Forgotten Silver (TV Movie 1995) Poster

(1995 TV Movie)

User Reviews

Review this title
52 Reviews
Sort by:
Filter by Rating:
What is real anyway?
paston16 December 2004
Documentary is all about taking real life and shaping it into a story. 'Forgotten Silver' suggests that real part doesn't even have to be real, as long as the story's good.

I watched this again tonight - probably the 4th or 5th time I've seen it since it was first screened as an (allegedly) true doco back in 1996. Despite knowing the whole thing was cod, I was quite surprised to find tears in my eyes as NZ pioneer film-maker Colin McKenzie accidentally filmed his own death in Spain, so drawn was I into the story.

Once you strip away the hype over the hoax factor, what's left is just a great story about a struggling film maker facing and almost overcoming insurmountable obstacles to create a work of mad genius. Anyone expecting belly laughs from 'Forgotten Silver' is probably going to be disappointed, because viewed as a story, this isn't a comedy - it's a tragedy. It's no wonder so many people were sucked into believing it when it first screened - the Colin McKenzie saga has an emotional depth which is heartbreaking.

Bonus points for a brilliant musical score, some superb technical effects (especially the corroded, bubbling, self-destructing nitrate film; most filmmakers would have settled for a couple of cliché tramlines to make the footage look old), and the gorgeous Thomas Robbins as Colin McKenzie.
21 out of 24 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Fabulous hoax
tomimt21 August 2005
Peter Jackson and Costa Boeates decided to make this great mockumentary about a man called Colin McKenzie, a man who invented such things as color film, audio film and above all, made the first full length feature movie.

Apparently it was quite a successful hoax in New Zealand, people really did buy it. And I really can't blame them, as most of the fabricated film material really looks like almost hundred years old, almost destroyed film.

And there are some very convincing famous film people, like Sam Neil, telling their knowledge of this McKenzie.

Even the tone of the film isn't actually very funny, even thought there are some things in it that are so absurd, that they make you laugh.

Over all well made mockumentary.
19 out of 22 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
A wonderful movie about the movies
msz10 June 1999
This film could've been made only by someone with a deep love of cinema : an homage to movies, coming from the heart. It's just too bad that Colin McKenzie didn't live to see his work being appreciated ...

Come to tink of it: it's just too bad that Colin didn't live at all. What a loss!
27 out of 35 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Fascinating beyond belief
el_monty_BCN12 January 2001
Warning: Spoilers
When I first saw this on Spanish TV years ago, I didn't know it was fake. In fact I didn't find out for some time, even after I had taped it and rewatched over and over and marvelled at this amazing story and even retold it with childlike enthusiasm and wonder to my less cinephile friends. It was such an overwhelming tragedy, a story that just went upwards in emotion all the time and ended with an inimaginable bang. And I couldn't help myself but think "My God, why didn't Peter Jackson make a movie with this material, instead of just a documentary? There's a drama of epic proportions here just waiting to be filmed!"

And then, months afterwards, I found out. It was too good a story to be true, of course. But I was still thankful to Jackson and Botes for making me believe it and making me feel that fascination. I'm sure Spinal Tap must be a lot funnier and Blair Witch a lot scarier if you watch them not knowing they are fake.

I still treasure Forgotten Silver in my video collection as the best documentary I have ever seen. Even if what it tells is not true.
15 out of 18 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Best kept secret
taita3 January 2002
I vividly remember the first time I watched this movie. The lead up to the finding of the old films was without any obvious clues, so it wasn't 'til the Richard Pearse footage that we became seriously suspicious. My husband is a forensic photographer so the digital imaging to get the date off the newspaper was a dead giveaway to us. The eleventy seven dozen eggs was another big pointer. From then on we treated the whole thing as a lark and just revelled in the imagination that is Peter Jackson's trade mark.

We were of course, greatly impressed with the enormity of the project and could only surmise that the actors in the "Salome" movie were also conned into thinking they were filming a real movie and didn't know the truth until the 'doco' came out. Either that or Peter Jackson has a loyal entourage that kept a secret which could never have survived in any Hollywood arena.

I look forward to even more of Peters work.....
14 out of 17 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
No CGI is needed to see the imagination and brilliance behind this visionary...
film-critic7 December 2004
To fully appreciate this film, you must consider two things. First, this is a MOCumentary. It is not a real story, but instead something created through the imagination of a very rich storyteller. Second, this film was released to the general New Zealand public without them knowing that this was a mocumentary and they completely felt that it was a real occurrence. They took the bait … hook, line, and sinker. It reminded me of the fear that Orson Welles was able to conjure when he did 'The War of the Worlds' broadcast in 1938. Welles was able to create a mythological occurrence that was packaged so well that audiences bought it. This is the same with Peter Jackson's creation, Forgotten Silver. Jackson's attention to detail and excitement behind this project is seen with every digitized photo, every sound bite, and every word of the story.

The great idea behind mocumentaries is that you have the opportunity to create a world from the ground up. I think this was an aspect that I thoroughly enjoyed about this picture was every creative angle that Jackson took with his characters. They were flawed, but in a good way. They were real, yet in a sense very cartoonish. They gave you this dream about life that is normally missing in most films, yet these guys were never alive for you to believe in. It was funny how deeply rooted you could become with this film until you had to pull yourself away and say that it was just a work of fiction. For anyone to say that about a film means that the filmmaker is doing a spectacular job. The only director that I can think of that closely able to pull this off today is Christopher Guest, but even in his work you can tell that it is a mocumentary from the beginning. Jackson never gives you the opportunity to find the truth. Everything he hands to you has been researched and tested giving us the chance to believe in our man Colin throughout all of it.

Perhaps what I am trying to say here is that Jackson doesn't just create a story, he creates a world filled with emotion and chaos. It is easy to create a story, books are released everyday, but to put visuals with this story AND build a main character that the average Joe can relate to is much harder. While only pushing 60 minutes, Jackson had quite a bit of work on his hands. This was not an easy project. Jackson not only had to play director, but also put himself into the film that I think only helped build the mirage of truth. You kept forgetting that he created this story, yet was in it himself. It honestly takes away that feeling of cinematic rubbish that Hollywood releases daily and builds a true story.

The interventions between Harvey Weinstein, Sam Neill, and Leonard Maltin only help build more of that 'truth' to the film. You hear these men from the industry talk about this fictitious man named Colin McKenzie, you begin to believe that perhaps he was alive and Jackson is just trying to tell the truth.

While I have spoken heavily about the amazing fake factoids that Jackson disperses through the film, what I found funny was the type of humor that Jackson placed intermittently throughout the film. The idea of Stan the Man is brilliant and his 'Rodney King' moment proved that it is always possible for history to repeat itself. The jail time that Colin faced due to his 'smut' film had me rolling in my seat. The exuberant size of the extras needed for this film kept me smiling throughout. There was just something about this humor that made me excited about my educational background.

Finally, I would like to say that the fact that the New Zealand public never realized that it was a mocumentary should already prove the worthiness of this film. I do not see why it didn't receive more press than it did, but this has been the biggest film enjoyment of the week. I remember a line from a film that went something like this, 'The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn't exist'. Think of this line as you witness Jackson's film Forgotten Silver. It will make you curious.

Overall, I thought that this film was beautiful. Midway through this film you will loose track of reality and think that you are watching a true documentary, and that is when you can realize that you have a master director giving you a perfect 'gem'. This was not a film filled with violence and annoying Gollems, but instead cunning wit and satire. Jackson continually proves that he can handle so much more than just The Lord of the Rings with this film. No CGI is needed to see the imagination and brilliance behind this visionary. For those of you that are huge Lord of the Rings fans, you may not enjoy it as much, but for me this was Jackson in his truest form.


Grade: ***** out of *****
9 out of 12 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
A loving and comic tribute to the Silent Screen
Rambler2 September 1999
Peter Jackson has a big heart, I think. Even for all the gore and grossness of his films (i.e.; Dead Alive aka Braindead) he always has a very heartfelt moment of sentiment. In this film, it's the loving way McKenzie is treated and the seriousness of his death scene, captured on film. While much of the film has very tongue in cheek chuckles, this part is played very seriously.

Also, as someone who works every day with "forgotten silver", I admire his treatment of the whole subject. For, while McKenzie and his films may be bogus, the plight of old movies is not. I'm amazed at how much footage shows up in attics and basements and garden sheds every year. In just the eight months so far of 1999, we have received at least 30 "new" films; rare and unique items all. And we have films done by people very much like Colin McKenzie. Private, personal projects, most of which never saw the light of day or vanished quickly after their initial release. So much "forgotten silver."
10 out of 14 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
tedg7 October 2003
Warning: Spoilers
Spoilers herein.

In 1988, Peter Greenaway made a little film called `Death in the Seine.' Filmmakers have long played with notions of created reality, but this was a clever take: real people drowned in the Seine during a period that by political accidents was erased from the calendar. But we have the reports of the coroner for these anonymous people. By `showing' them, Greenaway was reinvesting their lives with reality. An amazing idea, made sweeter by having the `corpses' obviously be alive.

In 1994, film enthusiast Peter Jackson did much the same thing with `Heavenly Creatures.' He took a real story about a famous but now forgotten case and turned it into an essay on constructed film reality. In his case, this involved Orson Welles and an ersatz Camelot named Borovnia (borrow nvia).

To judge from that film, he took the matter seriously. To judge from this one, he took it personally. The `creatures' weren't the girls, instead the fictitious beings they animated.

The next year he made this film with himself as the animator. In both cases, he plays with the nature of writing. He references Welles, of course, and `Picnic at Hanging Rock,' of course. But most of all he plays under the kiwi skin with all sorts of inside jokes to exploit the national foible.

But there's enough for the rest of us, especially if you love movies. He says this is just a joke, and he may even believe it. But there's plenty of intelligent foolery here: just in the `Salome' section. This is a recreation using exclusively modern idioms. This is post- 'Battleship Potemkin' and more obviously post- `Godfather.'

It is as if we were given a Shakespeare play that mentioned watergate.

The one really big goof is Harvey Weinstein (combined with industry shill Leonard Maltin). They could as easily have been talking about `Lord of the Rings:' huge marvelous cities in New Zealand, stock that steals 2000 eggs, deliberate pies in the face, and even the soap opera about our poor sojourner. Rings or films, it is all magic.

Ted's Evaluation -- 3 of 3: Worth watching.
7 out of 10 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Damn good hoax
arminio20 June 2002
Jackson pull this one great! It is not so believeable as some other mockumentaries (like "Curse of the Blair Witch") but this one is so funny and soo well done !

Some scenes are obviously fake but made me laugh well :) and some are so impressive especially fake silent movies that really looks like 90 years old copies (Jackson himself can be seen as extra in some scenes in "Saloma" oD )! They really did excelent job - I admire all efforts that was put to shoot it.

Relly great and funny movie that just must be seen!

7 out of 11 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Very, very good.
zmaturin8 April 2000
This hour-long documentary details the amazing work of the nearly unknown Colin McKenzie, the first man to film movies with sound or in color. He documented the first man to ever fly (before the Wright Brothers, even!) and filmed a biblical epic on a massive set he built single handedly in the mountainous forests of New Zealand. So why haven't you heard of him? It might be because most people are biased against New Zealand film-makers, or it could be because this movie is entirely fictitious.

The very real, very brilliant director Peter Jackson fashioned this very funny and touching film for New Zealand television, and it's worth checking out for many reasons. First of all, it's technically amazing- the vintage film scenes are very convincing and well thought out. Second of all, the movie is very funny, including the hilarious antics of Stan the Man, a mean spirited prankster who is kind of like Tom Green, only much less annoying because he's silent. Finally, this movie has real heart, and gets you to care about the eccentric MacKenzie. As a bonus, this movie also features (an was co-conceived by) the guy from "Bad Taste" who threw the pine cone at Derik.

This movie is kind of hard to find, but well worth hunting down, especially if you are a fan of Jackson's work (and everyone should be).
7 out of 11 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Spuzzlightyear30 December 2005
Colin Mckenzie was a brilliant New Zealand filmmaker who FINALLY got his due from Peter Jackson's brilliant documentary, "Forgotten Silver". Mckenzie seems to have inspired Jackson quite amusingly, because you can totally see some of the elements used from his 'Salome', (Which I attended the world premiere of it's restoration) in his Lord Of The Rings Trilogy. In Forgotten Silver, Jackson intertwines footage from Griffiths' early movies and his masterpiece Salome, with interviews and a fascinating trek into New Zealand wilderness to try to find the sets used in 'Salome'. It's all quite interesting and absorbing. I admire Jackson for unearthing this silent movie master (which actually I knew about before this movie came out), and await when Salome comes out on DVD!

ps Yes, I did get the joke ;)
4 out of 6 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Very Good Fake Documentary
dbborroughs20 October 2004
This life of a forgotten New Zealander at the dawn of movies is very knowing and loving. Its weirdly right on target with the way things were done by the maverick film makers of the day. Its also very funny and touching and a really good way to spend 53 minutes. I'm baffled that people actually thought this was real since there are numerous clues, nay, out right examples of why this couldn't be real, how the young film maker made movies years before anyone else is actually quite silly.

If can see this on the DVD since the extras add to the magic of the film. Chief among them is the making of documentary that tells you and shows you how they did what they did. In strange way thats even better than the film itself.

That said this is probably a renter rather than a keeper, but it should be on the must see list especially f you love old movies and movie history.
4 out of 6 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
An absolute treat
coolmule18 March 2003
Warning: Spoilers
****Warning, Spoilers*******

Hopefully the success of Lord of the Rings will encourage more people to seek out this wonderful 1995 mockumentary. This short film not only showcases Peter Jackson's versatility as a director, but also acts as a tribute to the early pioneers of cimema. Yes, the whole thing is one big lie, but it's a lie which may just get casual viewers interested in the work of the likes of D.W. Griffith and the Lumiere brothers, who are regularly namechecked in the film.

At first sight, the story of New Zealand film pioneer Colin McKenzie is completely convincing. Details of his life are intercut with real historical events such as the First World War and the Spanish Civil War. The footage from McKenzie's films looks authentically degraded, just as if it had been shot on primitive cameras a century ago. Peter Jackson and co narrate the story in a completely straight, documentary style, while the inclusion of interviews with real life industry figures such as Harvey Weinstein, Leonard Maltin and Sam Neil lends the film an air of absolute authenticity (so much so that, as the DVD making-of reveals, for 24 hours after the initial showing of the film on TV, New Zealand thought it had discovered a lost national hero). But then little doubts start to creep in, and this is where much of the humour is. To say any more would be to spoil it, but needless to say much of the fun in Forgotten Silver comes from the fact that Peter Jackson and Costa Botes were so successful in pulling the wool over everyone's eyes while at the same time including absolutely outrageous details in McKenzie's life.

As a side note, it's interesting to note the similarities between McKenzie's epic production of Salome and Peter Jackson's real life epic of The Lord of the Rings, which was four years away from filming at the time of Forgotten Silver's release. Salome, the production of which makes the shooting of Apocalypse Now seem like the filming of an average episode of Friends, took it's creator five years to film, featured epic battle sequences and required a huge cast and the construction of massive sets in the New Zealand country side. Sound familiar? If nothing else, this is a spooky foreshadowing of Jackson's later career in one of his own films. Then again, maybe Jackson had always wanted to make an epic, but at that stage in his career had to settle for a fake one.

Either way, Forgotten Silver is an utterly delightful, charming hoax which surely deserves a wider audience.

Rating - 8/10
3 out of 5 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Tongue in Cheek All the Way
Bronx-226 February 2001
I first saw MOST of this film on a flight from New Zealand to Australia, but missed the ending when the flight ended before the film. Because I was engrossed with the fine meal and service on NZAir I was suckered into this film up to my neck.

Hints abound throughout the film that things are not as they seem. The digital enhancement of the date on a newspaper is one of the early clues, but you get dragged along by the sheer magnitude and perfection of the deception. Director Jackson did not think small! His project, like Colin Mackenzie's, was of Biblical proportions!

The Lord of the Rings trilogy may make Jackson a household name the way Star Wars made George Lucas. But this will be my evil little secret, my IQ test for unwitting friends who think they are So Darn Smart.
3 out of 5 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Funny mockumentary about early cinema
MissSimonetta5 April 2016
Early film history geeks will get the most out of this mockumentary. Forgotten Silver (1995) follows the misadventures of fictional film genius Colin McKenzie, who managed to pioneer sound film, color film, aviation, "Candid Camera" style shenanigans, and the feature film, only to never get his due.

The presence of real archivists and historians complete the illusion that what we are watching is legit. The footage of the films are less convincing, much too mannered even by the heightened standards of the 1910s and 1920s. Much of the biography is hilarious too, underlined by a wry sense of silly humor, almost Forrest Gump like in the intersections of fiction and fact, like the changes the Soviet Union censors wanted to make to McKenzie's biblical epic or how he invented the close-up because of his infatuation with an actress.

Still, my fellow film history nerds will get a big chuckle out of this!
2 out of 3 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Amusing mockumentary about the man who secretly invented everything in cinema, and still remained unknown!
Ben_Cheshire23 May 2004
At this stage of his career, Peter Jackson was making strikingly original pictures, but they were mainly novelty pictures. Meet the Feebles: came up with the idea of taking muppets, and having them swear and do vulgar things. Bad Taste is superlative exploitation horror-comedy that claims to be the "grossest thing you'll ever see." Braindead was also horror comedy, and Forgotten Silver is a mockumentary about a lost New Zealand film pioneer.

Like the best mockumentaries (This is Spinal Tap), this absolutely relies on its facade of being real: to air in this, Jackson has recruited some impressive real-life movie figures, like Harvey Weinstein, Leonard Maltin and Sam Neill. As a testament to how well it puts up this facade, a couple of reviews on this site tell of people who saw it and for years thought it was real.

The persistent joke in this film is that a filmmaker would have remained entirely unknown until the making of this documentary, yet have secretly beaten every other film innovator to their discoveries: in the course of his life inventing the camera, the first feature film, the first film with a cast of thousands... i won't spoil the rest for you, but its great fun.

The other persistant joke is for locals (and the rest of us can have a good giggle too) that it was a New Zealander doing all this.

Sends up the obsession over lost films and filmmakers, as well as the entire of film history, no less. Yet it also taps into the excitement of invention, and the excitement of film discovery.

You'll get the most out of this if you know a little film history yourself, and know the real eras certain things were invented and who invented them - in which case you'll get an extra joy out of this, yet this knowledge is not necessary: Jackson slips in the dates of the actual innovations, like the first talkies and the first sound films, so you don't need to bring anything to the movie to enjoy it.
2 out of 3 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Passafist Reviews Forgotten Silver
Pasafist26 June 2003
What is truth in film? Is there any? That's a question you ponder after many repeated viewings of Peter Jackson (Heavenly Creatures) and Costa Botes' (Saving Grace) Forgotten Silver, a delightful `Mock-umentary.' I remember the first time I saw this film, it was 1997 at the Brattle Theater in Cambridge, Massachusetts. I remember the audience laughing, as I have never heard any crowd laugh before. This is a good natured and very funny film.

The film follows the story of Colin McKenzie (Thomas Robbins) a pioneer filmmaker from New Zealand. Colin is a genius; he invented brand new emulsion techniques in 1902. He photographed the first human in flight, and it wasn't the Wright Brothers. He invented color and sound for film decades before anyone else, and in the end he mounted one of the greatest epic motion pictures of all time, SALOME: A Tale of the Bible.

The movie is amazing. Any lesser film would track down stock footage to tell the story but what Botes and Jackson accomplish with grainy 16mm film and original photography is just amazing. The final 20 minutes of the movie is a painstakingly elaborate silent film that feels like real period silent movie. Colin McKenzie might not exist, but this film makes him alive.

The story goes that they showed this film on New Zealand Television and many people bought the joke. There are enough markers to make the utterly impossible. My favorite, the steam powered film camera. But then there are great moments with Sam Neil (Jurassic Park), Leonard Maltin (TV's Hot Ticket), and Harvey Weinstein (An Alan Smithee Film: Burn Hollywood Burn), that give this movie and air of credibility. I also enjoyed Beatrice Ashton's wonderful performance as Hannah McKenzie. It's done with all seriousness. There is no tongue-and-cheek in her naturally moving delivery of obviously fake lines.

As I mentioned before there is a silent film that takes up the last 20 minutes of FORGOTTEN SILVER. Sarah McLeod (Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of The Ring) plays May Belle, Colin's wife and leading lady, she is perfect. Her role as Salome is so good that you buy it. The camera love's McLeod's face, she has those soft pudgy features that are incredibly feminine, but also vampishly sexy.

This film looks so easy, but had to be absolutely painstaking. But I'm glad Jackson and Botes took the time to make it. It's a wonderful film. Imaginative, beautiful, and well worth it's hour and fifteen-minute running time.

Don't forget to spend some time with….FORGOTTEN SILVER.
3 out of 6 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
one of the sliest pieces of comedy ever made about film-making, the total joys and agonies of it
Quinoa198427 December 2006
I'm reminded seeing Forgotten Silver- of course after knowing that it was all a 'hoax' and that there is no filmmaker Colin MacKenzie- of a film where another hoax was played but with real filmmakers, Incident at Loch Ness. In both films the the ones making the film put themselves in the film, and the stories within the film within the films are fantastical and ambitious turns (in Loch Ness, a documentary by Werner Herzog about the search for Nessie, and in Silver, Peter Jackson's search for the elusive location and film cans of the first un-finished feature-length film made in New Zealand). In Forgotten Silver, however, the satire isn't really on high about how a film gets made from start to finish, although it does include that as part of it. It's really out to mock what was so delightful and absurd about the lengths to which filmmakers in the silent era looked to be further and further with their innovations and wild dreams of ambitious epics, but usually succumbed to the easiest thing- making people laugh.

Colin MacKenzie, the "pinoeer" presented in this mockumentary by Jackson and his collaborator Costa Botes, is such a filmmaker, and his up & downs type story is chronicled and inter-cut with the search for the missing film he took twenty years to make and had to hide away as to not have it taken away by the Russians &/or Italian mob. It's also done in a seemingly straightforward documentary way, like seeing one of the PBS specials or something (I'm also reminded of the recent mock-doc Confederate States of America). It ends up not being a laugh a minute really, and I found myself chuckling more than getting full gut-busting laughs like with some of Jackson's more twisted comedies like Meet the Feebles or Dead/Alive. What's amusing more-so to me is that the 'secret' of Colin MacKenzie- and that so many in New Zealand ended up thinking he was for real and did really film his friend beating the Wright brothers to flight by several months and things like that- came under the package of a Peter Jackson product, who before making this had three of his four works as some of the most absurd, low-budget pieces of work to ever come from that corner of the world.

But once that passes, and the idea that the hoax ends up working in showing what is great about the whole evolution and history of careers with directors in movies, as well as the kind of precision in restoring film, while at the same time putting some good touches to lampoon it. This comes out clearest in the actual silent footage itself, where MacKenzie breaks through first with color, but because he (unintentionally) shoots topless natives in the shot, he's thrown in jail after the judges deliberate long enough to watch the footage repeatedly. There's also MacKenzie's bread & butter as he tries to finance his pet project, Salome (the film Jackson and his team are sort of after in present-day), which are the random silent comedies of Stan the Man (Peter Corrigan in hilarious make-up), who goes about hitting people un-suspecting pies, as he figures that attacks that are on the innocent (which happens after he strikes a child in one of his early comedies) could work well, that is, until the Prime Minister is on the scene. And the actual footage shown of Salome is an extraordinarily mix of both goofy and sincere technical feats, as Jackson and Botes go in a fine style at the way the old epics from the likes of Griffith and De Mille, but with the bizarre touches Jackson's best at like with the main female star chopping off a character's head and playing around with it.

All of this is great fun, even if in-between there's a lot of actual sincere stuff put in, also in part fun in being a dead-pan examination of the the ups for MacKenzie (his ill-begotten but always accomplished feats of invention and creation) and downs too (i.e. losing his wife and child during filming his epic, and subsequently dying in world war 1). Stranger still with the picture is that Jackson and Botes almost have a kind of affection for the MacKenzie character- and as the former later displayed with his brawny popcorn epics- that even makes the material not too shallow in terms of approach for the viewer. It also might add frustration, I'd guess, if one didn't know that it was a big gag in the guise of professional historical research. But it ends up working better than I expected, and there's even a gut-bustlingly funny bit at the end as Harvey Weinstein expresses his confidence with his recently trimmed version of Salome, cutting out an hour out of the restored print.

For film buffs, Forgotten Silver is a weird kind of satirical keep-sake only Jackson and his Wingnut people could cook up.
2 out of 4 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
One of the Best films ...ever...
psu0579026 January 2004
This is one of the best films I've ever seen. Touching, real, funny. It's not a mocumentary at all because I don't feel that the point of the film is to MOCK anything. It is more, a great homage. I liked it more after witnessing Jacksons later works (i.e. LOTR). I felt as though Jackson created his own hero, his own sort of avatar by compiling all the qualities he thinks a great film artist should possess. In that sense it becomes a very post-modern work, and I believe, a very mature work, about a very human struggle to create those great epics against all odds. It inspired me to view some of Fritz Langs early work, which have some of the same phenomenal qualities as LOTR, especially the Nibelung.
2 out of 4 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
I was completely fooled.
MrEguy7 April 2002
Amazed throughout watching this film on TV. I thought I was discovering long lost history. So well done, authentic looking and convincing--I was completely pulled in.

Rent the video and show it to friends and family as a true documentary! It's wonderful to be fooled this way.
2 out of 4 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Fun And Original TV Movie
socratesadamo16 May 2019
FORGOTTEN SILVER isn't all that strange of a film, but it is just different enough to stand out in a really good way. It tells the story of a young man who, a century ago, became a pioneer in the filmmaking industry. But no one really ever heard of him.

The film is full of interviews and narration, but it's not boring. The pace is perfect and it is extremely interesting and always entertaining. At just under an hour, it's not a minute too long, but despite being short it still manages to tell a complete story in a very fun way. Highly recommend.
0 out of 0 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
An Experience.
mshackletonchavez21 December 2018
Warning: Spoilers
Quirky and unique, this hour long documentary feature fools audiences into an enticing story of a man who history has forgotten, with surprisingly dry humours tones.

This film was a bout of fun and awe, a man of great deeds, a man who invented modern cinema in all its might. This story is inspirational, entertaining and surprisingly heartbreaking and heartfelt at its end, constant disasters to the point where it became hilarious. For I knew that this film was not true, thus a strongly ironic and hilarious side shone through, and is extremely clever screenwriting.

Written, directed and starring Peter Jackson and Costa Botes, their partnership is wonderful in this film. They had a clear comedic vision, and it was realised so well, with very few in-deliberate indications that the story is not true. The whole time they are straight faced, serious and unironic. However unbeknownst to the creators of this mockumentary was the addition of Harvey Weinstein in 2018 viewing would be both a shock, disgusting and darkly hilarious. Though only funny in the sense that I wasn't expecting him to turn up. It also shows how oblivious so many people were to his actions that he unironically appears in this film, for quote some runtime as a perfectly honest citizen, yet he is one of the most unsavoury and disgusting people in the industry. A film historian also appears, as well as Sam Neill, I'd give my hats off to their acting and ability to act perfectly serious about the fictional Colin McKenzie.

Stan The Man was really a great comedic addition, he had funny little skits and how he juxtaposed in and out of the Colin McKenzie narrative. His sketches, particularly his indirect effect of the 'history' of film, and is embroilment with the Kiwi Prime Minister, as well as hs failure in Hollywood were all hilarious.

I must commend the spectacular attention to detail within this feature, with great sets, an entire secret cast, amazing costumes and fake forest exploration would convince most viewers if they didn't know the story was complete BS. The fact that people believed and still believe that this story was true, goes to show how well all the aspects payed off in the end. One must see it to understand the extent of the tomfoolery and banter that silently goes on throughout the entire film.

Overall this was a wonderful experience to watch. A great cult classic, although I watched it as most would today: on a computer, knowing exactly what this film stood for and the fun it was playing. I believe this film would be best viewed in groups, with people of whom are oblivious of its true nature, for in that aspect, the one who knows would be such an entertaining experience. This feature, despite only being 53 minutes, feels fully realised and its great fun to watch. I would thoroughly recommend this for anyone looking for a bit of strange fun, or anyone looking into Peter Jackson or obscure New Zealand cult films. 8/10
0 out of 0 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Absolutely, positively and completely believable imposter
rodney_knight20 May 2002
I channel-flicked onto Forgotten Silver just as it started at about 11:00 one weeknight a long time ago. Although totally exhausted from a day at the salt mines, I still couldn't turn off the TV. The story was compelling and convincing with enough irrelevant detail to give it the ring of truth. I was fascinated as fact after fact fell into place with the unmistakable rightness of truth.

It was only the next day, after bemusedly watching a workmate fold over laughing when I related the latest proof that a kiwi had beaten the Wright brothers to it and demanding explanation, that I discovered the whole thing was a complete fabrication. One of the few times since leaving kindergarten I have been completely taken for a ride and the only time I remember enjoying the trip.

If you appreciate a prank on the grand scale then you have to see Forgotten Silver or, better yet, see it with an unsuspecting friend.
2 out of 5 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Spinal Tap With A Heart
yammers6 December 1998
I guess it's unfair that every "mockumentary" evokes comparisons with Spinal Tap, but this one is so very well done that it actually transcends its inspiration. While FORGOTTEN SILVER provides its share of hilarious moments (the Stan-The-Man sub-plot is a stroke of pure comedic genius,) it's the poignancy of Jackson's film that makes it special. If you find yourself shedding a tear by the movie's end, it's a testament to the quirkily gifted Jackson that, even with a lark of a project, he can deliver an unexpected masterpiece.

2 out of 5 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
An error has occured. Please try again.

See also

Awards | FAQ | User Ratings | External Reviews | Metacritic Reviews

Recently Viewed