Eine Bootsfahrt auf der Dreisam von Freiburg bis zum Rhein (LFS02306)

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"A boat trip on the Dreisam from Freiburg to the Rhine" is one of the oldest films from Baden still exist. The film was produced by the famous Freiburg Company Welt-Kinematograph.


ZT: Start at the railway bridge in Freiburg i.B. / Group of men leaves a boat at the Dreisam / flag with griffon head is attached to the boat / boat lays / three men and two oarsmen in the boat / in the background meadows / bridge with automobile / boat drives over water stairs ZT: The reception in Hugstetten / Bridge, automobile, people on the bridge, waving on the shore / Welcome by the mayor district council in Neuershausen / bridge, the boat moored, men go ashore / welcome on the water meadow, group picture with children , Hats and hands in the air, man throws his fishing rod in the water / A man is going up / down, waving in the boat and on the shore / ZT: In the Leopold Canal at Riegel aK / Boat operator steers the boat through canal / bridge with horse-drawn carriages and hay waggons, people wave ZT: The hardest work / boaters take a break on the shore, they drink and eat bread, in the background a bridge / boat through a rapids / ZT: At the Rhine / boat reaches a river fork and into the Rhine.


Reference / film number :  LFS02306
Date :  1909
Coloration :  Black and white
Sound :  Mute
Running time :  00:07:00
Reel format :  35 mm
Genre :  Documentary
Thematics :  Outdoor activities, Natural and transformed landscape
Archive :  Haus des Dokumentarfilms

Context and analysis

This is one of the oldest films from Baden, which have survived in the archives. It was produced by the Freiburg production company Welt-Kinematograph. It becomes clear that the recording was arranged. The cheering groups on the shore can not be explained otherwise. The cameraman accompanied the boat trip by car, which can be seen several times in the picture. He always turns the boat from the shore or from bridges and never drives himself. The many car and railway bridges over the Dreisam prove that it is a very well-developed traffic region.

The river Dreisam

The Dreisam has a length of 29.7 km and rises in the Black Forest. It leads past Freiburg, flows into the Elz at Riegel and finally over the Leopold Canal into the Rhine. This channel was inaugurated in 1843 to avoid the usual floods there, which caused great damage, famine and epidemics: in 1846, the canal was named after Grand Duke Leopold. The cost of building the canal was estimated at 385,000 guilders, but in the end it was 693,000 guilders. Through this channel, the usual flooding could be prevented. The Dreisam was channeled from 1817 to 1842 under the direction of Johann Gottfried Tulla along its entire length from Kirchzarten to Riegel. This can be seen in the film very well, since the river bank is often attached with stones and runs very straight. Before the canalization, the Dreisam flowed further west along the Kaiserstuhl-Ostrandes to the north.

Film pioneers from Freiburg

In the early days of cinema there were not only film production companies in Berlin and Munich, but also some in the Freiburg area. Thus, the native Kaiserstühler Robert Isidor Schwabthaler (1876-1934) was involved in the international company Raleigh & Robert, which focused on travel films and maintained relations with Freiburg. The first cinema in Freiburg, the World Cinematograph, showed in December 1906 the R & R production "The destruction of Valparaiso". The Central Cinematograph, then the largest cinema in the city, showed at its opening in 1908 the R & R production "Sulfur Industry in Sicily". R & R also had some subjects shot in the tri-border region and sold internationally. These include 1908 e.g. the productions "Eidgenössisches Schwing- und Alplerfest in Neuchatel", "His Majesty the German Emperor in Alsace-Lorraine" or "Sunbathing in Freiburg, Breisgau". In 1906, four merchants founded the cinematographic company Kosmograph, which was soon renamed World Cinematograph. First, they built a cinema chain (Cologne, Munich, Dusseldorf, Nuremberg, Saarbrücken, Stuttgart, Augsburg, Karlsruhe and Basel) and extended their business in 1908 to cinematographic street signs and the production of non-fictional films and film equipment. The goal was to show films from around the world and around the world. But first, the operators of the World Cinematographer recorded local and regional subjects such as "Rock Climbing in the Black Forest" (1908). In this context, probably the film was created for the boat trip on the Dreisam. The production company of Welt-Kinematograph had their business premises initially in the Kaiserstr. 68 in Freiburg (now Kaiser-Joseph-Straße), at the same address as the cinema of the same name; In 1911 they moved to Zähringerstr. 17. Before the First World War, the company had become Germany's largest provider of travel, nature and industry films as well as anthropological studies and instructional films; From 1908 to 1911, 280 films were recorded, of which unfortunately very few have survived. The First World War complicated the business, in 1923/1924 the company was liquidated. Bernhard Gotthard, one of the founders of the Welt Kinematograph, retired on 29.3.1909 and founded the competing company Expreß-Film Co. in 1910. In addition to the production of films, the company launched "Der Tag im Film" at the end of 1911, the first German news reel production in the Cinema and built a large network of correspondents. They were pioneers of the topical cinema, from which the newsreels should develop. The cinema operators were able to put together individual subjects from a weekly offer. In this company, the famous cameraman Sepp Allgeier (1896-1968) began his career at the age of 16. The company also shot the first high mountain films such as "4628 meters high on skis, ascent of the Monte Rosa" (1913), on whose shooting e.g. Arnold Fanck, who was to become famous for his mountain movies in the 1920s. Very successful and one of the first long documentary films was 1913 "With the Camera in the Battle Front" over the war between Greece and Bulgaria on behalf of the Greek king and their film "Winter Battle in the Vosges Mountains". The Freiburg production companies have thus provided important impulses for German film history.

Kay Hoffmann


DITTRICH Wolfgang, Fakten und Fragmente zur Freiburger Filmproduktionsgeschichte 1901-1908, http://www.freiburg-postkolonial.de/Seiten/Dittrich-Film.htm LANGE Jörg, Die Dreisam – Vergangenheit, Gegenwart und Zukunft, Lavori Verlag, Freiburg, 2007 (ISBN 978-3-935737-54-8) SCHÄFER Jutta, "An die Spitze vorgerückt..." Frühe Filmproduktion in Freiburg. In: HAUS DES DOKUMENTARFILMS (Hg.), 100 Jahre Filmland Baden-Württemberg, Haus des Dokumentarfilms, Stuttgart, 2008

ZIMMERMANN Frank, In Schlachten und auf Gipfel. Die Express-Films war einst eine der führenden Filmfirmen, Badische Zeitung, 30.7.2014 (https://www.badische-zeitung.de/freiburg/in-schlachten-und-auf-gipfel--88130303.html)

Article written by

Kay Hoffmann, 20 November 2018