Friday, May 05, 2017

Kidnappers Foil (The Nitrate Picture Show)

The Local Gang in Kidnappers Foil with an entire local cast [the spelling of the title on screen]
Melton Barker, US 1930
Print source: Library of Congress, Culpeper, VA
Running time: 17 minutes
About the print: The print is generally in good condition, with twelve splices and some perforation and edge damage. Shrinkage: 0.7%
About the film: A unique treasure of our shorts program, this early example of truly independent, amateur small-town filmmaking is the original that inspired Barker to travel the United States for forty years, remaking the same film with local children.
The Nitrate Picture Show, George Eastman Museum, Dryden Theatre, 5 May 2017

AA: Kidnappers Foil, a work included in National Film Registry in 2012, is a phenomenon. From the 1930s until the 1970s Melton Barker kept remaking this film in small-town America, always with the same script, always with a new cast of local children. Song and dance numbers are included in the finale of the movie. At the end of the week there was a local screening where families could see the result. The quality of the script and the performances are beside the point. The sense of joy in the enterprise is conveyed also to the present audience. This film was a laugh success even today at Dryden Theatre.

Visual quality: a first generation print with some scratches.

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