Tuesday, January 21, 2014

DVD: Treasures 6: From the New Zealand Film Archive #2 -- January 21, 2014

One of my Christmas presents was the sixth Lost and Found: American Treasures From the New Zealand Film Archive.  This edition was shorter than the others, consisting of a single DVD, but it contains some wonderful items. 

"Won in a Cupboard" is the oldest surviving film directed by Mabel Normand.   In the US, it was titled "Won in a Closet," but "closet" is used differently in the British world.  The plot was a bit hard to follow, but that is not uncommon with early Keystones.  The strangest scene has Mabel and her ideal, Charles Avery, walking towards each other in a split screen, and meeting at a tree in the middle.  The subtitle said "Like a Dream," and it was correct. 

"The Active Life of Dolly of the Dailies #5" was an episode of an Edison series, not yet a serial, starring Mary Fuller as a newspaperwoman.  It was largely set in Chinatown, and mostly featured actual Asians, although there were one or two white men in yellowface.  I was shocked at the end when the newspaper editor told Dolly not to let the kidnap victim's family know she had been recovered until the newspaper broke the story. 

"Stories From American Newsreels" had two sets of stories.  A "Co-Operative Weekly Review" has two World War One stories, about high school girls learning factory jobs and nurses being trained.  A Selznick News has a woman driving an ostrich cart at the famous Pasadena ostrich farm and a man with a radio set installed in his car.  At the end, he drives the car remotely. 

"Andy's Stump Speech" was a two-reeler starring Joe Murphy as Andy Gump.  I remember reading reprints of The Gumps comic strip in books and finding it ugly and unfunny.  I can usually understand old topical humor, but this was beyond me.  The movie was funny.  Poor Joe Murphy looked like Andy Gump. 

"Virginian Types" is a fragment of a longer movie about the Appalachian community of Old Rag, Virginia, in the Shenandoah Valley.  The short was colored using the Pathécolor stencil process. 

The White Shadow is a large part of a British film directed by Graham Cutts.  It is the earliest surviving film on which Alfred Hitchcock worked.  Back in 2012, on my other blog, The Pneumatic Rolling Sphere Carrier Delusion, I took part in a blogathon to raise funds to allow the National Film Preservation Foundation to stream the film on the internet, For the Love of Hitchcock, The Film Preservation Blogathon:
Dial HOllywood 9-2411 for Hitchcock
Hitchcock -- Berdarold, Piccy, London
 Alfred Hitchcock, SRO, RKO, UA, Univ
Hitchcock -- Club: Royal Auto
Hitchcock -- He Has Had a Non-Stop Career
On my other blog, The Pneumatic Rolling Sphere Carrier Delusion, I reviewed the fifth Treasures From the American Film Archives, The West:
Disc one: http://cablecarguy.blogspot.com/2012/01/treasures-5-west-1-january-11-2012.html
Disc two: http://cablecarguy.blogspot.com/2012/01/treasures-5-west-2-january-12-2012.html
Disc three: http://cablecarguy.blogspot.com/2012/01/treasures-5-west-3-january-19-2012.html

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