BluRay/DVD Reviews

FOUND AT MOSTLY LOST

By • May 18th, 2016 •

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Films Include:
THE NICKEL SNATCHER (1920) Hank Mann
FIDELITY (1911)
THE PAPERHANGER’S REVENGE (1918) Bud Duncan
A BRASS BUTTON (1911)
JERRY’S PERFECT DAY (1916) George Ovey
ONE MILLION B.C. (1940) Test footage.
VENTRILOQUIST (1927) William Frawley
FIFTEEN MINUTES (1921) Snub Pollard
IN AND OUT (1920/1) Monty Banks
GRIEF (1921) Jimmy Adams
THE JOYRIDE (1928) George LaMaire and Joe Phillips.
2016 Undercrank Productions






Sometimes reels of long lost and forgotten films are found, but due to decomposition, only fragments of that film reel are viewable. Very often the reel is not labeled or the title sequences have rotted into nothingness, leaving historians to wonder- what film is this?

Ben Model’s Undercrank Productions has released, on DVD, FOUND AT MOSTLY LOST, a collection of 11 newly found and newly identified very rare silent and early sound short films.

What makes FOUND AT MOSTLY LOST fun is that various genres are displayed here, running the range of tragic drama to wild comedy. The best comedy in this set is FIFTEEN MINUTES (1921), with silent film comic Snub Pollard. With his huge drooping mustache, shaped like a lower-case ‘n,’ Pollard usually plays an everyday shnook, getting into all sorts of messes. In FIFTEEN MINUTES he is mistaken for a cad who wrecks a washing tub belonging to the wife of a violent-tempered man. Another comedy short, IN AND OUT (1920) features forgotten comic Monty Banks. Banks was very popular in the twenties, and used a large portion of his massive earnings to build children’s hospitals. The most memorable short here is VENTRILOQUIST a 1927 comedy sound film that will simply knock you for a loop. William Frawley, famous for playing Fred Mertz, landlord and best friend to Lucy and Desi on I LOVE LUCY, performs a vaudeville styled routine where he transforms an innocent passerby into a creepy ventriloquist dummy. The passerby is played by Edna Louise Broedt, Frawley’s comic partner and wife. It’s a complete vaudeville routine to the very end, with Frawley and Broedt bowing to us and each other. It’s a terrific bit of history here. Remember when Fred Mertz bragged about his vaudeville days? Here it is!

There is even a reel of test footage for Hal Roach’s 1940 epic ONE MILLION B.C., where various hissing lizards on miniature sets are fitted for dinosaur fins. This collection includes the 1911 dramatic short FIDELITY. In FIDELITY, a woman who works as a sidewalk vendor loses her little girl to an explosion at home. After the child’s funeral, the woman sinks into deep depression, unable to work and pay her rent. The devotion shown by her St. Bernard dog helps bring her back to her feet. This is all conveyed visually in a very short running time. This melodramatic film also gives a clear vision of everyday life 105 years ago.

These films played at Mostly Lost, an annual workshop hosted by The Library of Congress. Unidentified film clips are screened in a theatre filled with film historians and classic film fans. During screenings, theatergoers abandon conventional movie-house etiquette, turning on bright I-Pads and Netbooks, looking up on-screen clues such as license plates, actors. Attendees shout out possible answers. Go ahead and try that at your local Multiplex.

FOUND AT MOSTLY LOST, a sure-fire treat for any film buff, can be purchased on Amazon and through www.undercrankproductions.com..

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