Scorsese and DeMille legacies preserved at Eastman House

Posted by on Jan 26 2010 | Motion Pictures

At the Golden Globe Awards last week, Martin Scorsese was honored with the Cecil B DeMille Award by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association. The award is given for Lifetime Achievement in Film, and for Martin Scorsese that includes not only his Oscar-winning directing career, but also his dedication, support, and pursuit of film preservation. 

Scorsese's "Raging Bull," screening at the Dryden Theatre Jan. 27, is held in the collections along with home-movie footage taken during filming.

Mr. Scorsese has a long-standing relationship with George Eastman House. For almost twenty years now, he has been depositing his personal collections of 16mm and 35mm film in the state-of-the-art temperature- and humidity-controlled vaults on the East Avenue campus. The ever-growing collection now stands at over 3500 elements and represents the broad range of American film history over the last 90 years, as well as important international works from Italy, Japan, France, India and other countries. His collection has even been accessed for preservation purposes. BORN TO BE BAD (1950) with Joan Fontaine and Robert Ryan, a George Eastman House preservation project from 2005, and one of its most popular, started with an element from Scorsese’s collection. 

But Mr. Scorsese’s support of George Eastman House goes back even farther. In 1990 he spearheaded the formation of The Film Foundation, the leading entity dedicated to the advocacy and support of film preservation. Its founders include not only Scorsese, but legendary filmmakers Woody Allen, Robert Altman, Francis Ford Coppola, Clint Eastwood, Stanley Kubrick, George Lucas, Sydney Pollack, Robert Redford, and Steven Spielberg. The Board of Directors was expanded in 2006 to accommodate filmmakers Paul Thomas Anderson, Wes Anderson, Curtis Hanson, Peter Jackson, Ang Lee and Alexander Payne. The Foundation provides generous financial assistance to the nation’s leading archives for preservation activities, and with its support George Eastman House has been able to preserve 133 film titles for future generations to appreciate and enjoy on the big screen. As of 2007, the films owned by The Film Foundation have also been deposited at George Eastman House. 

The legendary director that the award is named after, Cecil B. DeMille, a master showman, as Scorsese pointed out in his acceptance speech, also has a GEH connection. In 1968 the estate of the late director made a deposit of all DeMille’s personal collection of silent nitrate stock. This includes material on classics such as 1925’s THE TEN COMMANDMENTS, 1927’s THE KING OF KINGS, and 1929’s THE GODLESS GIRL, which was recently featured on the National Film Preservation Foundation’s DVD release “Treasures III: Social Issues in American Film.” This material is still held by GEH at the Louis B. Mayer Conservation Center in Chili, NY. 

One award. Three historic collections. All held at George Eastman House. 

To see Martin Scorsese’s tribute and acceptance speech: http://www.hulu.com/watch/121224/golden-globes-cecil-b-demille-award#x-4,vclip,4,0 

To learn more about The Film Foundation: http://www.film-foundation.org/common/11004/default.cfm?clientID=11004&homepage=1 

To learn more about Cecil B. DeMille: http://www.cecilbdemille.com/ 

To learn more about the National Film Preservation Foundation and its DVD releases: http://www.filmpreservation.org/ 

To learn more about the Dryden Theatre’s series of Scorsese/DeNiro screenings: http://dryden.eastmanhouse.org/program-highlights/eight-portraits-of-the-obsessive-the-films-of-robert-deniro-and-martin-scorsese/ 

To learn more about the Dryden Theatre’s series of Film Noir screenings, including Robert Ryan and Joan Fontaine double features:http://dryden.eastmanhouse.org/program-highlights/essential-film-noir-2010-edition/

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    Jared Case is the Head of Collection Information and Access for the Motion Picture Department and one of the most popular instructors at the L. Jeffrey Selznick School of Film Preservation. He graduated from the school himself in 2002 and has been with George Eastman House ever since. He is a film noir aficionado and can be found at film festivals, mystery conventions and noir conferences around the country.

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