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Mickey's Circus and treasure trove of films found

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Mickey's Circus and treasure trove of films found

Postby Lzcutter » March 30th, 2014, 2:52 pm

Mickey's Circus, a silent comedy starring six year old Mickey Rooney in his first feature role has been discovered in a Netherlands archive along with a treasure trove of other films.

From the Hollywood Reporter:

Dozens of lost American silent films unseen for decades -- including a 1927 short featuring 6-year-old Mickey Rooney in his first starring role -- have been unearthed in the Netherlands and are set for restoration, it was announced Sunday.

The San Francisco-based National Film Preservation Foundation and the esteemed EYE Filmmuseum of Amsterdam are partnering to bring these films back into public view.

The titles were identified at EYE during two months of research funded by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. The highly flammable nitrate prints were distributed in the Netherlands in the 1910s and '20s and eventually made their way into the EYE collections. Many are tinted; all are thought to be unique or the best surviving source material reported anywhere in the world.

Mickey’s Circus, from Larry Darmour Productions, stars Rooney as Mickey McGuire, the ringmaster of a kids' circus. (It was the first of 78 appearances Rooney made as the McGuire character from the comics.) Another film among the first 26 slated for preservation in 2014 is The Backyard (1920), a short comedy that features Oliver Hardy as a ruffian who kidnaps a millionaire's granddaughter.

Also among those ready to be restored are For the Defense (1922), a crime melodrama with ZaSu Pitts; The Reckless Age (1924), a flapper feature starring Reginald Denny; Fifty Million Years Ago (1925), an introduction to the theory of evolution told through animation; Koko’s Queen (1926), an "Out of the Inkwell" cartoon from Fleischer Studios featuring Koko the Clown; and Flaming Canyons (1929), a stencil-colored tour of then-new national parks Zion, Bryce and the Grand Canyon.

NFPF consultant Leslie Lewis spent two months examining more than 200,000 feet of film, and she eventually identified the movies with the help of the Library of Congress and the Smithsonian.

New English intertitles (to replace the Dutch ones) will be ready for insertion as soon as preservation work begins at the film lab, NFPF programs manager David Wells said. During the next three years, the works will be preserved to 35mm film and made publicly available through the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and the Library of Congress.

The NFPF estimates that fewer than 20 percent of the American motion pictures created during the first decades of the industry still survive in the U.S. However, the popular silents were circulated around the world, and some titles that were discarded at home survive overseas as distribution prints salvaged by collectors.

EYE Filmmuseum is home to one of Europe’s most extensive cinema collections. The NFPF is the nonprofit charitable affiliate of the National Film Preservation Board of the Library of Congress.

Here's the list of films:
The NFPF will contribute preservation funding for those titles marked with an asterisk.

The Backyard* (Jimmy Aubrey Productions, Vitagraph Company of America, 1920), comedy featuring Oliver Hardy as “the ruffian.” Thanks to the Library of Congress for cofunding the preservation of this title with the NFPF.

Bashful Charley’s Proposal (Universal Joker Company, 1916), comedy, set on a houseboat, involving look-alike brothers who court a widow and her daughter. Thanks to the Library of Congress for funding the preservation of this title.

[Chicago rodeo]* (S&E Enterprises, 1920), remarkable footage from Tex Austin’s rodeo show, held in Chicago’s Grant Park in July 1920 and featuring appearances by Ruth Roach, Foghorn Clancy, “Yiddish Cowboy” Dizzy Izzy Broad, and a fearless (though slightly injured) cameraman. To be preserved by the Library of Congress.

Clarence Cheats at Croquet* (Thanhouser Film Corporation, 1916), comedy in which a romantic rival stretches the rules and gets his just deserts. Thanks to Thanhouser Company Film Preservation, Inc. for co-funding the preservation of this title with the NFPF.

The Crystal Ascension* (Kiser Studios, 1923), exploration of Mt. Hood’s Eliot Glacier, Oregon’s largest glacier, as filmed by Kiser Studios. To be preserved by the Oregon Historical Society.

The Dairy Industry and the Canning of Milk* (Libby, McNeal and Libby?, 1917), industry film detailing the canning of condensed milk at Libby, McNeal and Libby’s state-of-the-art facility in Whitewater, Wisconsin. To be preserved by the Library of Congress.

The Darling of the C.S.A.* (Kalem Company, 1912), tale of a daring crossdressing spy, played by Anna Q. Nilsson, who defies capture to secure explosives for the Confederates. To be preserved by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

Fifty Million Years Ago* (Service Film Corp, 1925), introduction to the theory of evolution told through animation. To be preserved by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

Fine Paper* (Strathmore Papers?, ca. 1917), industrial short showing how the Strathmore Paper Company of Massachusetts made its celebrated rag paper. To be preserved by the Library of Congress.

Flaming Canyons* (Castle Films, 1929), stencil-colored travelogue promoting the wonders of Zion, Bryce, and Grand Canyon National Parks. To be preserved by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

From Ore to Finished Product, Reel 4* (National Tube Company, 1917?), tour of the community betterment projects of this Pennsylvania manufacturer (later a founding member of US Steel), prepared as the final installment of a comprehensive film survey of company operations. To be preserved by the Library of Congress.

A Knight of Daze (Fox Film Corporation, 1928), comedy, with Tyler Brooke as Van Bibber, set at a self-service men’s salon. Thanks to the Library of Congress for funding the preservation of this title.

Koko’s Queen (Fleischer Studios, 1926), mind-boggling Out of the Inkwell cartoon in which Koko designs his ideal woman. Thanks to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for funding the preservation of this title.

The Last Word in Chickens* (Fox Film Corporation, 1924), survey of modern egg production and poultry raising techniques, as demonstrated on a large Long Island farm. To be preserved by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

Mickey’s Circus (Larry Darmour Productions, 1927), comedy featuring Mickey Rooney, in his first starring role, as the ringmaster of a kids’ circus. Thanks to the Library of Congress for funding the preservation of this title.

A Model Husband* (Victor Film Company, 1916), tale in which the moral failings of a “model husband” are unmasked by prohibitionists. To be preserved by the Library of Congress.

A Mountain Ranch* (Dodge Bros., 1923?), scenic profile of a Colorado sheep ranch and its environs. To be preserved by the Library of Congress.

Neptune’s Naughty Daughter (Century Comedies, 1917), comedy about a fisherman’s daughter who defies her father and falls for a sailor. This Library of Congress-funded restoration will also involve materials from the British Film Institute.

Patsy’s Elopement* (Lubin Manufacturing Company, 1915), the ninth installment in the Patsy Bolivar series, featuring Clarence Elmer as the guy who never seems to do anything right. To be preserved by the Library of Congress.

Red Saunders’ Sacrifice* (Lubin Manufacturing Company, 1912), Western in which the bandit braves capture to fetch a doctor for his sweetheart’s mother. To be preserved by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

A Smash-Up in China* (International Film Service [Hearst],1919), a Happy Hooligan cartoon directed by Gregory La Cava. To be preserved by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

A Trip Though Lassen Volcanic National Park* (A. Phillips & J. J. Hammer?, 1918?), tour of California’s active volcano two years after the area was made a national park. To be preserved by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

Uncommon Clay* (Fox Film Corporation, 1925), survey of America’s art pottery heritage from Acoma Pueblo to Rookwood Pottery. To be preserved by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

The Village Chestnut* (Max Sennett Comedies, 1918), comedy about tangled classroom romances, directed by Raymond Griffith and starring Chester Conklin and Louise Fazenda. To be preserved by the Library of Congress.

When Ciderville Went Dry* (Esperanto Film Mfg. Co., 1915), temperance spoof that is thought to be the only surviving work from the Esperanto Film Manufacturing Company of Detroit. To be preserved by the Library of Congress.

Who’s Who* (Essanay Film Mfg. Co., 1910), comedy of mistaken identity, involving a minister and prizefighter—both with the initials S.O.B.—who arrive into town on the same train. To be preserved by the Library of Congress.
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Re: Mickey's Circus and treasure trove of films found

Postby moira finnie » March 31st, 2014, 8:27 am

What a cornucopia of film. I would love to see The Darling of the C.S.A., as well as A Mountain Ranch--not to mention Zasu Pitts' For the Defense (I hope she plays a lawyer--that would be interesting). Koko's Queen is also one that I really look forward to seeing--I love the Fleischer Studios "Out of the Inkwell" animations. Thank you for posting this here.
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