- Format: NTSC, Import
- Language: English
- Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
- Number of discs: 1
- MPAA Rating:
- Studio: First Run Features
- Release Date: Dec 19 2000
- Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
- ASIN: B000050HA0
It documents the discovery of a film by the cinematic wizard Colin McKenzie, who was born in New Zealand in the 1800s, died in a somewhat deteriorated state, and made amazing breakthroughs in filmmaking in the early 20th century, that were never seen for various reasons... until they were unearthed in a shed. Specifically, the epic "Salome," which had some rather odd financial backers (mobsters and a clown, for example) Now there is a documentary being filmed, with interviews and pieces of footage from the "forgotten silver" of Colin McKenzie, the most brilliant filmmaker who never lived!
Jackson himself is in this in more than a cameo appearance (in all his films, he appears for at least a few seconds), as the filmmaker; Miramax big man Harvey Weinstein, actor Sam Neill, and critic Leonard Maltin also appear as themselves, which makes the film seem even more real. (Especially when Weinstein claims he'll be distributing "Salome") If I hadn't known that this WAS a mockumentary, I might've thought it was for real.
Even though the tongue-in-cheek attitude marks this as a mockumentary, it's very well-done and detailed. The way Jackson fake-aged the footage from the old films, it's totally believable that these have been sitting in a shed for decades.Read more ›
The film is the creation of Peter Jackson, best known today as director of The Lord of the Rings, and actor Costa Botes. Jackson, playing himself in the movie, claims to have discovered a collection of old films in a neighbor's shed, revealing that New Zealander Colin McKenzie (Botes) invented motion picture cameras, color film, sound technology and other landmarks of cinema in complete obscurity before others who are regularly credited for doing so. His ultimate achievement, a biblical epic called Salome, is the lost treasure of film history.
Jackson enlists the aid of other well-known film personas, including critic Leonard Maltin, to explore the life of Colin McKenzie and reveal just how sensational this discovery is. Most of the humor is subtle and tongue-in-cheek, as it is in Peter Jackson's other films. However, the subject matter is treated with the utmost seriousness and therefore hard to discern from fact. Similar to the effects created by Woody Allen in Zelig, Jackson creates extremely authentic-looking black-and-white nitrate footage in which Colin's achievements are well documented. A sequence in which the filmmaker sets out in search of the ruins of the Salome set feels like an episode of "National Geographic Explorer." In fact, the overall film is so utterly believable that it caused a minor scandal in its native land upon its original airing.Read more ›
How dry is the wit? Well, when "Forgotten Silver" aired on New Zealand television it convinced quite a few Kiwi that they had a new national hero in Colin McKenzie, the lost film director who is the topic of this effort. This happened even though McKenzie is played by Thomas Robins, a New Zealand actor who was the original Host of the New Zealand, Saturday morning Breakfast show, "Squirt" (his only other film role has been as Deagol in "The Return of the King").
There is fun to be had in showing "Forgotten Silver" to unsuspecting friends, family and people dragged in off of the street, to see at what point they catch on that there is something amiss here. The idea is that Collin McKenzie was a cinematic innovator who came up with the first mechanized camera, the first full-length feature film with sound, and the first color film. Unfortunately while doing these things he forgot to invent subtitles and accidentally invented the porn film.