Daniel Marvin Titanic footage "recovered and acquired


Jim Kalafus

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Dec 3, 2000
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Interesting.

There does not seem to be anything else about it online. One could, if feeling ambitious, contact Biograph, America's oldest film company, and ask them for whatever press information they have available on the project.

How could it be possible? Hmmm... the Marvin family, or someone, made the film of the Marvin wedding available to the press back in 1912. My guess, and this is ONLY a guess, is that a print of the wedding film could have been paired with onboard footage of the Olympic for a faux-newsreel, soon after the disaster.

Again, contacting Bipograph, thru their website, seems like the best bet for clarification on this point.
 

Karel Bata

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Jul 27, 2010
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Someone's doing that. Will keep you posted.

It's very odd. This should be big news!


EDIT - just got this

"Well I tried the office numbers of both their New York and Hollywood offices. Both said the number was non working. Not a good sign at all.

But their myspace and facebook pages are current, so there's hope. I wrote them, and hopefully there'll be some answers coming."
 
Jun 27, 2002
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Hello. I've been working on getting more details. I'm the one who found out about the phones not working, which Karel mentioned. Well, I just got this VERY intriguing reply, from Thomas Bond of the American Biograph company, which is producing the documentary. If what he says bears out, we could be on the cusp of something huge. Here is the message in its entirety:

"Hello, I'm Thomas R. Bond II with Biograph Company. We appreciate your interest in our 'Titanic' project. Unfortunately because of confidentiality in production of this (As most companies) cannot reveal sensitive information, but we can certain information. 1. Yes, Marvin did have a camera on the Titanic, from what I was told by Blanche Sweet it was a Pathe 1909 handcrank. 2. Yes, there was film taken aboard the Titanic, on that I can only make that statement though there is alot more but again due to confidentiality I cannot reveal details. 3. Yes, films that are Biograph not only copyright, but also our trademark. 4. Yes, we are VERY legitimate. On our phone lines, we are switching over lines and sometimes it is difficult to get thru. You are certainly welcome to check us out on Google, since we have many business listings and a major internet presence. We are always happy to answer any question (We can) and our email is biograph@biographcompany.com Thank you!"

I plan to keep following this, and will post any new developments as they come.
 
Mar 3, 2010
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Can you imagine how amazing that would be? To see footage of the Titanic. We might finally get a glimpse of the grand stair-case! Though I doubt it, the lighting probably wouldn't of been that great.
 
Jun 27, 2002
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Agreed, which is why I intend to keep a close eye on this one. If there is even a small kernel of truth, it could be one of the biggest developments in Titanica in the last decade!
 

Karel Bata

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Jul 27, 2010
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However it works out, this will prove very interesting. Mr. Bond is in for a lot of scepticism!

What confuses matters enormously is that many early movies were re-enactments. Nowadays they are frowned upon (unless it's a biopic and labelled as such) but re-staging an event has a long history going back to oil paintings, and earlier, which in themselves are a re-enactment of a moment. Before photography newspapers would print an artist's impression of what an event looked like, and even after photos became commonplace events would be re-staged for the camera - the most infamous perhaps being the raising of the flag at Iwo Jima. But even by then it was a practice frowned upon. Back in 1912 re-enactments were rife. In fact, a certain Miss Dorothy Gibson starred in a movie about her own survival of the Titanic disaster - "A Startling Story of the Seas Greatest Tragedy - A FILM WITHOUT PARALLEL" Eclair Film Co. I'd love to see that one!

So maybe it's no surprise that Daniel and Mary Marvin had already re-enacted their own wedding for the camera. And since Daniel's father, Henry Marvin, was one of the founders of the Biograph company, doing that was almost to be expected. But would Henry re-stage events surrounding the death of his own son? And then leave it in a vault? (There's a movie there in itself methinks) Or who else would do that?

It's not impossible that Mary brought the roll of film back with her and handed it to her father-in-law, who put it in a vault where it has sat ever since, and no-one has ever thought to mention it... But how likely is that?

Biograph say 'recovered and acquired' What does that mean?

Anyway, here's a tidbit: in the Cameron film when the Carpathia arrives it encounters flotsam on the water's surface, among which is... the movie camera itself! One could surmise, if that had really happened, that someone fished it out of the water...

No, I'm not serious.

Either way, if they handle it right, I think these Biograph chaps have got a hit on their hands! (And it's likely to kick up a storm here!)
 

Karel Bata

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Jul 27, 2010
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"Biograph has recovered and acquired the actual film images taken aboard the Titanic, believed to have been taken by Marvin."

So he wouldn't be in it if he was operating. Good point though Jeremy. Mary would have to be in it somewhere, or else be very conspicuous by her absence. Or else (in a fake) she's played by someone else...

Way too much conjecture at this stage perhaps. We'll just have to wait two years and see...
 
Aug 8, 2007
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One more thing about this. I explored IMDB's listings further and found the following:

"The documentary has film clips taken by the British Mutoscope and Biograph Company on Titanic's launching."

This appears on the trivia page:
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0914856/trivia

Apparently, this will also include footage of Titanic's launch, if this is to be believed.

True or not, this is all very intriguing, and I will be holding my breath for this one!
 

Jim Kalafus

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Hmmm... if it is truly Marvin footage, then it would have to have gone off the ship at Cherbourg. It seems improbable, at best, that Mary would have carried one of the bulky, eight minute, unexposed reels off the ship with her.

>Well, if the footage is of Daniel and Mary Marvin, how are they going to re-enact it post-Titanic disaster?

They arent, but they were among the few of whom good quality footage was available. The Marvins or Farquharsons were not SO stricken by grief that they did not make the film available to the newspapers in the wake of the disaster. As I said early, pairing the Marvin wedding film with existing Olympic deck footage would not have been impossible.

This is REALLY going out on a limb, but anecdotally, Daniel DID supposedly capture an onboard view of the near collision. That was definitely an exclusive for Biograph, and worthy of putting off the ship for immediate processing when they arrived, late, in France. Or perhaps in Queenstown. Arranging the transfer would have required a flurry of telegrams to and from Daniel, no evidence of which has ever surfaced, and begs the larger question "So, why was the film never shown?" but it is interesting to ponder, nevertheless.
 
Jun 27, 2002
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What muddles things more is there was ANOTHER cameraman on board, William Harbeck. He has been discussed in other threads, but the gist of it is he had five cameras on board, plus 100,000 feet of raw stock. The man who sold him the gear later said one of the cameras was pre-loaded with film so he could grab some shots on board. Lawrence Beesley later commented that he saw a married couple filming the near collision in Southampton, and this has often been assumed to be the Marvins. However, since they were in 1st class, while Beesley was in Second, it is more likely he saw Harbeck, who was in 2nd class as well, and traveling with a companion who may or may not have been his mistress.

Also, at TRMA, another forum member contacted AB, and got this reply from Mr. Bond:

"Thank you for your inquiry. Again, because of confidentiality we cannnot reveal alot, however we did monitor the cinemetography.com website that does have incorrect information. I can say we are working on archival and will be restoring fottage for this 60 min. DVD.

Thank you again for your interest."
Thomas R. Bond II

So there is not much new here, but hats off to Mr. Bond for maintaining communication. If we can all maintain polite interest in this project, hopefully they will be willing to reveal more.
 

Jim Kalafus

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>It could be that Biograph had no idea what they had.

There is a 1912 review, and a bad one, blasting films which advertized themselves as TITANIC DISASTER that proved themselves to be "most uninteresting general views of the keel, and launching."

So, at one time there WAS footage of the launch being shown in theaters in NYC, under the bait and switch of promising a TITANIC DISASTER film.

What was general and uninteresting in 1912 would indeed be interesting from today's perspective.
 

Karel Bata

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Jul 27, 2010
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Good point.

And meanwhile we're assuming it was correctly exposed, and in focus - it might not have been! Or it may have been damaged. All good reasons to shelve it. But that can be fixed now, to some degree.

Would be good if Mr. Bond had indicated which particular bit of information was inaccurate. It's like saying "Some of what you say is right, but some is not. And I'm not telling you which." Keep us guessing eh?
 
Mar 3, 2010
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"Some of what you say is right, but some is not. And I'm not telling you which."

My teacher used to do that with my homework... bothered me to no small degree.
 
Mar 18, 2008
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I would be very carefully with this one. Sure there is more talk about and in the end it would be some scenes put together from different newsreels.
And did the people from the company do really know that it is Titanic? Still today old clips from Olympic (and a few other ships) are used in documentary's as the Titanic.
 

Karel Bata

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I've uncovered this: http://bit.ly/FilmLake

"He told me that shortly before she died, she asked him to take her out on the Moose River in a family row boat. She had two films with her. When she told him to stop - she told him a story about Titanic and then told him that one of the films was of her and Daniel getting married (theirs was the first filmed wedding - but the movie was made after they were actually married) AND THE OTHER WAS OF TITANIC - taken by her husband. After she told him - Stuart says that she tossed the two films into the river."

and

"She tells how the films were dropped in the life boat by Daniel as Mary was thrown in the boat - breaking her spine."

So Mary Marvin broke her spine on getting into the lifeboat? Interesting how these details disappear.

So maybe Biograph have been doing some diving..?

So who's property would that actually be? I can see a law suit here. No wonder Biograph are being tight-lipped.
 

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