They're at it again. Famous film accompanist Ben Model has produced a fourth volume of the Accidentally Preserved series. This time, Model dug into his collection of old 9.5mm prints, which were made for the home rental or purchase market. Most of the movies in this collection only exist in old home use prints. Naturally he also created the musical scores. Volumes 1, 2 and 3 of Accidentally Preserved used 16mm prints.
The DVD begins with a brief text introduction to 9.5mm films. Pathé introduced the format in 1922. The films, printed on safety stock, were eventually distributed across Europe, in the UK and the United States. 16mm was more popular in the US. Pathé subsidiaries continued to sell and rent 9.5mm films until around 1960.
The US subsidiary was called Pathex.
The first movie in the set was "Nonsense," a 1920 Mermaid Comdies two-reeler, directed by Jack White and released by Educational. It starred Jimmie Adams and Sid Smith as two farmhands who competed for the attention of Marvel Rea, the beautiful niece of the farmer. The unidentified bad guy calls her "Mary Hickford" in one intertitle. There was little plot, but there were lots of gags and it moved right along.
|Exhibitors Herald, 07-May-1921|
The Ninety and Nine was a 1922 Vitagraph feature based on the popular 1902 melodrama by Ramsay Morris. The greatly abridged 9.5mm version dashes through bits of the story to get to the huge forest fire scene. Warner Baxter is the hero and Colleen Moore with long hair is the leading lady. The town simpleton looks like Harpo Marx.
The locomotive used to make the dash through the fire has the railroad name on the side of the cab painted over and the number of the locomotive, 1379, is mostly obscured. The locomotive should have been numbered 99.
|Exhibitors Herald, 19-May-1923|
Bobby Ray starred in "Meet Father," an Arrow film, in 1924. It also stars Josephine the Monkey from The Navigator and Pete the Dog from Our Gang. Bobby loves a girl whose father wants her to marry a tough boxer. Bobby is absent-minded and not tough. He carefully studies a book on fighting. Bobby uses his little car to chase the boxer over a famous cliff in the Pacific Pallisades.
"The Wages of Tin" is a 1925 Hal Roach two-reel comedy starring Glenn Tryon. The 9.5mm version is one reel. Glenn reads a book on how to operate an automobile. He rents a Model T Ford to impress Blanche Mehaffy. Things don't go well. The intertitles must be from a UK version. "That'll be another two quid." "I say, can I write you a cheque?"
Mae Marsh stars in a two-reel cut-down of a Vitagraph feature, Tides of Passion. Her husband is a louse. He ships out for India and forgets her. He fools around with other women and falls overboard on the way back. He gets the woman who rescues him, Laska Winter or Winter Blossom, pregnant. He dies. Mae Marsh tries to help with the baby, but the mother gets jealous. There is a nice rescue from the rocks when she tries to commit suicide. It goes by quickly.
|Photoplay, July, 1925|
"A Man's Size Pet" starred cowboys Ben Corbett and Pee Wee Holmes as a pair of rivals who played tit for tat in the west. There is a bear and a guy in a bear suit. Leading lady Dorothy Kitchen, also known as Nancy Drexel, was really cute.
|Pathescope 9.5mm Sound, 1956-7|
"Walter's Paying Policy" was a 1926 British short starring Walter Forde, who had elements of Harold Lloyd in his style. Walter and his rival worked for Busy Bee Insurance (You Won't Get Stung) and needed to sell a policy to the owner of a famous vase to get a big promotion. It was funny.
The Fleischer Brothers, known for their animated cartoons, also made live action movies, like the Carrie of the Chorus series, in the 1920s. "Morning, Judge" starred former chorus girl Peggy Shaw as a chorus girl who gets involved in problem with small-town prudes. It was cute.
|Moving Picture World, 04-September-1926|
Update 26-January-2017. Ben Model reports that the movie was not "Morning Judge" but "Chicken Cooped."
Ben Model's music was great.
I highly recommend the dvd.