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Forgotten Silver [Import]

4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
Price: CDN$ 178.74
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5.0 out of 5 stars Like it's subject, a little-known treasure April 9 2004
Forgotten Silver is one of those films you've probably never heard of but once you see it, you'll wonder why. This mockumentary produced in the late 1990s for broadcast on New Zealand television is funny, clever and thought-provoking -- one of the true cinematic pleasures of the past 10 years, blending wit, technology and the products of a relatively little-known culture.
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.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Forgotten Silver - Discover It!!! March 18 2004
Here is an interesting DVD. If you were a Peter Jackson freak back before LOTR, you might be lucky enough to have a copy of this wonderful film on DVD. Peter Jackson is obviously a great storyteller, and he has conjured up a beauty with this "forgotten" gem! A great, original take on documentaries.....and starring Peter Jackson himself! The discovery of the incredible filmaker from New Zealand, Colin MacKenzie, who worked making films in obscurity for years..... creating many firsts for early cinema....lost for years until his films were re-discovered by Mr. Jackson in a backyard garden shed......this has to be seen to be believed!
So well done, even with its tongue in its cheek, that you really can't tell if they are pulling our legs or are dead serious....such a fun film to "discover"
If you can find a copy, you must see it. It helps to see why I think Peter Jackson is one of THE BEST storytellers in film to come along in a long time....he just keeps getting better and better. We are so lucky to have films like this to watch, and to be able to look forward to more from this talented filmaker and storyteller.
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By Amazon Customer HALL OF FAME TOP 500 REVIEWER
Continuing my quest to screen all of the films of director Peter Jackson, in order to see how a guy who started out making bloody zombie flicks in New Zealand eventually got to be a three-time Academy Award nominee for best director who is the favorite to finally bring Oscar home for "The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King," I have come to "Forgotten Silver," the 1997 mockumentary made by Jackson and Costa Bostas. The obvious comparison is to the work of Christopher Guest and his cohorts, who brought us "This is Spinal Tap," "Waiting for Guffman," "Best in Show" and "A Mighty Wind. But given the dry wit that runs throughout "Forgotten Silver" the film that springs to my mind is Woody Allen's "Zelig."
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.
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5.0 out of 5 stars "Silver" is gold May 5 2003
Watching this mockumentary, it isn't hard for me to see why the New Zealand public thought it was for real when it was first aired. Peter Jackson, the endearingly hobbitlike director of fantasy epic "Lord of the Rings," tried his hand at something a bit different aside from his splatter-gore horror films, and the eerie "Heavenly Creatures." Okay, more than a "bit" different.
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.
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Most recent customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Superb mockumentary
Peter Jackson, he of Lord of the Rings fame, filmed this sharp as a razor, short (50 minutes) mockumentary about Colin MacKenzie, New Zealand's first great film maker, in 1994. Read more
Published on Nov. 8 2002 by LGwriter
5.0 out of 5 stars See the first ever close-up in cinematic history.
Peter Jackson tells the farcical tale of finding some old reels in a neighbor's tool shed and discovering, for the first time, the career of, film pioneer, Colin McKenzie. Read more
Published on Jan. 21 2002 by Matthew A Hervey
5.0 out of 5 stars Perfect example of New Zealand humour
How I wish this film had been edited to be over 60 minutes. Atabout 54 minutes, it misses being able to be promoted and reviewed asa feature film. That is truly a shame. Read more
Published on March 26 2000 by Charles Eggen
5.0 out of 5 stars Before Blair Witch...
Peter Jackson displays with finesse the art of the mockumentary. He took what was done before with Spinal Tap (an over the top and completely OBVIOUS film from the get go) and... Read more
Published on Jan. 5 2000 by Roy
5.0 out of 5 stars a must-see for any film maven
This film is a classic. You must see it if you love film history. A cross between "Zelig" and "Spinal Tap", it's provocative, inspiring and technically amazing. Read more
Published on Sept. 20 1999
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely Brilliant! If you didn't know, you wouldn't know
I've been in the Motion Picture business for twenty years and it fooled me. So much so that for 12 hours I was searching my film reference books, newspapers, sock drawer and... Read more
Published on April 14 1999
5.0 out of 5 stars Ingenious. Peter Jackson, you're my hero...
"A delightful mockumentary" they say. A damn good mockumentary too. This was shown in New Zealand as an actual documentary, and had just about the whole of the country... Read more
Published on March 15 1999
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