Ravished Armenia 1919
The Story of Aurora Madiganian

DVD
(Number: VGE0011)
$25.00

Language(s): English

A newly restored and edited 24 minute segment of the historic motion picture produced in 1919. It includes a music score, an introduction, 125 subtitles and a slideshow of production stills.

Ravished Armenia is a rare surviving 24 minute segment from the all-length motion picture produced in 1919 that graphically relates the narrative account of a young Armenian girl who survived the Armenian Genocide of 1915 and lived to tell about it. For over eighty years film historians have been searching the world for the nine reels of Ravished Armenia produced in 1919 but failed to find a trace. It was presumably lost to history until the year 2000 when a researcher in Buenos Aires, South America, who for years had diligently investigated every lead to find the lost reels, came forward with this surviving 24 minute segment. He related the tragic fate of the film in the 1930s and 1940s and how the remaining reels of the rare nitrate based film were lost, some say presumably sunk with a ship on their way to the port of Batoum, or stolen by thieves in the port city of Batoum.

From private collections in the United States in me 1920s the film had been sent to Europe in the 1930s where it was shown. When originally produced in Hollywood California by W. N. Selig in 1919, and directed by the then well known director Oscar Apfel, the film included English subtitles for every scene, in Europe, French and Armenian titles replaced the English titles. A list of the original subtitles for Ravished Armenia is preserved in The Selig Collection at the Margaret Herrick Library of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. They are also reproduced in the book by Anthony Slide, "Ravished Armenia and the Story of Aurora Mardiganian" published by Scarecrow Press, 1997, which tells the story of the making of the film and reprises the young girl's story published in 1918 as a book.

As reported in The New York Times in 1919 and billed as the "official photo-drama of the National Motion Picture Committee of the American Committee for Relief in the Near East" the film premiered in New York on Sunday February 16, 1919 in the east ballroom of the Plaza Hotel at a private showing for 900 people prominent in American society, and played afterwards publicly for ten days. Mrs. Oliver Harriman, Chairman of the Committee, delivering the address, told how the young girl was a typical case selected from among her people to "acquaint America with ravished Armenia so there will be no misunderstanding in the mind of anyone about the terrible things which have transpired."

Co-chaired by Mrs. George W. Vanderbilt, the committee decided not to eliminate from the public showing of the film any of the harrowing scenes. Tickets to the showing were $10 each. The film then showed in London at Queen's Hall before an audience that included Viscount Bryce, author of the Blue Book report 'Treatment of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire" who affirmed that everything "was true and if anything fell short of the facts."

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