Letters to the editor: positive responses
What a hoot! If anyone will go down in Kiwi, nay in world cinematic history, it will be this innovative film maker. We sat down to watch an interesting and promising doco on a pioneer of NZ cinematography (Forgotten Silver, TV1, October 28), and could only marvel at the work and ingenuity that went into this huge, hilarious practical joke. The secrecy alone would have been a major feat. I can't recall exactly when we cottoned on to the scam. I think it was somewhere round the 2000 dozen eggs, but well before the city in the hills. The digital imaging of the newspaper was a big clue as well. The rolling camera in the Spanish Civil War was a good touch. It almost brought tears to the eye ...tears of laughter. I have always been a big fan of Peter Jackson and his movies. He is a man with an extraordinarily macabre sense of humour. Let's have more of it. The lesson to be learnt from this doco is the camera CAN tell a lie. Don't believe everything you see, hear, or read. Full marks to TV1 for going along with the gag. When it comes to quality viewing they invariably come up with winners.
Well done Peter Jackson for the creation of such an 'important' documentary on previously unknown film pioneer Colin McKenzie. Yes, I too would love to believe that Richard Pearce had his first flight filmed, to shove in the noses of the Wright brothers enthusiasts. Now, will the real genius of 20th century filmmaking in NZ please stand up - or do we have to hark back to a certain Orson Welles radio play for a reality cheek?
It was obvious early on, from the dozens of inconsistencies, that the whole thing was a put up job. What really gave the game away (if filming his own death wasn't enough) was the footage of Richard Pearse and his flying machine. There were many witnesses to Richard's flights in 1902 and 1903 and not one, in their sworn affidavits, ever mentioned a filmmaker.
The Forgotten Silver hoax has caused something of a stir.
Without being too cynical, one might observe that it should serve as a timely reminder to viewers not to take too uncritically the content of other so-called documentaries.
On Monday, October 30, the aggrieved stormed the palaces in their thousands. Actually, angry licence-fee payers phoned NZ On Air and upset readers phoned this magazine, all because they felt conned. The occasion, of course, was the hoax of the decade - Peter Jackson and Costa Botes's Forgotten Silver. In an industry that finds it impossible to keep a secret for more than five seconds, this was also the best-kept secret of the decade. Even, we understand, NZ On Air boss Chris Prowse was briefly fooled, and Creative New Zealand got excited over this world-class director from our past. A problem remains - will Forgotten Silver be nominated as documentary, drama or comedy at next year's Film and TV Awards? And will the heat have cooled down enough by then for Jackson and Botes to show their faces?
Softened up by the Listener article, "Heavenly features" (October 28), I delighted in Montana Sunday Theatre: Forgotten Silver (TV1, October 29). Little question marks, a few major strains of credibility, but fascinated to the end.
Congratulations to the perpetrators - it was the best New Zealand entertainment in 10 years!
The producers have done us all a service by showing how easy it is to hoodwink a viewing public that has been conditioned to believe that anything labeled "documentary" is necessarily the truth.
What a documentary about a brilliant New Zealander on Montana Sunday Theatre on television. His genius amazed me, and I sat enthralled as this man's talents were unfolded. I could not understand the ignorance of those who refused to invest money in his epic movie; I wept at the sadness of his deep love for his leading lady who loved his brother; and the tears flowed copiously when his brother died in the war. His happiness mirrored my own when he finally wed his life-long love; and his death, while a cameraman at the front, almost shattered me.