Footnotes to the Festival

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With the festival now over (a little sooner than intended), acknowledgment is due to the various sources used, aside from the standard filmographies and reference guides.

War Brides was the easiest to research, as the best known film among the films. Useful sources included Kevin Brownlow’s The War the West and the Wilderness and Ivan Butler’s Silent Magic, the latter the source of the main image. Maria Craig Wentworth’s original play, with production photos, is on the Internet Archive. Contemporary film reviews were also used. For the accompanying short, Kiddies in the Ruins, see the director George Pearson’s autobiography, Flashback.

The Land of Mystery is the most obscure among the titles selected. The two main sources are Kevin Browlow’s Behind the Mask of Innocence (which has the only known photograph connected with the production) and John M. East’s ‘Neath the Mask, a marvellous account of lesser British theatre and film in the early years of the twentieth century through the life of the author’s grandfather, John East. East was an actor in the film and had vivid memories of the trip to Lithuania. Acknowledgment is also due to the researches of Nicholas Hiley into the British secret service, some of which fed into Brownlow’s work. The information about Lenin seeing the film comes from an essay by the late Rashit Yangirov in Derek Spring and Richard Taylor, Stalinism and Soviet Cinema. A detailed review in The Bioscope (8 July 1920) supplied much information, including a plot summary. The accompanying film, Meyerhold’s The Portrait of Dorian Gray, has been much written about. The main source used was Jay Leyda’s history of Russian and Sovet cinema, Kino.

The essential source for The Jeffries-Sharkey Fight is Dan Streible’s new history of early fight films, Fight Pictures. Also useful is Charles Musser’s The Emergence of Cinema. Information on the fight additionally came from Nat Fleischer and Sam Andre’s absolutely essential A Pictorial History of Boxing. Also used were Fleischer’s The Heavyweight Championship and the International Boxing Hall of Fame’s The Boxing Register. Some images came from the Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Online Catalog.

Das Mirakel took up the most time because of a lack of information in secondary sources, and huge errors in most online sources. I relied chiefly on British film trade press coverage over 1912-13, particularly The Bioscope. The German film database Filmportal is comprehensive and generally very reliable, and supplied most of what I could find on the rival Das Mirakel. Information also came from Charles Graves, The Cochran Story and John Glanfield’s excellent Earls Court and Olympia, which was the source of the illustration from the Olympia stage production of The Miracle.

Information on the cinemas used came from The London Project database, with the descriptions of the cinemas from some of my own researches, augmented by Allen Eyes and Keith Skone’s London’s West End Cinemas.

Grateful acknowledgment to all sources – even to the Internet Movie Database…

2 responses

  1. Luke: Thank you for another enlightening festival. I was scrolling through channels the other night looking for something worth watching on television and I thought “I need to organize a festival of films that should be lost.”

    Regards,
    Joe Thompson ;0)

  2. Thanks Joe. I’ve pondered on the desirablity of losing some films myself. Happily there aren’t too many (if any) extant silents I would ever think ought to be lost. Distance, as always, lends enchantment.

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