Technicolor fragments: Louise Brooks in The American Venus

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Silent London

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Technicolor fragments: Louise Brooks in The American Venus

PostFri Apr 27, 2018 4:39 am

Hello!

Just to say that the BFI has discovered some gorgeous Technicolor fragments, including footage of Louise Brooks in The American Venus (1926).

Eight-minute video of gorgeous footage


The commentary on the video by Bryony Dixon is very informative and there will be more on this discovery in the next issue of Sight & Sound, out next week.

Hastily written writeup on my site also, if it's of interest https://silentlondon.co.uk/2018/04/27/the-american-venus-1926-louise-brooks-discovered-in-technicolor/

Enjoy!
Last edited by silentfilm on Fri Apr 27, 2018 11:17 am, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: Embedd YouTube link
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s.w.a.c.

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Re: Technicolor fragments: Louise Brooks in The American Ven

PostFri Apr 27, 2018 9:16 am

Includes clips from:

The Far Cry (1926)
The Fire Brigade (1926) (some have noted this clip may be flipped, unless all of those ukulele players are left-handed)
The Black Pirate (1926) (Billie Dove test)
The American Venus (1926) (Louise Brooks costume test, by the looks of it)
Mona Lisa (1926)
"unidentified" (1925 & 1926) (at the 2:30 mark, if anyone feels like taking a crack at them)
Sally (1929)
On With the Show (1929)
The Mysterious Island (1929) (quick shot of Karl Dane mugging, not sure if it's a test or an actual scene)
Gold Diggers of Broadway (1929)
Show of Shows (1929)
Paris (1929)
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Re: Technicolor fragments: Louise Brooks in The American Ven

PostFri Apr 27, 2018 10:48 am

Bless her...

Towards the wind-up, she got right to the point:

Do the best, most accurate restoration possible on these clips -

- then use that (with all other stills, documentation, etc. that might add to the info) to colorize the whole films.

-Craig
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Hamilton's Grandson

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Re: Technicolor fragments: Louise Brooks in The American Ven

PostFri Apr 27, 2018 10:56 am

Image

Snip tool image of unidentified fragment at 2:36 . Anyone know who these 2 are?
Mark Hamilton (I) is on imdb.com
Joseph Hamilton (I) is on imdb.com
Gertrude Brooke Hamilton is on imdb.com
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s.w.a.c.

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Re: Technicolor fragments: Louise Brooks in The American Ven

PostFri Apr 27, 2018 11:35 am

Anyone else remember ukulele players in The Fire Brigade? Haven't seen it in years, but that scene isn't coming to mind.
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Re: Technicolor fragments: Louise Brooks in The American Ven

PostFri Apr 27, 2018 1:37 pm

My guess is that the Louise Brooks section is an outtake/cut from a fashion tableau sequence, which The American Venus is known to have featured. It would explain why she is initially holding her arms in that stylised position.

I'd like to know two more things about this discovery - one, what film they were restoring that led to this discovery and two, whether other prints are now being examined to see if the practice of using offcuts as leaders was widespread. If we're lucky, there could be more discoveries awaiting us! :D

I'm glad Bryony confronts the issue of recreated colourisation. I've been saying this should happen for years. We have the technology, and even if we don't know all of the colours that were used, a recreation is no less valid than, say, the recreation of intertitles when only a foreign print of a silent exists.
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Re: Technicolor fragments: Louise Brooks in The American Ven

PostFri Apr 27, 2018 3:26 pm

In the second unidentified clip, the man holding the slate looks like Henry Kruse, an employee of Technicolor in the mid- to late 1920s. "FN" could stand for First National.

Interesting that Dance Madness apparently had some prismatic footage, since I don't recall it being on any list of Technicolor inserts or features

--HA
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Re: Technicolor fragments: Louise Brooks in The American Ven

PostSat Apr 28, 2018 3:33 am

This clip, and other Technicolor finds from the BFI featured on the BBC TV lunchtime news yesterday.

The short report, which may still be available to view on their website, though access to BBC material outside the U.K. is now increasingly restricted, implied that it was found used as a "leader" on other archival material held in the BFI archive. It sounds very unusual to use anything but blank or numbered film material as a leader.

Also shown were a number of what were colour camera tests with clapboard introductions, those clearly marked Rennehan, undoubtedly Ray Rennehan, the well known Technicolor cameraman. Unfortunately this short piece was in a news programme that was otherwise Royal baby name, Korea and Windrush news so it hit me before I was paying much attention.

Perhaps in a hundred years time some archivist seeking royal baby material will "rediscover" Louise Brooks.
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Re: Technicolor fragments: Louise Brooks in The American Ven

PostSat Apr 28, 2018 7:19 am

It may not have been that unusual to use old prints as film leader and the like. When I was in film school we used old Air Force wing camera footage as filler when we were creating our A and B rolls. More often than not that footage was more interesting than our own.
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Re: Technicolor fragments: Louise Brooks in The American Ven

PostSat Apr 28, 2018 10:46 am

s.w.a.c. wrote:Anyone else remember ukulele players in The Fire Brigade? Haven't seen it in years, but that scene isn't coming to mind.

From IMDb:

The 2-strip Technicolor sequence, running 692 feet, occurs in reel #6, and depicts a costume party in a rose garden. Handschiegl spot-coloring was used in reels #9 & #10 during the climactic fire sequence.
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Re: Technicolor fragments: Louise Brooks in The American Ven

PostSun Apr 29, 2018 5:27 am

I never thought I'd see any footage from DANCE MADNESS, and on the old MGM theatre set, no less! I just hope THE FIRE BRIGADE and the rediscovered colour version of THE MYSTERIOUS ISLAND actually get released into circulation one of these days...
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Re: Technicolor fragments: Louise Brooks in The American Ven

PostSun Apr 29, 2018 3:57 pm

The actress of the second “unidentified” clip seems Greta Nissen to me.
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Re: Technicolor fragments: Louise Brooks in The American Ven

PostMon Apr 30, 2018 4:48 pm

No mole on the chin = Not Greta Nissen
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Re: Technicolor fragments: Louise Brooks in The American Ven

PostWed May 02, 2018 9:31 am

The clip of the folks in Renissance garb might be one of the historical shorts that Technicolor produced and released through Colorart. I will have to check in the Dawn of Technicolor book to see if any of these shorts set in this time period are listed! Anyway this is a great find!!!

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