Ben Model’s Undercrank Productions has two new DVD releases from the silent-era ready for collector’s to enjoy on Oct. 17. The first of these film restorations is director Emile Chautard’s 1921 film adaptation of the Walter C. Hackett stage play, Whispering Shadows, which is a 2K scan of the Library of Congress’ 28mm print (yes, you read that right 28mm).
As a bonus the DVD also includes director Harry A. Pollard’s 1917 short film, The Devil’s Assistant (a 2K scan from USC’s Hugh M. Hefner Moving Image Archive).
The other silent restoration project hitting the DVD marketplace on Oct. 17 from Undercrank Productions is titled Lon Chaney: Before the Thousand Faces.
Featured here are three silent short films — all are 2K scans from the 35mm preservation materials — starring Lon Chaney before his iconic film performances in The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1923) and The Phantom of the Opera (1925). These are: A Mother’s Atonement (1915), The Place Beyond Winds (1916), and If My Country Should Call (also 1916).
Of note, If My Country Should Call and The Place Beyond the Winds are two of the over 500 silent films that were discovered in a buried swimming pool in Dawson City back in 1978 (the subject of documentary filmmaker Bill Morrison’s Dawson City: Frozen Time).
Prints were shipped to this remote Yukon outpost as a last stop (nitrate) and since there was no need to return them, they were stored in the cold so that there would be no danger of fire. Eventually, for safety reasons, the entire stash of silent film treasures were buried and the frigid nature of the area perfectly preserved them for over 60 years!