Monday, December 29, 2014
Coming In 2015 On DVD: Marcel Perez, Silent Comedy Innovator
On the heels of the successful fundraiser mentioned here in the December 20th post - which met its goal yesterday, (congrats to Tommy and Andrew) - is this announcement from Ben Model, regarding the first DVD retrospective of the films directed by and starring the pioneering comedian-director-writer Marcel Perez, a.k.a. Robinet, Twede-Dan, Tweedy and Tweedledum. Back tracking a bit, there was a successful Kickstarter fundraiser to get this project, The Marcel Perez Collection, off the starting blocks earlier this year.
Monsieur Blogmeister, an incurable classic comedy aficionado, plugged the original fundraiser for The Marcel Perez Collection in his post on June 20
This fundraiser having met its goal, Ben Model has sent the following update: "Good news, everyone: the DVD of The Marcel Perez Collection and the companion book Marcel Perez: the International Mirth-Maker are finished!"
In short, the imaginative and prolific silent film artist Marcel Perez will, at long last, be represented on DVD in the first quarter of 2015, the official release taking place in February. Stay tuned for more details.
Currently scheduled to be on the DVD: the following 10 comedy shorts made between 1908 and 1921. Perez's Italian films (1911-1914), in which he stars as Robinet, will be seen in new digital scans of archival 35mm materials from the Desmet Collection of the EYE Film Institute (Netherlands).
The American Marcel Perez comedies will be transferred from archival 35mm prints preserved by the Library Of Congress.
Italian films, produced by Ambrosio
L’abito bianco di Robinet / Robinet's White Suit (1911)
Robinet innamorato di una chanteuse / Robinet in Love with a Singer (1911)
Signora Robinet / Mademoiselle Robinet (1912)
Robinet troppo amato da sua moglie / Robinet is Loved Too Much By His Wife (1912)
Robinet è Geloso / Robinet is Jealous (1914)
American films, produced for Eagle, Jester and Reelcraft
A Bathtub Elopement (1916) - USA, Eagle
A Busy Night (1916) - USA, Eagle
Camouflage (1918) - USA, Jester
You're Next (1919) - USA, Jester
Sweet Daddy (1921) - USA, Reelcraft
In a silver screen universe that has, frankly, included, for every Chaplin or Keaton, a veritable brigade of truly terrible comics, the inventive and extremely versatile Perez (who also produced and directed serials, as well as other kinds of films outside the comedy genre) numbers among the all-time cinema greats.
Ben Model, accompanist and contributor to The Silent Clowns Film Series at the New York Public Library, has been presenting vintage comedy events at New York City MoMA and other venues with author Steve Massa, who devoted a chapter to Marcel Perez in his book, Lame Brains And Lunatics: The Good, The Bad And The Forgotten Of Silent Comedy.
Steve and Ben are also responsible for for several vintage film restorations on DVD preceding the Perez compilation, including The Mishaps Of Musty Suffer and two Accidentally Preserved collections of silent comedy rarities, unseen since their original theatrical release.
For more info, there was a detailed discussion of Perez and the difficulties finding details about his birthdate, arrival in the United States, comedienne/co-star Nilde Barrachi (a.k.a. Babette Perez and Nilde Babette), the circumstances behind his death, etc. on Nitrateville