“SAVED FROM THE FLAMES” is a unique and wonderful collection
of 54 rare and restored short films from the inflammable years of cinema,
when movies were made on nitrate film and thus highly vulnerable to fire
and decay. This remarkable anthology is organized in eight thematic groups
over three DVD programs and presents fascinating nitrate-era treasures
from the vaults of Lobster Films in Paris and from the Blackhawk Films
Collection—films which were literally rescued from imminent destruction
over the past fifty years.
Flicker Alley’s “SAVED FROM THE FLAMES” DVD set is
the North American home video premiere of Lobster Films and Blackhawk
Films materials previously exhibited as part of the semi-annual live presentation
of Serge Bromberg’s Retour le Flamme in Paris--as well as many materials
which have rarely been shown before. The DVD edition also includes an
illustrated booklet with annotations by film preservationists and historians
David Shepard and Serge Bromberg.
“SAVED FROM THE FLAMES” DVD content:
NEW BEGINNINGS: Seven early cinematic experiments of
Lumière, Georges Mendel and others, including Cyrano De Bergerac
(1900), generally believed to be the first ever film produced with both
color and sound.
MAGICAL MOVIES: Five early fantasy and trick films--including
a previously-unseen trick film by Georges Méliès, hand-colored
films from Segundo de Chomon and Gaston Velle, and astonishing stop-motion
animation from 1911.
SEEING THE WORLD: Among the ten films in this section
are a transatlantic crossing in a Zeppelin dirigible, a 1925 stencil-colored
trek through the Belgian Congo, World War I-era Parisian street kids
in Montmartre, a 1916 visit to Los Angeles, a 1927 sound film of pilot
Charles Lindbergh embarking on his New York-Paris flight, an early 1930s
portrait of New York City’s Coney Island, and a promotional film
made for Josephine Baker’s revue at the Folies-Bergère,
LAUGHING LIKE WE USED TO: Seven comedies, including
four restored from turn of the century Italy and France, a recently-discovered
nitrate negative of Charlie Chaplin’s first appearance in his
“tramp” attire, a frenetic Mack Sennett “gag fest”
replete with tin lizzies, and The Pest (1922), starring a pre-Hardy
DRAWINGS AND MODELS: Six works of animation: Gaumont’s
Fantasmagorie (1908); three Fleischer Studios cartoons--Cartoon Factory
(1924), Ain’t She Sweet (1932), and Play Safe (1936); Ub Iwerks'
Balloonland (1935), featuring a new color restoration made from the
original negatives; and a filmed performance by puppetry pioneer Tony
GRACE NOTES: Rare musical performances: Django Reinhardt
with Stéphane Grapelli and the Quintet of the Hot Club of France
in Jazz Hot (1939), Duke Ellington and the Cotton Club Orchestra featured
in Black and Tan (1929), Louis Armstrong in Copenhagen, 1934, and a
1929 performance from the Utica Jubilee Singers.
PERSUADE ME: Eleven films designed to influence, including
a vintage promotional film of a French-dubbed Laurel & Hardy, theatrical
advertisements featuring Michel Simon and Jacques Tati, a 1938 George
Pal puppet animation, three WW-II era musical shorts, two political
campaign films, and the National Film registry selection Master Hands,
a paean to the 1936 Chevrolet automobile.
TELL ME A STORY: Narratives from 1912-1913: D.W. Griffith’s
For His Son, Lois Weber’s Suspense, and Thomas Ince’s The
Heart of an Indian, all mastered from beautiful 35mm film elements.