A Spectacle of Labor Unrest

La Grève (The Strike)

Ferdinand Zecca, Pathé-Frères, France, 1904

An object lesson in the dangers of labor unrest, La Grève culminates in the dramatic and symbolic reconciliation of capital and labor and the restoration of social order (see the insert in the upper-right corner of this poster). An economically told story in five long-shot tableaux, it does, however, accommodate the action by providing deep-space sets, and there is even a back-and-forth pan in the scene in which a crowd of strikers surges around some policemen as they arrest a union leader. The film itself was also stencil colored. Billed to play up its sensational subject matter, La Grève was well received as a Christmas-season feature in U.S. theaters.

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