Rare, colourful films from the earliest days of The Moving Picture are vividly reanimated in this entertaining Live Cinema show presented by The Film Archive with Free Theatre performers Chris Reddington and Dr Ryan Reynolds.
Screened as part of NZIFF 2010
A wonderfully fruitful collaboration between The Film Archive and Te Puna Toi Performance Research Project recreates the element of live performance that first ushered the movies into the world of popular entertainment. Superbly restored prints of amazing early films are brought to life with wit and alacrity in a lovingly detailed accompaniment devised by Free Theatre performers pianist Chris Reddington and narrator Dr Ryan Reynolds.
Te Puna Toi was established in 2001 by the Department of Theatre and Film Studies at the University of Canterbury to provide a platform for performance research in New Zealand. Reynolds’ research is matched by a quick, well-trained eye for everything that’s going on in these century-old dramas, comedies, travelogues and early special-effects wonders. As surely as the National Film and Sound Archive of Australia have restored tinting and colour to these lovely antiquities, so have Reynolds and Reddington reanimated the spirits of the showmen who created them, and the performers who prance so nimbly through them.
The films were acquired by the eponymous Corricks, a vaudeville family from Christchurch, who incorporated them into their ‘Musical and Pictorial Event’ which toured New Zealand, then the world between 1901–14 with great success. The film collection was deposited at the Australian Archive in 1970. This programme includes the first British animated cartoon from 1907, a fascinating view of life in London streets and parks in 1904, a surreal tale of a man who thinks he’s a bull, and a farce made in Perth by and starring the Corricks themselves. Great fun. — BG
A beautifully hand-coloured extravaganza featuring a golden hen that turns into a beautiful woman who in turn transforms her fellow chickens into a troupe of elegant dancers.
A surreal comedy about a man who goes mad after eating beef at a dinner party. He straps a set of bull’s horns to his head and sets off on a rampage. Call for the toreadors.
A small boy finds a kaleidoscope in the street and charges curious onlookers (but not us) for a peek. This fine example of early stenciling shows the influence of magic lantern shows.
A charming story about two children who set out to perform as street singers to earn money for their poor mother. This film is precisely stenciled in detailed colour and features some striking rural location filming.
This hand-coloured special effects film was a favourite on vaudeville programmes.
An impressive ‘actuality’ illustrating daily life in London’s streets and parks in 1904, this ten minute condensation is all that remains of a much longer film.
Lucky Babylas inherits a panther. The panther escapes and causes chaos as it explores the building before it gets into the street and runs amok amidst shoppers.
This farcical comedy, made by the Corricks themselves in Perth, features an awkward young bachelor whose clumsiness disrupts afternoon tea.