Electric Edwardians: The Films of Mitchell & Kenyon

“To British film history,” Ian Jack wrote in the U.K. Guardian, the discovery of the films of Sagar Mitchell and James Kenyon is “equivalent to the finding of Tutankhamen's tomb or the Dead Sea Scrolls.” Restored by the British Film Institute from original negatives found in a shop basement in Lancashire, this program of actuality footage, originally commissioned by turn-of-the century traveling exhibitors for showings at local fairgrounds, town halls, and theaters, gives us a rare glimpse of everyday life in early twentieth-century Britain. Ordinary Edwardians are “brought alive in black-and-white pictures that (are) wonderfully clear and sharp, unscratched and unfogged,” Jack wrote. “What they show is a world now lost to us: the busy world of northern Britain in its manufacturing, mining heyday. . . . In Mitchell and Kenyon's films you can see it as an independent civilization, glorying in its new recreations and enjoyments such as electric trams, professional sport, street parades and pageants, and seaside holidays.” This is a wonderful opportunity to see the Electric Edwardians program on 35mm before it is released on DVD by Milestone.

(Total running time: c. 71 mins, Silent with live spoken commentary, B&W, 35mm, From Milestone, courtesy bfi)

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