NOMADS OF THE NORTH (1920)

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linquist

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NOMADS OF THE NORTH (1920)

PostSun Jun 24, 2018 6:59 pm

Today, I watched NOMADS OF THE NORTH on YouTube. The movie ran for one and three quarters hours. That really surprised me as every magazine source in Lantern said it was a six reel film, 5200 feet of movie. What gives? I'm assuming that either extra footage was found or a rough cut print still existed. Does anyone know what the circumstances were?
Also, when I was looking into this, I found a Wikipedia "factoid" that said that during the forest fire scene, the main stars, Lon Chaney and Betty Blythe were injured (burned) in the fire and production had to be stopped for over a week while they were hospitalized. The problem is I can not trace this "fact" to any source outside of the web. I checked Lantern, old books and bios and even watched the TCM documentary on Chaney but there is no mention of either of them having been burned. Does anyone have any knowledge of this story?
Thanks.
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Hamilton's Grandson

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Re: NOMADS OF THE NORTH (1920)

PostSun Jun 24, 2018 7:26 pm

AFI lists it as 6 reels released 10/20

A Michigan newspaper (from newspapers.com) had this article regarding the film in early 1921 to discuss details that occurred during filming.

Sounds like the forest fire was real and they could not control several animals leaping into water or performers getting burned. The natural panic of the animals avoiding the flames and leaping into the water to save themselves added to the action of the film and was not rehearsed prior to filming that scene.

Image
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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linquist

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Re: NOMADS OF THE NORTH (1920)

PostSun Jun 24, 2018 10:02 pm

H.G. - Thanks very much. I tried the Smithsonian newspaper collection and nothing appeared.

Yes, everyone lists it at six reels. It just doesn't seem that 110 minutes would easily fit on six reels.
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Hamilton's Grandson

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Re: NOMADS OF THE NORTH (1920)

PostSun Jun 24, 2018 10:28 pm

Just a hunch. Maybe the frame per second speed in the you tube version is different than the original film giving it a 1 and 3/4 hour length on you tube vs. the original format in 1920?

Or maybe it seems slower because this version uses the same slow soundtrack/score over and over again putting the viewer to sleep? Hard to say.
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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linquist

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Re: NOMADS OF THE NORTH (1920)

PostMon Jun 25, 2018 8:06 am

Oh, I agree about the slowness of the soundtrack. I did find a few critics at the time complain that the film dragged. Doing the math, it would seem that a six reel film would run somewhere between between an hour and an hour and a quarter. To run an extra half hour longer seems to suggest a lot of slowing down or the film was shot at a really slow rate, considering it was released at 5200 feet. I think there was around a thousand feet per reel and that makes 5200 feet close to an hour. I don't know.
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Re: NOMADS OF THE NORTH (1920)

PostMon Jun 25, 2018 12:04 pm

I'll have to check my David Shepard/Image DVD when I get home, but online it is listed at 77 minutes. I remember watching it once, and I did not care much for Nomads of the North. The Shock, also on that DVD, is much better. It looks like Flicker Alley has not reissued these titles on MOD DVD yet.
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Dave Pitts

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Re: NOMADS OF THE NORTH (1920)

PostTue Jun 26, 2018 8:06 am

My first reaction is that you must have seen a download of the old Video Yesteryear print. Those of us who collected old films in the 80s/90s remember this firm with mixed feelings -- their titles were expensive, often grainy, and the company bragged about releasing them at "correct projection speed", although I could never figure out just how they were calculating that speed. I still have my old Yesteryear VHS catalog, which lists Nomads of the North at 109 minutes. (As another example of Yesteryear's speed calculation, Maltin's guide lists Sally of the Sawdust (1925) at 91 minutes. The Yesteryear version was a deadly 124 minutes, and that wasn't rediscovered footage or Griffith's director's cut -- it was slowed down to "correct projection speed." As Ricky Ricardo would say, I-yi-yi-yi.)
Here are two more clues that you may have watched Yesteryear product, if it was an exact copy: an hour into the feature they had an intermission title that read "One Moment Please While We Change Reels." Also, their house accompanist was Rosa Rio on organ, who played in a sort of sub-carousel style. Whenever there was joy or flirting on-screen, she had an insidiously annoying 'happy theme' that I can still hear in my head.
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s.w.a.c.

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Re: NOMADS OF THE NORTH (1920)

PostTue Jun 26, 2018 9:13 am

"Video Accu-Speed" was the technical term for making their titles slow as molasses.

Twinkletoes wrote:Oh, ya big blister!
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linquist

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Re: NOMADS OF THE NORTH (1920)

PostThu Jun 28, 2018 1:21 pm

That makes sense, kind of. t did have an intermission note for just a second and it did seem to move at a speed that was comparable to normal human activity but it certainly didn't feel like it was in any hurry. My assumption is that six reels should be running somewhere around an hour, maybe 70 minutes. If this was produced to run at around this time, why didn't they leave it at that?. Its not as if this was 1920 and the projectionist was speeding up the film. What criteria did Yesteryear use to determine that normal was slowing down this film by about 30%?
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Big Silent Fan

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Re: NOMADS OF THE NORTH (1920)

PostThu Jun 28, 2018 3:03 pm

linquist wrote:Oh, I agree about the slowness of the soundtrack. I did find a few critics at the time complain that the film dragged. Doing the math, it would seem that a six reel film would run somewhere between between an hour and an hour and a quarter. To run an extra half hour longer seems to suggest a lot of slowing down or the film was shot at a really slow rate, considering it was released at 5200 feet. I think there was around a thousand feet per reel and that makes 5200 feet close to an hour. I don't know.


If you're watching this on YouTube (on line), you can go to 'Settings' to adjust the speed. I learned to do this recently when a film from Australia was running much too slow. Don't be fooled, the speed change is less than you might expect.
I set it at 200 (same as I did before for the Australian film) and it seemed to run naturally. The music, which isn't that good anyway, seemed to handle the speed change. YouTube has another version without sound and it's listed at 1:17:26. A nice quality print is also on YouTube running 3:16:02. Have no idea why so long, but at 2 times speed, it seems to be about right, but that music is awful at any speed.

I recorded my copy from TCM (at the shorter length with the same music), but also dubbed it again with a score I liked better.
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linquist

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Re: NOMADS OF THE NORTH (1920)

PostTue Jul 03, 2018 8:47 pm

BSF: Thanks. I'll have to investigate film speed in YouTube.

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