Forget Blu-ray or HD DVD “ the most staggering digital images I’ve yet seen this year originated over 100 years ago. Thought to be lost to the ages, the astonishing recovery of footage shot by pioneering English filmmakers Sagar Mitchell and James Kenyon has been described as the cinematic equivalent of discovering Tutankhamen’s tomb.
Preserved and restored by the British Film Institute, “Electric Edwardians” is a fascinating glimpse at life in pre-World War I Britain, with scenes of rugby matches, seaside holidays, crowded streets and impish schoolchildren parading before the camera transfixing your attention. Most segments run for two or three minutes at most, but are compelling enough to spend an entire evening exploring this since-vanished world.
A welcome selection of supplemental material, including commentary from Vanessa Toulmin, helps place these startling images in context, with additional short films, photos and interviews making this disc essential for any film fanatic’s library.