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3 items from 2013

Keaton’s Lost ‘Blacksmith’ Forges New Path in Lyon

18 October 2013 1:49 AM, PDT | Variety - Film News | See recent Variety - Film News news »

Lyon — Audiences attending the Grand Lyon Film Festival at the Institut Lumiere this week got a look at something that has been unseen by moviegoers for the better part of a century: an alternate version of Buster Keaton’s 1922 two-reeler “The Blacksmith.”

As first reported here in July, the noted Argentinian film collector and historian Fernando Martin Pena discovered the film, containing 5-6 minutes of different and previously undocumented scenes, in a collection of 9.5mm film prints purchased on eBay by his friend and fellow collector Fabio Manes.

That was just the beginning, however, of what has evolved into a fascinating film-preservation detective story. Shortly after making his discovery, Pena reached out to French archivist and restoration expert Serge Bromberg, whose Lobster Films has brought hundreds of works of early cinema back from the brink of extinction. Bromberg  in turn began searching for a 35mm copy of “The Blacksmith” that »

- Scott Foundas

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Film historian discovers unseen footage of Buster Keaton's The Blacksmith

17 July 2013 6:54 AM, PDT | The Guardian - Film News | See recent The Guardian - Film News news »

Half a reel of never-before-seen sequences from 1922 comedy film The Blacksmith found by Fernando Peña

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It is a far from traditional proposal. Buster Keaton takes a breath in the midst of being chased by his lumbering boss, Joe Roberts, pops down on one knee, takes hold of Virginia Fox's hand and gazes up at her, and says: "Je ne serai pas toujours forgeron et ce-jour-la me permettrez-vous …" (I won't always be a blacksmith, and today, I would like to ask …) What? He is cruelly cut off as a moment later, her stern-looking father appears and there is no time for an answer, in any language. It's not much of a love scene, perhaps, but this snippet from a recently unearthed French print of Keaton's The Blacksmith offers far more romance than the original.

Film historian Fernando Peña had already impressed his peers and »

- Pamela Hutchinson

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Film Historian Unearths Never-Seen Cut of Buster Keaton’s 1922 ‘The Blacksmith’

16 July 2013 4:52 PM, PDT | Variety - Film News | See recent Variety - Film News news »

Film collector, curator and historian Fernando Pena figured he’d made the biggest discovery of his career when, back in 2008, he uncovered a complete print of the original, uncut version of Fritz Lang’s “Metropolis.” The 1927 German expressionist sci-fi epic had been gathering dust in the archives of Argentina’s national Museo del Cine.  But one month ago, Pena topped himself when he happened upon an equally remarkable gem: an alternate cut of Buster Keaton’s  “The Blacksmith.” If “Metropolis” was Pena’s Holy Grail of lost film finds, count “The Blacksmith” as his Shroud of Turin.

One of the many two-reelers Keaton made for producer Joseph M. Schenck, the 1922 film stars the silent comic as a hapless small-town iron forger, and includes such signature gags as Keaton doing battle with a giant overhead magnet, destroying a pristine Rolls Royce in the course of fixing a tire, and getting his »

- Scott Foundas

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