Bioscope Newsreel no. 31

Hello folks- we’re back with the newsreel, mopping some of the latest happenings in silent films for your delectation. And it’s a varied five stories we have for you this time around. Starting off with…

Cohen buys Rohauer
The big story of the week has been the purchase of the Raymond Rohauer Film Collection by the Cohen Media Group. Legendary collector Rohauer, best known for the role he played in reviving Buster Keaton’s reputation, built up a collection of some 700 titles, many of them silents (The Birth of a Nation, Orphans of the Storm, Son of the Sheik etc). The collection has been up for sale for two or three years and much of the online debate has been about just what Cohen think they are getting for the money, when so much of it must be in the public domain and not really a financial goldmine in any case. Read more.

Yet more Photoplay
As regular readers will know, we’ve been documenting the regular onrush of digitised silent film journals that have been appearing online over the past year or so. One of the leading providers has been Bruce Long, who runs the Taylorology site (as in William Desmond Taylor, silent film director and murder victim). He has just added nine further issues of Photoplay for 1915-16 to the Internet Archive. By my calculation that makes 2 monthly issues from 1914, 15 monthly issues from 1915-16, and 8 volumes, each covering six months of the journal 1925-30 that are freely available to all online. Read more.

Who’s looking at you?
Cultures of Surveillance is an interdisplinary conference covering all aspects of surveillance, from today’s CCTV to the ways surveillance practices intersect with visual technologies and histories of culture. Waving the flag for silent film will be keynote speaker Tom Gunning, who paper is entitled “Screening out the Visible: Identity and Representation in the Early 20th-Century Detective Genre”. The conference takes place 29 September-1 October at University College London. Read more.

Film museum for India
The Indian government has announced that, to mark the centenary of Indian film, it plans to open the country`s first film musuem by 2013. 1913 saw the release of India’s first feature film Raja Harishchandra, directed by Dhundiraj Govind Phalke, whose story we have covered before now. The museum is being built in Mumbai, and, as one press report pertinently puts it, “the museum will be a window to India`s ever-expanding soft power, cinema”. Read more.

Madonna in lousy silent film spoof shock
Do you need to know this? Apparently while a small part of the world has been concerned by news of Libya, financial crisis and rogue traders, the greater part has been agog at the news that Madonna does not like hydrangeas. I don’t know how or why, I’m not interested to know how or why, but such was the world’s rage at this instance of selective anthophobia that it led to Madonna producing a mock apology in the form of a silent film. As one would expect from such a rubbish film director it’s a rubbish silent film. She doesn’t even know how intertitles work. But it exists. Read more.

‘Til next time!