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Forgotten Silver (1996)

Cast: Thomas Robins, Peter Jackson, Leonard Maltin, more...
Director: Peter Jackson, Costa Botes
    see all cast/crew...
Rating: Not Rated
Studio: First Run Features
Genre: Comedies, Drama, Foreign, Mockumentary, Mockumentaries, Australia & New Zealand
Running Time: 80 min.
Languages: English
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This title is currently out of print.

Originally presented to an unsuspecting New Zealand public as the real deal, Lord of the Rings director Peter Jackson's masterful mocumentary initially proved so convincing that unsuspecting viewers bought it hook, line, and sinker. A remarkably detailed look at the life of early filmmaker Colin McKenzie (Thomas Robins), the film traces the life of the young innovator as he makes incredible advances in the realm of cinema years before they are generally though to have occurred. From McKenzie's creation of the first "talkie" in 1908 (the first true sound feature is generally considered to be 1927's The Jazz Singer) to his creation of the first color film three short years later (which is generally considered to be 1922's The Toll of the Sea), the discovery of the remarkable advances made by him would forever change the face of film history. With Jackson himself providing commentary on the importance of the recent "discovery" of McKenzie's lost epic Salome -- which was preserved in a garden shed for nearly a century -- the significance of this "lost film" is further cemented by interviews with such notable film figures as Miramax's Harvey Weinstein and film critic Leonard Maltin. As McKenzie's rise and eventual downfall is documented through the use of newspaper articles, still images, and rare behind-the-scenes footage of Salome, the viewer is drawn into a remarkably staged ruse that is so effectively executed that it even includes interviews with McKenzie's "wife," Hannah (Beatrice Ashton). ~ Jason Buchanan, All Movie Guide

GreenCine Member Reviews

Worth remembering by ColonelKong April 23, 2003 - 11:43 AM PDT
8 out of 8 members found this review helpful
This pseudo-documentary by Peter Jackson and associate Costa Botes about fictional New Zealand cinema pioneer Colin Mackenzie is well worth a look for anyone who has an interest in silent film or who likes Peter Jackson's other films. Forgotten Silver features some pretty convincing ersatz silent movie footage (which actually fooled some people when it first aired on New Zealand television), which includes clips from such pioneering efforts as the first sound film (which was also the first kung fu movie!), the first color film, and Mackenzie's troubled biblical epic Salome (which was at one point financed by the Soviet government!). Even though Peter Jackson had much better luck getting Lord of the Rings off the ground (which will hopefully continue with his version of King Kong), it's hard not to see some similarities with Mackenzie struggling to bring his dream project to fruition.

Although very short (less than an hour long, the deleted scenes and making-of doc add about 30 minutes, the short film "signing off" was nowhere to be found), I found Forgotten Silver to be an enjoyable and occasionally very funny ersatz history lesson.

GreenCine Member Rating

(Average 7.31)
51 Votes
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Action Jackson: The(weird)Career of Peter Jackson
From low-budget alien flicks, to slightly higher budget zombie flicks and finally to Lord of the Rings. However, I think if you watch all his movies, in order, you can see the definite evolution of his film career.
Best of the many fine (and not so fine) faux-docs on DVD. Most of these are satirical, and often knee-slappingly funny, in nature; a few more serious. Still waiting for David Holzman's Diaries on DVD.

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