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Colin Ross mit und ohne Sound


09.04.2016 – 14:00 bis 15:45


Library of Congress and the State Theatre, Culpeper, Virginia, USA

Symposium-Panel by Nico de Klerk, Joachim Schätz and Katalin Teller

Travel Lecture Films including “Achtung Australien! Achtung Asien!”, “Der Doppelkontinent des Ostens” (Germany, 1930) at the 10th Orphan Film Symposium

This panel aims to re-introduce the work of Austrian-born travel writer and filmmaker Colin Ross (1885–1945) in terms of the ‘noise’ he made as a filmmaker and lecturer. Materials consists of reviews of his lectures and one sound film. (Inevitably we will also touch on the noise Ross made as a propagandist: his national-socialist past has made his name taboo, while many of his geopolitical views are outdated and dismissed; re-issues of his books ceased resolutely after 1945.)
To date, of the six feature-length travel films Ross made only three have been retrieved, all at the Bundesarchiv-Filmarchiv, Berlin. One of these, “Achtung Australien! Achtung Asien!“, “Der Doppelkontinent des Ostens“  (Attention Australia! Attention Asia! The twin continents of the East [1930]), is a sound film. In the session, we will situate this film in relation to contemporary documentaries and show that its combination of, on one hand, live or location-recorded and, on the other, pre- or postrecorded sounds sets it apart (along with a few other films, notably ENTUZIAZM [1931]) from the common fare in the early sound-on-film era. In fact, documentary film has relied for decades on post- or prerecorded human, musical, and object sounds only. A screening of excerpts of this film will illustrate its sonic variety.
Next, we want to give a sense of the noise Ross made in person in his lectures and in his introductions to his films. In the case of “Achtung Australien! Achtung Asien!“ this was an obligation included in the contract signed between Ufa, Uco-Film (Ullstein’s film production company), and Ross. And while from a technical point of view such introductions may have been superfluous, apparently personal appearances brought something technology could not recreate. This part of the session is based on reviews and primary sources retrieved during the research.

Sponsors (Panel): FWF Austrian Science Fund