I have been given permission to now share this info via a press release offering the exciting news that footage from the incomplete Stan Laurel silent DETAINED has been discovered and restored.
Frisian Film Archive [Fries Film Archief – Leeuwarden, the Netherlands] discovers rare missing fragments from Stan Laurel film 'Detained' (1924)
Supposedly lost film scene emerges in Leeuwarden
2018, the year in which Leeuwarden/Fryslân is the European capital of culture, has only just started and the cultural world is already being presented with a unique discovery. The fact is that the Frisian Film Archive recently discovered film fragments of Stan Laurel which were thought to have been lost. In the Dutch copy of the Stan Laurel film Detained, which the Frisian Film Archive has in its possession, a scene with special effects has been discovered which is missing in other copies. This scene came to light during the stocktaking of old nitrate films for a large digitisation project which the film archive is involved in. Detained is a solo film by Stan Laurel dating from 1924.
Film scene considered lost
Jurjen Enzing, an employee at the Frisian Film Archive, recognised the famous actor Stan Laurel while stocktaking nitrate film material. Enzing decided to investigate which film it exactly was. After searching the Internet he discovered that it was a solo film by Stan Laurel. In the book written by Laurel and Hardy experts, Ted Okuda and James L. Neibaur, entitled 'Stan Without Ollie: The Stan Laurel Solo Films, 1917 – 1927', Enzing then read that it had to be the film Detained which dates from 1924. The missing scene was described in that same book. Neibaur and Okuda stated that it had apparently been lost. However, Enzing realised that he had discovered the missing scene in the copy at the Frisian Film Archive. It was quite a moment!
In the scene, which was thought to be lost, Stan Laurel plays a prisoner who ends up on the gallows. His neck gets stretched out of all proportion and that leads to a humorous escape. The absurd scene is typical of Stan Laurel. The reason why this scene was missing from most international copies is that, in the Nineteen Thirties, films like this used to be shortened. All 'superfluous' scenes and fragments were cut out of the film for the new release. As far as we are now aware the copy discovered by the Frisian Film Archive is the only existing copy in the world to include the gallows scene. The print also contains a number of other missing fragments, for example from a scene in which Laurel and a fellow prisoner dig an escape tunnel.
Confirmation from Paris
Following this discovery the Frisian Film Archive came into contact, via the Eye Film Institute, with Lobster Films in Paris. Lobster Films is a commercial film archive which specialises in restoration and digitisation. Among other things Lobster is famous for its collection of Laurel & Hardy films. Several years ago Lobster published a complete Laurel & Hardy DVD box set. Detained is included in it, but without the recently discovered fragments.
Lobster Films confirmed the value of the discovery by the Frisian Film Archive. The French even have a film print of Detained in their collection. A digitally restored version can also be found online. Lobster Films was extremely enthusiastic about the missing scenes and had a negative made at Haghe Film of the copy in the Frisian Film Archive, after which it was
scanned in Paris. A digital copy of the entire film, including the missing fragments, has since been made available to the Frisian Film Archive.
How did the film end up in the Frisian Film Archive?
The nitrate copy of Detained ended up in the Frisian Film Archive in 2007 when amateur historian and investigator, Dirk Swierstra, who was born and bred in Leeuwarden, brought in a collection of commercially published nitrate films. These films had come from the cellar of the former photography shop 'Foto Vaka' (Van Kampen) in Leeuwarden. The Van Kampen family confirmed that Hendrik van Kampen had purchased a batch of films for 100 guilders shortly after the war with a view to renting them out and/or showing them. The collection probably included 35mm nitrate films which then ended up in the Van Kampen storeroom.
You can find the missing scenes at http://www.friesfilmarchief.nl" target="_blank" target="_blank" target="_blank" target="_blank. The complete film, including the newly discovered fragment and the new soundtrack by Arjan Kiel, can be viewed via the link: https://youtu.be/QNrCZRl3j-0" target="_blank" target="_blank" target="_blank" target="_blank
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