The Fatal Flower
|The Fatal Flower was originally a production of the Port Arthur Amateur Cinema Society. In 1930 they began production on The Fatal Flower, their third film, and the last they would attempt to make.
A year earlier the group made history by producing A Race for Ties, Canada’s first feature-length amateur film. The success of A Race for Ties led them to make a comedy entitled Sleep Inn Beauty and begin production on The Fatal Flower, a murder mystery. The Port Arthur Amateur Cinema Society invested in new equipment and sought new talent for what was to be their most ambitious film project. Unfortunately, The Fatal Flower was the last film that the Port Arthur Cinema Society would attempt. Although they managed to get it shot, the advent of “talkies” and the Depression prevented them from finishing the film.Then, 70 years later, Ron Harpelle and Kelly Saxberg “discovered” the film at the Library and Archives of Canada. With the support of a Burrit/Thompson Award, and a grant from the Audio-Visual Preservation Trust of Canada, a new group of filmmakers undertook the task of finishing The Fatal Flower. After deciding on the order for the scenes and playwright, Peter Raffo, was given the task of writing a scenario for the film. As he wrote, Kelly Saxberg began editing the film and musician Danny Johnson began composing an original score for the film. Historian Michel Beaulieu was commissioned to conduct research on the Port Arthur Amateur Cinema Society and a number of other people participated along the way. Finally, in 2004 “The Fatal Flower” bloomed again and it is a tribute to Canada’s filmmaking heritage.
In conjunction with the finishing of the film, Ron Harpelle spearheaded “The Fatal Flower Project.” This is an effort to bring the films of the Port Arthur Amateur Cinema Society back into circulation, and produce an educational website that allows teachers to use the films in the classroom. In addition, Ron Harpelle and Michel Beaulieu edited The Lady Lumberjack: An Annotated Collection of Dorothea Mitchell’s Writings. To discover more about this combination of films, a book and a website, visit www.ladylumberjack.ca.