Short movies have become so fashionable, thanks to film festivals and the Internet, that it's easy to forget that they've always been a staple of motion-picture production. Some of today's screen artists have acknowledged the influence of shorts made long before they were born, and in a recent show at New York's adventurous Anthology Film Archives, filmmaker Brian Frye showed favorites from his private collection.
Appropriately titled "Marginalia and Apocrypha," the program illustrated the wide range of short-film production. It began with Liberace playing "Tiger Rag" on his grand piano and ended with the self-conscious artiness of "One Alone," a six-minute psychological drama. In between came everything from a promotional movie and a Punch and Judy show to an interview with George Bernard Shaw and two adventure flicks starring a photogenic chimpanzee.
Are these "good movies" or mere novelties from the low-budget past? It all depends on your point of view, but film fans everywhere will benefit if Frye keeps sharing his eclectic collection.
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