Bioscope Newsreel no. 23

Trailer for The Artist

Well, these are busy times, aren’t they? Much interest has been aroused by the news of the colour version of A Trip to the Moon and the release online of Film Daily 1922-1929 (from which the Bioscope has learned that there is nothing quite like having the words ‘film’ and ‘daily’ in a blog post title for attracting spam). But what else has been happening in the silent film world?

Weinstein picks The Artist
There’s been a lot of interest suddenly in the modern-day silent film The Artist, directed by Michel Hazanavicius, which as we reported last week was a late entry into competition at Cannes. Clearly some think quite highly of this A Star is Born-like tale of one star on the rise and another on the wane at the time of the crossover from silent to sound films. Now we learn that the sharp-eyed Harvey Weinstein has bought the film and clearly sees an unusual hit in the making. It certainly looks quite something from the trailer and the stills. So will we be seeing a silent film in contention come Oscar time? Read more.

FOCAL restoration awards
Silent film restorations scored twice at this week’s FOCAL International Awards. The awards, which celebrate the best work in the commercial footage business (chiefly in the UK), include awards for archive restorations which have grown in prominence particularly since Martin Scorsese won last year for the restoration of The Red Shoes. This year’s award for best single title went to the BFI’s exceptional work on The Great White Silence (1924), documenting the Scott Antarctic expedition, which beat strong silent competition from the new version of Metropolis. The award for best restoration project went to Lobster Films’ revelatory The Chaplin Keystone Project (a four-disc DVD set), which the French firm undertook with the BFI and Cineteca di Bologna. Read more.

The Great White Silence hits the road
Recently garlanded with a FOCAL restoration award, as noted above, The Great White Silence is being released across the UK by the BFI from next Friday. Featuring a new score (which might possibly divide opinion) from new score by Simon Fisher Turner, the film of the British Antarctic Expedition (1910-1913), filmed by Herbert Ponting, will be on release up to mid-July, while DVD and Blu-Ray will be released in June. Following on from the success of the re-release of Metropolis, this seems evidence of growing public a public taste for silents, which we hope we hope will be encouraged further. Read more.

Ammunition smuggling on the Mexican border
There hasn’t been much of chance before now to draw your attention to Cine Silente Mexicano, a fine blog which happens to be in Spanish. But for its most recent post it has turned to English to tell the genuinely fascinating story of Ammunition Smuggling on the Mexican Border (1914), a three-reel docudrama (now lost, alas) which recreated a clash between Sherrif Buck (who played himself) and gun smuggling revolutionaries. The post was written by Scott Simmon, via the The 7th Orphan Film Symposium. Read more.

Chaplin’s car
Fancy driving away with a piece of film history? You’ve got until May 15th to put in a bid on eBay for Charlie Chaplin’s 1929 Pierce Arrow dual-cowl phaeton convertible, Model 143. The current bid is for $88,100.00, but the reserve has not been met yet. Now’s your chance. Read more.

‘Til next time!

%d bloggers like this: