kICKSTARTER

Billy Bevan Heaven!

Walrus-moustached Billy Bevan is one of the most iconic faces of slapstick. However, while many of us know classic gags and routines featuring him, his complete films have often been elusive. Now Dave Glass and Dave Wyatt are planning to remedy that with a follow up to last year’s Lupino Lane BluRay, throwing the spotlight on Mr Bevan. Hooray! The Kickstarter campaign has just been launched – take a look at the video below:

Here’s more detail from Dave Glass:

So here we are again!…. with our 3rd Kickstarter…and this time… we’re throwing the spotlight onto Billy Bevan (cue sound effect!)

Billy was THE face of Sennett slapstick comedies in the 20s. Whenever you watch a compilation of silent comedy clips, his face usually pops up.   

And for many of us, when we were young, it was HIS comedies that hypnotized us the most.

So as before, we’ve been in touch with some archives and collectors, to try and unearth some of the best but lesser seen Mack Sennett films that featured Billy Bevan.  And we’ve got some real goodies!!

Our first port of call was Lobster Films. Serge Bromberg kindly sent his humungous list of Billies and after we’d been resuscitated, we found some real rarites for starters:

MUSCLEBOUND MUSIC (1926) – extremely rare complete print (35mm French) which contains a couple of scenes familiar to fans of Robert Youngson’s ‘Golden Age of Comedy’. 


THE QUACK DOCTOR (1920) – another rarity and a great example of one of the early 20s Sennetts that Billy made with Louise Fazenda. This one co-stars many of the Sennett favourites too including Ben Turpin.

NIP AND TUCK  (1923) – a real treat this one.  It has a terrific chase with cops galore and Cameo the Wonder Dog!  A few minutes worth were used in Youngson’s ‘Golden Age of Comedy’, but other than that, it’s not been available. This is the complete 35mm fine grain camera neg (from the Youngson collection!) – in other words, it looks spectacular.  PLUS Lobster will be doing the restoration on this one themselves.

We’ll return to the Lobster farm in a moment….. but in the meantime, we’d contacted Elif at the Eye Filmmuseum in Amsterdam.

They offered us their super rare 2K scan of CALLING HUBBY’S BLUFF (1929) – which also stars Dot Farley and Vernon Dent and is a very funny example of the late 20s situational style of comedy that Mack Sennett was producing then. Great stuff.

However, we’d also heard that EYE had a real treasure tucked away.  One of THE iconic Mack Sennett comedies is a film called LIZZIES OF THE FIELD (1924), which features so many scenes of mayhem that have been used time and time again in comedy compilations. Welllllll….. this film has only ever been available in the world as a 1 reel version…. until NOW!  I’d heard that EYE had a TWO REEL version in their basement… and yes, Elif confirmed that was true. Yippeeee!!!  And when I happened to tell fellow ‘Lizzies’ fan Serge about this, he said “Yippeeeee” even louder!  In fact, he got so excited, he’s now arranged with Elif to borrow and re-scan the original nitrate print, and restore it, using the sparkling Blackhawk film materials, to create the ultimate version of this favourite classic…. for us to use.  

….. so there will now be a slight intermission, to allow you to catch your breath and restore your heart beat back to a normal rate…..

ok.   ready to continue?…… ok…… sorry, but there’s MORE!!!

Serge told me he’d also been chatting about Billy to fellow fan and film enthusiast Jon Mirsalis, so after a quick chat with Jon, he’s kindly letting us use his super rare print of FROM RAGS TO BRITCHES (1925), which is another hilarious rare Bevan film co-starring Madeline Hurlock and Kewpie Morgan.  Lobster have already made a 2K scan of this, so it just needs the restoration work.

And another?   Well, this one wasn’t even known to exist… until recently.  

If you’re a Sennett / Bevan fan, you’ve probably heard of WANDERING WILLIES and WHISPERING WHISKERS, which both contain some of the most iconic Sennett scenes ever seen!  

Right, well hold on to your pants, because we’ve found….. WANDERING WAISTLINES! (1924) – And it’s a real treat!!  It’s a similar gag packed slapstick fest, co-starring Sid Smith, Kalla Pasha and some of the most eye ball tickling stunts you’ll ever see.  (Even Brent Walker hasn’t seen this one!)  Thanks go to the Library of Congress for this print.

So those are the 7 main films in the collection.  But there IS more!

As you may know, I’ve been uploading the occasional rare silent comedy to my You Tube channel (‘Reel Comedies’) and there’s one particular film I uploaded a few years ago, which has now gained more views than all of the other films combined.  And what film is that Dave?  Well Dave…. it’s a Billy Bevan rarity called ON PATROL (1922) which contains so many classic comedy scenes. 

This “lost” film only exists in fragments, which have been found in various comedy clip compilations and those have been the main source for the restoration I produced. But it’s in need of an upgrade. So fresh new scans of the various film elements will be made, to provide you with the best possible looking version of this “lost” film that we can. (p.s. the picture on the front cover of Brent Walker’s book is from ON PATROL!)

And the other classic Bevan we’ve been asked to include is the restored version of WALL STREET BLUES (1924), which again doesn’t exist in any archive that we know of, but features some unforgettable scenes. This will be an updated version containing newly scanned footage.

Loads of fantastic content to look forward to there! The great news is that the Kickstarter has already been successful, so the Blu Ray is guaranteed to go ahead; there’s still until the 26th July to make your pledge and grab yourself a copy of what’s sure to be a great disk.

Here’s the link: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/reelcomedy/billy-bevan-silent-comedianhttps://www.kickstarter.com/projects/reelcomedy/billy-bevan-silent-comedian

Coming soon: Lupino Lane on DVD!

JoylandVery excited to be able to share this.  Dave Glass & Dave Wyatt, who recently put out a fabulous DVD of rare Lloyd Hamilton films, are turning their attention to Lupino Lane.

One of my favourite forgotten clowns, Lane was an appealing performer somewhere between Keaton and Harry Langdon. He was also one of the most amazing tumblers and acrobats to ever have stepped in front of a movie camera. Schooled in a family tradition of pantomime and tumbling going back centuries, he had an extraordinary ability at visual comedy and slapstick. This was seen to full advantage in a string of eye-popping, gag and acrobatic-filled two-reelers for Educational Pictures in the 1920s. Often writing and directing the films as well as starring, he drew on a vast bank of gags and routines to create some unique films.

These are usually only seen in grainy, miserable quality, but Dave & Dave’s new Kickstarter project collects some fabulous prints from archives and collections. Here’s more from Dave Glass on the contents:

“We’re delighted to say that we have some exceptional prints (most are 2K scans of nitrate) of some VERY rare films.

Through the generosity of Serge Bromberg and Lobster Films,  Elif & Co at the EYE Film Museum and Patrick Stanbury (Photoplay) we present the following films:

HELLO SAILOR (1927) (one of the special event hits at Pordenone 2019)

SWORD POINTS (1928)  (35mm 4K restoration)

FISTICUFFS (1928) (even Steve Massa hasn’t seen this one!!)

SUMMER SAPS (1929) (complete 2 reel version!)

GOOD NIGHT NURSE (1929) (new scan of 35mm nitrate)

BATTLING SISTERS  (1929)  (hilarious gender reversal comedy)

JOYLAND (1929) (the complete ‘Toyland’ rarity – a Joy!)

AND….. we hope to add one more to that list. (We’re still “negotiating”, so we don’t want to commit to anything just yet. But it’ll be a goodie!!)”

Here’s the trailer for the project, showing just how gorgeous these films look:

Amazing! I’m really proud to be contributing an essay to the booklet for this amazing project. Historian Glenn Mitchell is too, and there will be wonderful accompaniment for the films by Neil Brand and others TBC.

The DVD will only be available as part of the Kickstarter campaign, so don’t miss out! Here’s the link to pledge: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/reelcomedy/lupino-lane-silent-comedian?ref=discovery&term=Lupino%20Lane  

If you’re not familiar with Lane, there’s more on his films here.

 

Every one a Howell!

CCP_Fig163d_Howell_WFP-HOW021Silent film accompanist, historian and DVD producer Ben Model has produced some wonderful releases over the last few years, highlighting forgotten comics such as Marcel Perez, Monty Banks and Johnny Hines. Now he’s just announced his next Kickstarter project: some prime works from wonderful but forgotten comedienne Alice Howell.

Alice was a big star in the late teens and early 20s; she was one of the few women permitted to be funny in her own right in the male-dominated world of screen comedy. Her image was quite unique; piled-up frizzy red hair and a permanently surprised expression made look rather like a manic doll. With her scatty but carefree working girl was an ancestor to Lucile Ball. You can read more on her here.

 Sadly, all but a few of her films have been lost, and many of those only exist forgotten in archives. This release hopes to free some from the vaults of the Library of Congress. A worthy project indeed, and one I’ll certainly be backing. Here’s the info direct from Ben’s page, and the link below.

“This Kickstarter will fund a project that brings 6 extremely rare Alice Howell silent comedy shorts to DVD, made from 1915-1925, selected by me (Ben Model) and by silent comedy film historian Steve Massa. The films that will be on the DVD will be seen in new digital scans of archival 35mm and 16mm materials preserved by the Library of Congress, and will be scanned by the Library of Congress’ lab. I will create a brand new custom musical score for each film.

All of the films will require exposure adjustments and some may need new intertitles or main titles.

The DVD box art will be created by professional graphic designer and silent era aficionado Marlene Weisman. The DVDs will be professionally authored and they will be made available for sale on Amazon.com, as I have been doing using successfully for 18 of my DVD releases, and will be publicized.

This Kickstarter covers all costs for the DVD’s production and release, as well as of the making of and shipping of backer DVDs.

Films scheduled to be on the DVD (subject to change):

  • How Stars are Made (1916)
  • In Dutch (1918)
  • A Convict’s Happy Bride (1920)
  • His Wooden Legacy (1920)
  • Distilled Love (1920)
  • Under a Spell (1925)”

Go buy! THE ALICE HOWELL DVD PROJECT