The career of my grandfather is shrouded in mystery; no aspect more so than that of his time within the British film world of the late 1930’s at Denham Film Laboratories.
All of my previous attempts to discover the facts proved utterly useless. Apart from an obscure reference to David Oliver’s business relationship with Sir Alexander Korda in Rachel Low’s Film Making in 1930’s Britain-(Harper Collins 1985) there is no proof of David Oliver’s involvement in the British cinema. Only after a random search for details of his U.K. naturalization did I accidentally stumble upon a secret dossier within the British government’s archives. Marked “dangerous to relatives and other living persons” the files are over 300 pages long and were sealed on Jan 1st, 1954… not to be opened for 100 years.
What I have discovered is beyond belief.
On April 10th, 2016, as part of the awareness-raising campaign on behalf of the documentary UFA MAN- The Hidden Life of Film Pioneer David Oliver, the Vancouver International Film Festival hosted a screening of Robert Wiene’s Genuine. Here is a short film we made to document the extraordinary music performed by the Oliver-Film Ensemble. Many thanks to Daniel Ruiz, Marc Wild, Matt O’Donnell, Justin Patterson and Vi-An Diep and of course to our wonderful Vancouver audience… More dates to be announced soon!!
Are modern audiences ready for Genuine?
Watch the new trailer for the Oliver-Film Ensemble’s upcoming live performance of this forgotten jewel of German expressionism! Stay tuned for more details…
Hans Heinrich von Twardowski and Fern Andra
Film poster for the Marmorhaus, one of David Oliver’s many Berlin cinemas.
Genuine is a 1920 silent film directed by Robert Wiene. The unsuccessful follow-up to Wiene’s groundbreaking The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, the film stars the mysterious American actress Fern Andra in the title role as the love slave of a depraved aristocrat. With its weird sets and bizarre costumes, Genuine is a remarkable document from a lost era in film making. Produced by Erik Pommer, Rudolf Meinert, David Oliver for Decla 1920. Music by Mark Oliver. Musicians: Kozue Matsumoto: koto, Vi-An Diep: zheng, Mark Oliver: percussion, bass, electronic strings. Produced by Paul Ruskay at Studio X-Labs, Vancouver
Here is a clip from our recent “live screening” event at the Fox Cabaret. Many thanks to all the talented people who made such a great contribution: Marc Wild, Erin Denhartigh, Ethan Belcourt-Lowe, Matt O’Donnell, Daniel Ruiz, Paul Ruskay, Tetiana Zairuba, Beverly Dobrinsky, Justin Patterson and the lovely Athena Theny!!