The Informer (1929)

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rockysds
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The Informer (1929)

#1 Post by rockysds » Thu Aug 25, 2016 4:44 am

BFI's new restoration of Arthur Robison's The Informer premiering at this year's London Film Festival. DVD and blu-ray release to follow in February.
Like Hitchcock’s Blackmail (1929), The Informer was shot in both silent and sound versions. Building on our previous work in restoring the sound version, the restoration team disentangled the two versions from existing film copies in order to establish the silent edit. This detailed analysis applied not only to the differing camera takes but also the text of intertitles. All the copies in the archive collection were thoroughly examined and the restoration work has drawn on them all – crucially, the existence of an original nitrate release print established the film’s delicate tint colour.
More info here.

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Re: The Informer (1929)

#2 Post by Jonathan S » Thu Aug 25, 2016 6:28 am

An interesting project. I know Robison's The Informer only from Grapevine's release of the part-talkie version. Much as I like the film (more than Ford's remake), I've always felt the talking scenes let it down, so (as with Blackmail) it will great to have the wholly silent version too - and of course restorations of both.

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FrauBlucher
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Re: The Informer (1929)

#3 Post by FrauBlucher » Wed Oct 19, 2016 6:17 am

Did anyone catch the screening this past Friday?

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Re: The Informer (1929)

#4 Post by FrauBlucher » Thu Apr 13, 2017 8:52 pm

Beaver...What an exciting release!

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Re: The Informer (1929)

#5 Post by FrauBlucher » Sat May 13, 2017 8:47 pm

What a wonderful film. I watched the silent version. It looks great and the score is amazing. It's been quite a while since seeing Ford's version. I don't remember liking it as much as I enjoyed this. I will have to do a rewatch on that version. I wasn't sure how I was going to like the tint after seeing Gary's screen shots. They looked very lavender in his review than it actually played. So, it was a very nice presentation. For me Lars Hanson's Gypo Nolan is better than Victor McLaglen's GN.

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Tommaso
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Re: The Informer (1929)

#6 Post by Tommaso » Sat Jun 17, 2017 8:03 pm

Just watched it, and I completely agree: a magnificent film, wonderfully acted, and directed by Arthur Robison, whose work really deserves to be far better known, given that he made such seminal films as his expressionist German masterpiece "Schatten" (recently released in a new restoration by arte edition in Germany, and as that film hasn't got any intertitles to speak of, no excuse not to watch it!) and the marvellous 1935 version of "Der Student von Prag" starring Anton Walbrook (still not available officially...). And "The Informer" is almost in the same league as those two films, with Robison bringing much of his German experiences and style to this British production. Especially in the first half I was very much reminded of the Weimar silent production with the chiaroscuro lighting and especially Lya de Putti's appearance; she's ultra-cute and ultra-stylish at the same time. The story itself unfolds in such a manner that it never really feels particularly Irish (which is somewhat different to Ford's version!), and in my view it could have been easily set in the proletarian quarters of late 1920s Berlin, for instance.

Which is where my only slight criticism of this basically wonderful new version comes in: Garth Knox' new music, by making reference to particularly Irish sounds and tunes, for me stresses the 'local' too much and thus makes the film's story less 'universal' than it seems to be to me. But as it's explained in the booklet this was completely intentional and there were some good reasons for it, so I can easily accept it though I don't really agree with it and would have wished for something a little more 'neutral', especially as those playful Irish tunes occasionally go a little against the sombre mood of some scenes. But that's really a minor point (and the music of the sound version isn't exactly great either, as far as I checked it out).

Great release!

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Finch
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Re: The Informer (1929)

#7 Post by Finch » Sun Jun 18, 2017 7:52 am

I actually ended up watching the film without the score on because it was getting so much on my nerves in the first three minutes alone.

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hearthesilence
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Re: The Informer (1929)

#8 Post by hearthesilence » Sun Jun 18, 2017 10:48 am

I've actually grown into the terrible habit of watching silent films with other music. Unless there was a score that had been specifically composed for the film's original release (like Metropolis or some of Chaplin's films), I'll grab anything that I'm in the mood for, which truth to be told doesn't have much relation to the film itself. I usually wind up doing this with silent films I've seen many times before, or if I'm fairly tired and I need a soundtrack that will help keep me alert.

Again, this isn't done with any thought as to how the music will complement the picture, but as with any music married to picture, your mind winds up making connections where it can regardless of intention. I think the last thing I used was a latter day Wilco mix while watching Die Puppe, and I recall the stuff off of The Whole Love actually complemented some of the scenes quite well.

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Re: The Informer (1929)

#9 Post by DarkImbecile » Wed Jun 28, 2017 7:08 pm

This seems like a profound betrayal of your username.

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Roscoe
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Re: The Informer (1929)

#10 Post by Roscoe » Thu Jun 29, 2017 10:36 am

I saw this version of THE INFORMER a few weeks back at the San Francisco Silent Film Festival, and found it entirely adequate, elevated only occasionally by some fine cinematography and the presence of Lars Hanson. I can't see it as being anywhere near the accomplishment of the Ford film or O'Flaherty's novel. Far too sanitized, and the decision to turn Gypo Nolan's betrayal into the result of a lover's spat diminishes the whole enterprise for me. I'll cop to enjoying the new twist on Mrs. McPhillip's forgiveness, though.
SpoilerShow
In the novel, and in Ford, Frankie's mother unambiguously forgives Gypo for his actions by saying, "I forgive you. You didn't know what you were doing.. The silent film's Mrs. McPhillip responds to Gypo's confession by saying, "May He forgive you as I do," which is nowhere near the same thing, and her posture and bitter facial expression are very different from the saintly maternal shot of Una O'Connor in Ford's film.

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