The Marcel Perez Collection: Vol. 2
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Marcel Perez starred in comedy shorts from 1910-1923, but his films have been unknown, lost, or unavailable until recently. His screen character and comic/directorial sensibilities have won him a new reputation among classic film fans. Now, 8 more rare Marcel Perez comedies have been located and are presented here on this follow-up to the award-winning first Marcel Perez Collection DVD.
The films are presented on this release in 2K scans from archival 35mm materials from the Library of Congress and the Museum of Modern Art, with new musical scores by Ben Model.
The films on the DVD are: The Near-Sighted Cyclist (1907), Some Hero (1916), Lend Me Your Wife (1916), A Scrambled Honeymoon (1916), Oh! What a Day (1918), Chickens in Turkey (1919), Pinched (1921), Wild (1921), Friday the 13th (fragment) (1923).
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Volume 2 features a collection of newly preserved one and two reel comedies from the Library Of Congress and the Museum Of Modern Art and the second volume will not disappoint modern day fans of silent comedy.Just some of the highlights include...
THE NEAR-SIGHTED CYCLIST (1907).This is one of the oldest surviving Perez titles for the Eclipse Company that made Perez an international superstar.The short has Perez crashing into everything.The only European entry on the disc.
SOME HERO (1916) The first of three entries on volume 2 from the Eagle Film Company, an independent film company that was based in Jacksonville Florida.In this short, Perez spoofs the cliff hanging melodramas in this fast paced comedy jammed packed with cartoonish slapstick gags and great location shots of downtown Jacksonville.This film co-stars Perez's leading lady and wife, Nilde Baracchi.One of Perez's best surviving comedies.
LEND ME YOUR WIFE (1916)Has Perez's onscreen character, Tweedy broke and staring down the possibility of having to marry his ugly spinster landlady from being evicted.Soon Tweedy receives a telegram from his rich Uncle that he will get a large sum of money, providing he is married.He asks his friend if he can borrow his wife to fool his Uncle and all chaos insues.A very funny short.
OH!WHAT A DAY (1918) released by the Jester Company.Filmed in Cliffside Heights, NJ and location shots at Coney Island's Steeplechase Park, has Tweedy taking his girl to the beach with one problem after another.One of the highlights of this comedy has Tweedy having car problems and substitutes booze for gas that car gets drunk and seeks to try to get into a saloon.Stills are incorporated to replace missing scenes.This print combines reels from both MoMA and the LoC.
CHICKENS IN TURKEY (1919)Once considered lost, a 35mm nitrate print turned up last summer by the LoC and was restored for this dvd release.
In all, the eight films presented on volume 2 showcases the work of Perez, who was a true innovator of early screen comedy both in Europe and here in the States.One familiar face that fans of silent comedy will recognize is that of Louise Carver, who appears in three of the Eagle comedies on this disc.In all, the prints look great and are shown at the correct speed and wonderful musical scores by Ben Model.
I urge fans to pick up copies of both volumes and to rediscover the amazing film works of Marcel Perez.
Each of the films presented on this disc rise to the same level of hilarity as the ones on the first disc–an extremely high level at that. Before Chaplin, there was Perez. And I’m so very grateful that his work is being seen for the very first time on DVD. I’ll mention a couple of the individual films in order to whet your appetite for this excellently produced collection.
The Near-Sighted Cyclist is the earliest Perez film to survive. Produced in Italy in 1907, it was remade for audiences in the United States, but this is the original version. Comedies of errors are tricky for me personally; they are either extremely funny or anxiety-inducing. These are all of the former and none whatsoever of the latter! The scenarios are funny (my favorite is his run-in with the folks digging up the road) and the resolutions just feel right. Part of this feeling right is the way accompanist Ben Model handles the situations on-screen: lightly, without the heavy hand that some feel is necessary to drive humor home. The accompaniment Ben provides is reason enough to buy a silent film, even sight-unseen.
Friday the 13th survives only in fragmentary form, but the back-story on how the film was identified is a treasure in itself. Cataloged in the British Film Institute as “Tweedy’s Toothache,” it remained a bit of a mystery since the original title of the film was missing from the film. Steve Massa and Ben Model were able to compare the fragment to a lobby card for Friday the 13th and a prominent gag matched the lobby card.
Much of silent film is true detective work and these guys have done a great job filling in gaps for film students and fans world-wide. Get both vol 1 & 2 and spend some time laughing with friends!