News from the Silent Movie Front: Lots of free silent movies, crowdfunding (again!) and release info

Who likes free stuff? Everyone, that’s who! Well, there’s tons of news about free silent films, so hold onto your hats!

Crowdfunding Lloyd Hamilton

Dave Glass and Dave Wyatt have launched a Kickstarter campaign to release six Lloyd Hamilton two-reelers on DVD. The campaign is already funded (yay!) but the organizers state that they’ll “certainly be looking at extra treats if the funds keep coming in.” Great news, yes?

The campaign has 14 days left and I should note that there are no plans to make the resulting DVD available to non-backers, so this may be a “you snooze, you lose” situation.

Finally, the campaign is based in the UK, so keep the pounds to whatever-your-currency-is exchange rate in mind.

If you’re unfamiliar with Hamilton’s work, here is a short released on YouTube by Ben Model:

Old News but What the Heck

I somehow missed it when EYE posted the 1913 version of Ivanhoe on their YouTube channel but, hey, it’s new to me so I’ll include it here. This is a very early American epic from IMP, which is a proto-Universal. It was shot on location, which was reasonably common in pre-WWI American cinema.

Fay Wray in Four-Square Steve

Collector Christopher Bird released Four-Square Steve on YouTube for free and legal viewing. It’s a Universal western short with a very young Fay Wray and it’s a ton of fun too!

This one has a custom score by David L. Gill for your listening pleasure. You can read my review of the film here.

Download Bolivia’s only surviving silent film!

The 1930 production Wara Wara has long been available only to academics and festival-goers. Well, now Bolivia’s only surviving silent film is available to anyone with the internet and the price of a unicorn Frappucino with cookie straw! Just visit this site and you’ll be guided through the process.

I used PayPal (ugh!) to purchase the film and it all came to $6.50 USD with the fees and all, a steal for a piece of cinema history as rare as this. Everything is in Spanish so have your translation app at the ready or ask a friendly Spanish speaker if you don’t speak it yourself. Be prepared for a 1GB download. (Still downloading my copy, will post details on score, title cards, etc. later.)

Update: Yep, all Spanish. The film is in SD, not HD but looks great, kudos to the restoration team. Best $6.50 I ever spent.

h/t: archivalnews

Ordering When Knighthood was in Flower

I’ve had some readers ask about purchasing copies of Ben Model’s release of the Marion Davies epic When Knighthood Was in Flower. Here is the Amazon page for the release (pre-ordering is not available), which has a street date of July 25. I’ll be posting an unboxing of the film soon.

Be sure to sign up for Model’s newsletter to receive the latest release info, including two other Davies titles.


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10 Replies to “News from the Silent Movie Front: Lots of free silent movies, crowdfunding (again!) and release info”

  1. I think your “Ivanhoe” excerpt was from a film starring Saint-Louis-born actor King Baggott. A St. Louis collector recently showed this at the St. Louis Art Museum with the Dutch intertitles translated into English. Local members of the actor’s family were in the audience. Although it was shot on location in the U.K., it involves a lot of rather aimless running around (and riding around on horses). Apparently we saw the entire film — if so, I found it of minimal interest. There was an interesting talk about the movie career of the actor — his career declined due to alcoholism.

    1. The film was originally released at four reels, which matches with the 50+ minute running time of the Dutch print, so I think excerpt is rather a misnomer.

  2. Thanks for the shout-out for When Knighthood Was in Flower, it sounds like a film that appeals to me. Will have to give it a buy when its available.

  3. Thanks for the update! I love EYE, and have spent many an hour watching their collection of shorts (all the while lamenting that I took French instead of Dutch in college) and will have to look for this one, even though when I look at I keep thinking Monty Python and the Holy Grail.

    Dang, I may have to get back together with my old girlfriend just so I have a Spanish speaker to watch Wara Wara with me.

  4. Thanks for the tip on Wara Wara! I downloaded it and used my iPhone’s camera and Google Translate app to create instant intertitles. (An interesting augmented reality experience unto itself.) This film is wonderful. Great outdooor scenes (it’s Bolivia after all) and an excellent musical score that blends traditional, classic and contemporary. The quality is superb and the cinematography is clear-eyed and tight–if not contrived at times. I thoroughly enjoyed this movie and welcome any insight. I’ve been reading a couple of academic papers on Latin American silent film. Wara Wara figures prominently.

  5. P.S.: if you actually take a picture of the screen using Google Translate and then press the black square to see the results, the translation is infinitely better–even though the live flicker-like translation is fun and gimmicky.

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