A Lost Version of Buster Keaton’s The Blacksmith is Discovered

Buster Keaton in the two-reeler The Blacksmith (1922)

Buster Keaton in the two-reeler The Blacksmith (1922)

Often ranked by silent film historians as one of Buster Keaton’s lesser efforts when compared to his other two-reel shorts such as One Week (1920) or Cops (1922), The Blacksmith (1922) is now enjoying a major critical reassessment because of a remarkable turn of events. Film collector Fernando Peña who, in 2008, uncovered the original, uncut version of Fritz Lang’s Metropolis (1927) in the archives of the Museo del Cine in Argentina, discovered a remarkably different version of The Blacksmith that same year through fellow collector Fabio Manes who purchased a 9.5mm print of it online. Released by the Pathé company in France in 1922 with French intertitles, this previously undiscovered version includes missing material totaling more than four minutes of sight gags, settings, and characters not featured in what was considered the original American version of The Blacksmith.     Continue reading

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My Visit to Forry’s Ackermansion

Forry Ackerman in his guest room at the Ackermansion (1998) photo by J.Stafford

Forry Ackerman in his guest room at the Ackermansion (1998) photo by J.Stafford

I never would have imagined when I was a geeky eleven year old kid hooked on Famous Monsters of Filmland magazine that I would one day meet the brainiac behind it – Forrest J. Ackerman – and be invited inside the world famous Ackermansion. It happened while I was visiting friends in Los Angeles in February 1998.    Continue reading