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Its almost impossible to think about the world as we know it without the movies. We can all conjure up images in our minds with the mere mention of an actor or a title. Even if we haven't see the movies, we recognize Harold Lloyd hanging from the clock or the ruby slippers from the Wizard of Oz.
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This is an excellent compilation of exactly what the title says, "Fragments: Surviving Pieces of Lost Films," produced by Randy Haberkamp and the good folks at "Flicker Alley". Some of this material has been available, usually as a "bonus feature" on an accompanying home video release. But it's great to have so much of it available in one place. There is no explanation for some famous footage not included - possibly the "fragments" starring Greta Garbo have received a new copyright. Her "The Divine Woman" reel has been shown fairly frequently on Turner Classic Movies (TCM), which also shows this documentary.
Our hosts are Michael Pogorzelski from the Academy Film Archive, and Mike Mashon from the Library of Congress. We begin with an explanation and look at "paper prints" and proceed with a small look at Theda Bara's "Cleopatra" (1917). Very little of Ms. Bara's work survives, and the tiny fragment looks like it may be her best. Next is a more generous sample from Colleen Moore's "Flaming Youth" (1923). Clara Bow is represented by "Red Hair" (1928) and "Three Week Ends" (1928). These three films appear to have been typical, but charming. This is also the case with Douglas Fairbanks' "He Comes Up Smiling" (1918).
Before Doug's romp comes one of "Fragments" highlights, the surviving footage from "The Way of All Flesh" (1927) starring Emil Jannings. This performance was noted as one of the era's best by the "Academy Awards" (and others), and Mr. Jannings' characterization is still dazzling. The two surviving portions of "The Way of All Flesh" are quite striking in that they form a "story" of their own, thanks to fate (and narration). Donald Keith, who was frequently co-starred with Clara Bow, is also memorable. Also seen is the only surviving portion of "The Miracle Man" (1919), one of the most legendary of all lost films.
A newly discovered reel of John Ford's melodrama "The Village Blacksmith" (1922) follows a rollicking trailer for his "Strong Boy" (1929) starring Victor McLaglen. Then, in another highlight, "Baby" Peggy Montgomery aka Diana Serra Cary appears to reminisce about the filming of her own "The Darling of New York" (1923). The 93-year-old star is still a darling. More small fragments from big stars are shown, along with trailers from otherwise completely missing films. The final highlight is the surviving footage from the colorful sound picture "Gold Diggers of Broadway" (1929). That's entertainment let's have a sequel!
******** Fragments (4/3/11) Randy Haberkamp ~ Michael Pogorzelski, Mike Mashon, "Baby" Peggy Montgomery, Emil Jannings
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