Screening the Poor 1888-1914

Screening the Poor 1888-1914

Edition Filmmuseum 64

Around 1900, the issues of poverty and poor relief were the source of heated controversy. This beautiful 2-disc DVD set illustrates in seven chapters how examinations of the 'Social Question' were presented in magic lantern slide sets and early films. On the screens of auditoriums, Sunday schools, music-halls, cinemas and churches, visitors could witness orphans freezing to death in the snow, drunkards plunging their families into misery and helpless old people begging for a scrap of bread. Audiences experienced poignant moving pictures in performances with music, singing and recitations. The photographic and film industries delivered glass slide sets and films in very large runs on a variety of themes relating to poverty.

This DVD set recalls the forgotten art of projection and presents it anew on the modern electronic screen: drawing on original images and using authentic projection equipment, Ensemble illuminago shows enchanting Victorian slide shows and films in a live musical performance at the Munich Film Museum. Digital slideshows reconstruct the interaction between slide sets und text recitals, and early silent films are accompanied with music as they were a century ago: piano and violin underscore the moods that find visual expression in the films.

Nowadays it is rather unusual to find both films and slide sets presented on one DVD set. Around 1900 it was common knowledge that the "moving pictures" in a film had evolved from photographic slide sets. Showmen, touring lecturers, music-hall entrepreneurs and cinema operators often used both projection media alternately in their live shows.

The content was curated by Martin Loiperdinger and Ludwig Vogl-Bienek.

DVD features



  • The Magic Wand GB 1889, 6'
  • Comment les pauvres mangent ŕ Paris FR 1910, 4'
  • Le Violoniste della caritŕ IT 1911, 10'
  • La tournée des Grand Ducs FR 1910, 10'

Children in Misery

  • Ora Pro Nobis GB 1897, 6'
  • Le Bagne des gosses FR 1907, 11'
  • Bébé veut imiter St. Martin FR 1910, 6'
  • Billys's Rose GB 1888, 8'

Child Labour

  • The Cry of the Children US 1912, 28'
  • The Little Match Girl US 1905, 9'
  • The Little Match Girl GB 1914, 10'

Charity and Social Care

  • Le Chemineau FR 1905, 6'
  • Rigadin a l'ame sensible FR 1910, 9'
  • In the Workhouse GB 1890, 7'
  • Christmas Day in the Workhouse GB 1914, 14'
  • Ahlbeck. Der Kaiser bei den Berliner Arbeiterkindern DE 1912, 2'


Drink and Temperance Movement

  • Manchester Band of Hope Procession GB 1901, 2'
  • Enter not the Dramshop GB 1890, 5'
  • Les Victimes de l'alcoolisme FR 1902, 6'
  • Ein vergeudetes Leben DK 1910, 8'
  • Buy Your Own Cherries! GB 1905, 28'
  • Buy Your Own Cherries! GB 1904, 5'
  • Dustman's Darling GB 1894, 5'
  • A Drunkard's Reformation US 1909, 15'

Perils of Wage Labour

  • A Bunch of Primroses GB 1889, 8'
  • Au pays noir FR 1905, 14'
  • Die Beerdigung der Opfer des Grubenunglücks auf der Zeche Radbod DE 1908, 6'
  • Don't Go Down in the Mine, Dad GB 1910, 5'


  • The Two Roses US 1910, 12'
  • Deux petits Jésus FR 1910, 17'
  • The Emigrant Ship GB 1890, 13'
  • Geheimnisvolle Streichholzdose DE 1910, 5'

Scores by Günter A. Buchwald and Judith Herrmann
Live performances and speakers: Ludwig Vogl-Bienek, Karin Bienek, Mervyn Heard
16-page bilingual booklet
Extensive documents about each title as ROM features

Edited by: Deutsches Filminstitut, Medienwissenschaft Universität Trier and Filmmuseum München
DVD authoring: Ralph Schermbach
DVD supervision: Anke Mebold, Thomas Worschech

First edition May 2011, Second edition July 2011


TV Format Original format Audio format Language Subtitles Region code

16:9 (PAL)
Dolby Digital 2.0 (Stereo)
French intertitles
All Regions


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Price: 29,95 EUR (incl. 19% VAT, excl. shipping)