Category Archives: Cinema

Weekly Round-up – 02/05/10

FRAGMENTS OF HOLLYWOOD

SNIPPETS from missing silent-era movies were screened as part of the first TCM Film Festival, held in Hollywood, last Sunday (April 25).

The program “Fragments (1916 – 1929)” featured a rare collection of scenes, reels and segments from lost silent films restored by the Academy Film Archive and the UCLA Film and Television Archive.

Included in the line-up were tantalizing clips from Clara Bow silents Red Hair and Three Weekends, early John Ford film The Village, Colleen Moore comedy Happiness Ahead, and Roman Novarro romance A lover’s Oath.

Trailers for 1928’s The Patriot, directed by Ernst Lubitsch and particularly notable for being the only best picture Oscar nominee that no longer exists as a complete or near-complete print, and Beau Sabreur, starring a young Gary Cooper, were also screened.

There’s a story on “Fragments” over at The Los Angeles Times.

MORE OUT OF THE UNKNOWN ON YOUTUBE

Last week’s round-up featured a link to the only surviving clips from Out of the Unknown episode Liar!, this week’s features a link to what’s left of Satisfaction Guaranteed.

YouTube user ‘snhbuk’ has uploaded the only extant footage from the series 2 episode, broadcast 29/12/66. The Isaac Asimov story was adapted for the small screen by High Leonard.

The clip lasts for 1’22” and is a scene featuring Wendy Craig (Claire Belmont) being introduced to her new domestic robot TN-3 or Tony (Hal Hamilton). Basic audio restoration work has been on the soundtrack:

http://www.youtube.com/snhbuk#p/a/u/1/zhqrdxooOd0

Also, ‘snhbuk’ has updated his video containing the remaining footage from ‘The Caves of Steel’ (tx 4/5/64), a BBC adaptation of Isaac Asimov’s novel of the same name broadcast as part of BBC2′s anthology strand Story Parade. We now get to hear star Peter Cushing speak:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t3HXyJhXpPo

RARE COMPUTER GAME ON EBAY

ONE OF only three copies of PlayStation 1 game NBA 2 Ball still in existence has come to light and is being auctioned on eBay.

Between 500 – 1,000 copies of the PSP game were given away at the 1998 NBA All Star Game at Madison Square Garden, New York, but almost all have been lost.

As Multiplayer Games.com posts, only two others are left, “one in the hands of the original programmer, and the other in the hands of a writer at Game-rave, his copy now unfortunately cracked in two.”

The third copy was bought at the time by an NBA fan for $5 from a friend, whose father had won two copies of the ultra-rare demo at the event.

It is now being sold on auctioning site eBay, with a starting bid of $300.

DOCTOR WHO HOAX

There was a minor flurry of excitement this week among Doctor Who fans after a poster on forum Gallifrey Base claimed to have footage from two missing TV adventures.

Writing on the Shada section of the forum, ‘Jethryk’ asserted that he had come into possession of 8mm home recordings of episodes of Patrick Troughton stories “The Abominable Snowmen” and “The Ice Warriors”, following the death of his grandfather.

It later emerged ‘Jethryk’ was a hoaxer. The thread on OG has now been deleted.

Looking back, the signs that this was another Who hoax (there are many, unfortunately), were clear:

  1. The poster claimed not to have much knowledge of Doctor Who, but at the same time knew enough to name himself after an item mentioned in Tom Baker story “The Ribos Operation”, one specifically concerned with a confidence trick.
  2. The poster said he would have access to the material shortly and would update the forum accordingly. In other words, dangling a carrot and making the gullible drool in anticipation.
  3. When the day came to prove his claim, the poster failed to provide clear evidence.
  4. He then tried to back out by further claiming the footage had gone to a private buyer – a trick to keep the flame of hope burning regardless of the current outcome.

This is a cruel deception but the lesson is clear: don’t be lured in by stories of discoveries until confirmed by a member of The Doctor Who Restoration Team. The best procedure is to point the poster in the direction of the RT, who have strong links with the BBC, and then wait for things to take their course.

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Weekly Round-Up – 25/04/10

EACH WEEK Wiped will be bringing you the best of the rest: smaller stories that might have passed you by, but are worth checking out all the same.

So to begin…

OPRHANED OUT OF THE UNKNOWN CLIPS ON YOUTUBE

The only remaining clips from an otherwise-missing episode of 1960s’ BBC sci-fi anthology series Out of the Unknown have been uploaded to YouTube for our viewing pleasure:

Clips from ‘LIAR!’ (tx 14/01/69) TX.14 14th January 1969TX. 14th January 1969

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IFJAMiJCQkg

Also posted are the few remaining clips from ‘The Caves of Steel’ (tx 4/5/64), a BBC adaptation of Isaac Asimov’s novel of the same name. Broadcast as part of BBC2’s anthology strand Story Parade, this 75-minute production was adapted by Terry Nation and starred Peter Cushing. It’s success led story editor Irene Shubik to devise Out of the Unknown.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nleL8IJxyUU

For a full list of surviving OOTU material, visit this highly informative Out of the Unknown Clips Guide.

RARE TV PLAY FEATURING JAMES DEAN AND RONALD REAGAN ‘DISCOVERED’

Last week, news sites were awash with a story concerning the ‘discovery’ of a 1950s’ American TV show featuring tragic Hollywood icon James Dean and future American president Ronald Reagan.

To cut to the chase, this is a non-news story. The “newly discovered” 23-minute drama ‘The Dark, Dark Hours (broadcast on CBS network’s General Electric Theatre on Dec 12, 1954 is already available on DVD! (see this post on excellent forum Britmovie.co.uk).

I guess it boils down to the same old story of semantics and strong headlines getting in the way of the facts. Still, if you bear that in mind, it is a good yarn.

You can read The Telegraph news story (22/4/10) here:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/film/film-news/7620342/Tape-of-James-Dean-and-Ronald-Reagan-brawling-found.html

…and see a condensed (six-minute) version of ‘The Dark, Dark Hour’ over at The Huffington Post here: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/04/21/the-dark-dark-hours-rare_n_546170.html

WEBSITE FOR THE COMPLETE METROPOLIS GOES LIVE

Kino International has launched a website for The Complete Metropolis, which is coming to theatres in the US this summer ahead of home release.

The newly extended version of Fritz Lang’s seminal 1927 sci-fi film follows the discovery, in 2008, of 25 minutes’ worth of lost footage in a film museum in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Kino’s comprehensive site includes restoration clips and trailers for The Complete Metropolis along with articles on the long journey to reconstruct the silent masterpiece.

You can find the site here: http://www.kino.com/metropolis/

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Long-Lost Lincoln Film Gets Premiere

A LONG-LOST silent movie about President Lincoln is to get its first screening in over 90 years after being discovered in a clear out.

When Lincoln Paid was among seven fragile reels of nitrate film found by a contractor cleaning out an old barn in Nelson, New Hampshire, destined for demolition.

The 30-minute movie is particularly notable for starring and being directed by Francis Ford – older brother of celebrated film director John Ford.

Movie buff Peter Massie, who discovered the reels alongside a 35mm Monarch projector, said:

“I was up in the attic space, and shoved away over in a corner was the film and a silent movie projector, as well. I thought it was really cool.”

Massie found the film canisters in summer 2006 and temporarily stored them in his basement, before contacting a film society at nearby Keene State College.

The George Eastman House film preservation museum in Rochester, N.Y., became involved after Keene State Film professor Larry Benaquist recognised the historical and cultural significance of the material.

The college determined that the film did not exist in film archives and furthermore was the only one of eight silent films starring Ford as Lincoln to survive.

“The vast majority of silent films, particularly from the early period — the first decade of the 20th century — are gone,” said Caroline Frick Page, curator of motion pictures at George Eastman House.

“That’s what makes these stories so incredibly special.”

With a grant from the National Film Preservation Foundation, the college was able to restore the two-reel film in a Colorado lab – a delicate process which took a year to complete.

The images themselves were well-preserved, likely due to cold New Hampshire winters and the sheltered location of the barn, said Benaquist.

But the 35mm nitrate film, phased out of Hollywood during the 1950s due to its volatile, flammable nature, was shrunken, brittle and damaged, with the sprocket holes (used on projectors) shredded.

“What the laboratory had to do was remanufacture the sprocket holes to a new dimension, make it in strips, adhere it to the image, and then run it through a printing process where they would print it, frame by frame,” Benaquist said.

When Lincoln Paid – about the mother of a dead Union soldier asking President Lincoln to pardon a Confederate soldier she had turned in — stars the brother of John Ford, the legendary director of classics such as The Searchers, The Grapes of Wrath and The Quiet Man.

Benaquist thinks the film was discovered in Nelson because the town is on Granite Lake, the site of many past summer camps. He explained that a boys’ camp was in the area of the barn and that he believes the films were once shown to entertain the children before being shelved and forgotten.

Helping the restoration was Mark Reinhart, author of Abraham Lincoln on Screen. He had a poor video copy of the film made from an 8mm copy that included a few scenes missing from the 35mm print.

The college combined a DVD of the restored film with another of Reinhart’s film to make its final version, to be screened on April 20th.

Released in 1913, the film was praised by Moving Picture World – a weekly trade publication for film distributors – as “a great war drama” with vivid battle scenes.

Director and main star Francis Ford, who died in 1953, aged 72, is better known for minor, mostly comic roles in at least 30 of his younger brother’s films, “often playing a coonskin drunk who can spit across the room,” said Tag Gallagher, author of the book John Ford.

“If you’re into these things, you quickly recognize him and it becomes a kind of cult thing to finding him, and he’s quite delightful,” said Gallagher.

“But if you go back to the teens, he was a very big and important director.”

According to Gallagher, Francis Ford had an important influence on John, whose fame soon overshadowed his.

During the silent-era, Francis Ford was one of many actors who portrayed Lincoln on film.

“He’s not a particularly good Lincoln, he’s kind of short and stocky,” said Reinhart, who prefers the portrayals of Ford’s contemporaries, Frank McGlynn and Benjamin Chapin.

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What A Bargain! Lost Chaplin Short Bought On Ebay

IT’S AMAZING what you can pick up on eBay for a pittance, as Morace Park discovered to his delight recently.

For Park, an antiques dealer and inventor, has wowed the movie community by stumbling upon a previously unknown, uncatalogued film starring the silent era’s king of comedy, Charlie Chaplin.

He bought the film for £3.20, not knowing the nature of the footage but liking the look of the battered tin it was contained in. Should he sell it on, Park can expect to receive £3,000 to £40,000.

The just-shy-of-seven-minutes short, entitled “Charlie Chaplin in Zepped”, dates from 1916 and features an interesting mix of Chaplin footage and early animation. The film starts with a shot of the real-life Chaplin before transforming into an animated sequence with his cartoon counterpart wishing he could return to England from America and support the British war effort against Germany.

According to an excellent article in The Independent he is then “taken on a flight through clouds before landing on a spire in England. The sequence also features a German sausage, from which pops the Kaiser.

The article notes that during the First World War there was some concern that Chaplin did not join the war effort. In fact tried to enlist but was rejected, but the film certainly helps boost the impression of the actor as a patriot.

Aside from working as a piece of personal promotion, the film has been interpreted as a form of war propoganda by Park and John Dyer, a neighbour and, handily, former head of education for the British Board of Film Classification. They are currently in America along with film-maker Hammad Khan, who has been enlisted to shoot a documentary on the discovery, for now simply known as “The Lost Film Project”.

They have a fair few mysteries to solve along the way, with the question of how the Chaplin clips – believed to consist of outtakes and differently framed/angled shots from The Tramp, His New Profession and A Jitney Elopement – came to be compiled in a ‘new’ production.

Diplomatically, Park describes Zepped as an example of “either piracy or entrepreneurship – depending on which side of the fence you’re on.” He is referring to the iffy practice by San Fransisco film company Essanay (to which Chaplin was contracted to between 1914 – 15) of exploiting the footage they had of the star to make ‘new’ Chaplin comedies. The result was a fierce legal battle over copyright ownership and could explain why Zepped never enjoyed a wide circulation. The discovered print seems to have been classified for exhibition in Egypt, which was then a British protectorate.

Film historian and author of Chaplin: The Tramp’s Odyssey Simon Louvish told The Independent he doubted whether Chaplin would have had a hand in the film’s creation.

He said: “There are a number of these compilation films around, and in Senegal there were a number of films that had been cut together by other people using Chaplin footage. Keystone Pictures was going bust at the time and footage from these Chaplin films was freely available.

“This is less so of the Essanay films. Chaplin by 1916 was signing multimillion-dollar contracts and was very aware of the copyright on his films.

“It would be no surprise though if someone in Egypt, which was under British occupation at the time, decided to use one of the world’s most famous figures to support the war.”

In addition to the Independent article, The Guardian has also covered the find and you can find that story here.

ilm historian Simon Louvish, author of Chaplin: The Tramp’s Odyssey, cast doubts on whether Chaplin would have been involved in its creation.

“There are a number of these compilation films around, and in Senegal there were a number of films that had been cut together by other people using Chaplin footage,” said Mr Louvish. “Keystone Pictures was going bust at the time and footage from these Chaplin films was freely available.

“This is less so of the Essanay films. Chaplin by 1916 was signing multimillion-dollar contracts and was very aware of the copyright on his films.

“It would be no surprise though if someone in Egypt, which was under British occupation at the time, decided to use one of the world’s most famous figures to support the war.”

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New Feature: Popdown Progress

BACK in April wipednews.com ran a feature about psychedelic music fan Peter Prentice’s to track down a copy of lost ’60s underground film Popdown.

You can read the original article here but things have moved on quite rapidly in the intervening months and Peter has kindly written an update on Popdown and saving the entire film archive of director Fred Marshall – Popdown Progress.

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Forgotten But Not Goon – Hoard Of Lost British Comedy Films Discovered

A hoard of lost films featuring the earliest cinematic appearances of some of the UK’s most famous comedians has been discovered after gathering dust in a garage for over 50 years.

The incredible collection – which comprises of more than 30 movies dating from the early 1950s – stars the likes of Peter Sellers, Spike Milligan, Sid James, Ronnie Corbett, Thora Hird and Prunella Scales.

Unearthed films include The Goons’ stars Sellers, Milligan and Harry Secombe in their first big screen production, Penny Points to Paradise, released in 1951 – the same year in which their famously anarchic BBC radio show began. Another Sellers and Milligan film, Let’s Go Crazy, was also in the cache.

The movies were all either made or distributed by Adelphi, a family-run company set up in 1939 by Arthur Dent, a one time British representative of Hollywood mogul Sam Goldwyn.

His company ceased producing films after 1956 but Dent stored negatives and prints in his garage in Highgate, north London, where they were forgotten about until his granddaughter, Kate Lees, recently stumbled upon them.

The treasure trove – which also includes The Great Game, a football-themed comedy featuring Thora Hird and Diana Dors; boy’s boarding school farce Fun At St Fanny’s, starring Ronnie Corbett; and What Every Woman Wants, a drama with Brian Rix and Joan Hickson – has been described as “a snapshot of a particularly prolific period of British film-making,” by Lees, speaking to The Sunday Times.

She has now handed over to the British Film Institute (BFI) for restoration.

Penny Points to Paradise and Let’s Go Crazy are set to be screened at the BFI’s cinema on London’s South Bank in July, before being released on DVD, with more releases expected to follow, funds-permitting.

You can read more about this exciting story by visiting UK comedy website Chortle here, The Sunday Times here, and the BFI website here.

Wiped hopes to bring you more information soon.

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New Discovery Spurs Campaign For Director’s Cut Of Nightbreed

Twenty five minutes of material cut from 1990 horror film Nightbreed and long-thought lost by writer/director Clive Barker has been located thanks to the efforts of an assiduous fan.

Intended as the “Star Wars of monster movies”, Nightbreed sadly failed to live up to Barker’s expectations with its theatrical release. Though he often expressed a wish to produce a director’s cut of the film, this seemed impossible as the excised footage was believed lost.

The closest fans of the movie could ever get to seeing the missing material was in some behind-the-scenes footage unearthed a few years ago.

But Barker may yet get to revisit his film after the revelation that the footage, said to contain “a song, some violence, some structure”, still exists – in the vaults of a film studio.

The discovery, announced on Clive Barker’s Revelations website,  is thanks to dedicated fan Mark Miller, who, as he is quoted on the site, “set out in search of the truth, armed only with a few phone numbers and the power of a name.”

Unfortunately, for now the studio (which isn’t named in the article) seems uninterested in assembling an extended cut of Nightbreed, believing the cost would far outweigh the sales returns.

Despite the bad news, the team behind the Revelations site still still hopes to change the studio’s mind and has started a campaign to get a director’s cut released. You can find out more about the story, and add your voice to the petition, by clicking here.

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