Starting tomorrow, the Syracuse Cinephile Society is hosting its 30th Cinefest in Liverpool, NY and at the Capitol Theatre in Rome, NY. Each year, Cinefest consists of four straight days of watching rare, hard-to-find, and hard-to-believe classic-era films. George Eastman House has been involved from the beginning. Not only do we provide films to fill out the program, but some of our preservations even get their premiere at this festival. This year, we are sending 10 films to the event, including 35mm preservations of ROARING RAILS and THE GRASP OF GREED, as well as the 16mm preservation of FLY-LOW JACK AND THE GAME.
ROARING RAILS [above] is a 2009 preservation funded by the National Film Preservation Foundation. This 1924 film stars Harry Carey as a disgraced train engineer whose adopted son’s blindness prompts him to help a murderer that may be able to help his son find a cure. This preservation, done at Haghefilm Conservation in the Netherlands, restores the tinting to the original black-and-white film, and all the intertitles were newly created for this preservation, using the existing Dutch titles as a template.
THE GRASP OF GREED is an early Lon Chaney melodrama about an authoress shipwrecked on a desert isle with her skinflint ex-publisher. Haghefilm also restored the tinting to this 1915 film, and again the titles were re-created for this preservation from Dutch references. The Film Foundation provided the funding for this 2006 preservation.
FLY-LOW JACK AND THE GAME [above] was shot right here in Rochester, NY. It is one of the first fiction films shot on 16mm film, by Marion Gleason, the wife of George Eastman’s personal organist. Testing out the viability of the 16mm camera and reversal film in 1927, Gleason said that “they wanted someone who knew absolutely nothing about movies so that they could be sure that anyone at all could load the camera.” This 2009 preservation was funded by the National Film Preservation Foundation, and the work was done at The Cinema Lab in Englewood, Colorado, from the reversal originals held here at George Eastman House.
Among the other films we’re sending to Cinefest:
LIFE’S HARMONY (1916), directed by Frank Borzage, is about an aging church organist who feels threatened by the new musician in town. In THE GIRL WITHOUT A SOUL (1917), Viola Dana plays twin sisters who try to thwart a conman who is after the church organ funds.
In LITTLE CHURCH AROUND THE CORNER (1923), [above] Hobart Bosworth and Claire Windsor are a mine-owner and his daughter who are trapped in the mine, and saved by minister Kenneth Harlan.
WHITE DESERT (1925) [above] is another Claire Windsor film, this time stranded due to an avalanche caused by blasting for a railroad tunnel.
THE VALIANT (1929) [above] stars Paul Muni in the title role, facing execution for a murder without damaging his family’s name.
A HOLY TERROR stars George O’Brien as a man searching for a murderer, and his father’s secret past, in Wyoming.
In the musical CHEER UP! (1937), [above] Stanley Lupino (Ida Lupino’s father) poses as a millionaire to get his stage show financed.
Most of the Motion Picture Department staff will be spending at least some time at Cinefest, mixing with industry professionals as well as film collectors and fans. We are really looking forward to this event— and to the next 30! Look for a wrap-up blog from us after the fest…
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.