“The Lion’s Bride” Film
Release Date: 1914
“This Selig production was inspired by a famous painting of the era, also titled ~The Lion's Bride. Although she loves another, the daughter of an evil baron has been promised in marriage to an ancient count. With the help of the count's jester, the girl and her lover are able to elope. Interrupting the wedding, the count grabs the heroine and tosses her into a den of lions, where she presumably ends up as the "blue plate special." Her vengeful lover then kills the count, as the extras react in horror, and the canvas scenery flaps in the wind. The original The Lion's Bride was also the source for a key scene in Cecil B. DeMille's Male and Female (1919).”
~ Hal Erickson, Rovi 
At any rate, Hagenbeck's lions, lent for the purposes of a film recording Madame Destinn's acting, declined to-day to be soothed by the world-famous voice. A great crowd gathered to see Madame Destinn in the lions' den, but the beautiful aria which the film supposes her to sing, Beethovens "Kennst du das Land," was performed at a very respectful distance by the gramophone, and Madam, Destinn was promptly reminded of many inaccurate quotations of Congreve's verse when, as soon as she began to sing, the lions began to growl I noticed," said Madame Destinn, "that as soon as I began to emphasise the notes my lion started to growl. You can guess that I cut it out quickly."
A lady tamer sat down on the piano stool, obviously for the first time in her life, to act the role of accompanist, and incidently to keep an eye on the sleeping monarch, while a wiry little man from Hagenbeck's, who treated the lions just as if they had been so many rabbits or guinea-pigs, was very much on the alert, just out of the line of fire of the battery of cameras that were turned on the centre of the cage. These preparations completed, Madame Destinn stepped into the cage quite unconcernedly, and, hardly casting a glance at the animals, took up her station within two or three feet of the lion on the top of the piano. Then the signal was given, the films began to rattle, and the great singer opened her lips.
“..The song at an end, the prima donna bowed her acknowledgments to the imaginary audience for its imaginary plaudits, and now came the one feature in the performance, (says The Daily Telegraph) which appeared to arouse in her a certain amount of misgiving, for she was asked to lay her arm around Hercules's neck. Whether it was difference at the idea of taking such liberties with the king of beasts, or the thought that the maxim about sleeping dogs might apply with at least equal force to other and larger animals, at any rate, she executed the prescribed embrace with obvious signs of reluctance, and her land rested only with the gentlest possible pressure on the tawny mane. It was probably concern for the good fame of his pets which made the man from Hagenbeck's step forward and take hold of the singer's arm and, at the same time assuring her that she had no ground for uneasiness, lay it firmly right round the lion's neck…”
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