Pieced together from images shot by William J. Oliver for the National Parks Department in 1928-29, this film by Gordon Sparling shows a young beaver being adopted and later released into the wild by Grey Owl, a British immigrant whose adopted lifestyle was inspired by Canada’s native peoples. This Associated Screen News film had enormous international success. —Cinema in Quebec – The Talkies and Beyond (1930 – 1952)
Gordon Sparling learned his craft at the Ontario Government Motion Picture Bureau from 1924 to 1927 and in the United States. He returned to Canada in 1931 to set up the film production company Associated Screen News (ASN), whose laboratories were located in Montreal. ASN then launched “Canadian Cameo”, a series of short films with a documentary flavour shot in 35mm for commercial release. The series was so successful that in 1935 ASN had to build new shooting and sound studios. In addition to producing the series, Sparling often took on the role of director. His best films blend documentary, mise en scène and experimentation and took up a wide variety of topics. His masterpiece remains Rhapsody in Two Languages (1934), a poetic and original vision of bilingual Montreal. The films House in Order/La maison en ordre (1936) and Ballet of the Mermaids (1938) also stand out.
During the war, Sparling made films in England and then returned to the ASN at the end of the war. He remained… read more