In the last month or so, the rest of the world has realized something that film fans and film historians have known for years -- 75% of American silent films are considered “lost.” Thanks to vault fires, decomposing original nitrate reels and a lack of foresight, the majority of silent cinema has been lost to time. While that’s a heartbreaking statistic, it also seems that every day a previously thought lost or extremely rare film is rediscovered or restored. Thanks to film fans and historians like Ben Model, these films are once again seeing the light of day. Last summer, I reviewed Model’s “Accidentally Preserved,” a volume of nine rare/lost silent films that was funded by Model’s successful Kickstarter campaign. The response to the DVD and campaign was overwhelming, and the success of the film was great enough to fund a second volume!
“Accidentally Preserved Volume 2” once again presents viewers with nine more rare/lost silent films with beautiful new musical accompaniment by Model himself. The films were made between 1919 and 1928, and include comedies, cartoons, an ad and even an instructional safety film. The transfers are crisp and clear, making the jokes and animation that much more powerful.
Alberta Vaughn in "Sherlock's Home"
One of the highlights is a previously thought lost installment in the “The Telephone Girl” comedy series starring Alberta Vaughn. This episode, entitled “Sherlock’s Home” features a scenario written by Darryl F. Zanuck himself and co-stars Al Cook and Kit Guard.
"Charley on the Farm"
The cartoons are also notable and very entertaining and interesting on their own. “Charley on the Farm” is a Universal cartoon featuring a caricature of Charlie Chaplin rehashing some of the Little Tramp’s gags from the Essanay film “The Tramp.”
Here’s a complete list of the films featured on Volume 2:
Bobby Vernon in WHY WILD MEN GO WILD (1920)
Charlie Chaplin cartoon: CHARLEY ON THE FARM (1919)
Alberta Vaughn in SHERLOCK’S HOME (1924)
Neely Edwards in THE LITTLE PEST (1927)
Lloyd Hamilton in PAPA’S BOY (1927)
Henry Murdock in COOK, PAPA, COOK (1928)
Blasting cap safety film: HOW JIMMY WON THE GAME (1928)
Animated ad: CHRISTMAS SEALS FILM (1925)
“Accidentally Preserved Volume 2” is available now via Amazon.com. If you’re a fan of silent film or film history, or just want to support film preservation, I highly recommend picking up a copy. Who knows...if this release goes well, it could help fund a third installment of odd and wonderful forgotten silent films.
Visit the Accidentally Preserved official site for more information.