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UNSEEN CINEMA Box Set Available from Image 10/18/05 (1 Viewer)

Jack Theakston

Supporting Actor
Aug 3, 2003
New York
Real Name
Jack Theakston
Anthology Film Archives in association with the British Film Institute, Cineric, Film Preservation Associates, Deutsches Filmmuseum, George Eastman House, The Library of Congress, The Museum of Modern Art presents:

Unseen Cinema: Early American Avant-Garde Film 1894-1941

The 7 DVD set includes over 19 hours of footage with a total of 155 films. Avalable October 18, 2005 by Image Entertainment through the Home Video retailer of your choice starting at $99.95.

The DVD series includes work by 100 avant-garde, professional, and amateur filmmakers working before World War II . It is curated by Bruce Posner and produced by film historian David Shepard to a high technical, informational and artistic standard.

Posner and Shepard have worked with the finest archival elements available, sometimes piecing together sequences from different source copies gathered from around the world. Each of the seven DVD programs runs over 2.5 hours and is organized by theme and chronological date of production. 155 films were digitally mastered from newly preserved and restored 35mm and 16mm prints.

The series also reveals hitherto unknown accomplishments of American filmmakers working in the U.S. and abroad from the invention of cinema until World War II. It offers an innovative, often controversial view of experimental film as a product of avant-garde artists, of professional directors, and of amateur movie-makers working collectively and as individuals at all levels of film production. Many of the films have not been available since their creation, some have never been screened in public, and almost all have been unavailable in copies as good as these until now. Sixty of the world’s leading film archive collections cooperated with Anthology Film Archives, curator Bruce Posner and preservationist David Shepard to bring this long-neglected period of film history back to life for modern audiences.

FEATURED FILMMAKERS: Orson Welles, Sergei Eisenstein, Elia Kazan, Ernst Lubitsch, Victor Fleming, Robert Florey, Busby Berkeley, William Cameron Menzies, Charles Vidor, Alexander Alexeieff, Sara Kathryn Arledge, Norman Bel Geddes, Josef Berne, G.W. "Billy" Bitzer, David Bradley, Francis Bruguière, Rudy Burckhardt, Mary Ellen Bute, Theodore Case, Joseph Cornell, Douglass Crockwell, James Cruze, W.L.K. Dickson, Boris Deutsch, Emlen Etting, Walker Evans, Oskar Fischinger, Robert Flaherty, Dwinnell Grant, D.W. Griffith, Jerome Hill, John Hoffman, Hector Hoppin, Theodore Huff, Leo Hurwitz, Lewis Jacobs, Charles Klein, Francis Lee, Fernand Léger, Jay Leyda, Norman McLaren, George L.K. Morris, Dudley Murphy, Claire Parker, Edwin S. Porter, Man Ray, Lynn Riggs, Henwar Rodakiewicz, Rrose Sélavy, Charles Sheeler, Stella Simon, Ralph Steiner, Archie Stewart, Paul Strand, Willard Van Dyke, Slavko Vorkapich, J.S. Watson, Jr., Melville Webber, Lois Weber, Herman G. Weinberg, Elizabeth Woodman Wright and many others.

Special Features include:
• 155 archival films newly preserved and digitally restored from rare archival masters!
• First-time ever synchronized music by George Antheil for Ballet mécanique (1924) performed on 16-player pianos, percussions and drums, sirens, and airplane propeller!
• Original scores by Marc Blitzstein for Surf and Seaweed and Native Land!
• New music by Eric Beheim, Neal Kurz, Paul D. Lehrman, and Donald Sosin!
• Film notes and biographies written by world renowned film historians and scholars!
• Photo gallery of historic production images of the films and filmmakers!

Presented by Anthology Film Archives
Curated by Bruce Posner
Produced by David Shepard


Second Unit
Mar 25, 2003
Those interested in experimental shorts who are anywhere near Washington DC should run to catch Visual Music at the Hirshorn before it closes September 11... and plan on spending an entire afternoon. Some of the shorts included are in the Image and Kino sets, however the exhibit's more specific theme also has a broader time-scope venturing into early computer generated and video works. I was especially overjoyed to see works of the Whitneys (including a mesmerizing 3-screen opus from John Jr.) Also on display are a 'color organ' and other projection devices.


Second Unit
Mar 25, 2003
I haven't noticed any comments on this set. I thought I'd bump this thread as my own thumbs up.

It took quite a while, but I've finally viewed all seven discs. Without resorting to the superlatives used in their favorite review quote from the NYTimes, I'd have to say that the producers of this set have assembled a dense and fascinating package. There is far too much here to take in adequately with one viewing.

The format could be better (the text preface before each short seems very low tech these days, especially in light of the excellent menus on the AFA Treasures sets). Of all of the discs I only found two to drag occasionally: the New York disc only because of it's limited subject matter relative to the other discs, and the amateur disc which makes the most sense as it progresses to Joseph Cornells' assembled deconstructions. Those discs I'd rate maybe an 8.5 out of 10 as the least interesting ones. The overlap with other releases is negligible.

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