Saturday, January 16, 2016
DVD: Accidentally Preserved, Volume 3 -- January 16, 2016
They're at it again. Famous film accompanist Ben Model has produced a third volume of the Accidentally Preserved series. Model and others dug into their collections of old 16mm prints, which were mostly made for the home rental or purchase market. Some of the movies only exist in old home use prints. Naturally he also created the musical scores. Some of the scores were done using a virtual organ.
The DVD contains nine films, all comedies, all shot silent, and one released with a synchronized sound track.
"Wanted: A Nurse" was a 1915 Vitagraph one-reeler starring Mr and Mrs Sidney Drew. Sidney Drew, uncle of the famous Barrymores, was a clubman who fell in love with a pretty nurse, played by Lucile McVey, Sidney's second wife. The movie required much image stabilization to make it viewable. It was a charming story, worth the effort.
"Service A La Bunk" was a 1921 TuSun one-reeler starring Bobbie (aka Bobby) Ray, whom I don't think I had ever seen before. There were some nice gags with a pedal car. The effeminate restaurant owner had on a strange makeup, which appeared to include teeth drawn on his lower lip. There was a nice scene on a Los Angeles rooftop. There was also one blackface gag.
A very short film called here "A Citrate Special" was unique. There is no information about where or when it was produced. It employs a series of scatological gags. It could not have been released to the public.
"The Whirlwind" was a 1922 movie produced by and starring Joe Rock. I have wanted to see Joe Rock ever since I read a book of interviews with people who had been in the early movie business. The chapter about Joe Rock was very interesting, but his starring movies have been hard to come by. The wind effects reminded me of Steamboat Bill, Jr. Joe Rock was good, making his entrance in an auto powered by a sail.
"No Vacancies" was a 1923 Speed Comedy about a shortage of rental housing. Things never change. It meandered a bit, but had some funny gags.
"Love's Young Scream" was a 1928 Christie comedy about a complicated elopement and an exploding jail. Professional old guy Jack Duffy appeared in this one and "No Vacancies." This one zipped right along. It was preserved from a print made for television.
Big Boy appeared in "Hot Luck," a 1928 Jack White comedy. There was lots of action around a firehouse, which would please my friends who like fire equipment.
"Whose Baby" was a 1929 Universal comedy starring Arthur Lake, who later played Dagwood Bumstead over and over again. Here he was not obnoxious, but the way he and others treated the baby was disturbing.
Little Billy Barty appeared in "Half a Hero" shot silent in 1929 by the Weiss Brothers, but released in 1930 with a synchronized soundtrack. Only the second reel survives. There was a chimp, two dogs, a monkey and a pretty white horse. Billy was cute. I remember seeing him in many movies on their first releases. I was going to say first runs, but then I thought about "A Citrate Special."
Steve Massa wrote the introductions and recreated missing titles and intertitles.
Look for the DVD. It is a lot of fun.
The Accidentally Preserved website: http://www.accidentallypreserved.com/