Exclusive images from within the Papal enclave
The Vatican Guards, Rome (1898)
|Director||William K.L. Dickson|
|Countries||Italy United Kingdom|
(Short) Vatican Guards, Rome
(USA) Kleine Optical Company
From the camera position, mounted uniformed men can be seen approaching. They are identified as Vatican guards. A company of foot guards in full regalia and carrying spears follow the mounted guards.
Source: Library of Congress
Sectarian suspicions were rife in late-Victorian England, which made the marketing of films featuring Pope Leo XIII something of a chancy proposition. Nevertheless, it's hard to argue that contemporary audiences disliked parades. This procession - courtesy of the Catholic Church - fits firmly within the early film tradition of filming pomp and circumstance. It's possible that reactions at home were not foremost in Dickson's mind.
The filming in Rome went on long enough that some of the films were shipped to England for developing and back again, in time for the Pope himself - the first ever to be committed to celluloid - to see. Is this one of the films that were shown to the Pontiff?
Even if this is just another procession of military prowess, it is a bit more as well as it shows the Vatican guards at the time in full uniform showing off. Its a nice supplement to the other Vatican films that William K.L. Dickson made about and for the pope at the time, but it adds little extra without its context.