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Lost & Found
American Treasures from the
New Zealand Film Archive

(1914-1929)

 

Contents: Won in a Closet [Won in a Cupboard] (1914), The Active Life of Dolly of the Dailies: Episode 5 “The Chinese Fan” (1914), [Stories from American Newsreels] (1918 and circa 1921), Birth of a Hat (circa 1920), Lyman H. Howe’s Famous Ride on a Runaway Train (circa 1921), Happy-Go-Luckies (1923), Andy’s Stump Speech (1924), The White Shadow (1924), [Virginian Types: Blue Ridge Mountaineers] (circa 1926), Upstream (1927), The Love Charm (1928), Strong Boy (1929) [theatrical trailer].

In 2010, the National Film Preservation Foundation proudly announced that 75 American films surviving in the collections of the New Zealand Film Archive would be repatriated to American film archives. Many of the films had survived only in the unique prints that had travelled the globe decades ago, only now to return to American shores.

A handful of these films have been cherry-picked for this collection:

Won in a Closet [Won in a Cupboard] (1914), in the first surviving movie directed by and starring Mabel Normand, she bypasses other suitors to find her true love (Charles Avery).

The Active Life of Dolly of the DailiesEpisode 5, “The Chinese Fan” (1914). In this episode of the famous Edison serial, ace woman reporter Dolly Desmond (Mary Fuller), rescues the editor’s daughter from kidnappers and gets the scoop.

[Stories from American Newsreels] are selections from two newsreels, Co-operative Weekly Review (1918) and Selznick News (circa 1921).

Birth of a Hat (circa 1920), one of a number of similarly-titled industrial short films produced by the Stetson hat company illustrating how the then largest hat manufacturing company in the world makes its products.

Lyman H. Howe’s Famous Ride on a Runaway Train (1921), a thrill-packed compilation of Howe’s train films comprises this unique marriage of documentary film with recorded sound accompaniment.

Happy-Go-Luckies (1923) is an early Paul Terry cartoon.

Andy’s Stump Speech (1924) is a two-reel comedy produced by Samuel Van Ronkel Productions, featuring former Keystone Kop Joe Murphy as Andy Gump.

The White Shadow (1924) is actually a British production from the production team of Michael Balcon and Victor Saville, with the fingerprints of Alfred Hitchcock all over it.

[Virginian Types: Blue Ridge Mountaineers] (circa 1926) is another surviving example of the hand-stenciled Pathécolor color-tinting process, which adds interest to this documentary footage of the peoples living deep in the mountains of Virginia.

Upstream (1927), the most-exciting discovery of the collection, is a theatrical romantic comedy directed by John Ford that stars Nancy Nash and Earle Foxe.

The Love Charm (1928) is a South Seas Technicolor short starring unknown actors Lucio E. Flamma and Jean Mann.

Strong Boy (1929) [theatrical trailer] features the only surviving footage from this long-lost John Ford feature film starring Victor McLaglen.

While the collection runs for more than three hours, it is our hope that another intriguing home video collection of the repatriated films from New Zealand is in the planning. — Carl Bennett

coverNational Film Preservation Foundation
2013 DVD edition

Lost & Found: American Treasures from the New Zealand Film Archive (1914-1929), black & white and color, 198 minutes total, not rated,
including Won in a Closet [Won in a Cupboard] (1914), black & white, 13 minutes, not rated, The Active Life of Dolly of the Dailies: Episode 5 “The Chinese Fan” (1914), black & white, 14 minutes, not rated, [Stories from American Newsreels] (1918, circa 1921), black & white, 3 minutes, not rated, Birth of a Hat (circa 1920), color-tinted black & white, 14 minutes, not rated, Lyman H. Howe’s Famous Ride on a Runaway Train (circa 1921), color-toned black & white and color-tinted black & white, 6 minutes, not rated, Happy-Go-Luckies (1923), color-tinted black & white, 7 minutes, not rated, Andy’s Stump Speech (1924), black & white, 22 minutes, not rated, The White Shadow (1924) [surviving reels], color-tinted and color-toned black & white, 42 minutes, not rated, [Virginian Types: Blue Ridge Mountaineers] (circa 1926), color-tinted black & white, 2 minutes, not rated, Upstream (1927), color-toned black & white, 60 minutes, not rated, The Love Charm (1928), color, 10 minutes, not rated, Strong Boy (1929) [theatrical trailer], color-tinted black & white, 1 minute, not rated.

National Film Preservation Foundation, distributed by Image Entertainment,
NATD9472DVD, UPC 0-14381-94722-9.
One single-sided, dual-layered, Region 0 NTSC DVD disc, 1.33:1 aspect ratio image in full-frame 4:3 (720 x 480 pixels) interlaced scan MPEG-2 format, ? Mbps average video bit rate, ? kbps audio bit rate, Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo sound, English language intertitles, no foreign language subtitles, chapter stops; standard DVD keepcase, $24.98.
Release date: 24 September 2013.
Country of origin: USA

The latest collection from the National Film Preservation Foundation has been selected from the large cache of American films held by the New Zealand Film Archive and repatriated through NFPF to American film archives in 2010. This DVD collection was curated by Scott Simmon.

Won in a Closet (1914) has been transferred from a very-good to excellent 35mm print entitled Won in a Cupboard. The range of greytones is broad and the image detailed, but there is occasional print damage and a few examples of fluttering of the image.

The Active Life of Dolly of the Dailies: Episode 5 “The Chinese Fan” (1914) has been transferred from a very-good to excellent 35mm print.

[Stories from American Newsreels], excerpts from two newsreels, Co-operative Weekly Review (1918) and Selznick News (circa 1921), are both from very-good to excellent 35mm prints.

Lyman H. Howe’s Famous Ride on a Runaway Train (circa 1921) has been transferred from a worn but very-good 35mm print that has a moment of nitrate decomposition. The latter portion of the film has many black blotches in the picture. Compiled from various Howe sources, the footage was post-synchronized with music and sound effects in 1921. The film has been reunited with and is accompanied by an original grammophone soundtrack disc for the film, which has been preserved for many years prior by the Library of Congress film archive.

Happy-Go-Luckies (1923) has been transferred from a very-good 35mm print.

Andy’s Stump Speech (1924) has been transferred from a very-good 35mm print, but it isn’t the best of video transfers having been done at standard resolution.

[Virginian Types: Blue Ridge Mountaineers] (circa 1926), a Pathécolor excerpt from a short Pathé Review film, has been transferred from a very-good 35mm print.

The Love Charm (1928), a Technicolor short film, has been transferred from a very-good 35mm nitrate print.

Strong Boy (1929) [theatrical trailer] has been transferred from a good to very-good 35mm print that is, regrettably, less than a minute long.

For our notes on the feature films in this collection, see our separate reviews of The White Shadow (1924) and Upstream (1927).

The films are accompanied by music scores written and performed by Michael Mortilla and Donald Sosin with other musicians.

The supplemental material includes a 56-page booklet with a foreword by Leonard Maltin and film notes by Scott Simmon, a short documentary on the recording of the film scores by Donald Sosin (16:9 anamorphic), and more than 180 interactive screens.

With so many of these rare titles having been transferred from high-quality prints, we deem this a highly-recommended collection.

 
USA: Click the logomark to purchase this Region 0 NTSC DVD edition from Amazon.com. Your purchase supports the Silent Era website.
 
Canada: Click the logomark to purchase this Region 0 NTSC DVD edition from Amazon.ca. Your purchase supports the Silent Era website.
 
United Kingdom: Click the logomark to purchase this Region 0 NTSC DVD edition from Amazon.co.uk. Purchase supports Silent Era.
Other silent era JOHN FORD films available on home video.

Other silent era ALFRED HITCHCOCK films available on home video.

Other SHORT DRAMA FILMS of the silent era available on home video.

Other SHORT COMEDY FILMS of the silent era available on home video.

Other SERIAL FILMS of the silent era available on home video.

Other KEYSTONE comedy films available on home video.

Other TECHNICOLOR FILMS of the silent era available on home video.

Other BRITISH FILMS of the silent era available on home video.
 
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