Kevin Brownlow's 9.5 Vitagraph Show

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DaveGlass
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Kevin Brownlow's 9.5 Vitagraph Show

Postby DaveGlass » Sun Jun 12, 2016 11:05 am

I had the pleasure of attending this event last Wednesday (8th June 2016), and thought you may be interested to hear about what was shown.

The event was held at the Cinema Museum in London and was presented by Kevin and historian Andrew Erish. Andrew is the author of the wonderful book on the Selig Company and is now working on a similar book about the history of Vitagraph.
The evening consisted of watching as many of Kevin's 9.5 Vitagraph films as time would allow. We got through quite a few!
As I'm sure you know, these films are extremely old and brittle, so there was an occasional pause whilst the projectionist (an exhausted Dave Locke) repaired the fragile film. ALL the prints shown had notched titles, which means the film was paused in the film gate in order for us to read the inter title cards. These prints are condensed versions, as issued by Pathe and Co. but nevertheless, were a delight to see on the big screen. The quality was often comparable to 16mm.
I won't bore you with my opinions of the films. I'm sure you'd just rather hear about what was shown.

We began with BLACK BEAUTY (1921) starring Jean Paige.
Then THE NINETY AND NINE (1922) with Warren Baxter and Colleen Moore.
This was followed by the J Stuart Blackton directed ON THE BANKS OF THE WABASH (1923) with Mary Carr.
Then THE MAN FROM BRODNEY'S (1923) starring J Warren Kerrigan.
BEHOLD THIS WOMAN (1924) directed by Blackton and starring Irene Rich and Harry Myers.
After an interval we then saw the astonishing CLEAN HEART (1924) again directed by Blackton and starring Percy Marmont, Otis Harlan and Marguerite de la Motte.
The extravaganza CAPTAIN BLOOD (1924) left us breathless. This seemed to be the 2 reel Pathe release with additional French titled footage (live translation supplied by Kevin).
Apparently the Library of Congress have the whole film. Perhaps a Kickstarter project for someone?
There was then the choice, due to time constraints, of finishing with either A PAMPERED YOUTH or, the film we ended up seeing, THE BELOVED BRUTE (1924) starring Marguerite De La Motte and the extraordinary Victor McLaglen.
I've had this myself on 9.5 for a while now but never got around to seeing it. It's a treat.

So there we have it. A feast of rare features (albeit condensed versions!)
It was often quite a challenge to keep up with the plots in these condensed versions, but the rewards in doing so were tremendous.
Both Kevin and Andrew were warm, engaging hosts to the small, intimate but extremely appreciative audience.

If you are in the vicinity, Kevin is hosting a Silent Weekend of film this coming 18th & 19th June.
Many treats on the bill. Take a look: http://www.kenningtonbioscope.com/programme/4588841825" target="_blank

Dave Glass

Gary Johnson
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Re: Kevin Brownlow's 9.5 Vitagraph Show

Postby Gary Johnson » Sun Jun 12, 2016 3:15 pm

If these films are so old and brittle, is it such a good idea to keep running them through a projector? I assume the cost of converting them to safety stock is out of the question. Why does everything have to cost so much?
Did Blackhawk not once have a 2 reel condensed version of CAPTAIN BLOOD?

And by all means, Dave, bore me with your opinions of each film shown. You are the nearest witness I am going to hear from before I ever get around to seeing these films on my own.


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