Tag Archives: Silent Film

Sorry Toy Story, Mr. P – The Story of the Real Mr. Potato Head is Funnier!

25 Sep

1184948_500545486699996_1927149996_nBy Ed Sum (The Vintage Tempest)

After discovering the wonderful whimsy of Quebec-based Belzébrute’s theatrical productions with thanks to Intrepid Theatre, I’m looking forward to hearing about what they have planned next. They came to Victoria, BC to perform a puppet show, Mr. P – The Story of the Real Mr. Potato Head, to help cure the post-Fringe festival blues (they were invited over, from what I heard) and upon going online to check out what else they have made, I really like to see Manga! This other production is one part comic-book, equal parts anime and inspired by history. Hopefully, they will return and bring this story next time.

But for a night which paid a lovely tribute to the musical entertainment pop culture scene, Mr. P has gone through it all. That is, since the days of silent film, he’s been around and he did it “his way” ala Frank Sinatra. He’s a versatile performer who can channel the best of each era’s best in his own act; from said talent to Elvis to Michael Jackson and Freddie Mercury, this potato can win many a crowd! For this vegetable, he’s mimed and played in many a venue. Watching this show is kind of like watching The Swedish Chef live; there’s a bit of nonsense in what he says, and you can hear what he’s saying. Two master puppeteers work hard to make him come alive. You have to see this show to see how it’s done, and when he does the splits, I could not help but grin. Just like the toy, you can change his eyes and ears to change his expressions.

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[VFF ’16] The Grubstake Gets Revisited for Shakespeare!

13 Feb

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By Ed Sum (The Vintage Tempet)

The Grub Stake is a 1923 action-adventure silent film produced by Nell Shipman and directed by Bert Van Tuyle which never saw distribution when it finished production. The distributor went bankrupt and its fate even now is uncertain. Technically, it’s now in the public domain, and perhaps this early Canadian pioneer of the Hollywood scene cannot be any more happier to know from Heaven that it’s been reimagined and titled The Grubstake Remix.

A new musical score accompanies this product and instead of inter titles, performers recant the dialogue with Shakespearean splendour as the film plays in the background! The film takes on an entirely new dimension with dialogue from nearly every one of this bard’s plays — The Tempest, King Lear, Richard III and MacBeth being the most familiar — and no knowledge of each of this playwright’s material is really required to understand what’s going on.

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Library of Congress: 70% of Silent Films Lost

4 Dec

By Ed Sum (The Vintage Tempest)

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The report by Variety and author Paul Harris certainly brings tears to my eyes as I love classic films, especially the early films by Walt Disney and Georges Méliès. As I grew to love the products from the era, I found a deep appreciation for the films out of Germany, namely The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari and Metropolis. While some of the best products from what I love from this era have survived to be appreciated by audiences today, there is a whole lot more that, from the sound of this article, is gone for good. I have to wonder what early animation experiments were made back then that is perhaps gone.

The news that not many silent films in their original film stock have survived to this day is not altogether surprising, but the fact that many products from other artists during this time exist anymore is all the more sad. In what this article suggests, hopefully the proposal to repatriation any film deemed “lost” can be found buried at some foreign film archive in Russia or wherever they may be located.

Every cloud has a silver lining, and hopefully, in this case, it means more than just the chemical used to make the film stock. I am hoping it means a concentrated effort in creating a call to arms to search the world’s film vaults for lost treasures (in whatever film format that they are kept in) so that it can get projected to a silver screen just one more time … or by some process to digitize the movie for preservation.