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
The filmmakers consciously avoided putting lines through the faked film footage, particularly the scenes from Salome, since when important films are re-released they are often cleaned up and restored so that there are as few scratches as possible. When this happens, good quality prints usually have corrected contrast, so that hues and texture are easily visible, as is the case with the Salome footage. See more »
Also relating to the close-up: there are many in the footage from "The Worrior Season" which was made before "Solome" where Colin supposedly invents it. See more »
Archive Stills Courtecy of Hannah McKenzie See more »
Documentary is all about taking real life and shaping it into a story. 'Forgotten Silver' suggests that real part doesn't even have to be real, as long as the story's good.
I watched this again tonight - probably the 4th or 5th time I've seen it since it was first screened as an (allegedly) true doco back in 1996. Despite knowing the whole thing was cod, I was quite surprised to find tears in my eyes as NZ pioneer film-maker Colin McKenzie accidentally filmed his own death in Spain, so drawn was I into the story.
Once you strip away the hype over the hoax factor, what's left is just a great story about a struggling film maker facing and almost overcoming insurmountable obstacles to create a work of mad genius. Anyone expecting belly laughs from 'Forgotten Silver' is probably going to be disappointed, because viewed as a story, this isn't a comedy - it's a tragedy. It's no wonder so many people were sucked into believing it when it first screened - the Colin McKenzie saga has an emotional depth which is heartbreaking.
Bonus points for a brilliant musical score, some superb technical effects (especially the corroded, bubbling, self-destructing nitrate film; most filmmakers would have settled for a couple of cliché tramlines to make the footage look old), and the gorgeous Thomas Robbins as Colin McKenzie.
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