By Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times Film Critic
12:50 PM EDT, September 26, 2013
If you care about lost films in general and silent films in particular and can’t wait till they arrive on DVD (no names, please), the moment is now.
The National Film Preservation Foundation’s “Lost & Found: American Treasures From the New Zealand Film Archive” is newly on sale, showcasing highlights from one of the most exciting finds of the past decade.
That would be the discovery in New Zealand of a trove of silent material (detailed in a comprehensive 48-page booklet) that had been thought lost forever. As is often the case, however, these films had merely been left behind at one of the far ends of the earth, a location considered too far away for Hollywood to demand material be returned.
The high point of the find is 1927’s “Upstream,” an early John Ford feature that is presented here along with a not-seen-before trailer to another lost Ford, 1929’s “Strong Boy.” It is, in fact, the smaller, less-known items that are the charms of this collection, including Mabel Normand’s comic “Won in a Cupboard” and a stunning 1926 Pathecolor newsreel called “Virginia Types: Blue Ridge Mountaineers.”
Also unusual on DVD is Warner Archive Collection release of King Vidor’s “Hallelujah,” the first all-black major studio feature. Hallelujah, indeed.
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