Argenteuil Film Fair

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ARGENTEUIL FILM FAIR

I had long been aware that a big fair took place at Argenteuil, but it was not until about 4 years ago that I went for the first time. It blew my mind. The place was chock full of the kinds of stuff that just doesn't appear at UK fairs, although prices are very high. I missed a year and went again in 2008; here are some pix I took.

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I love non-theatrical 35mm machines. The first looks a highly specialised lab/studio machine; second is one of the Chinese-made luggables such as I once had and Keith Wilton has used, but set up for very big spools. Next is a very cute Debrie (I think). It has spools side-by-side at the back and looks superbly engineered. As for 4, this is just a 16mm writ large - I have never understood why 35mm machines had to be big - why couldn't there be more like this? Can't remember what the 16mm was - it says Lyon on the side.

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Pic 5 is a left-hand drive Hortson; otherwise, these mainly show the scale and scope of the fair, with a side serving of paunch. Not big enuff to be mine.

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I was very tempted by the Cineric, but there was no more room in the car! The final pic shows that even the back of some stands was interesting.

Argenteuil 2009

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First some fairly general views of the main hall and one of the two smaller ones. As you can see, magic lanterns and poster/photograph/memorabilia are part of the scene; the third hall was entirely posters etc.

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Some individual machines. Unfortunately, I've forgotten what the 16mm silent was. The next two are a most unusual KOK. If you look above and left of the sprocket, you can see a shiny lever, like an elongated teardrop. If you operate this while cranking, the mech stops to give a still pic. It's clearly an original feature, but nothing I have ever heard of before. The knob on the front is to move the shutter out of the way of necessary. This may be the origin of the front-shutter KOK pictured in the 28mm section. The Malex Std 8 is an unusual silent-to-sound variant, in that it incorporates a second mech to run sprocketed tape in sync, presumably, with a silent pic. The Debrie is there because it has a valve variant of the transistor amp I recently added to the Debrie page. The little 16mm toy looks cute but I don't know what it is. (A Cinette).

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A double-band Siemens (I saw at least three other double-band machines, including two Elfs), and a Bauer P5. This Elmo is a high-end jobbie I've never seen before. I think the Hokushin is that weird one where you thread then operate a lever and everything windmills about to create the loops ready for projection; why, one asks? Then another slightly less sprauncy Elmo and finally what was presumably the model one or two before the RCA Hollywood.

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I always think the Path16mm machines look a bit sad - who would bother given all the far better machines available? The Hortson is one I've never seen over here - it seems to have been popular in France and was American by origin, I think. The RJA is reportedly a 9.5 sound prototype never put into production. It has variable scanning, but I couldn't quite figure out how it threaded - did my head in. The last two in this row are end shots of Super Talkie amp-cum-changeover unit, reinforcing my belief that 17.5 cinemas in France must have operated on a changeover basis from the earliest days - the original silent Rural (Rex in UK) has only 500' capacity and not the most stolid of audiences would put up with breaks for every reel change.

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This is the Heurtier row. There seemed to be loads of them, tho' some were single-gauge. I may even have left some out. Of particular note is the posh rear cover for the belt drive in the centre pic - looks like they were afflicted with Health & Safety idiots even way back then.

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I know they are outdated now, but there is something about those big old Xenon machines...... The other two show just how much more compact and stylish they became. Incidentally, I've never yet seen a B&H Xenon.

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Finally, a few bits of 35mm tackle for those of that bent and two very, very expensive cine-to-dvd jobbies - 50,000 apiece , I guess.

One last thing - can you spot the editor of Flickers lurking in one of the pix?

 

 

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