(Oscar Apfel, US 1914, 74 min., 35mm)
Silent Tuesdays. The Last Volunteer was borne out of the American public’s combined unease and romantic fascination with Europe’s complicated politics leading to the First World War. Its story—an overworked monarch seeks the simple life and finds an honest emotional link with a commoner, while enemy spies and betrayers within his own government create conflict in his absence—directly mirrored American and European concerns of the time. The Last Volunteer is especially notable as one of the few extant features directed by Oscar Apfel (who essentially taught Cecil B. DeMille filmmaking). Leading man Irving Cummings later became an important director at 20th Century Fox, responsible for films ranging from Curly Top to The Story of Alexander Graham Bell. Contemporary reviews noted the creative staging of the film’s battle scenes, and it is overall a very lavish, intriguing, and polished American feature for its day. This will be the first exhibition of the George Eastman Museum’s restoration from the only known 28mm source.
Preceded by The Latest Kinks in Canning (Paramount-Bray Pictographs, US ca. 1917, 4 min., 35mm), Manufacture of Paper (International Paper Company, US 1919, 5 min., 35mm), and Making Cut Glass (Kalem Company, US 1914, 5 min., 35mm), three of the latest preservations that the Eastman Museum has completed from original 28mm film materials.
Live piano by Philip C. Carli.
Special support provided by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.