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Tales from the Klondike

The actual Klondike, not my living room today (though it sure am cold in here).

Dawson City grew up around the Klondike Gold Rush. It went from a remote Indian camp to a city of 40,000 back down to a town of 8,000 when the gold rush ended in 1899. It’s hovered around 1,000 ever since.

But it had a movie theater. And because it was so remote, it was the end of the line for the movie circuit. That is, after the movies were shown, they were thrown away.

In 1978, a construction company accidentally stumbled over them, buried under a hockey rink. They dated from 1903 to 1929. In all, there were 533 reels of film, some from silents that were thought to have been lost forever. Many were damaged, but I imagine the cold helped preserve them. We know how nitrate film likes to burst into flames.

Wikipedia on the Dawson Film Find.

Dawson City: Frozen Time is a 2016 documentary put together from the reels, though I gather “documentary” is not a very good description. It’s something altogether more dreamy and strange.

You can watch the official trailer on YouTube.

What? No. I haven’t seen it yet. I’m waiting to find a used copy. I use this blog as a notepad, you know.

p.s. Bonus. The totally unrelated short film Battle at Big Rock is totally worth ten minutes of your life. Stick around for the credits.

February 9, 2021 — 8:09 pm
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