Forgotten Silver is a mockumentary which details the prodigious life of "lost" filmmaker Colin McKenzie and his incredible advances that were lost to history...until now. This supergenius ... See full summary »

On Disc

at Amazon

2 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »
Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Comedy | Music | Musical
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

Heidi, the star of the "Meet The Feebles Variety Hour" discovers her lover Bletch, The Walrus, is cheating on her, and with all the world waiting for the show the assorted co-stars must ... See full summary »

Director: Peter Jackson
Stars: Danny Mulheron, Donna Akersten, Stuart Devenie
Bad Taste (1987)
Comedy | Horror | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

The population of a small town disappears and is replaced by aliens that chase human flesh for their intergalactic fast-food chain.

Director: Peter Jackson
Stars: Terry Potter, Pete O'Herne, Craig Smith
Biography | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

Two girls have an intense fantasy life; their parents, concerned the fantasy is too intense, separate them, and the girls take revenge.

Director: Peter Jackson
Stars: Melanie Lynskey, Kate Winslet, Sarah Peirse
Comedy | Fantasy | Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

After a tragic car accident that killed his wife, a man discovers he can communicate with the dead to con people but when a demonic spirit appears, he may be the only one who can stop it from killing the living and the dead.

Director: Peter Jackson
Stars: Michael J. Fox, Trini Alvarado, Peter Dobson
Dead Alive (1992)
Comedy | Fantasy | Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

A young man's mother is bitten by a Sumatran rat-monkey. She gets sick and dies, at which time she comes back to life, killing and eating dogs, nurses, friends, and neighbors.

Director: Peter Jackson
Stars: Timothy Balme, Diana PeƱalver, Elizabeth Moody
Comedy | Fantasy | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.3/10 X  

A thousand years ago, in England, the crazy monk Elmer wears a pair of wings and tries to fly from a high tower. He dies, and his soul is doomed to the eternity in hell for committing ... See full summary »

Director: Tony Hiles
Stars: Timothy Balme, Nicola Murphy, Marton Csokas
Drama | Fantasy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

Centers on a young girl who has been murdered and watches over her family - and her killer - from purgatory. She must weigh her desire for vengeance against her desire for her family to heal.

Director: Peter Jackson
Stars: Rachel Weisz, Mark Wahlberg, Saoirse Ronan
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
Director: Peter Jackson
Stars: Robert Zemeckis, Jim Fyfe, Trini Alvarado
The Valley (1976)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  
Director: Peter Jackson
Stars: Ken Hammon, Peter Jackson, Pete O'Herne
Short | Horror | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

What the "spider-pit" sequence from the original King Kong (1933) probably looked like (the original sequence was cut out of the original movie because it was deemed "too gruesome" and was subsequently lost).

Director: Peter Jackson
Drama | Short | Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

River runs the one-man operation of Tranquility Records, recording animal sounds near his house and making music from them. The only neighboring house is for sale, and noisy Ted buys it and moves in, creating trouble for River.

Director: George Port
Stars: Danny Mulheron, Murray Keane
Short | Drama | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

Two young soldiers prepare for battle during World War I.

Directors: Peter Jackson, Neill Blomkamp
Stars: Kyle Ashley, Rocky Curby, Calum Gittins


Cast overview:
Narrator (voice)
Costa Botes ...
Himself - Film Maker
Marguerite Hurst ...
Himself - Film Historian
Johnny Morris ...
Himself - Film Archivist (as Jonathon Morris)
Himself - Actor / Director
John O'Shea ...
Lindsay Shelton ...
Himself - Miramax Films


Forgotten Silver is a mockumentary which details the prodigious life of "lost" filmmaker Colin McKenzie and his incredible advances that were lost to history...until now. This supergenius filmmaker, posthumously inducted into the pantheon of cinema greats, made incredible advances in filmmaking technology, supposedly making a talkie in 1908 and using color film in 1911, but madness and poverty and the usual industry tolls drove him into obscurity. Written by karina <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis




See all certifications »

Parents Guide:






Release Date:

3 October 1997 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Colin McKenzie  »

Filming Locations:

Box Office


$650,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


| (DVD)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


According to the DVD commentary by Costa Botes, one shot from 'Salome' showing dozens of extras fighting on the palace steps swallowed almost half of the film's overall budget, even though digital compositing was used to make it seem like the size of the set and number of extras were much greater. See more »


Colin's synchronized sound film is supposed to have been released in 1908. If we are to believe that it was the first film to feature synchronized sound, we would have to discard the lesser known, but still earlier work of Arthur Gilbert and John Morland, and others, who had all produced and exhibited sound films at earlier dates. See more »

Crazy Credits

Thanks to The New Zealand Film Commission for supporting the restoration of "Salome" See more »


Featured in Behind the Bull: Forgotten Silver (2000) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

one of the sliest pieces of comedy ever made about film-making, the total joys and agonies of it
27 December 2006 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

I'm reminded seeing Forgotten Silver- of course after knowing that it was all a 'hoax' and that there is no filmmaker Colin MacKenzie- of a film where another hoax was played but with real filmmakers, Incident at Loch Ness. In both films the the ones making the film put themselves in the film, and the stories within the film within the films are fantastical and ambitious turns (in Loch Ness, a documentary by Werner Herzog about the search for Nessie, and in Silver, Peter Jackson's search for the elusive location and film cans of the first un-finished feature-length film made in New Zealand). In Forgotten Silver, however, the satire isn't really on high about how a film gets made from start to finish, although it does include that as part of it. It's really out to mock what was so delightful and absurd about the lengths to which filmmakers in the silent era looked to be further and further with their innovations and wild dreams of ambitious epics, but usually succumbed to the easiest thing- making people laugh.

Colin MacKenzie, the "pinoeer" presented in this mockumentary by Jackson and his collaborator Costa Botes, is such a filmmaker, and his up & downs type story is chronicled and inter-cut with the search for the missing film he took twenty years to make and had to hide away as to not have it taken away by the Russians &/or Italian mob. It's also done in a seemingly straightforward documentary way, like seeing one of the PBS specials or something (I'm also reminded of the recent mock-doc Confederate States of America). It ends up not being a laugh a minute really, and I found myself chuckling more than getting full gut-busting laughs like with some of Jackson's more twisted comedies like Meet the Feebles or Dead/Alive. What's amusing more-so to me is that the 'secret' of Colin MacKenzie- and that so many in New Zealand ended up thinking he was for real and did really film his friend beating the Wright brothers to flight by several months and things like that- came under the package of a Peter Jackson product, who before making this had three of his four works as some of the most absurd, low-budget pieces of work to ever come from that corner of the world.

But once that passes, and the idea that the hoax ends up working in showing what is great about the whole evolution and history of careers with directors in movies, as well as the kind of precision in restoring film, while at the same time putting some good touches to lampoon it. This comes out clearest in the actual silent footage itself, where MacKenzie breaks through first with color, but because he (unintentionally) shoots topless natives in the shot, he's thrown in jail after the judges deliberate long enough to watch the footage repeatedly. There's also MacKenzie's bread & butter as he tries to finance his pet project, Salome (the film Jackson and his team are sort of after in present-day), which are the random silent comedies of Stan the Man (Peter Corrigan in hilarious make-up), who goes about hitting people un-suspecting pies, as he figures that attacks that are on the innocent (which happens after he strikes a child in one of his early comedies) could work well, that is, until the Prime Minister is on the scene. And the actual footage shown of Salome is an extraordinarily mix of both goofy and sincere technical feats, as Jackson and Botes go in a fine style at the way the old epics from the likes of Griffith and De Mille, but with the bizarre touches Jackson's best at like with the main female star chopping off a character's head and playing around with it.

All of this is great fun, even if in-between there's a lot of actual sincere stuff put in, also in part fun in being a dead-pan examination of the the ups for MacKenzie (his ill-begotten but always accomplished feats of invention and creation) and downs too (i.e. losing his wife and child during filming his epic, and subsequently dying in world war 1). Stranger still with the picture is that Jackson and Botes almost have a kind of affection for the MacKenzie character- and as the former later displayed with his brawny popcorn epics- that even makes the material not too shallow in terms of approach for the viewer. It also might add frustration, I'd guess, if one didn't know that it was a big gag in the guise of professional historical research. But it ends up working better than I expected, and there's even a gut-bustlingly funny bit at the end as Harvey Weinstein expresses his confidence with his recently trimmed version of Salome, cutting out an hour out of the restored print.

For film buffs, Forgotten Silver is a weird kind of satirical keep-sake only Jackson and his Wingnut people could cook up.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Did anyone believe this? thofry
Favourite parts and being fooled. jpcosse
Why hasn't anyone posted on this brilliant film??? StuMan
Region 1 DVD zombi_256
Wonder if the Kiwi's know... Gemima
'Sunset Blvd.' Reference? dblsweetness08
Discuss Forgotten Silver (1995) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: