Historian Fernando Pena has made a rare find, reports Scott Foundas in Variety.
Pena has unearthed an alternate European cut with French intertitles of silent comedy star Buster Keaton’s 1922 short “The Blacksmith,” one of the countless two-reelers Keaton made for producer Joseph M. Schenck. This is an unusual case where two versions of the short–filmed with two side by side cameras– are very different, including never before seen gags. Keaton-directed 1928 feature “Steamboat Bill Jr.” also boasts two versions.
In the short Keaton plays a small-town iron forger who is assaulted by the tools of his trade such as a huge overhead magnet. As he tries to fix a tire on a fancy Rolls Royce, he completely destroys the car.
Pena was plowing through a batch of 9.5mm film prints that were bought on eBay in 2008 by fellow collector Fabio Manes. The curator plans to restore the print so it can be seen by audiences.