Movie 7min

La légende du point d’Argentan (1907)


+ 3 images
Country France
Language French
Based on Opera Black and White Gift Legend Miracles Poverty Prayer Short Silent Film St. Mary Statue

A girl has to work hard to support her old mother and herself. When she receives a letter saying a piece of embroidery has to be ready the next day, she panics. She prays to the Virgin and falls asleep over her laces. Saint Mary finishes the scarf for her. The next morning the girl takes the scarf to the castle where everybody is amazed by its delicacy. She returns home and shows her mother the money she has made.

Letter: “La noble dame Anne d’Argentan mande la demoiselle Jheane [1] le lendemain matin, afin de se voir remettre la dentelle commandée, passée ce délai son travail lui sera refusé. Anne d’Argentan.”

Lady Anne of Argentan sends word to Miss Jeanne that the lace she ordered be delivered to her by the following morning. Any later and the lace will be refused. Anne of Argentan.

Source: Nga Taonga

In La légende du point d’Argentan (Radio, 1907), a poor girl must finish her lace for the grand lady Anne d’Argentan before the morning or she will not have the money to feed her grandmother. When she is too exhausted to continue, a statue of the Virgin comes to life to finish the work for her.

Source: Legends of Lace: Commerce and Ideology in Narratives of Women’s Domestic Craft Production

The Legend of the Argentan Lace from 1907, was based on an opera printed a year earlier. In this tale, a lace worker crumples from exhaustion after praying in desperation to a Madonna, since the noble lady Anne of Argentan has insisted on collecting overdue lacework she has ordered. The statue becomes animate and tops off the task. Surprise and delight ensue at the court when the craftworker hand-delivers the lace.

Source: The Juggler of Notre Dame and the Medievalizing of Modernity. Volume 5: Tumbling into the Twentieth Century

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Legend of statue coming to life

An old trick in early movies is animating a statue, often a statue of the virgin, that here comes to help out a poor lacemaker. A detail in this movie that I've not seen too much as this in other films is that the three first scenes are all in the same room, so in order to differentiate the scene number they change the tint color of the film.

Other than that, the movie is quite good and well executed even if the story is simple.