Pathé is a French company of Cinéma . Pathé or Pathé Frères is the name of the companies of cinema industry founded and initially directed by the Pathé brothers to France. For the activities concerned with music industry, you defer to the article Pathé Records.
HistoryAt the origin, in 1896, the four Pathé brothers had shared their economies (8.000 francs each one) to create a company of sale of phonographic apparatuses. Two of the brothers having given up, they will be the two brothers Charles and Emile Pathé who will promote what will become the largest company of phonography then of cinema of the world. The principal craftsman of the success of the cinematographic activity is Charles Pathé which had helped with the opening of a store of Gramophone S in 1894 and thereafter established a factory of Phonographe S with Chatou in the western suburbs of Paris. Its started industrial success, it foresees the opportunities offered by the new entertainments and particularly by the stammering industry of the Cinéma. Having taken the decision to extend the activities of its company to the manufacture of material for the cinema, Charles Pathé governs the rapid growth of its company. It receives the decisive assistance of an investor, Grivolas, which will bring a capital of a million francs, which will allow the expansion of the company
Construction of an empireAt the origin, simple retailers of materials bought in Great Britain, the two brothers will build a true empire:
a factory of phonographic materials installed in Chatou.
Of the movie studios, with Joinville-le-Pont and Montreuil, which will produce a very great number of films under the Pathé label or that of associated firms (SCAGL, Film of Art, etc) and which will invade the whole world.
For this purpose, they will create nearly two hundred branches or subsidiary companies in the world. Those are held to buy the entirety of the production of the Pathé films and to diffuse them. As example, the first American branch is held to buy hundred copies of each film, which is enough to deaden them. The Pathé firm in France will substitute for the sale of the copies the system of hiring, in spite of the protests of the open ones, which were in the beginning their main customers.
the Pathé brothers will encourage the formation of four companies which will build rooms only intended for film projection cinematographic. These rooms, baptized " Pathé" , will have the exclusiveness in the Pathé production which they will be held to program. Pathé will take part in the capital of the one of these companies but, contrary to the legend, it will not acquérera any of these rooms.
Associated with the company Continsouza which conceives and manufactures, Pathé will be leader in the production of the film cameras and of projection professionals, but also in the first grinding of apparatuses of living room (with the reduced format of 28 mm), baptized Pathé Kok.
Towards 1904, Pathé distributes 30 to 50% of films projected in Europe and to the the United States, but the creation of many national firms in Sweden, Great Britain, Italy and especially in the United States will involve a relative decline.
Initially, Charles Pathé will endeavor to develop his American businesses, to arrange there studios in the New Jersey. He will join for that the billionaire Hearst magré the reputation of germanophilie and gallophobie of this one.
A progressive dismantlingIn 1918, the Pathé brothers were convinced of the supremacy of the American cinema industry and which it is illusory to want to be opposed to it. It is then a question of yielding under the best conditions the various branches of their trust.
For this purpose, the phonographic branch and the factory of Chatou are detached from the unit and will continue to function under the direction of Emile Pathé, who thus gives up any activity in the branch cinema. In 1924, Emile Pathé will take his retirement and will yield his interests to Marconi: the company will be called from now on " Pathé Marconi" although Pathé does not have any more a participation in the business.
The cinematographic branch will become " Company Pathé Cinéma" and will be animated by Charles Pathé exclusively.
To notice that Charles Pathé envisaged by contract to perceive 10% of the sums received for each transfer of a business.
- In 1920, Charles Pathé will yield to a baptized new business " Pathé consortium cinéma" , but in which Pathé took care not to invest, studios of Joinville and the distribution system. N the other hand the new business will have to pay a royalty of 10% of its turnover, which it will not manage to ensure, from where ceaseless litigations.
Charles Pathé will liquidate in conditions which we know little about the various foreign branches, in particular the baptized American branch " Pathé Exchange"
It will yield to Eastman thrives it virgin film factory of Vincennes for the sum of 150 franc million. This transfer will be presented like a collaboration between Eastman and Pathé, since the new business is called " Kodak - Pathé" , but actually it quasi totality of the actions (995.000 on a million) and the capacity are reserved for the American trust.
At the same time as it liquidates the principal credits, Charles Pathé however will create two interesting additional activities. He imagines in 1922 the Pathé Baby or " Cinema at soi" , apparatus of reduced format (on Film 9,5 mm) conceived by Continsouza for the private individuals and which will be a success such as the Continsouza factory will have evil required. Charles Pathé does not want to invest important funds in this activity. He thus will create a " Company of Pathé Baby" with the capital of 10 franc million in which it takes part in height of a million francs. The new business is held to exclusively buy the positive bands of format reduced to Pathé Cinéma, which represents appreciable financial re-entries and without risks.
In the same way, Charles Pathé will endeavor as of 1923 to promote the Pathé Rural, projectors and films of reduced format (on film of 17,5 mm) intended for the rural small-scale farming and the rooms of patronage and competitor of the Film 16 mm which has just appeared in the United States. But as it does not manage to find investors, this sudden project of great delays. Finally Charles Pathé resigns itself to launch it itself in 1928.
In short, between 1918 and 1928, the Pathé Empire was dismantled methodically. As the various yielded branches continue to be called " Pathé" , the public (and curiously majority of the historians of the cinema) will not realize this liquidation.
Charles Pathé was the " Chief technical officer " and incontestably the organizer of the extraordinary activities of the firm, but it did not have an appreciable number of actions which it could have yielded. Eager to withdraw itself, it makes create in 1928 50.000 actions " with vote plural" (paid 25 francs) reserved to the five members of the Board of directors. These actions with plural vote allow the control of the Company theoretically. In 1929, the five members of the Board of directors will sell for the sum of fifty franc million the actions which they paid a million two hundred and fifty thousand francs the previous year.
The Natan periodThe purchaser, Bernard Tanenzapf says Bernard Natan, is little known general public. He had founded since 1910 a cinematographic company " Movies-actualités" then " Rapid-film" , company of film pullings, which will know a constant expansion. It had made build in the buildings of the street Francoeur two ultramodern studios and had started to produce films under the name of " Natan" productions;.
Bernard Natan, obviously impassioned by the cinema, will endeavor to reconstitute dismantled the Pathé Empire.
It will acquire a circuit of more than 60 rooms in France and Belgium with which it will associate a hundred rooms " associées" who, according to Charles Pathé, were the initial source of important losses.
It will repurchase in Sapène the company " Cinéromans" , which will bring the 7 studios of Joinville and the distribution system to him of Pathé Consortium. It will build in Joinville two new studios, which, joined to the two studios of the street Francoeur, enables him to take again the production and film distribution.
It will start again the production of films now " parlants". For that it will acquérera the process of wiring for sound of RKO of which it will become the distributer in France. It will produce or coproduira more than one hundred films between the end 1929 and 1935: wood Crosses, the Poor wretches, the King of the resquilleurs, Amok, the Crew, the yellow Cruising (with Andre Citroen) etc
It will develop Pathé Rural, which will become also speaking, the production of educational films and will endeavor to be present in all the fields of cinema industry: it will acquire the patents " Baird" of Television and those of the professor Christian Henri (the hypergonar, future Cinemascope). It will acquérera the radio station Vitus-Island of France.
It will start again the " Pathé Journal" , created in 1908 by Pathé and given up in 1926 like not very profitable. Pathé Journal will become speaking etc
In short in ten eight months, " Pathé Cinéma" , become " Pathé Natan" became the most important French cinematographic firm, far in front of the GFFA (born from fusion from Gaumont, Aubert Franco Film and Continsouza).
To finance these achievements, Bernard Natan, will have to accept the contest of the banks Conti-Gancel and especially Bauer & Marchal. It will be brought to increase considerably the Company's capital which will pass from 54 million to 160 million (of which fifty will never be subscribed in spite of the promises of the bankers). He will create to finance the acquisition of the rooms hundred million obligations (there too, there will be only fifty million subscribed).
The economic crisis, which will start in France only in 1932, and the supremacy of American films will involve the failure of the majority of the French cinematographic companies, initially the GFFA, in bankruptcy since 1934 with 300 million liability, but also from Osso, Haïk etc the american company Paramount which had created with Saint-Maurice splendid studios intended to produce films in the various European languages will cease its activity with 200 million losses.
Pathé Natan resists but undergoes the by-effects of the crisis, worsened by a press campaign which will begin since 1931, press campaign violently Xénophobe then anti-semite as from 1934. Some claim that these campaigns are initiated by a " syndicat" bankers and industrialists who wish to acquire the credits of Pathé but also of GFFA.
A " trade union of defense of the shareholders of Pathé Cinéma" created by certain Dirler and relayed by the newspaper " Jour" (of Leon Bailby) will maintain a deleterious climate which will involve the fall of the stock exchange. Finally an expert is named in 1935 by the bankruptcy court of Paris. This one will hasten to declare that the " Company of management of the Pathé" Establishments; (which has the cinemas) cannot regulate the annual installments of the obligations, which she is consequently declared in bankruptcy and by extension the Company Pathé Cinéma which is guarantee. This marked decision on December 2nd, 1935 will be confirmed in call on July 23rd, 1936. The stop specifies that the company is out of state to audit its colossal liability.
Actually, the activity of the Company continues normally (apart from the production of films that a company declared in bankruptcy does not have the right to assume). At the end of two years, the syndics publish their management report: they specify that they could continue the activity without any call for capital outsides and that the two years results of activities are profit. The syndics true themselves then on a " General society of cinématographie" , created in October 1939, which will become on November 28th, 1940 the " Development company of the Establishments Pathé Cinéma". This Company which takes again the credits is animated by a trade union of transferees consisted the Firm Thomson-Houston, the Company of the meters, the electric group Mercier, the company Pechiney etc
This one will be opposite with the group consisted Dirler which succeeded in gathering a great number of capacities of small shareholders. The trade union transferee is supported by the Vichy government which fears the seizure of the occupants if the dispute lasts for ever. The Vichy government even will offer without any counterpart 125.000 Pathé actions, extorted from the Swedish banker Aschberg with the group which has its preferences.
Finally a solution is found. A new expertise indicates that the credit is higher in the passive and that consequently the company finds " in bonis" after having regulated the liability with the allowances of delay. A baptized new business " New company Pathé Cinéma" is created which will recover the credits. This company is directed by Adrien Rémaugé, an employee of the Company Thomson-Houston, but the other members of the Board of directors are also employees of the various transferees.
Let us recall for memory that Bernard Natan and his brother Emile Natan had taken again since 1936 on more modest bases their activities in cinema industry. Emile Natan created the " Company the Films modernes" who produce two films per annum on average (the King, Mayerling etc). Bernard Natan acquired the management of the old Paramount studios of Saint-Maurice and assumes the coproduction of films made in these studios. At the end of December 1938, Bernard Natan is stopped. Immediately a press campaign of the press of right-hand side, but also of information, stigmatizes l'" escaped prisoner of the ghettos" who ruined the company initiated by good French. He is condemned to four years of prison, carried at five years in call, i.e. to the maximum envisaged by the law. One announces a new lawsuit which will be able to finally reveal the fantastic diversions carried out by him and which would have ruined a prosperous company. This lawsuit will take place indeed under the Occupation and will give place to a new calumny campaign and assertions that nothing comes to support. Bernard Natan will be deposed French nationality, which will facilitate its delivery with German who will off-set it with Auschwitz on September 23rd, 1942. He will die there, probably in October 1942.
The new CompanyWith the passing of years, the activity of the new Company knows many changes of which production of programs for the flourishing industry of the Télévision. During the Years 1970, the exploitation of the cinemas replaces the production of films as an independent source of incomes. When the activity falls under control from Giancarlo Paretti and max Théret, this one installs Pierre Vercel with the direction. Owner of the American studios Canon, it re-elects them Pathé Communications Corporation (PCC) whereas there is no bond between these two companies. It is via PCC and not Pathé that it will buy the Subway-Goldwyn-Mayer in Kirk Kerkorian, the whole entirely financed by the Crédit Lyonnais of Rotterdam (CLBN), that it will never refund.
In 1990, Chargers, a conglomerate French directed by Jerome Seydoux, take the control of the company. Consequently of the Liberalization of the market of the Telecommunication S in France, in June 1999, Pathé amalgamates with Vivendi, the ratio of exchange for fusion being fixed at three Vivendi actions for two Pathé actions. The Wall Street Journal then estimates the value of the operation at 2,59 billion dollars. Following the conclusion of fusion, Vivendi preserves the interests of Pathé in British Sky Broadcasting (BSkyB) and CanalSat but resells all the remaining credits with Fornier SA, the family company of Jerome Seydoux, who changes his name for Pathé then.
The trades of Pathé are:
- production of film;
- distribution in room and video;
- the sale with international and the management of a catalog of more than 500 films;
- exploitation of cinemas;
In addition, Pathé is one of the principal shareholders of Libération and has a third of the Olympique Lyonese.
ProductionsList of films produced by Pathé
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