Well, it’s all been happening in the land of the silents. Here’s your latest edition of the Bioscope Newsreel, rounding up some of the news stories from the week, starting with what might just turn out to become the most watched silent film ever …
Doodling with Chaplin
We kick off with Charlie Chaplin’s 122nd birthday, which Google has commemorated in distinctive fashion by making a Chaplin video its Google logo (or doodle) for the day (strictly speaking, for 36 hours). It is the first time the Google logo has been a live-action video, and it is most elegantly done. It’s not Chaplin himself, alas – instead we get a so-so pastiche, starring members of the Google Doodle team, including Mike Dutton as Chaplin. The background to the video is given on the Google blog. Read more.
Top 50 lost films
The idea of lost films is endlessly engrossing, and listing those films believed lost that one would most like to see is many a film fan’s favourite parlour game. In 2008 the Film Threat site gave us a list of 50 top lost films it would most like to see, and now it has returned with another 50. Most of them are silents, and there are some obscure but knowledgeable choices among them. Tsunekichi Shibata’s Tokyo’s Ginza District (1898), anyone? The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints’ One Hundred Years of Mormonism (1913)? Or the clever-clever choice of Olives and their Oil (1914) the other half of the split reel on which Chaplin’s Kid Auto Races at Venice was released. Read more.
There’s a (fairly) new website published, dedicated to George O’Brien, star of Fox silents, and a screen history immortal for his presence in F.W. Murnau’s Sunrise. Entitled Gorgeous George O’Brien, it comes with biography, photos, articles and filmography. Read more.
The British Silent Film Festival recently took place. The Bioscope was only there for a short while, but the Dumdidumdum tumblr has some short reports, and Pamela Hutchinson of the lively Silent London blog has written a thoughtful, historically informed piece on the festival and silent film music for The Guardian. Read more.
And finally, it doesn’t have much to do with silents directly, but anyone interested in film, research and digital opportunities should take note of the news that the British Film Institute and the British Library have signed a memorandum of understanding, with the intention of increasing “public, professional and research access to audiovisual and broadcast content and integrating it with other knowledge collections”. I write about this on my other, somewhat disused blog, Moving Image. Read more.
‘Til next time!