Forgotten Silver

on October 03, 1997 by Shlomo Schwartzberg
   New Zealand film pioneer Colin McKenzie receives his due from two of his countrymen in this documentary, which unearths his "lost" 1917 silent film "Salome" and shines a light on a remarkable career that saw McKenzie pioneer the use of sound and color in motion pictures years before Hollywood did the same. The only problem is that McKenzie never existed, a "fact" that allows co-directors/co-scripters Peter Jackson ("The Frighteners") and Costa Botes to spoof the whole craze for discovering obscure films and restoring the reputation of neglected filmmakers.
   With the usual experts dutifully trotted out to pay homage to McKenzie, including film historian Leonard Maltin and Miramax head Harvey Weinstein, "Forgotten Silver" emerges as an uncanny deadpan take on the typical PBS or A&E biography. Utilizing wonderful "faked" footage from McKenzie's life, it's the flip "serious"side of "This is Spinal Tap"-and just as entertaining.    Directed and written by Peter Jackson and Costa Botes. Produced by Sue Rogers. A First Run release. Mockumentary. Unrated. Running time: 52 min. Screened at the 1996 Montreal fest.
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