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THE ADVENTURES OF ALGY

Australia, 1925 (MIFF 1988)

Director: Beaumont Smith

Not a Napoleon, a Broken Blossoms, or a Sunrise - something just as special but altogether rarer one of ours. The Adventures of Algy is a spirited romantic comedy/drama, a local folk film very much a part of its time (1925) and place (New Zealand and Australia) The story is perfectly slight and concerns Algy's meandenngs through the New Zealand countryside in search of his inheritance and the woman he loves, having been tricked by a cousin into inheriting a barren stretch of land in New Zealand rather than a rich sheep station His prevailing mania, however, is for a seemingly insoluble crossword puzzle (crossword puzzles had recently been revived, becoming a craze for adults) Following a series of misadventures from the streets of Auckland to the oil wells of Taranaki, the film reaches its climax with the opening of an extravagant new show at a Sydney theatre a marvel lously bizarre vaudeville amalgamation of ballet, fan, Maori and even Cossack dances, where Algy is reunited with his true-love Kiwi (Bathic Stuart), a dancer.

In The Adventures of Algy comedian Claude Dampicr reprises the English 'silly-ass' role he had estabhscd on both the vaudeville stage and on film in Beaumont Smith's Hello Marmaduke (1924). Local audiences found much to laugh at given the pompous Pom's difficulty in adapting to colonial customs.

Enterprising producer/director/writer, Beaumont Smith had become of the most successful Australian producers of the silent era, making what were almost certainly the first Australian/New Zealand co-productions in The Betrayer (1921] and Algy (1925), amongst his 17 silent features.

After the success of the films initial release all copies were cither lost or destroyed, until a substantially complete print was discovered m New Zealand in the early 60's When the remaining 'lost' scenes were found in Australia in 1986, Algy could at last be reconstructed to its original form.

A new score was written by the New Zealand Film Archive's composer in residence Dorothy Buchanan for the film's re-presentation at the 1986 Auckland Film Festival, with a new print restored by the National Film and Sound Archive It is in this form that we arc pleased to present the first Australian screening of the film in decades, 63 years to the day after its world premiere.

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