My name is Michel Derrien. I was a journalist in
Ouest-France for almost 40 years. Trained as a historian and passionate
about Irish history, I met Sidney Olcott through an article about his
adventure in the Green Island.
Curiosity pushed me to go further. Read what the great French film
historians (Georges Sadoul, Jean Mitry, Maurice Bardèche & Robert
Brasillac...) had to say about it. Among their British and American
colleagues, there were more (a little, a lot...) One chapter, two at
To be sure, I went to London, to see the Olcott films kept at the
National Film Archives. With a little moment of anguish when I wedged
the reel on the viewing table. What if these films were of no interest?
The first sequences of The Lad from Old Ireland,
shot in the Cork area in 1910, reassured me. The week I spent watching
his films, so varied, was a comforting experience. Olcott has a
rightful place in the history of this nascent art form!
In 1988, I obtained a grant from the Franco-American Foundation to
carry out research in the United States. Jean Mitry was a precious
support. I met the old historian at his home in Levallois-Perret.
Charming, attentive... He encouraged me: "Sidney Olcott is the great
forgotten man in the history of cinema. "When I pointed out to him that
his "universal filmography" contains many errors, he replied: "Young
man, I'm counting on you to rectify them! »
This site therefore aims to restore Sidney Olcott's place in the history of cinema. All its place.
The front page of the book I wrote about the adventures of Sidney Olcott in Ireland. One can purchase it in Internet.