress – the ladies fall for him by the dozen. When Camilla Chelsea tearfully begs him to return the potion, Roland gives in to her charms. Fortunately he has a fiancée to comfort him.

During the ball in the revue, seven short films are shown. The shorts, with footage of Amsterdam, were presented as living postcards, addressed respectively to: Mr Ressig (director of public transport), Baron De Staal (chairman of the Peace Conference), Mr Van Hasselt (director of the Water Board), Mr Wolff (director of the Tourism Bureau), and Mr Van Riemsdijk and Mr Van Wagenburg (doctors from the local health authority).

The films shown were: Naar ‘t Tolhuis (To the Tollhouse), Een trambestorming op zondag op den Dam (Rushing the Tram on Sunday at the Dam), Weeshuis-quaestie (The Orphanage Question), Watersnood in buurt YY (Flood in the YY Neighbourhood), Amsterdams´s vreemdelingenverkeer (Amsterdam’s Tourist Traffic), De zieke gemeente-ambtenaar (The Sick Civil Servant) and Tolhuis! Kiele! Kiele! (Tollhouse! A Close Shave!). With the exception of the second and third films, all of the shorts were staged.

Cameraman Emile Lauste was commissioned by the Nederlandsche Biograaf- en Mutoscope Maatschappij (NBMM) to make the films. Lauste was employed by NBMM’s sister company British Mutoscope & Biograph Company. In September 1899, he came to the Netherlands to record the footage for the films.

Earlier that same year – at the end of May/beginning of June – Lauste had also been in the Netherlands to film a number of short nature films and reportage for the NBMM.


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