An interesting list, but that is one hell of a word salad that is served up with each item.
What, no love in their list for Oscar Micheaux’s many lost films? Why am I not surprised. #lostfilmlovesowhite
Oscar Micheaux’s long directorial career still has huge gaps in regards to print survival. Of the 22 silent films Oscar Micheaux made, merely three survive—that’s 13%. Of his 16 sound films, seven remain (43%), although only two are now available.
Hey cool. I have some new to me silent cinema to track down now.
“Body and Soul” is great fun (and includes the first performance of Paul Robeson!), and this one is especially important, and fascinating – Micheaux’s answer to the kkk-racism of “Birth of a Nation”:
Thanks! I’ll be checking these out as well.
Costume Designer: I haven’t actually read that comic book. What’s this guy supposed to look like?
Producer: Here’s a drawing of his costume.
Costume Designer: What’s that deal on his chest?
Producer: A bat.
Costume Designer: That doesn’t make sense! Nobody is going to get intimidated by a tiny flying rodent. And he’s a MAN, not a BAT.
Producer: Fine, change it. Also, Batman has a sidekick named “Robin.” Or maybe “Ruben.” I forget.
Costume Designer: What does HIS costume look like?
Producer: I don’t have a drawing for that one. I think he has an “R” on his chest though.
Costume Designer: Fine, I’ll just make it look like Batman’s outfit then.
Wow that’s umm yeah. I so have to see it though. Can’t be any worse than a Santo film can it?
I need to watch this just to see if Dracula turns Batman into Vampire Batman.
Besides the race issues, IIRC Micheaux’s legacy was also hurt by the fact that for quite a while only his sound films were readily available, and like many other silent directors, the quality of his films dropped considerably in the sound era. So, for a long time, he had the reputation of being groundbreaking and historically important, but not really that good. Even though some of the silents have surfaced, his reputation hasn’t completely recovered, I fear.
Yeah, too true, though what film historians consider “good” (let alone important) has often had an unwitting racial bias as well. #mainstreamfilmhistorysowhite
Have they tried looking on YouTube?
They got the non-union, Philipino equivalents for this film!
[Dante Rivero aka Dracula is still acting today]
I’m really not certain I’d call The Day the Clown Cried a lost film, given that from most accounts it’s never been completed1 and we know exactly where the footage is: Lewis himself has the rough cut, and the studio has the original camera negative.
1. While we know that a rough cut exists, most accounts suggest final production and editing never got beyond that point due to legal issues.
Its not really a lost film since we know exactly where it is and nobody wants to part with it while alive. I am sure after Jerry Lewis passes on, it will get a professional editing and release.
According to an article I’ve spotted since I posted that, the Library of Congress now has Lewis’s copy but have promised not to make it available for 10 years.
(Though one wonders whether the legal issues involved — the producers never fully acquired the rights to the script and the writers have subsequently said that they will never grant permission due to Lewis’s changes — will prevent even that.)
Hey, here ya go. In it’s full glory. I love the internet.
But the film has been shot already and there is enough footage to edit together a workable professional cut. Writers don’t usually have a say in the shooting or editing process. So the script issues are not quite as important as the rights to the finished product itself. It poses some interesting IP issues, but not unworkable ones. Probably requires the death of Jerry Lewis and some checks being written.