Sunday, January 9, 2011

Jason goes to the Niles Film Museum for THE LOST WORLD

But first a few shorts:

THE CARTOON FACTORY (1924): Koko the clown does his stuff with master animator David Fleischer. Fleischer was hands-down the most inventive animator of the era, if not all time. David draws Koko, and brings him to life with an electric current. Koko finds the titular Cartoon Factory, with a wild machine that automatically draws food, girls, etc. but erases them before Koko can enjoy them. Then it gets weird--Koko finds a machine that makes toy soldiers...that are played by David Fleischer (live-action characters in a cartoon world created by a live action character). Koko torments the toy soldier David Fleischer who retaliates by (wait for it...) drawing soldiers on the walls who spring to life and attack Koko. That would be animated soldiers created by a live action character inhabiting a cartoon world created by the same live action character. Take that, INCEPTION!

THE GIRL AND HER TRUST (1912): An early short from D. W. Griffith at Biograph, an action film about a telegraph girl who is robbed of a $2000 train delivery. But she wires ahead to the next station and the robbers are duly captured. It's actually a remake of Griffith's film THE LONEDALE OPERATOR, which he made just a year before. An interesting look at the master Griffith honing his craft.

ORANGES AND LEMONS (1923): Stan Laurel, well before teaming up with Oliver Hardy, and really playing a Chaplin-inspired character (not surprising, as he was Chaplin's understudy in the Fred Karno music hall troupe), causes an extreme amount of chaos in the orchard where he works.

Then after the intermission, the feature. I actually saw this for the first time a few years ago when it played at the SF International Film Festival with live music by Dengue Fever. What I wrote at the time was:
The movie was the stop-motion animated breakthrough THE LOST WORLD. Willis O'brien (who went on to make a little movie called KING KONG) did the effects for this story of explorers and a lost world populated by dinosaurs and ape-men, based on the book by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Danger, action, romance, Wallace Beery as a crazy scientist! Awesome.

Would've been awesome enough, but this night was also about the music. And that was provided by Dengue Fever, a Los Angeles based Cambodian pop/psychedelic band. They were the subject of the documentary SLEEPWALKING THROUGH THE MEKONG, which I saw at Indiefest last year. Their soundtrack gave the perfect exciting, other-worldly touch to the movie, and seeing them live gives me a new appreciation for their music. Awesome.
Ummm...yeah, I think the first chapter sums it up pretty well. As for the second paragraph, Bruce Loeb also provided awesome accompaniment.

Total Running Time: 101 minutes
My Total Minutes: 219,193

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