Electric Edwardians - The Lost Films of Mitchell & Kenyon
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The astonishing discovery of the original Mitchell & Kenyon negatives in Blackburn, England in a basement about to be demolished has been described as films equivalent of Tutankhamens tomb. Preserved and restored by the bfi National Film and Television Archive in collaboration with the University of Sheffield National Fairground Archive and featuring a hauntingly beautiful score by In The Nursery, this treasure trove of extraordinary footage provides an unparalleled record of everyday life in the years before World War I. Mesmerizing scenes of trolley cars and crowded streets, soccer matches, temperance parades, throngs of workers leaving the factory and a myriad of simple pleasures transport us to another lost world. The effect is as if H.G. Wells marvelous time machine had come to life.
- Optional Voiceover Commentary by Dr. Vanessa Toulmin, National Fairground Archive, University of Sheffield
- Video interview with Dr. Toulmin
- "Pictures of Crowd Splendour" by Tom Gunning, University of Chicago
- Featurette on the restoration
- "Diving Lucy" and additional shorts by Mitchell and Kenyon
- Electric Edwardians DVD-ROM Press Kit
Top Customer Reviews
These are short documentary films made in industrial towns in England and Belfast in 1900-1910. They were shot and (hard to believe) shown on the same day in special shows, some of which attracted thousands of people hoping to catch a glimpse of themselves and their friends on screen: promenading on a pier, riding incredible contraptions at a Whitsuntide holiday fair, or hanging around one of the huge factories that employed so many men, women and children. If this sounds boring--far from it: what you see are gorgeous, sharp prints of people behaving naturally in a time totally lost to our own. It's obvious that different clothes aside men and women haven't changed much since 1900. There's little prim and proper or stiff behavior here.
Best of all for me there are often loads of kids in front of the camera. It's touching and charming to see boys and girls dressed like E. Nesbit's "Railway Children", but laughing, making faces, goofing around, pushing each other and generally behaving exactly as kids do in 2006...all of them long, long dead, but fully alive via the camera in a way a still photograph could never show. Truly a form of time travel, like discovering your own relatives' home movies of over a hundred years ago. Well worth adding to your library, the sort of thing one can pull out over and over and amaze others with.
Having said that, most of the films here are the clearest, most detailed moving images I have ever seen from that time. While films from that era are not that uncommon, most of what we see today come from prints that are either worn and battered, or several generations removed from the original negatives, or both. Since these films were created from the original negatives, they retain the detail and clarity that audiences saw when they were originally shown (some of that, of course, is the result of restoration work).
What makes these films even more interesting is that many of those pictured are interacting with the camera, so it almost seems that they are interacting with us over the space of a century. It's also fascinating to think that although everything about that period seems so far in the distant past, there are many people born in that era who are still alive today. It's not as far away as we might think.
This is definitely worth purchasing for those who have an interest in history or the early years of film.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Electric Edwardians is an astounding collection of short (1-5 minute) films taken of daily life, of people on the street as the trolley goes by, people riding rides at a carnival,... Read morePublished 22 months ago by Samantha Glasser
Brilliant directing and editing. The music is perfect. Moving images of four generations before us.It is like looking at early photographs of lives and life long past.Published on January 20, 2014 by John F. Wells
These films are an incredible gift to the 21st century observer. The viewer feels transported back to the 1900s as through a time machine to see soccer, rugby, and cricket matches;... Read morePublished on December 8, 2010 by Toad
This is a fantastic compilation of old film reels shot around 1900. It's just mesmerizing to see people from a radically different era going about their lives. Read morePublished on March 8, 2009 by Gait-uut-Twente
This was just a great look at the way people were in the past. When you see the embarrasing smiles that some of them have while peering at the camera, it is a bit like people... Read morePublished on August 18, 2008 by Screaming Nurse
This is a really fascinating piece of cinematic history from over 100 years ago. Of course I knew there was experimentation going on at that time, but I had no idea the quality of... Read morePublished on July 14, 2008 by J. Michael
When I first heard of this DVD and ongoing the Electric Edwardians project I thought it couldn't possibly be all that I was told it was: but it is everything I read of it and more. Read morePublished on September 24, 2007 by Dai-keag-ity
Fascinating video but, sadly, TERRIBLE PRODUCTION QUALITY IN MAKING THE DVD. I bought two and both were scratched and damaged and wouldn't play properly. Returned them for refunds.Published on January 3, 2007 by Fredric Dicker
I have a been a fan of silent films for over 40 years after seeing HAROLD LLOYD"S WORLD OF COMEDY in 1962 and after reading Kevin Brownlow's THE PARADE'S GONE BY shortly... Read morePublished on December 8, 2006 by Chip Kaufmann
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