If you’re not familiar with the 1927 silent film from Tacoma, Washington, Eyes of the Totem, you’re not alone. Thought to have been lost forever for the last eight decades, Tacoma Historic Preservation Coordinator Lauren Hoogkamer unearthed the film in an amazing discovery in the archives of a New York City museum in 2014. This Sunday, December 18, Eyes of the Totem makes its Seattle premiere at Northwest Film Forum, followed by a panel discussion with the composer. From NWFF:
The film was directed by W.S. Van Dyke and stars Wanda Hawley & Tom Santschi. Many historic sites in and around Tacoma make an appearance in the film; some buildings which stand no more are seen again, while a number of remaining buildings (the Winthrop, Annie Wright School, and Thornewood Castle, to name a few) make a fine showing. And of course, Tacoma’s very tall totem pole (now in Fireman’s Park, then in front of the now lost Tacoma Hotel) plays a leading role.
Soon after H.C. Weaver Productions released Eyes of the Totem, “talkies” killed silent film as an investment and the only film studio in the Pacific Northwest closed permanently. Not long after that, the company’s three films were thought to be lost forever; “pulp” films such as these were created for quick market consumption and considered too costly to preserve.
Visit eyesofthetotem.com for more info on the film and the strange circumstances of its discovery. And check out this teaser trailer to boot.
Northwest Film Forum Presents: Eyes of the Totem
When: Sunday, December 18, 4pm
Where: Northwest Film Forum (1515 12th Ave)
Tickets are $11 or $6 for NWFF members