Dignified Silents

The recent rediscovery of 1923 silent British film Life, Love and Laughter has been welcomed by the BFI, where the film has topped their ‘most wanted’ list for many years. Once returned from the Netherlands, there will be a screening, and critics are already wondering whether it will live up to the hype.

Sound familiar?

The response to the find has been remarkably level-headed, compared with the recent Who ‘omnirumour’, the latest chapter in which has seen certain hardcore fans denouncing TIEA’s efforts as ‘a sick joke’ and demanding a showdown on Twitter. For God’s sake, the guy went to one of the world’s danger spots to retrieve the episodes! If those fans had their way, we wouldn’t even be looking (dig out your VHS copy of The Ice Warriors and watch the documentary for the bit where he says it’s completely unreasonable to expect we’ll find any more), so yelling about hoarding of episodes and conspiracies is a bit silly.

It’s time to admit we all got our hopes up when the news first broke. Yes, it was a bit disappointing that the promised/rumoured mother-load turned out to be nine episodes, but The Web of Fear was as good as everyone hoped, and The Enemy of the World has proven to be a bit of a discovery. And if they are the tip of the iceberg, that’s great. If not, we’ll just have to start finding more serious, grown-up things to waste our money on. That’s all there is to it.

Returning briefly to the silent films, a Mary Pickford film from 1911 was found last year. A haul of 75 films, including early works by John Ford, was uncovered in New Zealand in 2010. If material of that age can resurface, there is every likelihood there’s more Who out there. Fandom will always be abuzz when episodes turn up, but let’s be sensible: when it happens, it’s good news, even if the find isn’t what we hoped for. To start calling foul on the people who work to track the episodes down is ungrateful.

Let’s be happy with what we got!

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  1. Lisa Gates says:

    Afterall, we ARE supposed to be Adults about this, are we not?

  2. Harry M VanHoudnos says:

    While I applaud the return of the old movies, I feel that we need to remember, there have been many who have been looking for these missing episodes for years. Ian Levine found a good number of them years ago! Now, while I understand that people want to see the missing episodes, it takes a lot of time and effort to find them. Lets try and be patient in finding them.

  3. Christine says:

    Hear, hear! Patience is a real virtue, and hope is a rather positive emotion. We’ll just have to stick to them and encourage people who are doing their best for us to continue the good work.

  4. Al says:

    This needs to be required reading for certain people who frankly have been jerks. We have been blessed with discoveries in recent years – lost Doctor Who, a 99% complete print of Metropolis, the 1910 Thomas Edison version of Frankenstein, that Pickford film. We should be grateful, not jerks.

  5. rickjlundeen says:

    Well, near as I can tell, the only guy I’ve seen be a jerk about this is Levine. It seems he’s the one representing Who fans in a bad light. Everyone else around here seems happy with what we’ve gotten or resigned to wait and see what shows up in the future.

    • simon smalley says:

      No think his reputation In tacked

    • Harry M VanHoudnos says:

      Before you go bashing Levine, remember this: If not for his work, many of the stories from the classic era WOULD NOT BE SEEN TODAY! Stories such as the Daleks, among others, would not be available today, would have been wiped, if not for his work! So, give the man the credit that he is due for his work!

      • rickjlundeen says:

        Oh, I’m very grateful for his contributions and VERY aware of them. I’ve told many of his saving of the first Daleks adventure. But that doesn’t excuse his behavior of late. Not at all. Especially when it reflects badly on all of us.

        • Harry M VanHoudnos says:

          The problem that I am having, is that so many fans are treating Project Genesis as the see all/do all when it comes to the recovery of missing episodes and not giving Levine the credit that he is due. Its like saying all the work that was done during the classic era means nothing compared to what is going on in the Nu Who era.

          • rickjlundeen says:

            I don’t really follow a lot of the masses when it comes to all the comments about most of this–because let’s face it, the internet seems to be created for the ease of anonymous bitching— but I pay no attention to the idiots who only credit nuWho as being the only worthwhile Doctor Who.

            If not for the classic series send everything it built, nuWho would never have existed. Those who look down on or dismiss Levine’s accomplishments should be ashamed of themselves because they don’t have a clue. That being said, Levine should keep a civil tongue these days and afford the same courtesy he’d like extended to him.

            Heck, I had no knowledge of “project genesis”—don’t know if that’s just another name for the omnirumour or whatever. When they have something to tell us, they will. And if they’re waiting for some odd reason, well, Ian is more than ready to start spinning out of control again!

      • vortexter says:

        There is a copy of The Daleks in a television archive in Mexico.

  6. rickjlundeen says:

    And on the flip side, I wish that *all websites* would stop even bringing up the omnirumour when there’s nothing to report other than it still circulating. When an official announcement about more episodes being found comes up, great. Until then, I wish they wouldn’t drag out the omnirumour because it’s a slow news day and they’re thinking and wishing out loud. All it does is rile up the Ian Levines of the world.

    • docwhom says:

      Well said. If anyone is going to comment on what Ian Levine has said on Twitter, is it too much to expect it to be within recent memory of it actually happening rather than using a story totally unconnected with Doctor Who as an excuse to dig up the subject again?

      Whenever I see Ian Levine’s name being mentioned in an article, before I even read what’s being said, I’d lay good odds that it’s just someone trying to get a free ride in fandom on the back of mentioning Levine’s name. So much easier than actually having something interesting to say.

      It’s a little like headlining an article with the words “SEX SEX SEX”, in the hope of getting attention in spite of the content of what you’re saying rather than because of it. What will we see next? People inserting the word “scandalous” into book titles in the hope of drawing attention?

  7. simon smalley says:

    Sorry at the end of the day it doesn’t work out like that all very well about travelling these countries and non such but these rumours could of been killed months ago and we didn’t get our hopes up is what we where told and the rumours went quoshed

  8. simon smalley says:

    Project genesis was only supposed to take a year in fact takers longer it means there’s something up so at the end of the day I just want to know the findings of project genesis soon when we where told to expect the news not expect the unexpected.

  9. Calico Jones says:

    There are many people around the world looking for archive materials – movies, tv programmes other than DW. Levine did a service saving old stories from destruction – however, that does not make him the Messiah. Nor does it give him any special rights to be abusive to others, as he has been.

    While it is nice to have old stories found, at the end of the day, if no more are ever found, does it really matter? The world won’t end. Our lives won’t be worse for not seeing “The Savages”.

    DW is a TV show – some people in the Fan community should remember this.It should play a small part in our lives – provide entertainment and distraction. If some make it the be all and end all of their lives, obsess about missing stories, think that there are conspiracies and plots to keep returned episodes from the public, and generally use it as an excuse to be unpleasant to others, then they have a problem.

  10. DonnaM says:

    Eminently sensible remarks, sir – perhaps it’s time people stopped stamping their feet and shouting “We want more!” when unfortunately neither Philip Morris, Ian Levine or anyone else involved, so far as I know, has a magic wand.

    Lets be thankful we for what’s been found, keep our fingers crossed for more in the future – from whatever source – and avoid the kind of playground name-calling that reflects so badly on everyone!

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