LOS ANGELES (Top40 Charts/ It's Alive! Media & Management)
Accidentally Preserved: Rare & Lost Silent Films from Vintage 16mm Prints: VOLUME 2, a DVD collection of nine extremely rare silent film shorts, three of which have been lost for decades, return to screens courtesy of royalties from sales of crowd-funded project produced and scored by noted silent film accompanist Ben Model (www.accidentallypreserved.com). It will be released on January 21 and will be available exclusively online at Amazon.com.
Sourced from the private collection of films owned by Ben Model, Accidentally Preserved consists of nine short films, six of which feature lesser-known comedians Lloyd
Vernon, Alberta Vaughn, Neely Edwards and Henry Murdock. There are two rare animated cartoons - one starring Felix the Cat and the other an unidentified ad film made by a Fleischer animator - as well as a live-action educational film about blasting cap safety. Each film has a new musical score and was newly transferred in HD. The collection will be released via Amazon's "CreateSpace" DVD-on-Demand service. This new distribution model for making rare and obscure silent films commercially available to the public in a quality presentation was a success for volume 1, and Model plans to continue the Accidentally Preserved series in this manner.
"The overwhelmingly positive response to the first Accidentally Preserved DVD took me by surprise, from the initial Kickstarter, and then from reviews and sales. It's really gratifying to have an idea you think is worthwhile and then have it validated by critics and by several hundred DVD sales," says Historian and Silent Film Composer Ben Model. "We've all thought 'Why doesn't someone put that out on DVD?' about some film or other, and this process seems to work quite well."
Fans of silent film funded the production of the first DVD project via Kickstarter to cover costs of film transfers, graphic design, scoring and post-production. Upon its release, the first DVD received critical accolades from the N.Y. Times, Film Threat, and many Amazon customers. Over 600 units of volume 1 were sold in just half a year, and Model decided to roll the proceeds toward funding this second volume. While Model has now finished transferring his own films for the series, private collectors of films in 16mm and 9.5mm have offered rare prints from their collections for future Accidentally Preserved series DVDs.
Accidentally Preserved: Rare & Lost Silent Films from Vintage 16mm Prints: volume 2 sells for $19.95, and will be available January 21, 2014 at Amazon.com. 104 mins, B&W, produced and scored by Ben Model. The films will also be released on Ben Model's YouTube channel (youtube.com/silentfilmmusic) on a bi-weekly basis starting mid-April 2014. Film notes were written by noted silent film historian Steve Massa and are available online and in a printed booklet that fits in the DVD case at www.accidentallypreserved.com.
The term "accidentally preserved" is a phrase coined by Model, referring to silent films that exist only because copies were made on 16mm safety film in the 1920s, '30s and '40s for the home rental market - essentially the Netflix of the art deco era. When the rental libraries shuttered in the 1940s and '50s, the vintage prints were scattered to collectors and hobbyists, and turn up today on eBay and at flea markets. The 16mm film format celebrated its 90th anniversary last year.
ABOUT BEN MODEL
Ben Model is one of the nation's leading silent film accompanists, and has been a resident film pianist at the Museum of Modern
Art (MoMA) since 1984. He accompanies silent films on piano and theatre organ regularly at MoMA, the Library of Congress, the Silent Clowns Film Series (in NYC), and at many theatres and schools around the country. His recorded scores can be heard on numerous releases from Kino Lorber and on Turner Classic Movies (TCM). He is also co-curator of MoMA's annual "Cruel and Unusual Comedy" silent film series, and this month will be accompanying films at MoMA's "Aesthetics of Shadow" series. Model is also the archivist for the Ernie Kovacs/Edie Adams collection and has programmed two "Ernie Kovacs
Collection" DVD box sets for Shout Factory as well as MVD's "Here's Edie: The Edie Adams Television Shows". He is based in New York City. His website is www.silentfilmmusic.com.
THE FILMS of ACCIDENTALLY PRESERVED: VOL. 2
Formerly lost films are indicated with a ** and were transferred from the only known print:
Why Wild Men Go Wild - with Bobby
Vernon and Jimmy Harrison (1920) - 12 mins Party-hearty college boys Bobby
and Jimmy are summoned home by Jimmy's dad, who's concerned about their wild ways. They tone it down, until Bobby
is smitten with Jimmy's sister...who has a thing for "cave men".
Charley on the Farm - Chaplin cartoon (1919) - 10 mins
One of the rarely-seen Charlie Chaplin cartoons made by Otto Messmer/Pat Sullivan on the eve of their creation of Felix the Cat.
Sherlock's Home** - Alberta Vaughn (1924) - 21 mins
Episode four (of twelve) in the "Telephone Girl" series, based on Runyon-esque short stories by H.C. Witwer; directed by Mal St. Clair and with a scenario by Darryl Francis Zanuck. Co-starring Al Cook, Kit Guard, and several other notable character players of the silents.
Pest** - Neely Edwards (1927) - 10 mins
Childless Neely and his wife offer to baby-sit their in-laws' brat for an afternoon, but it's hard to say who makes a bigger mess of things...Neely or the little kid in the sailor suit.
Papa's Boy - Lloyd
Hamilton (1927) - 16 mins
The father of bespectacled, butterfly-chasing Lloyd
Hamilton wants to make a man of him, and gets virile Glen Cavender to take him on a camping trip.
Whys and Otherwise - Felix the Cat (1927) - 8 mins
Carousing Felix comes home at 4am to his wife and kitties, and makes up a few tall tales as to why he was out so late.
Cook, Papa, Cook** - Henry Murdock (1928) - 9 mins
Henry's wife has overslept and, on demanding breakfast, she tells him to make it himself. And so he does, wrestling with bacon, a toaster and more while the little missus eats bon-bons in bed.
How Jimmy Won the Game - blasting cap safety film (1928) - 14 mins
It's the day of the championship baseball game for the neighborhood kids. Will the star pitcher blow his hand off with the blasting cap he finds in the outfield during the game? It's up to young Jimmy and a couple of scouts to save him and the ball game from disaster.
Christmas Seals film - animated theatre ad (1925) - 3 mins
A rare animated advertising film promoting the sale of Christmas Seals. There are no credits or information in vintage trade publications, but animation historians have attributed the graphic blandishments to Fleischer animator Dick Huemer