Lost Django Footage



  • RipRip olympia, washingtonNew
    Posts: 353

    Color had been added. Anyway, if it never gets released, I guess that's fine.

    This is the last time that I will bring up the footage issue.

    I you are reading this and you have unreleased django footage, but do not wish to release it, for what ever reason, then I respect your free will.

    Maybe at one time, I to may have even kept it secret, had someone given it to me in confidence, or if I had purchased it as a collector, then I would not want to release it, because the money I spent to acquire it would be wasted. Or maybe I consider myself to be a gypsy who does not want to share the footage the same way certain cultures and religions do not wish to share certain things that they consider to be sacred. Who really owns what? Is Ed Sheerand allowed to write a song that sounds like Marvin Gayes. Perspectives will vary.

    And finally, think of how the world might benefit from being able to experience the footage. Is bringing joy to 1,000's, if not more, not greater? We all have a choice.


  • Teddy DupontTeddy Dupont Deity
    Posts: 1,264

    It is very hard to comprehend how Django could be in a colour film of any type. Certainly not one made for for TV since he died too early for that to be possible as stuology says. I don't understand the guitar description either (semi hollow!!).

    For me the most likely place for colour film to have been taken of Django playing an electric guitar with a big band would be when he was touring with Duke Ellington. However, it is highly unlikely he would have been playing "J'Attendrai". He played essentially the same set with the Ellington band and it did not include that.

    It is also hard to understand why anyone would make a professional, choreographed colour film of Django or any non-American jazz musician performing in the late 40s/early 50s. It would be very expensive and Django was no longer even a particularly commercially attractive jazz musician by then.

    Surely if such a film had ever been shown in any public forum, the news would have spread like wildfire.

    I would love to believe it is true but I am afraid I am very sceptical at the moment.

    Does anyone know Stephane Wrembel well enough to pursue the matter with him personally?

  • RipRip olympia, washingtonNew
    Posts: 353

    All I know is what I saw.

    I was one of the headlining guitarist at the first django a gogo festival in 2004. It was me, robin katz alfonso and stephane . Ben woods, who is on this forum, payed rhythm guitar for me and he remembers it. we've talked about. this was before the gypsy jazz explosion.

  • billyshakesbillyshakes NoVA✭✭✭ Park Avance - Dupont Nomade - Dupont DM-50E
    Posts: 1,344

    Could it be that it was black & white original footage that was colorized, similar to Wizard of Oz or Gone with the Wind. I could definitely see someone who was a fan of this music who had that skillset applying it to old footage. I never understood the concept of someone paying a lot of money for something and then feeling the exclusivity of it. Especially if it was just digitized footage (ones and zeros) which could be duplicated infinitely. That same passionate collector could very well spend that money to acquire it and then share it to the world. Knowledge these days is democratized through wikipedia. We have access to all the knowledge that has ever been created in the world within 30s via a search on our pocket device. Much like I don't understand people who steal works of art only to keep them hidden in their homes or in secret vaults. Let art be seen and heard. Let it grow, breathe, and inspire!

  • RipRip olympia, washingtonNew
    Posts: 353

    Yes, it was a black and white video that got colorized, like the wes video i posted earlier in the thread. For some reason I thought this was called technicolor, but colorized would be the correct term. I share your sentiment billy. I actually forgot about it for a while since this was pre youtube and i was never an internet guy. I just thought i would say something, before i just let it go all together. i'm actually surprised it hasn't been released, still. i've thought about contacting stephane, but i figure if he wanted to release, then he would have. i talked to ben about it once and he told me it was probably from when django came to america.

    Just know that it is out there and I believe there is more.

  • stuologystuology New
    Posts: 196

    Well if anyone is going to have access to secret Django film it would be Stephane, he is very well connected to some rich American folk - and he grew up near Samois. He is the perfect intermediary if anyone wanted to sell some Django footage to a collector, and I imagine he would ask for a copy as his price.

    I think this was most likely silent film with J’Attendrai added - I agree it would be an incredible coincidence if the two surviving broadcasts of Django were of him playing the same song, especially one he only recorded once in the 30s. But if someone had gone to the trouble of colorising it - not easy in 2004 - then they could have added a soundtrack too.

    I don’t see why Django’s family would have access to original film but it is possible that someone in his family pointed a cine camera at a television and made copies that way. Django did seem to like recording himself.

    Sadly, if anyone does discover lost Django footage, the best way to make money from it would be to sell it to a collector - and the best person to help me with that probably would be Stephane.

  • RipRip olympia, washingtonNew
    Posts: 353

    no sound track was added, it was actual footage. like i said, it was fucking mind blowing.

    he told me he got it from some gypsies in samois. if he did end up selling it to a rich person, then he won't share it, otherwise the rich person would be pissed and want their money back. if you ever run into him, you know what to ask.

  • scotscot Virtuoso
    Posts: 658

    Another strange post, with maybe some misunderstandings about record/document collecting (for ease of description "document" means any form of media). I have been collecting all and any documents I could find about gypsy jazz for about 30 years. Teddy Dupont has been at it longer than I have, but I think his focus is a bit narrower than mine - he is mostly interested in Django, where I am interested in everything related. There were collectors in the US before I got started - John Bajo, Fred Sharp, Mike Peters. Fred and John were really generous, Mike less so. There were also collectors in Europe like Ian Cruickshank, Alain Antoinetto, Francois Ravez and Luc Moiseef.  Most of these men have passed away now, but there are still many others diligently tracking down everything. Alain A's collection of cassettes was staggering! I was lucky, I knew John Bajo quite well, what a character he was! John helped John Steiner record Django when he played in Chicago and was very well connected with collectors in Europe. And he always bought two of every LP.  He gave me countless rare field recordings, magazine articles, private discographic research and so on. I had many other sources - Francis Moerman and his friends gave me many priceless documents. Other modern collectors in the USA had other sources and the internet allowed us all to coordinate and share our rarities. For me, I never had any particular interest in records, only the content, so cassettes were what I got - I had collected blues 78s in an earlier life and did not want to do that again. Record collecting is a different thing and tends to be very mercenary - read "Do Not Sell At Any Price" by Amanda Petrusich, a hilarious book on the subject.

    Compared to blues 78s, GJ 78s and LPs generally have little monetary value. I bought my only Django 78s as a nice box set of 4 complete with the original booklet for about $25, it's probably still worth about the same. I think that's why this little sector of a small music community has always thrived on it's own generosity. In 30 years no one ever offered to sell me anything - in fact people's generosity has always been really amazing. On my many trips to France people just gave me stuff - books, cassettes, sheet music, magazines - someone once just gave me a piece of tortoiseshell big enough to make six picks.  

    I have always been willing to share nearly everything, as I believe in sharing as others shared with me. I held things back sometimes, but only until I could fully exploit their barter value.  But if anyone asked me for something specific, even if they had nothing to trade, if I had it I always shared. Over the years I sent out hundreds of packages with cassettes and discs, now thumb drives... As Francis Moerman (a very wise man) advised me, if you have a guitar you don't want, of course you sell it. But copying a cassette costs nothing and who knows what it will bring in return. It was fun, sending out cassettes and then waiting to see what would turn up in the mailbox. 

    My point here is that in our little community, generosity has always been the rule. The idea of "some rich guy" paying an exorbitant amount of money for a few unknown minutes of Django on a DVD to secretly watch at night like an art thief seems ludicrous to me. Wealthy guitar collectors are typically willing to share their treasures for recordings etc. The famous blues collector Joe Bussard would always make you a cassette of anything in his collection, and he charged a pittance per tune, like a dime or something. The dog in the manger is genuinely rare in the world of GJ collecting.

    Over the years there has been endless speculation about more film/video of Django. First it was more from the J'attendrai session including SGB and Puttin' on the Ritz, then (when he died) it was Sascha Distel who supposedly had a cache of unknown video, and so on. Many people have searched and searched and nothing ever turns up. Nothing has ever turned up.  I don't know what Rip and Ben saw, but my bet is it something like the "Feerie" video on youtube today - a colorized pastiche of some kind. But I am certainly going to ask around!  

    Sorry to be so long-winded, but sometimes "collectors" or archivists (how I think of my own endeavors...) get a bad rap, which is rarely justified.        

  • MichaelHorowitzMichaelHorowitz SeattleAdministrator
    edited May 2023 Posts: 6,155

    When I lived in The Netherlands I remember Jan De Jong (former rhythm player for Fappy) was convinced that Sacha Distel, the French actor/guitarist and narrator of the Django Legacy, had unseen footage of Django. He routinely wrote Sascha asking him to release it to the public. I have no idea what he based this theory on, but he was sure of it.

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