MITCHELL & KENYON in Ireland DVD
SILENT WITH COMMENTARY
Year: 1901-1906; Black & White. Silent with music.
Running time: 75 min approx.
A unique and vivid record of Ireland at the start of the 20th century, lost for around 70 years.
Over a century ago, Sagar Mitchell and James Kenyon roamed Britain and Ireland filming the everyday lives of people at work and play. For around 70 years, 800 rolls of nitrate film sat in sealed barrels in the basement of a shop in Blackburn. Miraculously rediscovered and later restored by the BFI, this now ranks as one of the most exciting film discoveries of recent times.
Mitchell & Kenyon in Ireland is a unique and vivid record of Ireland at the start of the twentieth century. The collection contains 26 films made in Ireland between May 1901 and December 1902. Much of this material was unseen for over 100 years. The films include street scenes of Dublin, Wexford and Belfast; the Cork International Exhibition, scenic routes from Cork to Blarney Castle and more. They are accompanied by piano and fiddle music and commentary read by Fiona Shaw.
Commentary written by Dr Vanessa Toulmin. Music by Neil Brand and Gunter Buchwald, renowned composers of music for silent films. Includes an illustrated booklet with notes on Street Scenes, Life in Cork, The Cork Exhibition and Sport.
Sagar Mitchell and James Kenyon founded the firm of Mitchell & Kenyon in 1897. The company was one of the largest film producers in the United Kingdom in the 1900s, with the slogans of “Local Films For Local People” and “We take them and make them”. Based in Blackburn in Lancashire, England, at the start of the 20th century, they were originally best known for contributions to early fictional narrative film and Boer War dramatisation films.
The discovery in 1994 of a hoard of film negatives in Northgate, Blackburn, led to the restoration of the Mitchell & Kenyon Collection by the British Film Institute’s National Film and Television Archive.
The films shot in Ireland feature trains arriving at stations, phantom rides, (films shot from moving vehicles), sporting events, including boating, rugby and racehorses; firemen at work and cityscapes and views. Mitchell and Kenyon set out to capture as many familiar scenes and as many human faces as they could manage, so that the films could be screened in the same locality shortly afterward to an audience keen to see themselves on the big screen. The films in this collection were mostly shot in 1902 in Belfast, Derry, Dublin, Wexford and Cork.