Nordisk Films Kompagni 1906-1924, Volume 5
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Nordisk Films Kompagni 1906–1924: The Rise and Fall of the Polar Bear is the first comprehensive study of the Danish film company, Nordisk Films Kompagni, in the silent era. Based on archival research, primarily in the company's surviving business archives, this volume of KINtop describes and analyzes how Nordisk Film became one of the leading players in the world market and why the company failed to maintain this position. This volume is written from perspective of Nordisk Film as a business and organization, from its establishment in 1906 until 1924 when founder Ole Olsen stepped back. Among the many topics and themes this volume examines are the competitive advantages Nordisk Film gained in reorganizing the production to multiple-reel films around 1910; the company's highly efficient film production which anticipated the departmentalized organization of Hollywood; Nordisk Film's aggressive expansion strategy in Germany, Central-Europe and Russia during the First World War; and the grand plans for taking control of UFA in association with the American Famous Players in the post-war years.

The Research Tradition
The Film Historical Tradition Approach The Structure of This Book

Ole Olsen Biograf-Theatret
Olsen's First Films
The International Film Industry Open and Closed Markets
From Entrepreneur to Modern Industrial Enterprise
The Printing Laboratory
The Technical Quality of the Films Colourization of the Films Actualities
The First Fiction Films
The Studio in Valby
The Artistic Quality
The Polar Bear on the Globe Nordisk's Protection of its Films Pathé Frères and Gaumont Nordisk's Distribution Network Agents and Distributors
A Tiny Little Mosquito against a Big, Big Elephant
The Congress of Fools

Reorganization of the Company Den hvide Slavehandel
The Dangerous Age
The Founding of the Limited Company The Bank Syndicate
"Long and Artistic Films are our Future Motto"
Opposition to the Long Films
Exclusive System, Monopolfilm and Distribution
The Script Department Censorship and Self-Regulation Guidelines for Scriptwriters The Censorship Memoranda Russian Endings
Nordisk's Positioning of its Films Actors and Stars
The Organization of the Film Factory Bureaucratization
Hollywood in Copenhagen Capital Gains
Olsen's Sale and Stockjobbing Expansion in the USA

The Outbreak of World War I
Russische Schreckensregimente an der Ostgrenze
"Nordisk Films Kompagni Will Now Become the Biggest in the World" Fotorama Filmsbureau A/S and Swedish companies
Nordisk's Expansion Policy in Germany Expansion in Russia
"They Thought We Were German" Ban on Luxury Goods in Germany
The Second Expansion of the Share Capital Aubert and the Black List
The European Shareholding Company The Black Lists
The July Letter

After the War Artistic Decline?
New Trade Conditions The Estate after the War
The European and the American Film Industry
The New Production Method Universum Film Aktiengesellschaft Colosseum in Flensborg

Famous Players
A New, Big Combination
The Liquidation of DAFCO and the UFA
Metropolteatret and Fotorama
The Depreciation of the Share Capital
The Shareholders' Group
Sources and Bibliography



Publié par
Date de parution 01 octobre 2017
Nombre de lectures 0
EAN13 9780861969302
Langue English
Poids de l'ouvrage 4 Mo

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KINtop Studies in Early Cinema - volume 5 series editors: Frank Kessler, Sabine Lenk, Martin Loiperdinger
Nordisk Films Kompagni 1906-1924
The Rise and Fall of the Polar Bear
KINtop. Studies in Early Cinema
KINtop Studies in Early Cinema expands the efforts to promote historical research and theoretical reflection on the emergence of moving pictures undertaken by the internationally acclaimed KINtop yearbook (published in German from 1992-2006). It brings a collection of anthologies and monographs in English by internationally renowned authors as well as young scholars. The scope of the series ranges from studies on the formative years of the emerging medium of animated photographs to research on the institutionalisation of cinema in the years up to the First World War. Books in this series will also explore the many facets of 19 th and early 20 th century visual culture as well as initiatives to preserve and present this cinematographic heritage. Early cinema has become one of the most dynamic fields of scholarly research in cinema studies worldwide, and this series aims to provide an international platform for new insights and fresh discoveries in this thriving area.
Series editors: Frank Kessler, Sabine Lenk, Martin Loiperdinger
Nordisk Films Kompagni 1906-1924
The Rise and Fall of the Polar Bear
Isak Thorsen
British Library Cataloguing in Publication Data
Nordisk Films Kompagni 1906-1924: The Rise and Fall of the Polar Bear
Series: KINtop Studies in Early Cinema - volume 5
A catalogue entry for this book is available from the British Library
ISBN: 9780 86196 731 5 (Paperback)
ISBN: 9780 86196 930 2 (Ebook)
Published by
John Libbey Publishing Ltd, 205 Crescent Road, East Barnet, Herts EN4 8SB, United Kingdom
e-mail: ; web site:
Distributed worldwide by Indiana University Press ,
Herman B Wells Library - 350, 1320 E. 10th St., Bloomington, IN 47405, USA.
2017 Copyright John Libbey Publishing Ltd. All rights reserved.
Unauthorised duplication contravenes applicable laws.
Printed and bound in the United States of America.
1906-1909 The Birth of the Polar Bear
1910-1914 The Rise of the Polar Bear
1914-1917 The Growth of the Polar Bear
1918-1924 The Fall of the Polar Bear
Sources and Bibliography
Figure 1.
T his volume is a revised version of my Danish PhD Dissertation Isbj rnens anatomi - Nordisk Films Kompagni som erhvervsvirksomhed i perioden 1906-1928 (The Anatomy of the Polar Bear - Nordisk Films Kompagni as a business enterprise 1906-1928) from 2009. As the attentive reader will notice, this volume ends in 1924, as the last part of the original dissertation is mainly of national Danish interest. The present publication has only been slightly revised and updated, and the revisions follow to a large extent the comments and suggestions of the original assessment committee members Per Boje, Peter Schepelern and Stephan Michael Schr der.
In the process of both writing the original dissertation and revising it into this publication I have many people and institutions to thank: first of all my supervisor Casper Tybjerg, who initially proposed the idea of examining Nordisk Films Kompagni as a business.
For their willingness to help and not least share their knowledge I would like to thank: Lauri Piispa and the late Rashit Yangirov, who generously dug up and translated Russian material; in Sweden: Anne Bachmann and Jon Wengstr m; in Germany: Annemone Ligensa; and in Denmark: Ib Bjarke Jensen, Karl Teglmand, Sven Philip J rgensen, Lena Haugaard, Dennis Khadem, Henrik Zein, Kenn Tarbensen, Henrik Pedersen, Bente Ole Olsen, Hauge Marple, Jonas Hauvre, Kamel Bankaaba, Henning Bencard, Mogens Bencard and Palle B gelund Petterson. Kurt Jacobsen who followed the project on the side and his colleagues at the former Centre of Business History, Copenhagen Business School, especially Ole Lange, Steen Andersen and Mads Mordhorst. The ever supportive Lars Kaaber, who translated the whole lot into English, and Julie K. Allen and Claire Thomson who read and commented on the manuscript in the final stage.
I owe a great debt to the staff at the Danish Film Institute : Dan Nissen, Karen Jones, Lars lgaard, Lisbeth Richter Larsen, Madeleine Schlawitz, Thomas C. Christensen, Karina de Freitas Olesen, Birgit Granh j, Karin Bonde Johansen, Werner Brakner, Mikael Braae, Henrik Fuglsang, Pernille Sch tz, Juri Olsen, Christian Hansen and Tobias Lynge Herler; as well as to the Danish Council for Independent Research for granting me a scholarship and the Department of Media, Cognition and Communication , University of Copenhagen, for housing me.
Both my friend and archive-comrade Stephan Michael Schr der and David Bordwell followed the dissertation in the making, and they have persistently encouraged a translated version of the dissertation - thank you for your support. David Bordwell and Peter Schepelern for lending their names and goodwill in gaining support, because this volume would never have been possible without financial support: I am indebted to the Danish Film Institute s almene st tte, Filmkopi, Lademanns Fond, Den Hielmstierne-Rosencroneske Stiftelse, Lillian og Dan Finks Fond, Letterstedtska F reningen and Nordisk Film .
Finally I am very grateful to the editors Frank Kessler, Sabine Lenk with the x-ray eyes, and Martin Loiperdinger for giving me the possibility to publish my work as a volume of KINtop. Studies in Early Cinema , and hereby reaching a wider audience as well as for their patience during the process, and for their detailed and constructive comments and suggestions.
T his volume is based on extensive research into primarily one unique source: the Nordisk Film Collection. This collection constitutes the main source of this monograph and, from an international perspective, the collection is indeed unique: correspondence, accounts, contracts, minute books from general- and board meetings and much else is found here; quite an outstanding amount of written materials for a film company in the silent era. The collection provides a detailed impression of how Nordisk organized itself and developed as a business. A closer description of the collection and its associated data can be found in the list of sources and bibliography.
Therefore I have concentrated my principal research on this vast collection, and it is important to stress that the collection contains an enormous amount of material which can be approached from various angles and perspectives - this also creates some limitations. For instance, going through approximately 35,000 outgoing letters from 1906 to 1915 on topics as diverse as concerns about the formation of a monopoly in the American market and instructions to a carpenter, takes time. One might say that in comparison to many other researchers I have been privileged, because in many cases I had to exclude interesting details and perspectives due to the extent of material. In working with such an enormous amount of material, my intention has been to map out the general development of Nordisk as a business, but the collection can provide many other answers and new insights, depending on the questions asked. Nordisk s relation to the press and marketing is just one issue which could be investigated in greater detail.
Even though the Nordisk Film Collection is the main source, other sources have been consulted as well, including the Danish National Archives, Bundesarchiv, Nordisk Film s Archives in Valby, Ole Olsen s personal archives, a series of interviews done in the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s with persons active in film-making in the silent era, national and international film periodicals from the time, as well as correspondence with fellow researchers. A large amount of this material has either not previously been used in research, or only been used to a minor extent. This book is as detailed and factual as the sources permitted. Archival research is a laborious undertaking, and there are collections I did not have time to look into, such as those kept in Ausw rtiges Amt in Berlin and the National Archives in Kew, England. Since completing my original main research nearly a decade ago, the archival situation has improved immensely: for instance the access to national and international material online has grown rapidly, and in the revision of the text I have to some extent used the newly available resources.
To my best knowledge, the Nordisk Film Collection has not previously been scrutinized from the business angle proposed in the present study, and because of this, important sources such as the minutes from board meetings at Nordisk and the distribution protocols have not yet been included in research, either in Denmark or abroad. By empirically examining the sources available, this book contributes new knowledge about Nordisk s development, especially in the years from 1914 to 1924, which hitherto have been left somewhat in the dark. These new contributions include:
A map out of Nordisk s distribution network and its development.
The controversy concerning D EN H VIDE S LAVEHANDEL and the establishing of the limited company.
Nordisk s control of the contents of its films through directives for script writers, Russian endings, and censorship memos.
ATLANTIS profitability.
The organization of the film factory in Valby.
Nordisk s expansion policy during World War I.
The profitability and the sales of the company s films far into the war years.
Nordisk s collaboration with UFA.

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