Sat

30/06

Cinema Lumiere - Sala Officinema/Mastroianni > 18:15

Two Early Disney from Norvegia / THE NAVIGATOR

Introduce

Kjetil Sørensen (National Library of Norway), Cecilia Cenciarelli and Tim Lanza (Cohen)

 

Piano accompaniment by

Daniele Furlati and Antonio Coppola

Projection
Info

Saturday 30/06/2018
18:15

Subtitle

Original version with subtitles

EMPTY SOCKS

Film Notes

In 2014 a copy of Empty Socks was discovered at the National Library of Norway by Kjetil Sørenssen and David Gerstein. The newly found version is incomplete, lacking around 30 seconds of footage. In 2007 a complete copy of Tall Timber was discovered at the Norsk Filminstitutt by David Gerstein and Gunnar Strøm. Both films were considered lost to history. Both of these films were early Walt Disney productions, made for Universal Studios, starring Oswald the Lucky Rabbit. Although Disney had created the character, Universal owned the rights to it, so when Disney decided to leave Universal he had to create a new star: Mickey Mouse. Empty Socks was Walt Disney’s first Christmas cartoon, and tells the story of Oswald playing Santa Claus at an orphanage full of mischievous kittens. Tall Timber sees Oswald out on a trip in the woods, having hilarious encounters with the local wildlife.
These newly restored prints have not been shown in any public screenings outsideNorway until now.

Cast and Credits

Anim.: Hugh Harman, Rollin Hamiltwolvon. Prod.: Margaret Winkler, Charles Mintz per Robert Winkler Productions, Walt Disney Productions. DCP. D.: 5’. Bn.

TALL TIMBER

Film Notes

In 2014 a copy of Empty Socks was discovered at the National Library of Norway by Kjetil Sørenssen and David Gerstein. The newly found version is incomplete, lacking around 30 seconds of footage. In 2007 a complete copy of Tall Timber was discovered at the Norsk Filminstitutt by David Gerstein and Gunnar Strøm. Both films were considered lost to history. Both of these films were early Walt Disney productions, made for Universal Studios, starring Oswald the Lucky Rabbit. Although Disney had created the character, Universal owned the rights to it, so when Disney decided to leave Universal he had to create a new star: Mickey Mouse. Empty Socks was Walt Disney’s first Christmas cartoon, and tells the story of Oswald playing Santa Claus at an orphanage full of mischievous kittens. Tall Timber sees Oswald out on a trip in the woods, having hilarious encounters with the local wildlife.
These newly restored prints have not been shown in any public screenings outsideNorway until now.

Cast and Credits

Anim.: Ub Iwerks, Hugh Harman. Prod.: George Winkler per Winkler Productions, Walt Disney Production. DCP. D.: 6’. Bn.

THE FROZEN NORTH

Film Notes

There was an Arbuckle connection with The Frozen North, with its parody of William S. Hart, the famous western star. Hart had attacked Arbuckle in the press, and David Yallop suggests that it was Arbuckle who suggested this skit. Hart was an emotional actor, and in one scene, Keaton enters his house, sees a couple kissing, weeps as he assumes his wife has a lover, and shoots them both. (Then he realises it is neither his home nor his wife). “I tried to be Bill Hart in that picture” said Keaton. “So much so that Bill Hart didn’t speak to me for a couple of years after I made it. He thought I was kidding him. I said ‘I didn’t kid you, Bill. I was trying to be an actor like you, and I didn’t quite make it”. The opening of the film is missing. Keaton told George Pratt that it started with a title from The Shooting of Dan McGrew, by Robert W. Service: ‘A bunch of the boys were whooping it up at the Malamute Saloon’.‘I showed an Alaska saloon, the characters. […] Hart is not the only parody. In one splendid moment, Buster dissolves into Erich von Stroheim playing the louche Count in Foolish Wives. Exteriors for The Frozen North were shot on the same location as The Gold Rush (released in 1925), and there were a couple of tiny moments which occurred to both Keaton and Chaplin – leaning on a stick in the snow and falling over, and slamming a door and being submerged in a fall of snow from the roof.

Kevin Brownlow, A Hard Act to Follow, from the author’s manuscript

For the restoration of The Frozen North, four elements were inspected and analyzed; three of those from the Cohen Film Collection, one from the Cinémathèque française – were digitized and compared. The latter, a second generation safety duplicate negative was selected for restoration, despite being severely damaged, and scanned at 4K resolution. All the intertitles were reconstructed. In particular, the reconstruction of the main title was based on the same card from The Paleface, whereas for the directing and ending title cards Neighbors and The Goat were used respectively.

Cast and Credits

Scen.: Buster Keaton, Eddie Cline. F.: Elgin Lessley. Int.: Buster Keaton (il protagonista del sogno), Joe Roberts (l’amico), Sybil Seely (la moglie), Bonnie Hill (la vicina), Freeman Wood (suo marito), Eddie Cline (il custode del cinema), Robert Parker. Prod.: Joseph M. Schenck DCP. D.: 17’. Bn.

THE NAVIGATOR

Film Notes

The film is called The Navigator. However, just as The General is a locomotive, the navigator is a steamer. A big steamer, which, through a series of accidents, drifts out into the ocean without anybody on-board, with the exception of the two protagonists: Buster Keaton as Rollo Treadway, spoiled scion of a very rich family but with a simple and intrepid heart; and Kathryn McGuire as the girl, daughter of an equally wealthy ship owner. The film was released in 1924 and it was Keaton’s biggest hit. As in The General, the title is misleading for a specific reason: it reflects an instinctive, poetic animism of Keaton’s cinema, where it seems that objects, machines, physical phenomena, all posses a life of their own, whether they are alive or, indeed, inanimate.
I watched many of Keaton’s films. Well, if I may, I’d like to confess that The Navigator is a personal favorite. However, this is not necessarily a judgment on the merits of this film. Let’s put it this way: it is my favorite and the one that moves me the most. It’s the craziest, the dreamiest, the most poetic of all. For more than almost three-quarters of the story, there are only two characters: Keaton and the girl. It’s a film about love, with all its uncertainties and misunderstandings, with its idyllic, dramatic and tragic moments, its movement forward and its final triumph. Don’t get me wrong, love is omnipresent in Keaton’s films. And yet, this is the only one where it’s by far the main theme, almost an attempt to give a supreme and heroic interpretation of human life. The second most important theme is a counterpoint to the absolute of love: emptiness, loneliness, anguish. A comic and tragic anguish, as is always the case, with Keaton.

Mario Soldati, Maestri del cinema in TV: Buster Keaton, edited by Simonetta Campana e Massimo Vecchi, Rai, Roma 1972

For the restoration of The Navigator, ten elements were inspected and analyzed, seven of those – six held by Cohen Film Collection and one by the CNC – Centre national du cinéma et de l’image animée – were digitized and compared. One element was finally selected for the restoration: a third generation safety duplicate positive held at the Cohen Film Collection which was scanned at 4K resolution.

Cast and Credits

Scen.: Clyde Bruckman, Joseph Mitchell, Jean Havez. F.: Elgin Lessley, Byron Houck. Int.: Buster Keaton (Rollo Treadway), Kathryn McGuire (Betsy O’Brien), Frederick Vroom (Mr. O’Brien), Clarence Burton, H.M. Clugston (spie/cannibali), Noble Johnson (il capo dei cannibali). Prod.: Joseph M. Schenck per Buster Keaton Productions DCP. D.: 59’. Bn.