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Tromso – Friday Sept 8

Today at 10am I played for THE COOK to a group of around 100 fifth graders…who screamed with laughter and just loved the whole experience. Tonight were screenings of Terge Vigen (star/dir Victor Sjostrom) in a new print with tints and original intertitles, and Haxan (a/k/a Witchcraft Through the Ages) in a stunning restoration, also with tints. I had played for TV at MoMA a few years ago when they had a Sjostrom series, and this new edition with tinting was very effective, and the image quality was a major upgrade from earlier editions. Am surprised Haxan isn’t shown more as a Halloween film. Both programs tonight were accompanied by Matti Bye (pron. BEE-yeh) and the Panoptikon Orchestra, from Sweden.

The really big deal for me today, however, was that I got to see the only existing fragment of Fatty and the Broadway Stars (1915). It’s a piece of film about 310 ft that turned up here in the Nationalbiblioteket earlier this year and wasn’t in any condition for us to include in the MoMA series, but I got to look at what they’ve preserved so far. The film is tinted amber, with one intertitle (in Danish/Norwegian, but with the original Triangle-Keystone borders) tinted sort of a cyan. The footage is completely out of order, but after screening it a few times, it began to make some sense. I spotted many Keystone regulars in the cast, plus Sennett himself plays a role in the story. This footage has not been shown publicly, and the screening I was at was arranged for me, since I “happened to be in the neighborhood”. Will post more details another time.

One of the fun “extras” (if you will) at the festival is that each show is opened with a preserved theatrical commercial, all of which so far have been for cigarettes or tobacco. Tonight’s was animated.

Tomorrow morning I will look at a DVD of the Fy & By (Pat & Patachon) film; apparently there are several DVD’s of their films available from a German label and these had been ordered by the festival.

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