8 celluloid survivors from Australia


A look at the films that are part of the new Film Connection: Australia-America program:

"The Prospector" (Essanay, 1912, tinted): This one-reel Western was made by Essanay Film Manufacturing during the same year the studio moved from Chicago to Niles, Calif. Celebrated for its Charlie Chaplin films of 1915, the studio produced more than 1,600 titles during a 10-year span, few of which now survive. Westerns were a studio specialty; little is known about this particular title.

"U.S. Navy Documentary" (1916, tinted): This showcases American naval power shortly before the U.S. entered World War I. Among the scenes of sailors and marines at work are a naval artillery demonstration and illustrations of a submarine, "a floating fortress" and the presidential yacht.

"Sin Woman" trailer (1921): This preview for a "lost" 1917 American melodrama was custom-made for screening in Sydney. It likely is one of the earliest surviving trailers for an American film.

"Mutt and Jeff: On Strike" (Bud Fisher Film, Fox, 1920): The post-World War I years brought the largest number of strikes in American history, with labor strife involving one-quarter of the U.S. work force. In this gentle jab at militant labor, Mutt and Jeff go on strike when refused a pay raise and try making their own cartoons. Chastened by the experience, they return wiser workers.

"Pathe News" (around 1920): Very few American newsreels of the silent era survive in complete form (many were cut up and reused as footage). This rarity includes segments on World War I veterans lobbying President Harding for a bonus and a drug raid in New York.

"A Trip Through Japan With the YWCA" (Benjamin Brodsky, 1919): Benjamin Brodsky, a noted American travel lecturer, made several trips to the Far East, including one sponsored by the Imperial Japanese Railroad Co. in 1918. This short, made to celebrate the YWCA's 15th anniversary in Japan, highlights women in Japan and charity's service. The only identified Brodsky film in the U.S. is at the Smithsonian.

"Screen Snapshots" (1925, tinted): An early Hollywood promo film showing screen personalities playing baseball.

"Long Pants" (trailer, 1927, tinted): A preview of the famous Frank Capra comedy starring Harry Langdon.

Brooks Boliek