Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Found at Mostly Lost Vol. 2




Found at Mostly Lost Vol. 2
On sale October 30th



Earlier this year at the TCM Classic Film Festival I attended a presentation on the Mostly Lost workshop and let’s just say I was utterly fascinated. For those of you unfamiliar with Mostly Lost, it’s a film identification workshop run by the Library of Congress at their National Audio-Visual Conservation Center in Culpeper, VA. Started in 2012, the workshop gathers historians, experts and fans to collaborate on identifying silent and early sound films. These are movies, pulled from the LoC’s film archive, that are missing titles or other identifiers or have been previously  misidentified. Attendees are encouraged to shout out anything they recognize whether it’s an actor or actress, a film studio logo, a location, a period style of dress or hairdo, car models, or anything that will provide some information about the film. Live music, by silent film accompanists like Ben Model, is performed at these screenings. Attendees bring laptops, smartphones, books, etc. to help them in their research. This sounds like such a fun workshop especially for any film historian who loves research. It's also another way in which the Library of Congress contributes to film preservation and knowledge.

Thanks to Ben Model and his distribution company Undercrank Productions, a selection of films identified during the workshop are now available on DVD! In Found At Mostly Lost: Volume 2, Model offers 10 shorts ranging from 7-22 minutes in length. These films were identified by the Mostly Lost team during 2015-2017 workshops and features new piano scores by accompanists Philip Carli, Andrew E. Simpson and Ben Model.

Do Me a Favor (1922)

The DVD includes the following:
Adolph Zink (1903) - Thomas A. Edison Co. - 11 minutes
And the Villain Still Pursued Her; or the Author’s Dream (1906) - Vitagraph - 8 minutes
Derby Day (1922) - Monty Banks - 12 minutes
Do Me a Favor (1922) - Snub Pollard - 10 minutes
The Faithful Dog; or, True to the End (1907) - Eclipse - 8 minutes
The Falling Arrow (1909) - James Young Deer - 8 minutes
Fresh Fish (1922) - Bobby Bumps (animated)  - 7 minutes
In the Tall Grass Country (1910) - Francis Ford, Edith Storey - 10 minutes
The Noodle Nut (1921) - Billy Bletcher - 8 minutes
The Sunshine Spreader (1920s) - 22 minutes


Monty Banks and Lucille Hutton in Derby Day (1922)

My favorite film of the collection was Derby Day, a hilarious 12 minute short starring Monty Banks as a guy who just wants some lunch. In his pursuit for food, he gets caught up in random, bizarre situations that culminate with him racing in a local Derby. The only downside to the short is that it came with German title cards, one of which I stopped to translate online just to figure out what was going on.

Another comedy short I enjoyed was The Noodle Nut, a zany story about two noodle factory workers vying for the hand of one woman. They compete to sell a pack of 5 foot long noodles to a Mack R. Roni, a noodle buyer. The man who sells the noodles gets the girl. Things go awry and hilarity inevitably ensues.

Fresh Fish was an interesting short, a mix of live action and animation. This cute story features a young boy hand cranking an animated movie while his cat watches on. Within the animation is the story of a boy going fishing with his dog. Eventually the animated dog and the live action cat interact with each other.

The collection also features a few dramas. My favorite of those was The Faithful Dog, a tragic tale of a blind beggar and his beloved companion who sticks with him to the bitter end. I also enjoyed In the Tall Grass Country, a modest story of a country boy in love with a girl who has mistaken his sister as a rival love interest.

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Found at Mostly Lost: Vol 2 DVD goes on sale 10/30/18. This would make a great gift for the silent film enthusiast or film history buff in your life.

Thank you to Ben Model of Undercrank Productions for sending me a copy for review!

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