jared case's Posts

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.

Here come the ‘Talkies’: From Silent to Sound

Posted by on Dec 12 2011 | Other

I’ve been taking a little time to write about all the films being broadcast on Turner Classic Movies ‘Tribute to George Eastman House  on December 14, and wanted to continue with the films that come from the very interesting period of transition from silent to sound, 1929-1931.


THE VALIANT (1929) was an Oscar-nominee for both its writing and the lead performance by Paul Muni. He would be nominated 5 more times, including I AM A FUGITIVE FROM A CHAIN GANG (1932) and THE LIFE OF EMILE ZOLA (1937), and won for THE STORY OF LOUIS PASTEUR (1936), but is likely still best-known as the original SCARFACE (1931). In this film he is an accidental murderer who gives himself up to authorities but refuses to reveal his name to keep from shaming his family. Our preservation of this title comes from a nitrate positive that came into the collection in 1972. The preservation was done in 1983, when we produced new picture and soundtrack negatives and a new print. Airs at 7:30 am.


One of our favorite silent stars is Gloria Swanson, and we are proud to have the film of her first speaking role in THE TRESPASSER (1929). In it, Gloria plays a lawyer’s stenographer who gives birth to a son after a short, annulled elopement. Her employer helps her out, which causes a scandal, suggesting that she is a “kept woman.” Swanson would work only rarely in the next 20 years, leading up to her magnificent star turn in 1950’s SUNSET BOULEVARD. The film was produced by Joseph Kennedy, with whom Swanson was having an affair. Kennedy had a short run in Hollywood, producing 10 films from 1926 to 1930. We had several elements of THE TRESPASSER to work with, including some elements that came from Swanson herself in 1967. We took the best of these elements in 2002 and created new sound and picture negatives and new prints. Airs at 10:00 am.


The next two films are early examples of the musical on film. THE LOTTERY BRIDE (1930) features operetta star Jeanette MacDonald in a bizarre musical melodrama which sees her enter a Norwegian marathon dance contest, help an Italian aviator escape from jail, be jailed herself, become a lottery bride, bought by her sweetheart but given to his brother, and finally lead a rescue party to save her sweetheart from a dirigible crash in the Arctic Circle in glorious two-color Technicolor. Two under-rated comedic actors give healthy support in the form of the romantic couple Joe E Brown and ZaSu Pitts. The George Eastman House cut of the film is longer than the version currently out on DVD and features the Technicolor ending, which is missing on the DVD. This preservation was completed thirty years ago, beginning with a nitrate positive, which created new negatives and a new print. Airs at 1:30 pm.


DELICIOUS (1931) is the first film that George and Ira Gershwin wrote music for. And they wrote it for the beautiful Janet Gaynor and her frequent co-star Charles Farrell (7th HEAVEN, SUNNYSIDE UP, LUCKY STAR and 8 other films). They star as immigrants coming to America on the same ship from Europe. They find love, but are from different classes, which keeps them apart, but in America anything is possible and after several misunderstandings and two botched deportations, they are married. DELICIOUS was a 1999 preservation project that started with a Fine Grain Master, which produced the new negatives and a new print. Airs at 4:30 pm.


Are you excited yet? I know I am. But I still have 7 more films to tell you about! Next, I’ll tackle the decade of the 1930s and leave the rest for last.

3 comments for now

TCM tribute — silents, please!

Posted by on Dec 09 2011 | Motion Pictures, Other

The films featured on Turner Classic Movies’ Tribute to George Eastman House (December 14) span nearly fifty years, from the Teens to the Sixties, illustrating just how diverse the motion picture collections are at the museum. Our preservation efforts have been ongoing nearly since we opened, starting with BEN-HUR in 1950 and continuing today. We’re very pleased that TCM has recognized our legacy of hard work and is assisting us in our ultimate goal of making these films available to our audience. In the upcoming days, I’d like to take some time to tell you a little about each of the titles airing on TCM and let you look behind-the-scenes at a working motion picture archive.



The first film playing in the salute to George Eastman House is the 1989 restoration of the 1918 version of THE BLUE BIRD. The film was based on the play L’Oiseau Bleu by Maurice Maeterlinck and produced by Famous Players-Lasky, which later became the modern Paramount Pictures. It was one of the American films of French director Maurice Tourneur, whose career shifted back to France at the end of the silent period. Tourneur is likely best known as the director of the Mary Pickford films POOR LITTLE RICH GIRL (1917) and PRIDE OF THE CLAN (1917), the first feature-length adaptation of James Fenimore Cooper’s THE LAST OF THE MOHICANS (1920), as well as producing Jacques Tourneur, the director of OUT OF THE PAST (1947) and CAT PEOPLE (1942). The preservation began with a 35mm nitrate positive loaded with beautiful color tints that add to the fantastical feel of the film. We printed new negatives and made sure that the color remained in the new prints that were reconstructed from multiple sources. The results are gorgeous, and the score by Mont Alto Orchestra complements the images. This will be a TCM premiere, but if you like it, you can buy this version on DVD from Kino. Airs at 6:15 a.m.  


 William Desmond Taylor’s HUCKLEBERRY FINN (1920) was the first adaptation of Mark Twain’s seminal American classic, and the last in a loose trilogy of Twain films directed by Taylor. Taylor may be best-known now for his notorious murder and the careers it ruined, but he was quite a prolific director in his own right. Much was made of the 2009 premiere of this film at GEH, and it has shown in San Francisco, Chicago and Pittsburgh since then. Again, we worked from a tinted nitrate positive, but this print had Danish intertitles (the words on the screen in between the action), which made it difficult to understand. We asked one of our Selznick graduates, Ulrich Ruedel, to do a rough translation of the intertitles, then Anthony L’Abbate, our Preservation Officer, took these translations and adjusted the language to that of the Twenties, and used Twain’s original text for much of the dialogue. In order to re-construct the titles, Anthony used the 1920 version of DR JEKYLL AND MR HYDE as a template for typeface, background and spacing. One of the best uses of tinting in the film is the scene in which Huck, attempting to steal some butter, hides it under his hat. Seated near a fireplace, Huck and the butter both heat up, the butter dripping through his hair and down his face. All of these shots of Huck are tinted red, visually supporting the heat and nerves that he is experiencing. A brand-new score by Mont Alto Orchestra was commissioned for this screening.  Airs at 9:15 p.m.

ROARING RAILS (1924) is another recent restoration similar to HUCKLEBERRY FINN. A tinted nitrate was the basis of the preservation, but it had Dutch subtitles. We asked another Selznick graduate, Elisa Mutsaers, to do a rough Dutch-to-English translation, and Anthony worked his magic again, utilizing resources from our Paper, Poster and Stills Collection to re-create the PDC (Producers Distributing Corporation) logo for the new intertitles. ROARING RAILS is what Variety would call a “meller,” industry for “melodrama.” In a very large nutshell, “Big Bill” Benson is a World War I veteran who adopts a French war orphan and struggles through poverty upon losing his job as a train engineer. Moving West, he finds another job, but his son is blinded in a sabotage attempt. Not having any money, he takes the blame for a murder he didn’t commit to save a rich man’s son who has promised to pay for the operation his son needs. “Big Bill” is played by Harry Carey, a veteran of over 200 films, many of them Westerns, 29 with John Ford. He is also the father of Harry Carey, Jr., himself a veteran of 150 films. World-renowned accompanist Dr. Philip Carli, a Rochester resident and frequent Dryden Theatre collaborator, recorded an all-new score for this film on the Moller organ at the Capitol Theatre in Rome, NY. Airs at 1:15 a.m. 



A PAGE OF MADNESS (KURUTTA IPPEIJI, 1926) is the only foreign film in the tribute. The story of a man who takes a job at an insane asylum to be near his wife, who is a patient, and how their daughter’s engagement affects the family, is told with no dialogue, only images and a percussive score that drives the action as well as underlines the cacophony of confusion that threatens to tear the woman apart. The film’s director Teinosuke Kinugasa is not as well-known in this country as his contemporaries Yasujiro Ozu and Kenji Mizoguchi, but directed over 100 features in his native Japan, including JUJIRO (CROSSROADS, 1928), JOYU (THE ACTRESS, 1947) and JIGOKUMON (GATE OF HELL, 1954), which won the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival. This film was originally preserved in the 1970s from an acetate 35mm positive, and then revisited in 2001 with a re-recorded score.  Airs at 3 p.m.

These are just some of the films that will be broadcast during the tribute, and, hopefully, some you’ll be looking out for. I’ll tackle the changeover period between silent and sound films in my next piece. But as a special behind-the-scenes bonus, I’ll leave you with this: all the films mentioned in this article are held by George Eastman House!

Comments Off for now

Talking film preservation with TCM

Posted by on Nov 14 2011 | Motion Pictures, Other

I’ve been at the museum for 11 years now, first as an intern, then as a student at Eastman House’s L. Jeffrey Selznick School of Film Preservation. I was hired as a curatorial assistant and then moved into the position of cataloger for the Motion Picture Department.

My wife hates it when I talk in terms of fractions, but it’s been more than one-quarter of my life spent here at Eastman House, and the thing that attracted me, inspired me and drives me to this day is the wonderful film preservation program that we all play a daily part in.

George Eastman House has collected close to 28,000 titles in the last 60 years, and has been preserving them on film for almost as long, keeping them in vaults that will make sure they are accessible to future generations for hundreds of years to come.

Robert Osborne with Eastman House's Jared Case on the TCM set, taping the Salute to George Eastman House, airing Dec. 14.

In my current role as Head of Collection Information and Access, I get to talk to people about these films, whether it’s for exhibition at our own Dryden Theatre, or researchers who come to Rochester to view films from the collection, or institutions around the world that borrow the prints and play them at their own venues. So, when I received the opportunity to talk about some of these films with a national audience, I jumped at the chance.

Turner Classic Movies chose George Eastman House to be the focus of a 24-hour salute, providing airtime for films that have been conserved, preserved, restored, and reconstructed by the Motion Picture Department. The highlight of this salute to George Eastman House will be the introductions provided by longtime TCM host Robert Osborne and, as a representative of the museum, myself. I visited the studio on Friday, Nov. 11, to tape the segments for broadcast.

The four movies highlighted with introductions are Stanley Kubrick’s Fear and Desire (1953), Technicolor gem Pandora and the Flying Dutchman (1951), early action film Roaring Rails (1924), and the oldest-existing film version of Mark Twain’s classic Huckleberry Finn (1920).

I did a lot of research and preparation in advance of the trip. I made sure I knew about not only the films themselves, but also the preservations that George Eastman House provided for them – the history, the technical aspects, the materials used. I tried to anticipate any question about the films that might be asked, and even prepared short papers to structure the information in my mind.

"Huckleberry Finn" (1920)

But I needn’t have worried. Mr. Osborne and the entire crew at Turner Classic Movies are so kind, professional, and generous that they made the entire experience a joy. We sat down for an hour and a half and had casual (but informative!) conversations about the films, the George Eastman House, and preservation in general. The set looked gorgeous, staged for the holiday season, and I had a great time, from the first minute to the last.

As the tribute day approaches, I will blog again, in more detail about the salute, as to what will be on, and when to watch. But the date to remember is one month from today — Wednesday, December 14 — starting at 6:15 a.m. on Turner Classic Movies.


2 comments for now

From Page to Screen and Back Again

Posted by on Jan 06 2011 | Motion Pictures, Other

Film Noir has always stood with one foot firmly entrenched in literature. Early films noir based on novels of Dashiell Hammett, Raymond Chandler, James M. Cain, and W.R. Burnett were the shining beacons of a new kind of crime film, while the term itself suggests ties to gothic Roman noir novels of the early 20th century and was inspired by the French Série noire reprints of hard-boiled novels in the 1940s.

Film noir’s style and content not only reflected the malaise of post-war letdown, it also insprired filmmakers to tell their stories in new ways, bringing about a classic period of filmmaking and providing the starting point for several offshoots into neo-noir.


Bogie and the famous bird from John Huston’s film noir masterpiece THE MALTESE FALCON (1941).


But it also inspired writers in the way they told their stories. The transformative mixture of hard-boiled content and filmic style created an atmosphere that authors have been striving to capture for decades. It is with this in mind that in January and February, the Dryden Theatre is presenting four contemporary authors (Shamus-winning author Sean Chercover, Turner Classic Movies’ scholar Shannon Chute, Edgar-winner Megan Abbott, and Edgar-nominated author Charles Benoit) inspired by the same films that inspire all of us. It is also a great reason to screen the well-known greats (The Maltese Falcon, Mildred Pierce, Gilda, The Asphalt Jungle) alongside little-seen films from the classic period (including a Don Siegel double feature: The Lineup and The Big Steal)— and talk about all things noir.

Comments Off for now

Cinephiles at Cinefest

Posted by on Mar 24 2010 | Motion Pictures

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…

Comments Off for now

« Prev - Next »