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BFI Classics Early Cinema Collection BFI Classics Early Cinema Collection

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Four Early Cinema BFI Classics for only £40 Four Early Cinema BFI Classics for only £40

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The Birth of a Nation

Portraying the Ku Klux Klan as heroic underdogs, silent epic The Birth of a Nation (1915) is widely considered to be the most controversial film of all time. At once one of US culture's greatest artistic achievements and one of its most abhorrently racist artefacts, it becomes more shocking with every passing year.

Comprising a decade of archival research and published on the 100th anniversary of the film's release, this richly detailed study considers both the film's afterlife and the artistic, industrial and moral surroundings in which it was created. Drawing on an unbroken century of production and reception history, Paul McEwan recounts the film's origins and development, Griffith's unique editing and cinematography and the construction of racial identity and fear in the film. Assessing its contribution as an art form, while directly grappling with the complexity of the art-or-racism debate, Paul McEwan shows how The Birth of a Nation has had a central role in the development of film and Film Studies worldwide.

The Gold Rush

One of the biggest hits of the silent era, The Gold Rush (1925) was famously described by Charlie Chaplin – the star, writer and director of the film – as 'the picture I want to be remembered by'. Enjoying popular and critical success not once but twice, the film was given a new lease of life with sound in 1942 after Chaplin added his own narration and music.

Matthew Solomon provides an in-depth discussion of the film's genesis within the Northern genre, its production and reception history, and its subsequent canonisation. Considering both unauthorised and authorised versions of the film, he places them in the context of the turn-of-the-century Alaska Klondike Gold Rush and analyses their narrative and formal features. In tracing the stories of these multiple versions, Solomon shows how The Gold Rush problematises commonly accepted ideas about the singularity, authenticity and originality of an individual film.

Metropolis

Metropolis is a monumental work. On its release in 1925, after sixteen months' filming, it was Germany's most expensive feature film, a canvas for director Fritz Lang's increasingly extravagant ambitions. Lang, inspired by the skyline of New York, created a whole new vision of cities. One of the greatest works of science fiction, the film also tells human stories about love and family. Thomas Elsaesser explores the cultural phenomenon of Metropolis: its different versions (there is no definitive one), its changing meanings, and its role as a database of twentieth-century imagery and ideologies. In his foreword to this special edition, published to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the BFI Film Classics series, Elsaesser discusses the impact of the 27 minutes of 'lost' footage discovered in Buenos Aires in 2008, and incorporated in a restored edition, which premiered in 2010.

Vampyr

Described by its maker as a 'poem of horror', Vampyr (1932) is one of the founding works of psychological horror cinema, adapted from a collection of gothic stories by Sheridan Le Fanu and directed by the revered Danish director Carl Theodor Dreyer. Despite the fact that there is no definitive print and many English versions are marred by poor quality subtitles, the film remains a vivid, extraordinary artwork in which the inner human state is made hauntingly visible. In a reading as passionate as it is analytic, David Rudkin reveals how this film systematically binds the spectator – spatially and morally – into its mysterious world of the undead.

The Birth of a Nation

Portraying the Ku Klux Klan as heroic underdogs, silent epic The Birth of a Nation (1915) is widely considered to be the most controversial film of all time. At once one of US culture's greatest artistic achievements and one of its most abhorrently racist artefacts, it becomes more shocking with every passing year.

Comprising a decade of archival research and published on the 100th anniversary of the film's release, this richly detailed study considers both the film's afterlife and the artistic, industrial and moral surroundings in which it was created. Drawing on an unbroken century of production and reception history, Paul McEwan recounts the film's origins and development, Griffith's unique editing and cinematography and the construction of racial identity and fear in the film. Assessing its contribution as an art form, while directly grappling with the complexity of the art-or-racism debate, Paul McEwan shows how The Birth of a Nation has had a central role in the development of film and Film Studies worldwide.

The Gold Rush

One of the biggest hits of the silent era, The Gold Rush (1925) was famously described by Charlie Chaplin – the star, writer and director of the film – as 'the picture I want to be remembered by'. Enjoying popular and critical success not once but twice, the film was given a new lease of life with sound in 1942 after Chaplin added his own narration and music.

Matthew Solomon provides an in-depth discussion of the film's genesis within the Northern genre, its production and reception history, and its subsequent canonisation. Considering both unauthorised and authorised versions of the film, he places them in the context of the turn-of-the-century Alaska Klondike Gold Rush and analyses their narrative and formal features. In tracing the stories of these multiple versions, Solomon shows how The Gold Rush problematises commonly accepted ideas about the singularity, authenticity and originality of an individual film.

Metropolis

Metropolis is a monumental work. On its release in 1925, after sixteen months' filming, it was Germany's most expensive feature film, a canvas for director Fritz Lang's increasingly extravagant ambitions. Lang, inspired by the skyline of New York, created a whole new vision of cities. One of the greatest works of science fiction, the film also tells human stories about love and family. Thomas Elsaesser explores the cultural phenomenon of Metropolis: its different versions (there is no definitive one), its changing meanings, and its role as a database of twentieth-century imagery and ideologies. In his foreword to this special edition, published to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the BFI Film Classics series, Elsaesser discusses the impact of the 27 minutes of 'lost' footage discovered in Buenos Aires in 2008, and incorporated in a restored edition, which premiered in 2010.

Vampyr

Described by its maker as a 'poem of horror', Vampyr (1932) is one of the founding works of psychological horror cinema, adapted from a collection of gothic stories by Sheridan Le Fanu and directed by the revered Danish director Carl Theodor Dreyer. Despite the fact that there is no definitive print and many English versions are marred by poor quality subtitles, the film remains a vivid, extraordinary artwork in which the inner human state is made hauntingly visible. In a reading as passionate as it is analytic, David Rudkin reveals how this film systematically binds the spectator – spatially and morally – into its mysterious world of the undead.

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