14 short films – some favorites, others unfamiliar – made between 1902 and 1965. All boast new music composed and performed by the Alloy Orchestra, a three-man ensemble critic Roger Ebert called "the best in the world at accompanying silent films." Films in this new collection are sourced from high quality prints, digitally mastered from around the world, offering wonder, laughter, absurdity, and charm. They represent many genres and styles, including "trick films," hand drawn as well as stop-motion animation, classic comedy, and avant-garde and surrealist surprises.
Following D. W. Griffith’s curtain raiser Those Awful Hats from 1909, the program proceeds in chronological order with many of the shorts separated by vintage hand-painted slides created for use in movie theaters a century ago. The selections are A Trip to the Moon (by Georges Melies, with his original English narration), Dream of a Rarebit Fiend (Edwin S. Porter), Red Spectre (Ferdinand Zecca, Segundo de Chomon) The Acrobatic Fly (Percy Smith), The Thieving Hand and Princess Nicotine (Vitagraph Studios), Artheme Swallows His Clarinet (Eclipse Films), The Cameraman’s Revenge (Ladislas Starewicz), The Pet (Winsor McCay), The Play House (Buster Keaton, in a beautiful copy with all original titles), Filmstudie (Hans Richter), The Life and Death of 9413, a Hollywood Extra (Robert Florey, Slavko Vorkapich and Gregg Toland), and Clay, or the Origin of Species (Eliot Noyes, Jr.).
As an added bonus, the DVD features a short film by David Davidson documenting The Alloy Orchestra in a recording session for one of the films in this collection, as well as a printed DVD booklet of individual film annotations