Dawson City: Frozen Time 4.0 stars

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For cinema, at least, the Yukon Territory’s Dawson City was quite literally the end of the line. With no further bookings on the horizon, most of the combustible nitrate prints that played the movie house in that turn-of-the-century gold rush town were given an unceremonious burial at sea. But a fortunate few were left to languish in a subarctic swimming pool, preserved in permafrost and discovered during the building of a new hotel in 1978. This time, the rush came from film archivists, panning for (and finding) a different sort of gold. There are no talking heads in Bill Morrison’s black-and-white documentary on the find; with the exception of a brief interview with the folks who assisted in the excavation, the doc is as silent as the movies it chronicles. In a perfect world, the feature would be a tease for a Blu-ray box set of uncut footage. And watching at home would allow the viewer to find some form of background music to cover up Alex Somers’ simply dreadful noise accompaniment.

Scott Marks

Length: 2 hours

Rated: NR

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