One of the most important "lost" films to seek out!
This last year (2015-16) has been a remarkable year for finding films previously thought "lost": not only have the original William Gillette SHERLOCK HOLMES (a 1916 masterpiece) and the 70's Othello rock opera CATCH MY SOUL resurfaced and been issued on Bluray, but the long ignored kinescope of the original broadcast of Mary Martin in PETER PAN (SO much more exciting than the 1960 videotape) has seen formal issue! In that atmosphere, the October 1915 SAPHO has to rank as one of the top two or three "lost" films historians long to see re-discovered (along with the 1932 G. Bernard Shaw ARMS AND THE MAN - lost when GBS declined to renew the 5 year license on the underlying play because sound technology in film had advanced so far by 1937 that it felt "archaic" - and the 1912 short on the TITANIC filmed with one of the survivors a month after the tragedy).
SAPHO was clearly a subject which resonated with film makers at the start of the last century; no less than six films in the last years of silent film and the earliest years of sound were built around the legend of the Greek poetess who continues to inspire despite the vast majority of her work having been effectively purged by a combination of time and censorious early Popes.
The value of and desire for THIS rediscovered SAPHO is hardly limited to the desire to see the leading lady, Florence Roberts, a diva of the touring stage and pioneer woman manager as another reviewer suggests - but even more so as one of only two records (the other was a 1919 short, AN HONORABLE CAD, made for the Stage Women's War Relief Fund shortly before his death) of one of Broadway's great leading men at the beginning of the last century, Shelley Hull (brother of Henry TOBACCO ROAD Hull and husband of Josephine ARSENIC AND OLD LACE/SOLID GOLD CADILLAC Hull!) who not only starred in the first play to win a Pulitzer Prize (WHY MARRY?) but at only 34 ended his bountiful, hit laden and all too brief career in the middle of another major hit run (UNDER ORDERS) when he died suddenly in the 1918 Spanish Flu Pandemic!
Here's hoping SOMEONE can find a print of this work. It was important work from people film aficionados and historians need to see.
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