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Electric Edwardians - The Lost Films of Mitchell & Kenyon
Electric Edwardians - The Lost Films of Mitchell Kenyon
Actor: Electric Edwardians
Director: Sagar Mitchell and James Kenyon
Genres: Classics, Comedy, Drama
NR     2009     1hr 25min

In the earliest years of the twentieth century, enterprising traveling showmen in the north of England hired pioneer filmmakers Sagar Mitchell and James Kenyon to shoot footage of local people going about their everyday ac...  more »


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Movie Details

Actor: Electric Edwardians
Director: Sagar Mitchell and James Kenyon
Genres: Classics, Comedy, Drama
Sub-Genres: Silent Films, Classic Comedies, Drama
Studio: Oscilloscope Laboratories/Milestone Films
Format: DVD - Black and White
DVD Release Date: 09/15/2009
Original Release Date: 01/01/1900
Theatrical Release Date: 01/01/1900
Release Year: 2009
Run Time: 1hr 25min
Screens: Black and White
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 6
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English

Movie Reviews

An amazing look back in time
John | Hackettstown, NJ | 09/01/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Before viewing the actual films, I would suggest watching the brief documentary about the restoration work. Although the films presented on the DVD were prepared from the original negatives, seeing what the restoration team actually had to work with might temper your expectations a bit, and make you more forgiving for those films that are less than perfect and show signs of deterioration. After all, the reels of negatives were kept in a basement for a century.

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."
Fleeting glimpses of a long-gone world
Anyechka | Rensselaer, NY United States | 12/03/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)

"The multitude of short films presented on this disc are ones that the viewer can just watch over and over again. With so much going on, one can literally watch them scores of times and catch something new every time. Short as they are, I love these films of everyday people and things from the 1890s and early and mid-Aughts. The films on this collection in particular span the years 1900 to 1906, covering the early Edwardian period (and the very end of the Victorian era, as Queen Victoria died in 1901). Unlike the films produced by Thomas Edison and the Lumière brothers, however, Sagar Mitchell and James Kenyon actively encouraged these people they were filming to interact with the camera. The majority of the people in these films were from the working masses (sadly, quite a few of them were child laborers), the main audience for films in the medium's infancy, and they got a real kick out of seeing themselves onscreen. In many instances, these films were shown the very day they were shot, sometimes under 4 hours afterwards. Watching these films is like a time capsule, what with the horse-drawn transportation, early automobiles, clothing styles, store signs, and early amusement parks. It's also haunting to realise that all of the people in these films (but for maybe a few very young children here and there) are long dead, and that many of these little boys and teenage boys would, not that many years down the road, be sacrified on the altar of WWI, capturing this lost generation before their world changed forever. One also can't help but wonder what these people's hopes and dreams were, what went on in their lives after they stopped waving at the cameras and went home, what it was really like to live in that long-ago world.

Extras include a featurette on how this treasure trove came to be discovered and the painstaking process of restoration, several extra films, an interview with Vanessa Toulmin, one of the restorers, audio commentary by Ms. Toulmin, and an essay read by Tom Gunning, accompanied by images from several more films. This really is an invaluable resource for discovering how people really lived in the Edwardian era and for learning more about early film and how fast it changed. This type of film was no longer popular by the end of the decade because people now preferred narrative storylines with real actors, not seeing themselves or other ordinary people on the screen. And even though one usually thinks of films from the Aughts as being like this, in actual fact movies were no longer seen as a novelty or something experimental and faddish by 1900, and there were more and more films with a narrative structure being made at the same time as these people in Ireland and the United Kingdom thrilled to seeing themselves on the screen. The films included here are just the tip of the iceberg; over 100 Mitchell and Kenyon films are known to survive, and all of them restored from their original negatives. Hopefully there will be more volumes just like this one!"
Facinating look at a world long gone
C. Willett | Virginia USA | 08/29/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)

"The past truly is a foreign country. So often, the early newsreels in extant focus on the luminaries of the period at ceremonies or at play. These films show the lives of the everyday people. Worth repeat viewings. You'll notice something new every time."
Just Wonderful
Serena Brooks | Long Island, NY USA | 02/20/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)

"The soundtrack alone is worth purchasing this DVD for! The music by In the Nursery is so lovely that I find myself sometimes putting this DVD on when I am cooking or cleaning, so I can hear the beautiful music and then visit with "old friends" when I pop in and out of the living room--I find it very soothing. I highly recommend this mesmerizing look back at the "regular people" from the turn of the century."