E-mail us: amdb@ucalgary.ca

Black Widow, The

Date produced: 1946


Carl D. Frazier

Rosalie Vandandaigue


"A short mystery film from members of the Amateur Cinema League. A group of relatives gather in a haunted house for the reading of a will. Someone among them knows a secret about the house, and uses stories about the Black Widow to try and scare everyone away. In the end, their identity is revealed and all the secrets come to light. Title cards narrate the dialogue." Chicago Film Archives.


Date produced: 1934


Frances Christeson

Perle Eddy

Emanual Goldman

Harry Merrick


"The producers of 'Chronicle' must be commended for a novel treatment. They employed the hands only to show the life of a boy from his third birthday until maturity. Into this novel treatment they spun a story of the boy's downfall until he is found guilty of murder and is incarcerated. All of it was interior and was well photographed." American Cinematographer, Jan. 1936, 40.

Cup of Fear

Date produced: 1949


John Harms

George A. Valentine


"'Cup of Fear' produced and entered by the Stamford (Connecticut) Cinema Club and photographed by John Harms, is a well directed, acted and photographed 'whodunit' in which one of several office employees who have been passed up in a company promotion, murders the hapless executive promoted to the vice-presidency. A cup of wine, antidote for poison supposedly fed the murderer at a dinner, proves his undoing. All shots are interiors and save for one or two, are excellently lighted and photographed. Many professional touches, such as dolly shots, dramatic camera angles, and story-telling closeups highlight the picture. Harms used a 16 mm. Bolex camera and Kodak Super-X panchromatic film." American Cinematographer, Apr. 1950, 146.


Date produced: 1933


"A tale of greed, murder and passion set in a French provincial town in the 1930s. The focus is a tawdry basement drinking and gambling club. Rejecting the violent advances of a man who returns to her rooms with her, a local girl kills him and is assisted in the disposal of the corpse by her regular beau - a cynical, louche cardsharp. A vigilant detective brings her to court for murder. Witnesses take the chance to blacken her name by giving false testimonies but she is acquitted. Her freedom is soured by her lover's rejection of her and she returns to the streets" East Anglian Film Archive.


Date produced: 1930


Clyde Hammond


"Electra, 400 ft., 16mm., produced by Clyde Hammond, is a picturization of that Greek drama. Its most novel quality is the evidence of an intelligent search for the best motion picture treatment to present an accurate film version of the story. A series of tableau like sequences were finally used with much better results than if the plot had been adapted and scenarized in the customary manner. Certainly this film version is much truer to the original than would otherwise have been possible. Not being able to erect the complicated sets that would seem necessary, Mr. Hammond used flat gray walls, producing the suggestion of ancient Greek palaces and dwellings with "props," costumes and occasional wall ornamentation. The photographic quality is uniformly good throughout and, one sequence has very good double exposures." Movie Makers, Dec. 1930, 787-788.

Guarida, La [The Lair]

Date produced:


José Ramón Aguirrezabal

Eloy González Gavilán


Un hombre vaga por las calles de un pueblo buscando tabaco en botes de basura o en el camino. Al entrar a un bar, un hombre nota que está buscando algo, por lo que lanza tabaco al suelo y cuando el primero se agacha a recogerlo, el otro lo tira al suelo mientras todos en el bar se ríen de él. Al regresar al cuarto en el que vive, otro hombre se encuentra ahí descansando. Los hombres tienen una breve conversación sobre cuándo se irá el otro, mientras que este da una excusa y le pide algo de tabaco al primer hombre. El primero se niega y le dice que el tabaco es muy difícil de conseguir, provocando la ira del segundo, quien decide asesinarlo apuñalándolo por la espalda. Después de enterrar su cuerpo, vuelve al cuarto donde se siente culpable y después de llorar por un rato, decide suicidarse.

A man wanders the streets of a town looking for tobacco in trash cans or the road, he enters a bar and a man notices that he is looking for something, he throws some tobacco on the floor and when the first man tries to reach it, he shoves him to the floor while the rest of the men in the bar laugh at him. When he goes back to the room he lives in, there is another man there resting. They have a small conversation about when the man lying down will leave, he gives an excuse and then asks the other for some tobacco. The first man refuses and tells him it is too hard to get, provoking the anger of the second one who then he chooses to kill him by stabbing him in the back. After burying his body he goes back and feels guilty, after crying for some time, he chooses to kill himself.


Date produced: 1952


James Blue


"A parody of William Shakespeare's "Hamlet," produced and directed by James Blue while he was an undergraduate student at the University of Oregon." Knight Library.

In the Leprous Hands of Lust

Date produced: 1931


S. Winston Childs


"The story is a burlesque of the anti social activities of a vice ring. The film contains some excellent interior lighting and is remarkably well edited." Movie Makers, April 1931, 224.

King Bookie

Date produced: 1950


John Cowart


"King Bookie: John Cowart set himself a tremendous goal in undertaking the production of this dramatic film, which has to do with bank robbers. But thanks to his zeal, his all around ability in movie making, the sincerity and cooperation of his amateur cast, and the cooperation of local merchants who happily contributed the use of their business establishments for locations, he has turned out a highly creditable production. The picture opens with a girl, unwittingly involved in the robbery, relating to an attorney events of the story which is pictured in retrospect. King Bookie is an underworld character who plots the crime, involves several others, some of whom meet death by his gun when the proceeds are retrieved from one gang member who sought to double-cross King Bookie. Narration, dialogue and musical score are a commendable effort of sound-on-film recording." American Cinematographer, May. 1951, 190.

Last Entry, The

Date produced: 1932


James F. Bell, Jr.


"Among the ten best, The Last Entry, running seven reels 16mm., is one of the most ambitious amateur photoplays ever undertaken and completed. The plot, requiring many elaborate interior sets, is based on a mystery story that opens with a house party. While a room is darkened for the projection of amateur films, one of the guests is murdered and all present may be suspected equally. The detective handling the case uncovers the fact that the murdered man, an author, has lived on blackmail effected by threats of exposure through publication, which throws suspicion on several of the guests of the house party who were discovered to be his victims. However, in the end, the murder is solved by screening the same pictures that were on the projector when it was committed. Although this plot offered great difficulties in the direction of large group scenes, the creation of the necessary lighting effects and the interpretation of the actors' roles, it is beautifully and suavely handled. In the film are several lighting treatments that may be listed as among the most effective ever achieved by amateurs. One chase sequence staged through long corridors, a large, dimly lighted attic and on the roof of the mansion at night in the rain, can be likened only to the effects secured in the best professional mystery photoplays. James F. Bell, jr., ACL, was director with Charles H. Bell, ACL, and Benjamin Bull, jr., ACL, cameramen and Lyman Howe, ACL, in charge of lighting." Movie Makers, Dec. 1932, 537-538.

Total Pages: 3