The Sentimental Bloke Raymond Longford (Australia, 1919)
Musical Accompaniment by Jen Anderson and the Larrikins
The Sentimental Bloke is considered the jewel of Australia's surviving silent cinema. Of the thirty films directed by Raymond Longford, this delightful work, based on a popular book of verse entitled The Songs of a Sentimental Bloke, is the only one that now exists intact. Its charming depiction of a romance between commoners Bill (Arthur Tauchert) and Doreen (Lottie Lyell) and its colorful use of colloquial language appealed to audiences of its day; the film achieved record box-office returns and screened widely in Australia, New Zealand, and Britain. Plans for a theatrical release in the States, in a shortened, re-edited version, never panned out; however, the original 35mm camera negative ended up at George Eastman House and was used in this recent restoration. We are pleased to present this classic with a score composed and performed by Jen Anderson and the Larrikins (Dave Evans and Dan Warner), written for instruments that would have been available to working-class Australians in 1919: piano, accordion, guitar, mandolin, violin, tin whistle, and vocals. — Susan Oxtoby
• Written by Raymond Longford, Lottie Lyell, from The Songs of a Sentimental Bloke by C. J. Dennis. Photographed by Arthur Higgins. With Arthur Tauchert, Lottie Lyell, Gilbert Emery, Stanley Robinson. (109 mins, Silent, B&W, tinted and toned, 35mm, From George Eastman House, permission National Film and Sound Archive, Australia). PFA acknowledges the Australian Film Commission for sponsoring the North American tour of this restored film with trio accompaniment.
Tonight, at the PFA, I am going to see John Canemaker, author of a book about the comic strip artist Winsor McCay. Canemaker will be speaking prior to a screening of animated short silent films by McCay.