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Forgotten Silver (1997)

Beatrice Ashton , Costa Botes , Costa Botes  |  NR |  DVD
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)


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Product Details

  • Actors: Beatrice Ashton, Costa Botes, Peter Corrigan (II), Marguerite Hurst, Leonard Maltin
  • Directors: Costa Botes
  • Format: Black & White, Color, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0)
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: First Run Features
  • DVD Release Date: December 19, 2000
  • Run Time: 70 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000050HA0
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #350,423 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Forgotten Silver" on IMDb

Special Features

  • Interviews with directors Peter Jackson & Costa Botes
  • Interviews with other key cast and crew
  • Previosly unseen stills shot on the set
  • Previosly unseen footage
  • Special FX test shots

Editorial Reviews

Mockumentary telling the fictional story of Colin McKenzie, film pioneer and inventor in early 1900s New Zealand. Written and directed by Peter Jackson in 1997. Described as a mix of ZELIG and THIS IS SPINAL TAP.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A little white lie from beginning to end (but don't tell) February 15, 2004
Format:DVD
Continuing my quest to screen all of the films of director Peter Jackson, in order to see how a guy who started out making bloody zombie flicks in New Zealand eventually got to be a three-time Academy Award nominee for best director who is the favorite to finally bring Oscar home for "The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King," I have come to "Forgotten Silver," the 1997 mockumentary made by Jackson and Costa Bostas. The obvious comparison is to the work of Christopher Guest and his cohorts, who brought us "This is Spinal Tap," "Waiting for Guffman," "Best in Show" and "A Mighty Wind. But given the dry wit that runs throughout "Forgotten Silver" the film that springs to my mind is Woody Allen's "Zelig."
How dry is the wit? Well, when "Forgotten Silver" aired on New Zealand television it convinced quite a few Kiwi that they had a new national hero in Colin McKenzie, the lost film director who is the topic of this effort. This happened even though McKenzie is played by Thomas Robins, a New Zealand actor who was the original Host of the New Zealand, Saturday morning Breakfast show, "Squirt" (his only other film role has been as Deagol in "The Return of the King").

There is fun to be had in showing "Forgotten Silver" to unsuspecting friends, family and people dragged in off of the street, to see at what point they catch on that there is something amiss here. The idea is that Collin McKenzie was a cinematic innovator who came up with the first mechanized camera, the first full-length feature film with sound, and the first color film. Unfortunately while doing these things he forgot to invent subtitles and accidentally invented the porn film.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Silver" is gold July 28, 2004
Format:DVD
Watching this mockumentary, it isn't hard to see why the New Zealand public thought it was for real when it was first aired. Peter Jackson, the endearingly hobbitlike director of fantasy epic "Lord of the Rings," tried his hand at something a bit different aside from his splatter-gore horror films, and the eerie "Heavenly Creatures." Okay, more than a "bit" different.

It documents the discovery of a film by the cinematic wizard Colin McKenzie, who was born in New Zealand in the 1800s, died in a somewhat deteriorated state, and made amazing breakthroughs in filmmaking in the early 20th century, that were never seen for various reasons... until they were unearthed in a shed. Specifically, the epic "Salome," which had some rather odd financial backers (mobsters and a clown, for example) Now there is a documentary being filmed, with interviews and pieces of footage from the "forgotten silver" of Colin McKenzie, the most brilliant filmmaker who never lived!

Jackson himself is in this in more than a cameo appearance (in all his films, he appears for at least a few seconds), as the filmmaker; Miramax big man Harvey Weinstein, actor Sam Neill, and critic Leonard Maltin also appear as themselves, which makes the film seem even more real. (Especially when Weinstein claims he'll be distributing "Salome") If I hadn't known that this WAS a mockumentary, I might've thought it was for real.

Even though the tongue-in-cheek attitude marks this as a mockumentary, it's very well-done and detailed. The way Jackson fake-aged the footage from the old films, it's totally believable that these have been sitting in a shed for decades.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars a fun mockumentary with good dvd extras September 27, 2001
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Forgotten Silver is a little gem of a mockumentary. Unlike other films in the genre such as Waiting for Guffman or This is Spinal Tap, a true documentary tone is maintained throughout the film. It's only as one hears that the subject of the film, Colin McKenzie, developed the first tracking shot, the first color film, the first close-up, the first feature-length epic, the film of the *real* first human flight, etc. that one becomes suspicious .... who *is* this guy?! Did he really get arrested for stealing 2000 eggs? After all, it *does* take 12 eggs to emulsify one minute of film .... Interviews with industry experts such as Harvey Weinstein, Leonard Maltin and Sam Neill lend authenticity to this project. You'll have to watch it at least twice to appreciate the hoax, and it is a hoot to watch it with someone who doesn't know the truth.
DVD extras are worthwhile: director's comments over the film; 'Behind the Bull', a featurette with explanatory comments by the directors and technical crew; a number of deleted scenes and stills.
This is a worthy addition to a fun genre, and the DVD extras make this purchase worthwhile.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Format:VHS Tape
I've been in the Motion Picture business for twenty years and it fooled me. So much so that for 12 hours I was searching my film reference books, newspapers, sock drawer and finally the internet before I got clued in. Great fun. Very well done. "War of the Worlds meets Spinal Tap."
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a must-see for any film maven September 20, 1999
By A Customer
Format:VHS Tape
This film is a classic. You must see it if you love film history. A cross between "Zelig" and "Spinal Tap", it's provocative, inspiring and technically amazing. We have screened "Forgotten Silver" many times for friends and it never fails to confuse, bemuse and amuse. It is an essential film for fooling the pretentious and puzzling the naive. Don't tell your audience anything about it, except that it's short and worth seeing and then sit back and watch them out of the corner of your eye to see when they "get it". Have fun!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Quirky!
I don't want to give anything away here, so let me tell you that Peter Jackson did this little film for PBS in New Zealand. We rented it and loved it so much that we bought it. Read more
Published 8 months ago by ST
5.0 out of 5 stars A Masterpiece
When this first aired on New Zealand television it created such a sensation. Such is the mastery of film Director Peter Jackson that this mockumentary temporarily fooled half a... Read more
Published 13 months ago by noel hyde
3.0 out of 5 stars Likable, but a bit of a one-trick pony
The Bottom Line:

Forgotten Silver is a clever mockumentary that got New Zealand into a bit of tizzy, but even at an hour long it feels overlong and it produces many more... Read more
Published on June 14, 2010 by One-Line Film Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Nancy's Opinion
The narration was interesting. Much of the story was padded though with their own made up material. Too bad they couldn't get more information from the man's wife. Read more
Published on June 21, 2009 by Nancy H. Hills
5.0 out of 5 stars A Clever Little Doc(Moc)umentary
I watched this mockumentary having already heard that it was a hoax. I was curious to see if I would still enjoy it. I did. Read more
Published on January 9, 2007 by A. Gaylard
5.0 out of 5 stars Finally, the story of Colin McKenzie and the birth of filmmaking as we...
At first I thought Forgotten Silver was a joke, but I changed my mind when I saw that one of the greatest of contemporary film historians and critics, Leonard Maltin, had... Read more
Published on October 6, 2006 by C. O. DeRiemer
5.0 out of 5 stars So detailed in its forgery, I tried to google Colin McKenzie with no...
I originally caught the last half hour of "Forgotten Silver" when it aired on IFC 4 years ago. Eager to see the entire film, I scanned the program guide to find the next showing. Read more
Published on February 8, 2006 by Mazkoor Shariff
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Spoof
Exeptionally well done, has the viewer believing every step of the film right up to the end.A thoughly brillant excercise in the art of deception.
Published on August 2, 2005 by D. J. Mckee
5.0 out of 5 stars No CGI needed to see the brilliance of Peter Jackson!!
To fully appreciate this film, you must consider two things. First, this is a MOCumentary. It is not a real story, but instead something created through the imagination of a very... Read more
Published on December 8, 2004 by A. Gyurisin
5.0 out of 5 stars The episode on Richard Pearse (did I spell it right?) ......
might just be historically correct, that is, beating the Wrights into the air by a couple of months.

(a kiwi would say that, wouldn't he? Read more
Published on November 19, 2004 by New Zealander
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