Noticeably Better Floors
Making a Living more Media History Digital Library more The project is supported by owners of materials who loan them for scanning, and donors who contribute funds to cover the cost of scanning. He starred in over 80 films, reeling off most during the silent film era. In alone, he acted in 40 films, then another 15 in By the s, Chaplin had emerged as the first larger-than-life movie star and director, if not the most recognizable person in the world. Raja Harishchandra more In this oral history, recorded by Roy Rosenzweig in , Italian immigrant Fred Fedeli recalled his experiences owning and operating a movie theater in an immigrant working-class neighborhood of Worcester, Massachusetts.
Click the title for location and availability information. Off campus access instructions for e-books. The Birth of a Nation D. Videodisc release of the silent motion picture. A1 B Blu-ray.
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P5 K56 A2 C Still, those numbers were insignificant next to the roughly 5, shorts that were released each year Singer, "Feature". Rank- and-file exhibitors were entirely satisfied with the daily-change variety for- mat to which they were accustomed. Given the industry's well-established film-rental infrastructure and comparatively low rental prices, few saw any reason to rock the boat. Moreover, mainstream movie theaters served an informal, come-and-go-as-you-please audience. Exhibit- ors understandably would have had concerns that long narratives demand- ing that the entire audience be in place from the start would curtail casual walk-ins.
They also saw variety programs as inherently flop-proof, since, unlike features, a short film that failed to please would not spoil an entire showing. Consequently, feature films had virtually no impact on mainstream exhibition for several years after their introduction contrary to accounts by many historians. Features belonged to an essentially different exhibi- tion circuit comprised of playhouses, concert halls, and general-purpose auditoriums.
In most cases, features were screened only irregularly, often just on Sundays, or during the summertime that was off-season in legiti- mate theaters. This began to change at the end of , however, when Paramount — by far the most active feature-film concern — introduced the first full-service standing-order rental program. Exhibitors contracted for a year's worth of films, two five-reelers a week. Booking features was now just as convenient as booking shorts. Paramount established a zone-clearance system so that smaller theaters in smaller markets could pay considerably less than large urban first-run venues.
Even so, Paramount's package was still well beyond the reach of a great many modest theaters. Features were predicated on a new calculus, designed for theaters that could sell tickets in high volume and at high prices. Big, well-appointed theaters profited very handsomely. Run-of-the- mill theaters — rural theaters, neighborhood theaters, vestigial downtown nickelodeons, dog-eared converted playhouses — were in a bind, not fancy enough to justify significant price hikes and, even with swanky remodeling, still less alluring than picture palaces offering newer films, grander amen- ities, and better music.
More to the point, they still were simply too small to sell enough tickets to turn a profit after paying out the cost of feature programming. A great many theaters of fewer than seats went out of business in the mid- s. Feature films and picture palaces were mutually enabling and depend- ent, bound together like the two strands of a double helix. One could not exist without the other: high-volume, high-price exhibition norms gave producers the revenue necessary for making expensive, attractive features with major stars; expensive, attractive features with major stars were nec- essary to fill large theaters and merit higher ticket prices.
The highest-pro- file early picture palace was the 3,seat Strand Theater in Times Square, which opened in mid- 19 It marked the inauguration of a theater build- ing boom across the country. More than just an urban phenomenon, it reshaped the contours of film exhibition far and wide. Features surged in number after and by any measure constituted the film industry's dominant product by around Interestingly, more short films were produced in than in any previous year, but thereafter they declined sharply for several years, finally settling into a production level consistent with their new role as accompaniments to the main feature Singer, "Feature".
The profit margin on shorts was slim, and studios that were behind the curve on the industry's transformation were never able to recover: Kalem and Lubin ceased production in I9I6; Edison and Biograph called it quits in ; Essanay and Selig closed down in Vitagraph and Universal were able to survive the transition by focusing on serials which, while shorts, resembled features in their reliance on high-profile star-centered promotion and by ramping up feature production.
II1I imv. IrftUf Pirkrorci. It would grow times greater in the next five years. The amazing trajectory of Mary Pickford, the decade's leading star, drives this point home. Additionally, she would be given her own studio, her own production and releasing com- pany Paramount Artcraft , total choice of cast and crew, top production budgets, and a host of other perks. Astonishingly, Pickford's star value would soon command even more. Two years later, Pickford signed with Zukor's key rival. Bureau of the Census, "Index" 91; Hampton ; Balio Pickford's career is far from typical, needless to say.
Nevertheless, the very fact that such a salary trajectory was even possible in the s demands attention.
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It is important to stress that the story of Pickford's sky- rocketing income is not just an early version of the kind of narrative we are familiar with today about, say, a waitress earning minimum wage in Los Angeles getting discovered and catapulting onto the Hollywood A-list. The Pickford phenomenon was utterly unheard of, with no precedent.
What accounts for the increased centrality of stars to the commercial and competitive strategies of the film industry in the second half of the s? To begin with, producers simply became ever more convinced that stars were the crucial magnet attracting ticket buyers. The industry took its cue from the empirical observation that fans fell in love with stars. The spectator's sense of personal affinity and connection to a star was, more often than not, what motivated moviegoers' film selections.
Other factors, such as the production company or the story, while sometimes important. As Zukor noted, "A star is more important than the play [the narrative], for the people know the star and do not com- monly know the play" Stars were particularly crucial, as already intimated, in the context of the industry's new higher-volume, higher-price business model based on bigger, better films shown in bigger, better venues.
Stars were recognized as the most important signal of a film's presumed "bigness" and quality, and hence tied directly to the high-volume consumption. Leading producers were particularly keen to make films capable of capturing income from major first-class, first-run theaters. Since such theaters had the highest ticket prices, greatest box office volume, and an ability to assume the high- est possible rental charge, the first run was by far the most lucrative rela- tive to number of screenings , accounting for one-quarter of a film's gross income.
Access to first-class, first-run screens was limited, so failure to attain exhibition in a prime theater meant foregoing that income, losing out on ripple-effect income first-run successes created publicity and boosted subsequent-run profits , and surrendering those benefits to a competitor Seabury Under such circumstances, the importance of star power was compounded. Paramount, in particular, aimed to monopolize first-runs by securing the services of the top-tier stars whose films invariably would be chosen by the owners of first-class first-run theaters.
Stars were also central to the drive for market expansion undertaken by Paramount and other industry leaders because growth required expansion into broader demographic sectors — winning over well-to-do audiences — and into all regional and international markets.
The industry believed that stars were the key wedges into both. As Zukor noted with respect to the lat- ter, "From [exhibitor feedback] reports, we have learned that a good play will go anywhere; that a star who is popular in Maine will be equally so not only in Arizona but also in England, China, and the Argentine. The whole world loves Mary Pickford" Moreover, star magnetism became espe- cially pertinent with the rise of the feature film, since longer narratives demanded greater characterological depth and psychological involvement on the part of spectators if these stories were to hold interest for five or six reels.
The importance of star value grew in proportion to the reliance on longer, more sophisticated, narratives. More concrete business practicalities were also a factor in the ascen- dancy of stars. Paramount and other distributors had established the prac- tice of block booking, whereby an exhibitor was obliged to rent an entire year's worth of films altogether, sight unseen. Producers tried to convince exhibitors that block booking was a win-win proposition, since overall rental costs could be reduced.
As Hiram Abrams explained, "The exhibitor agreed to take the program of the producer over the contract period. The producer was thus insured against losses, while the exhibitor could have his films at a much lower price than if he had been compelled to pay for [a] producer's losses — for a good picture sold alone would otherwise have had to stand the money wasted on the bad ones" Abrams Whether or not this was true, exhibitors disliked block booking because it obliged them to buy blind and prevented them from tailoring film selections to suit audience preferences in their particular theaters.
Throwing star vehicles into the mix made it much easier for producers to sell program blocks. Keen to secure probable hits, exhibitors were more willing to take a gamble on the unknown bal- ance. In the late s, Paramount switched to a modified version of block booking that they called the "star selective system. The producer was again protected against unforeseeable losses, but probably the main virtue from the producer's perspective was that it was an efficient way of passing on the ever-increasing expense of star salaries. Abrams claimed that it was devised in part as a response to exhibitor preferences for smaller blocks, permitting at least some flexibility in program selection.
One final benefit producers accrued from stars should be mentioned. As the film industry became more and more rationalized, studios became increasingly concerned with commercial predictability. Success depended upon the accuracy of two calibrations. First, a film's production budget had to be aligned with its subsequent earnings.
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As Zukor put it, "Knowing the possible and probable revenue, then we can decide how much money can safely be spent upon production. Studios came to rely upon stars as the most reliable predictors of a film's possible and probable gross, based upon records of past perform- ance. Expensive as they were, stars provided fiscal rationality. They were not actually expensive if they enabled outlay and income to be properly attuned. Losing money through inaccurate calibration was much more damaging to the bottom line.
Given their utility along these lines, one can better understand why producers were willing to acquiesce to astronomical pay demands by the most consistent performers. Such reflection, however, can take any number of forms. A film might portray contemporaneous news events directly, effecting a kind of reportage about issues of public concern.
Many films dealing with World War I would be examples in this decade. Or a film might engage with social issues and debates of the day, participating overtly in discourses already ani- mating other channels of social commentary. Films advocating Progressive reforms or, alternately, those highlighting the damage done by sanctimo- nious meddlers might fall within this category. Typically, such social prob- lem films forward some clearly communicated didactic position. Alternately, a film might tap into topical issues less for the sake of earnest message-mongering than for sensationalism and curiosity value.
Many films, like those in the white slavery cycle of this decade, harbor some degree of ambiguity in this regard, accommodating opposing assessments of their motivations. Or, as it is commonly argued — probably correctly — films can or cannot help but reflect their cultural moment and influence spectators' conceptions of the world, in a more implicit, non-intentionalist way by displaying contemporary customs, norms, manners, lifestyles, trends, fashions, behaviors, tacit assumptions, material environments, con- sumer ideals, and so on.
It is unlikely that a director shooting a thrilling race-to-the-rescue chase between a locomotive and a roadster, incorporat- ing telegraphs, cut phone lines, and so on, proceeded with any consciously formulated objective of reflecting "modernity" or the spatio-temporal transformations brought about by new technologies. These elements of iconography are the raw materials for constructing stories and only inad- vertently chronicle the cultural milieu. Finally, films often reflect their times in deliberate but indirect ways that normally fall even further below the threshold of spectator awareness.
A case in point would be a kind of negative reflectionism underlying what kinds of films are not produced at a given historical juncture. One might assume that World War I primarily shaped American cinema through forces of propaganda motivating depic- tions of Hun atrocities or through moderately topical reportage motivat- ing representations of the experiences of doughboys or of the folks back home.
But the war probably shaped American cinema more substantially through producers' sensitivity to escapist counter-impulses and situational biases. As Adolph Zukor observed in , There are some styles that none of the people want right now. They do not want "costume" plays, fairy stories, or anything that is morbid or depressing.
In these war times, there is enough of the depressing in the air and people go to the movies to be amused. Therefore we have to cut out all cos- tume play, "wig stuff," and "sob stuff. They do not care for war drama except in small doses and then only if the scenes are real and there is not too much featuring of some actor who they may think ought to be at the front and not merely playing at being a soldier.
Throughout, it should be borne in mind that the two interacted in many different and complicated ways. This vol- ume highlights some of the most illuminating examples of their crucial interrelationship. But others saw the movies growing into the new century's defining mode of entertainment, and perhaps destined for something more.
Typical, in both its awe over the phenomenon and its worry over unruly audiences and under-regulated films, was a magazine piece titled "A Theatre with a 5,, Audience": Squads of police are necessary in many places to keep in line the expectant throngs awaiting their turn to enter the inner glories. Five million people are thought to be in daily attendance at the picture shows. If it is a matter of public concern what sort of plays are run on the stage and what sort of arti- cles are published in the newspapers and magazines, it is surely important that the subject-matter of the most popular medium of reaching the people be at least not degrading.
This chapter looks into a few of the more revealing movies of the year — a year without any agreed-upon canonical masterworks — and into some of the fears and dreams that movies inspired, but it helps first to remember what it was like to live then. Because it was a federal census year, it is possible to characterize life in the United States with a little more precision than usual. The population was less than a third of what it is today, some 92 million. The frontier lingered: the Pacific and Moun- tain West remained male-dominated with men per women , while New England had more women than men.
European immigration had declined from its peak of three years earlier in the face of nativist resentments and labor union pressures, although close to two million entered during the year, most settling in larger cities. For all the focus in the muckraking press on the problems of crowded cities, however, America was still predominantly a rural and small-town country: more than half the nation lived in communities of less than 2, Agriculture remained the largest occupation, accounting for some 12 million of the nation's 37 million workers, but if one includes manufacturing, construction, and mining in "industry," that adds up to another 11 million in occupations that were often dangerous: about 2 5, were killed in industrial accidents during the year U.
Rapid communication and transportation were still available only to a few. Eighty-five percent of homes lacked electricity; there was one tele- phone for every ninety people; less than 5 percent of eighteen- to twenty- one-year-olds went on to college Schlereth ; Cooper The number of automobiles had grown to almost half a million from fewer than ten thousand at the turn of the century , but that meant just one for every two hundred people Cooper Long-distance travel meant tak- ing the railroads; travel within cities generally meant taking streetcars or trolleys.
Rural travel meant walking or riding a horse, mule, or horse- drawn wagon. Even New York City had a horse population sufficient — as one of the era's intrepid statisticians calculated — to deposit three million pounds of manure and sixty thousand gallons of urine on its streets every day Schlereth 20, With the year's first tests of electric "self-starters" in place of hand cranks on cars, driving was opening more widely to women Cooper Seven million of the nation's wage earners were women, who still had vot- ing rights in only four sparsely populated western states. The November election added one more western state, Washington.
More significant, how- ever, was the increased shift toward a national suffrage campaign, includ- ing more activist tactics by the women's movement, such as the first large U. Economically, it was a prosperous time, following the recession of American Federation of Labor unions had tripled in size since the turn of century, to 1. President William Howard Taft, who had taken office the year previous, was more of an activist trustbuster than his pred- ecessor, Theodore Roosevelt, but lacked the former president's charisma.
The national midterm election ushered in a decade of Democratic control, with Taft's Republican Party ceding the House of Rep- resentatives for the first time in sixteen years and losing ten seats in the ninety-two-man Senate. Roosevelt as a New York state senator. The year saw many reports about the demise of live popular theater, and with surprisingly little lament. A New York Times article, "Moving Pictures Sound Melodrama's Knell," asked, "Why pay 30 cents to see a rehash of an ancient theme by an obsolete troupe of archaic players when for 10 cents the village critic can see Reformers were not amused.
Dour accounts of the typical moviegoing experience regularly appeared in muckraking periodicals like McClure's Magazine, which reported that "the moving-picture show has become a problem in all large cities," especially because "the managers paid no attention to ventilation" Hendrick Health magazine fretted over "eye strain," "unsanitary conditions," "foul air," as well as "another aspect.
The performances being of necessity given in a darkened house, opportunity for undue familiarity between the sexes is afforded" "Moving Pictures". Few others hesitated to dwell on the opportunities dark theaters afforded for fraternizing between the sexes. The key technical fact about American movies in the immediate pre- feature era — central to both moviegoing this year and to the sense one can feel today of these films' desperate narrative compression — is that virtually all films were standardized at "one reel" in length that is, from about feet to a maximum of 1, feet of 35 mm film.
This meant that the longest films, seen at the slowest of the variable projection speeds, would run about seventeen minutes. Films were virtually everywhere, not only in schools, YMCAs, and department stores. Contrary to the nervous troubles predicted for viewers by Health, the Nebraska state asylum for the insane installed a projector because "these pictures appear to soothe patients and.
A screen was installed for bored commuters in Pittsburgh's central railroad station, with films changed daily, if subjected to one bit of censorship: "'There will be no pictures of train robberies,' said Albert Swinehart, who is in charge of the Pennsylvania Railroad detectives, 'nor of train wrecks. It would leave a bad impression on the minds of the travel- ers'" "Films for Commuters". At nickelodeons, moviegoers came to know on which days of the week new films from their favorite companies were shown; the most popular were from Vitagraph and Biograph. Sadly for today's viewers, a huge fire in July at Vitagraph's Manhattan studio ignited the company's entire twelve- year library — one factor in the poor survival rate now of Vitagraph films " Trapped".
This was also the year when the monopolistic Motion Pic- ture Patents Company — known to most simply as "the Trust" — was at its most powerful, but behind the scenes came the first hints that the industry was already growing out of its control. An early indication of the emerging star system came when Carl Laemmle's aggressive Independent Moving Picture Company known by its IMP or "Imp" acronym tempted away the most recognizable actresses — Florence Lawrence and then eighteen-year-old Mary Pickford — from the Biograph Company, which was holding out against mention of its actors' names.
Lawrence, the "Biograph Girl," had jumped to IMP near the end of the previous year, and it was in March that the company sprang the era's best-remembered publicity stunt, planting news stories of her death and then piously refuting them in "We Nail a Lie" advertisements Bowser ; Abel The term "star" seems to have first been applied to film actors early this year, and a February Los Angeles Times article described how fans 30 SCOTT SIMMON recognized favorite players even when films and promotional posters lacked credits: "Regular patrons of the many moving picture theaters of the city — and most of the patrons are regulars — have learned to know the different characters of the pictures, and no matter what character is assumed by the actors, their mannerisms are easily detected.
To see those whom they have learned to know, large numbers of them flock to the motion picture theaters. As another February Los Angeles Times article noted about location shooting, "The participants have been handicapped by the number of spec- tators. That is one of the things most dreaded by the picture actors" "In the Motion". Movie fan culture had evidently arrived. The L. With the Trust companies and Inde- pendents together supplying about fifty films a week, studios couldn't dream of slowing for the winter.
The Los Angeles Times already trumpeted that the "Climate and Scenic Settings Here are Ideal" for motion pictures in February, when it counted "upward of " production personnel in the city. With the many new warm-weather studio locations — including IMP in Cuba, Melies in San Antonio, Vitagraph in San Diego, and Essanay in northern California — few would yet have guessed that "Hollywood" alone would win out and become synonymous with American studio filmmaking, but the Times exhibited a prescient boosterism in talking about the touring companies: "At first they came here to escape the snow and ice, but the bright quality of the sunshine and the number of clear days in which they may work, together with the variety of scenery, has all been found ideal, and their making here is now permanent" "In the Motion".
Those first fan-culture articles also give hints about who was going to the movies this year. To judge from commentaries and a precious few sur- veys, what was new about the audiences, especially in comparison with those who attended live melodrama and vaudeville, was the increased pro- portion of children and young women, and notably from the working classes. It's anecdotally evident too that most polite society did not deign to go to nickelodeons — although they would willingly see movies in lecture halls and the other socially acceptable venues.
The relatively short dura- tion of nickelodeon programs — typically about an hour this year — also meant that workers were able to squeeze in time for movies, even when only 8 percent of them had a regular schedule of forty-eight hours a week or less Cashman, Ascendant A survey by the reformist Russell Sage Foundation about the mill town of Homestead, Pennsylvania, discovered that "many people. On a Saturday afternoon visit to a nickelodeon, which advertised that it admit- ted two children on one ticket, I was surprised to find a large proportion of men in the audience" Byington Though this report's author was taken aback by the number of men in the audience, worried reformers focused much more on children and female viewers.
A survey of a Connecticut town at the end of the year found 90 percent of children ten to fourteen going to the movies, more than half attending once a week or more, and over a third going without a parent or guardian Jump. Percentages in a survey by New York City's reformist People's Institute were higher, with "fully three-quarters of the children" attending at least once a week Inglis. Concerns about children centered on their exposure to films about crime, and a seemingly endless series of news stories bemoaned how previously angelic kids spiraled downward toward their destruction because of the movies.
She told the judge she had devised the scheme by combining plots from two films. Her hapless father, who had taken her to those movies himself, received a stern lecture from the judge: "Fathers should be very careful about such things and see to it that pictures that exert evil influence are not seen by their children. The New York Times con- cluded in August that the growth in such crimes could only be explained by the hypnotic power of film on the susceptible young "Moving Pic- ture Hypnosis".
Recurring worries about the morals of teenaged girls and young women permeated such accounts, prompting claims that their repeated attendance at movies would lead to the compromising of those morals. Because they could be paid less, women had for some time been replacing male workers 32 SCOTT SIMMON in increasingly mechanized factories, and for more tfian a decade women hiad dominated tfie sales force in department stores Schlereth 57, The special problem for reformers was that long working hours meant that young women were now going to the movies unchaperoned in the late evenings, too.
The president of Chicago's Juvenile Protective Association in reporting on this survey warned that in nickelodeons "the darkness afforded a cover for familiarity and sometimes even for immorality" de Koven Bowen 56, Its heroine, Mary, a high school senior in a small Pennsylvania town, allows herself to be taken to a nick- elodeon by a handsome Hungarian immigrant.
The chase comedy they watch seems unobjectionable, but it is shot in New York City and the chase goes past the Waldorf and Park Avenue hotels, plunging Mary into a "fairy- land" of riches. Twenty pages later, she's in Lower Manhattan, her drink drugged, and the next morning she wakes up naked in a strange brass bed, her face in the mirror "alien, a ruin, an accusation. Lest anyone think the novel exaggerated, later editions reprinted as an appen- dix the June findings of a New York grand jury — known as the Rockefeller Report — on the "white slave traffic.
In spite of the activities of the authorities in watching these places, many girls owe their ruin to frequenting them" Kauffman The same month. Judge Frederick B. House made a sweeping indictment: "Ninety-five per- cent of the moving picture houses in New York are dens of iniquity. More young women and girls are led astray in these places than in any other way" "Unwarranted".
While commentators feared the influence of moviegoing on young women, a few pointed out how women might be influencing motion pic- tures. As Bertha Richardson suggested in her revision of The Woman Who Spends: A Study of Her Economic Function, women were a growing force in "the economics of consumption, otherwise known as the spending of their money" The nickels from new audiences added up, and the year saw active, heroic female leads take the screen. As Eileen Bowser points out, in this era when nickelodeon programs always were built from several short films, exhibitors expected to receive new films in three large genre categories — comedies, dramas, and westerns.
A "balanced program" of genres was the ideal Bowser Below we look into a few genre films as well as a couple of less easily classifiable titles, and take as our guides the year's many female heroines: in the social drama A Child of the Ghetto, the westerns Ramona and The Red Girl and the Child, the Civil War film The House with Closed Shutters, the Shakespeare adaptation Twelfth Night, and the advertis- ing film The Stenographer's Friend.
One fact needs noting about the films of this year: more than in any other except , film survival distorts film history. It is not possible to say with any precision how many films in total were made in the United States this year — there are no surviving production records for most companies and most nonfiction film types — but it would be a reasonable guess that at least 3, films were released. This impressive number is less surprising when one remembers that most theaters changed programs daily and that the Trust and Independent distribution "exchanges" competed, each with a full slate of releases.
Another fair guess would be that at least 90 percent of these titles are now "lost" — that is, all copies were thrown away, allowed to deteriorate, or burned in such fires as the one at Vitagraph. This has been the common fate of the first thirty-five years of filmmaking worldwide, but the particular distortions this year come from an unusual imbalance. Films directed by D. Griffith for the Biograph Company represent more than one -quarter of the surviving U.
A full history would want to correct this imbalance, but one-reel films from the pre-feature era remain difficult enough to see under any cir- cumstances, and so I have chosen titles to discuss below mainly from among those available on video. It is compensation that, this year at least, Griffith's films are unrivaled in stylistic sophistication, if not in their range of subjects. Griffith's A Child of the Ghetto manages to be both a documentary-inflected look at social problems and a timeless fable.
It opens in a dingy tenement room in Manhattan's Jewish ghetto, as a girl in her late teens Dorothy West watches her mother die. In a ghetto garment shop, she picks up home-assembly work, but when she brings back the finished goods, the owner's son plants on her money stolen from his father's wallet — leading to the presumption of her guilt and pursuit by a policeman.
Officer Quinn. She loses him on the Lower East Side and hops a trolley into the country, where she flees along a dirt road until collapsing outside the gate of a rural home. Rescued by a farmer and his mother, she "learns to smile" and to find love. Some time later. Officer Quinn heads out for "a day's fishing" and stops for water at that very farm. Such coincidence is at the core of melodrama.
Quinn finally does puzzle out the mystery and runs back to make the arrest. But her pleas, or perhaps just the country atmos- phere, make him hesitate, and when the farmer walks up, Quinn pretends to search for something lost in the grass to explain his return. He strolls back to the river with a smile. The film, like so many this year, draws from America's long cultural clash between urban modernity and rural traditionalism.
The speed with which films were made and released meant that it was easy for them to react to contemporary events. Psychopharmacology , , — Plectranthus plants Lamiaceae have diverse ethnopharmacological uses including gastro-intestinal, infections and skin conditions Lukhoba C. Phytomedicine , 22 , — The intrinsic instability of these and their unfavorable partition coefficient, affects their bioavailability and therefore the bioactivity. Fitoterapia , 81 , — In this study, P. Preliminary studies showed short-term stability, sustained release and antibacterial activity of the formulation.
The results confirm the presence of bioactive compounds in Plectranthus extracts and usefulness of the encapsulation technology applied to improve the stability of bioactive extracts of PM. David M. The endoplasmic reticulum ER is an organelle comprising a network of branching tubules and sacs that is present in all eukaryotic cells.
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The chemistry, distribution and mechanism of action of these compounds will be presented and discussed, including examples both from the literature and from our laboratory. Phenazines and acridines are an important class of benzoheterocycle compounds which exhibit a broad spectrum of biological activities and a number of derivatives are widely used as antibacterial, antifungal, antiviral and anticancer drugs Laursen, J. There are several chemical methods for the synthesis of these important cores starting from substituted o -aromatic amines that are also good substrates for laccases.
Laccase promote the oxidation of the precursor molecules to the o -quinone-diimine intermediates which undergo a Michael addition leading to the final heterocycle cores Sousa, A. Green Chem. Reactions were performed in aqueous media and with mild reaction conditions of pH and temperature. However, the copigmentation binding constants K CP determined for the interaction of catechin with oenin in the presence of a pectic polysaccharide showed that this polysaccharide induced a decrease on the copigmentation binding constants.
These results probably suggest the occurrence of competition equilibrium in which the presence of this pectic polysaccharide limited the association between catechin and oenin. Bruno J. Silva 2 and Ana M. Morella faya Aiton Wilbur syn. Myrica faya Aiton , from Myricaceae family, is an evergreen nitrogen-fixing subdecious shrub or small tree native to Macaronesia Lutzow-Felling, C. Morella species have traditional medicine uses and metabolites that exhibit promising bioactivities Silva, J. Here we present the biological activity of bark and leaves extracts from M. The bark acetone extract presented a strong anti-acetylcholinesterase activity, comparable to the commercial drug galanthamine.
Moreover, the inhibition was also reversible, which means that it will be less toxic than an irreversible inhibitor. Both acetone extracts presented comparable inhibition values against xanthine oxidase, with only approximately 4 to 5-fold the IC 50 for standard drug allopurinol. Considering that these extracts were reversible inhibitors, it means that they have the potential to be less toxic than allopurinol, which is approved for medical purposes.
From the most active extracts were isolated fatty alcohol 1 — 2 , pentacyclic triterpenes with lupane and oleanane skeleton 3 — 6 , cyclic diarylheptanoid 7 and a phthalate 8. All these compounds are reported in M. These results show the potential of M. Andreia P. The recurrent use of anti-inflammatory drugs and their side effects led to a growing demand for viable and safer alternatives. In this context, natural products arise, playing an important role in the treatment of this pathology.
Amongst natural compounds with anti-inflammatory properties, flavonoids can be highlighted. In this work, the ability of Grindelia robusta Nutt aqueous extract and of some of its flavonoids, to reduce nitric oxide NO levels in RAW Results revealed that the extract of G. Cell viability of RAW A tendency to reduce NO levels, in a dose-dependent way, was also observed. All flavonoids were able to decrease NO levels in a concentration-dependent manner, quercetin being the most effective one IC 50 values of 7. The presence of quercetin, apigenin and luteolin derivatives in the extract of G.
In a general way, aglycones revealed to be more active than the respective glycosides. Furthermore, the catechol group on ring B and the hydroxyl group in C3 seem to be essential for the anti-inflammatory activity of these compounds. To the financing sources, the authors are greatly indebted. Miguel SMI islands Azores. A Laboratory Manual , ISBN In lag phase, the dichloromethane extract from Z. The results obtained show the potential of M. Antibiotic residues have been detected in various environmental matrices, such as surface and drinking waters.
Total Environ. A , , 87— Several parameters that can affect biossorption kinetics, namely, contact time, pH, and biosortion mass were also studied. Sousa 2 , Artur M. Flavonoids are chemically based on a fifteen-carbon skeleton consisting of two benzene rings ring A and ring B joined by a linear three carbon chain C 6 -C 3 -C 6 forming an oxygenated heterocycle pyran ring ring C. Flavonoids possess many biological activities, from which the antioxidant properties are the best described.
Considering the structural similarities of 2-SC and the fact that their styryl moiety may greatly contribute to their molecular stabilization under redox challenges, some of its biological activities are likely to be similar or even enhanced in comparison to flavonoids, although it needs to be experimentally confirmed. Thus, the purpose of the present study was to evaluate and compare the putative scavenging of reactive oxygen ROS and nitrogen RNS species by synthetic 3-hydroxyflavones and 3-hydroxystyrylchromones, using in vitro non-cellular systems.
Interestingly, the efficacy of 3-hydroxystyrylchromones and 3-hydroxyflavones vary among the tested reactive species, constituting a good option as antioxidant agents. For the last several years, searching of new xanthone derivatives XD with potential pharmacological properties has remained in the area of interest of our group. In addition, the assessment of the drug-likeness of the bioactive XD synthesized is crucial in an early stage of the drug discovery pipeline considering that problems related to physicochemical properties are one of the main reasons of failure during pre-clinical trials.
Lipophilicity, commonly expressed by the logarithm of the partition coefficient log P , is one of the most important physicochemical properties having a great impact both in pharmacokinetics absorption, distribution, metabolism, excretion, and toxicity—ADMET and pharmacodynamic processes. In this work, we describe the lipophilicity of a series of XD, previously synthesized in our group Fernandes, C. J Chromatogr. A , , 1—5. Both methods were validated accordingly with OCDE guidelines. Linear correlations were found between log k values and the volume fraction of methanol in the mobile phase R 2 higher than 0.
Low sample consumption, low sensitivity to impurities, good accuracy and excellent reproducibility were observed. HPLC technique was crucial for the determination of log P values, showing its importance in the evaluation of physicochemical parameters that can be useful for pharmacokinetics prevision. In order to find new agents to combat bacteria resistance it is important to understand the details of the mechanism of action of glycopeptides antibiotics as vancomycin Vorpagel, E.
It is well established that the replacement of the last amino acid in the peptide chain linked to the MurNAc moiety changes the interaction with the glycopeptides antibiotics. However the interactions studies have been limited to the use of N -protected dipeptides and tripeptides Kim, C. Bmb Rep. In order to clarify how the different compositions of the bacterial fragments affect the recognition by vancomycin we have developed a study involving synthesis and screening of small cell wall bacterial fragments. Herein we present our preliminary studies on the interaction between vancomycin and the synthesized compounds.
Elisabete Ferreira 1 , Pedro F. Cruz 1 , Zaida L. Almeida 1,2 , Marta S. Sousa 2 and Rui M. Agents , 3 , — Currently, there is no fully effective treatment for TTR amyloidosis and several therapeutic strategies targeting different steps of the fibril formation pathway are under development Ueda, M. The disruption of amyloid aggregates and fibrils is one of those strategies. To properly select compounds for this purpose a specific screening protocol that can identify and characterize the interaction of the compounds with the fibrils must be developed.
With this purpose in mind three wild type-TTR fibril formation protocols were studied by dynamic light scattering, circular dichroism, turbidimetry, transmission electron microscopy and fluorescence spectroscopy to select and characterize the most appropriate fibril formation protocol. The results show that the heat-induced fibril formation protocol at neutral pH has advantages over other fibril formation protocols but requires further characterization.
Additionally, saturation transfer difference nuclear magnetic resonance was used to study the interaction of doxycycline with WT-TTR fibrils, and a DLS assay was developed to characterize the effect of this compound on fibril disruption. Jorge Viterbo Ferreira, , Porto,Portugal.
Based on the substitution pattern of xanthone LEM2, discovered as a potent antitumor agent, and on amine moiety of pMDM2 inhibitors, new potential disruptors with drug-like properties were obtained. By reductive amination, eleven LEM2-aminated derivatives were successfully synthesized. Their binding affinity was predicted by docking studies towards MDM2. Using yeast-based assays, their inhibitory activity on pMDM2 was investigated. These studies will provide the most favorable requirements for the construction of new antitumor agents. Recently, DHA was shown to prevent Staphylococcus aureus bacterial colonization and also inhibiting biofilm formation Fallarero, A.
Considering these promising results, the aim of this study was to investigate the efficacy of DHA for inhibiting the biofilm formation as well as its efficiency against standard and isolate strains. Apmis , , — Future studies will focus on a synergistic effect between an antimicrobial synthetic molecule and an encapsulation polymer, namely a new abietane cationic amphiphile ACA derived from dehydroabietic acid. Cy3glc in its parent form was detected in plasma and urine samples. The identification and quantification of anthocyanin conjugates was also performed yielding several sulphate, glucuronyl and methyl conjugates of Cy3glc and Cy.
Anthocyanins can be further metabolized by colon microbiota and excreted in the urine, yielding several phenolic acid and their metabolized forms. Some protocatechuic, vanilic, benzoic and hippuric acid conjugates were identified in urine samples, mainly with sulfate groups. So far, it has been quite difficult to clearly assess both native and metabolized forms and also catabolites in vivo and to distinguish their different biological roles. Different phenolics were found to migrate from different cork stoppers into bottled wine model solutions Azevedo, J.
These compounds interfere in wine color and taste features Glabasnia, A. Also, some compounds participate in polymerization reactions with some wine components, changing their sensorial properties Quideau, S. In addition, it is acknowledged that phenolic acids and aldehydes can react resulting in complex structures found in aged wines Pissarra, J. Food Sci. Bearing this, the aim of this study is to evaluate the reactivity between cork extracts and major wine components and understand the impact of this reactivity in wine properties. Non-proteinogenic amino acids are an important class of organic compounds, either because they have an intrinsic biological activity, or as part of peptides with antiviral, anti-tumor, anti-inflammatory or immunosuppressive activities Fosgerau, K.
Today , 20 , — The incorporation of non-proteinogenic amino acids into peptides can change their structural, chemical and pharmacological properties Albericio, F. Future Med. The brominated dehydrodipeptide derivatives were used in Suzuki-Miyaura cross-couplings reactions.
Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease COPD refers to a condition of inflammation with progressive weakening of the structure of the lung and irreversible narrowing of the airways Lucas, S. S1 , e73—e Novel biomarkers for this disease are urgently needed. Adequately targeted probes can be designed to quantify the active catalytic state of these enzymes Carvalho, L.
MedChemComm , 6 , These ABPs will be used to covalently tag the active enzyme, providing protein activity quantification by proteomics-based analysis. The structural modification of anthocyanins water soluble pigments into more lipophilic compounds is very important to expand their application in the food, medicinal and cosmetic industries Cruz, L.
In this work, the synthesis of anthocyanin oleic acid ester derivatives was achieved by chemical and enzymatic approaches. Enzymatic approach allowed to synthesize mv3glc-oleic acid ester which was structurally characterized by mass spectrometry and for the first time by NMR spectroscopy. Enzymatic reaction revealed to be more efficient and regioselective in the conversion of native anthocyanins into their ester product rather than the chemical reaction.
Antioxidant features of the obtained products by means of DPPH and FRAP assays confirms that their antioxidant potential was not compromised, which is an important insight for future technological applications. In this work, a hybridization strategy was planned in order to develop new anticoagulants joining a coumarin scaffold with a heparin-like sugar sulfated moiety. With this approach we expected to mimetize the sulfated polysaccharide anticoagulants, while adding some hydrophobic character to the resulting molecule.
Due to the evidence that 6-substituted coumarins with heteroaromatic rings can act as FXa inhibitors Amin, K. For structure-activity relationships purposes, the syntheses of 7-triazole-linked coumarin glucosides compounds 13 , 14 , and 15 as well as of sulfates of non-triazole linked 6- and 7- coumarin glucosides compounds 10 , 18 , and 19 were performed. In conclusion, thirteen new coumarin derivatives were obtained, i.
This small library of compounds will allow the study of the effect of the presence of the triazole moiety on the anticoagulant activity and mode of action of these new anticoagulant hybrids. Astringency is an important factor in food quality. Different theories about astringency mechanism have been attributed but the most established process is the interaction between food tannins and human salivary proteins Kallithraka, S. Highlight the astringency mechanism through the study of tannin-protein interactions became relevant. The goal of this study aims to study the effect of different salivas A, B and C and different tannin concentration 0.
Human salivary proteins are divided into different groups mainly histatins His , statherins Stah , proline rich proteins PRPs and cystatins Huq, N. This study is is focused in the identification of new procyanidin B3-salivary protein complexes complexes created between a common food tannin, the procyanidin B3 B3 , and the Stath, His and PRPs originating from saliva with different protein profiles. Seca 3,4 , Paulo Silveira 1,2 and Diana C. Pinto 3. The flora of Continental Portugal includes three species of Calendula L. Calendula officinalis L. Nyman, C. Ohle and C. Cell Mol. Nevertheless, little is known about the chemical composition of C.
To accomplish this, one sample of each taxon , C arvensis , C. The hexane extract of each taxon was obtained from dried and powdered plant and completely characterized by GC-MS after silylation, which allowed the identification and quantification of their constituents. The achieved data showed the presence of mono- and disaccharides, terpenoids, fatty acids, sterols, alkanes, long chain alcohols and some amino acids. It was found that the monosaccharides and fatty acids are the most abundant families in C. The last one was also found in higher quantities in C.
Lastly, the two samples of C. Some carbohydrates as well as lignoceric acid and linoleic acid were described for the first time in the Calendula L. Through the accomplished findings, including a preliminary Principal Component Analysis PCA , a taxonomic differentiation among the taxa can be made. Irrelevant variations were also found in the two samples of the subsp. The compounds detected for the first time improved our knowledge of the chemical profile of this genus.
Additionally, some of the reported compounds have a major importance on a nutritional level. Infante D. Cancer persists as one of the major global public health concerns due to its large incidence and mortality. Searching for novel anticancer agents with higher potency and lower toxicity, our work aims the development of monastrol analogues. The results revealed that the compounds did not show significant toxicity neither in normal dermal cells NHDF nor in prostatic and breast T47D cancer cell lines; however, the chloro-containing compounds of the urea series showed selective toxicity for HepaRG cells 5.
Thus, it was found that the molecules containing chloro atoms in their structure, particularly those belonging to urea series, demonstrated selective toxicity for hepatic cancer cells. Additional studies are ongoing to understand what mechanisms of action are involved in the toxicity of these molecules as well as the existence of differences between the two series.
Pinho e Melo. The enantioselective alkylation of aromatic aldehydes with diethylzinc in the presence of chiral ligands is a valuable method for synthesizing chiral secondary alcohols. Chiral 1,3-thiazolidinecarboxylates derived from l -cysteine have been sparingly used as catalysts in this reaction, giving secondary alcohols with good to excellent enantiomeric excesses Meng, Q. Tetrahedron Asymmetry , 11 , —; Jin, M. Korean Chem. To the best of our knowledge, structurally identical D-penicillamine-derived thiazolidines 2 have not been used in these reactions.
These two types of thiazolidines, easily obtained by a simple synthetic process could bring singular advantages to many catalytic processes. Silva 1,2. The major strategy to overcome their activity is the use of inhibitors that have little to none antibiotic activity, but bind with greater affinity to BLs, allowing an effective antibiotic therapy. They are increasingly produced by clinical bacteria and their prevalence will keep growing as some types of MBL are encoded in mobile genetic elements Arakawa, Y. Agents Chemother. FEMS Microbiol. The study of inhibitors for MBLs has highlighted some classes of compounds potentially useful for the design of a successful inhibitor in the future.
However, none have yet entered further development stages Klingler, F. Egas Moniz, Lisbon, Portugal. The most virulent human malaria parasite, Plasmodium falciparum , is responsible for million cases of malaria worldwide and its burden is heaviest in the Sub-Sharan region Factsheet on the World Malaria Report The emergence of drug-resistant pathogens is a major threat to human health, and P. USA , , ; Muregi, F. Therefore, there is an urgent need to identify new antimalarial agents to combat emerging resistant strains with a new mode of action. Pyrroloquinolones are an extremely important class of heterocycles with wide applications in the areas of medicinal chemistry Howard, B.
PDEs have been well studied as potential targets in various eukaryotic organisms. Recently, Deprez et al. On the basis of these, we have designed and synthesized a series of highly substituted pyrroloquinolones, which has shown a potent activity against both the erythrocytic and exoerythrocytic forms of Plasmodium parasites. Our activity results represent a new structural lead for further optimization as dual-stage antimalarials. Martins, Cristina C.
Jacob, M. Matilde Marques and Alexandra M. Besides DNA bases, GA also binds with hemoglobin to form protein adducts, which are useful biological markers of acrylamide exposure Tareke, E. However, these adducts are usually detected by gas chromatography coupled with mass spectrometry GC-MS following a derivatization procedure, which raises some questions about the automation of the methodology due to the complexity of sample preparation. Methodologies based on liquid chromatography—mass spectrometry analysis of protein digests provide better alternatives, involving conditions that result in low thermal input and mild ionization.
Moreover, these methodologies offer a wider applicability, enabling the analysis of covalent adducts formed with polar electrophiles. Nonetheless, levels of protein adducts are small compared to the unmodified proteins, and therefore they are difficult to detect and identify without prior enrichment. To increase analytical sensitivity for detecting less-abundant protein adducts, we report herein a methodology to enrich GA adducts of Human Serum Albumin HSA prior to nano-electrospray ionization mass spectrometry analysis.
This analytical method provides a straightforward approach for detecting GA-protein adducts and, therefore, stimulating the common use of HSA adducts as biomarkers of acrylamide exposure. Pedro M. Silva 1,3 and Rui M. Brito 1,3. USA , , — To better characterize the topological constraints imposed by these residues, we have constructed in silico the mutants Q8A, Y10A and Y10F, and performed several MD simulations. Pedro F. Justino and M. Matilde Marques. Natural killer NK cells are a type of cytotoxic lymphocyte critical to the innate immune system. NK cells provide rapid responses to viral-infected cells, and play a role in tumor immunosurveillance by directly inducing the death of tumor cells.
In recent developments, B7-H6, a surface protein present on a broad panel of tumor cells including lymphoma, melanoma, and carcinoma, was identified as a ligand for the NKp30 receptor. The comparison between the 3D structures of unbound and B7-H6-bound NKp30 demonstrated marked conformational changes that may be a key-factor for the NK-response activation role of B7-H6. Our current work aims at designing a family of small organic molecules SOMs capable of mimicking the effect of B7-H6 on the NKp30 receptor.
A combination of computational docking and molecular dynamics tools was extensively used to scan several ligand libraries, yielding core-structures as possible ligands for the receptor. These were further optimized to generate lead structures that will be screened as NKp30 ligands through mass spectrometry tools. The main goal is to obtain an SOM capable of inducing the activation of an NK response, through binding of the NKp30 receptor, and structurally amenable to derivatization with specific tumor-targeting molecular units to produce a specific immune response against cancer cells.
Cellulose is considered one of the most promising polymeric resource as alternative for petroleum-based polymers Pang, J. Materials , 6 , — It has many advantages such as low cost, biocompatibility and biodegradability Fink, D. Carboxymethyl cellulose CMC is the most important ionic cellulose ether widely used due to its thickening, suspending and film forming properties Ramos, L. With the aim of producing cellulose filters able to adsorb positive proteins at low pH, we have produced surface carboxymethylated cellulose filters using commercial filters has starting material.
Commercial filters were carboxymethylated using sodium hydroxide NaOH and monochloroacetic acid MCA in aqueous medium under heterogeneous conditions. Hence, it is possible to produce water insoluble carboxymethylated cellulose filters for the adsorption of positive proteins at low pH in aqueous medium.
Film reviews and commentary from Marilyn Ferdinand and Roderick Heath
Colon cancer is the third cause of death worldwide and it is more frequent in industrialized countries. In the USA it is the second cause of death and in Europe approximately 25, cases are reported every year. However, these treatments are not effective in all patients due to multidrug resistance developed by tumour cells and the lack of selectivity Levin, B. Gastroenterology , , —; Labianca, R. The pyrimido[5,4- d ]pyrimidine ring system 1 has been attracted enormous attention of the scientific community mainly due to its activity as anti-tumour Sanghvi, Y.