For decades we have been a source of archival film prints to be projected at (respected, well-trained) repertory theaters and film festivals around the world. As more and more screens turn to digital-only projection, these film prints become the main attraction of rare events as our museum artifacts are exhibited in only the best of film projection venues.
2013 has been no exception – below is a highlight of some of the films we’ll be providing to other exhibition spaces this month:
On June 5, The Cinefamily will be continuing its monthly series “The Silent Treatment” with a preservation from George Eastman House. BARBED WIRE (1927) is a World War I romance with Pola Negri as the French farm girl and Clive Brook as the German P.O.W. Pola Negri was one of the great beauties of the silent cinema. Born in Poland, she worked in German film until she and her director, Ernst Lubitsch, were brought to Hollywood.
She continued to make films in America during the silent era and reportedly had relationships with Valentino and Chaplin, but her thick accent did not translate well to the talkies, especially not the siren roles she had been cast in for over a decade. “The Silent Treatment” is curated by Selznick graduate Brandee Cox and you can find more information about it here.
Our friends at the Museum of Modern Art are organizing a film series titled “Allan Dwan and the Rise and Decline of the Hollywood Studios.” It is impossible to mount a complete retrospective of this overlooked director (over a 50-year career he directed more than 400 films), but MoMA has put together a great series that runs over a month from June 5 to July 8. We are providing three prints for the series: DAVID HARUM (June 9 and 10), FRONTIER MARSHAL (June 15 and 18), and STAGE STRUCK (June 18 and 19). Both DAVID HARUM and STAGE STRUCK are 35mm preservations from nitrate held at George Eastman House, and STAGE STRUCK includes a two-color Technicolor sequence where Gloria Swanson dreams of herself as a famous actress. Imagine! Allan Dwan was dubbed “The Last Pioneer” by Peter Bogdanovich and you can see all the details of MoMA’s series here.
British Film Institute
There has been a lot of interest in the British Film Institute’s preservation of nine silent Alfred Hitchcock films (“The Hitchcock 9”). The last of these, BLACKMAIL (1929), was also the first of Hitch’s (and Britain’s) sound films, as it was created both with and without a soundtrack during Britain’s changeover period. Even at this early point, Hitch was doing genius work with sound, as evidenced by this very subjective scene:
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is dedicating a night to both versions as a double feature and has asked us to provide the sound version. The screening will take place June 18 at the Goldwyn Theater on Wilshire (which I was lucky enough to visit in April) and the website for the event is here.
Il Cinema Ritrovato
Il Cinema Ritrovato (The Rediscovered Cinema) film festival has been taking place in Bologna, Italy for over 25 years now, and we have often provided prints for their screenings. This year, attendees will get a special treat as they watch a double feature of Cecil B. DeMille’s CARMEN (1915) and Charlie Chaplin’s A BURLESQUE ON CARMEN (1915) in the Piazza Maggiore, a 13th-Century public square in the heart of the city. Not only will the attendees be able to see the films in this gorgeous venue (again, a place I’ve been lucky enough to see), but the musical accompaniment for these silent films will be provided live by the Orchestra del Teatro Comunale di Bologna. They should plan for a wonderful evening and a beautiful print of CARMEN that faithfully recreates the tinting found on the original nitrate print donated to George Eastman House by Cecil B. DeMille himself. More information on Il Cinema Ritrovato here.
In addition to these screenings, we will be contributing to museum exhibits by providing footage that will play throughout the day in museums wihtout film projection facilities. First, the Spessart Museum will be displaying the 1916 version of SNOW WHITE. Housed in a 14th-Century castle in the town of Lohr am Main, the museum is dedicated to the concept of “Mensch und Wald” (Man and Forest), as it sits in an area representative of the historical development of woodland in Germany. The museum is interested in this film because, according to its website, “In 1986…Dr. Karlheinz Bartels…was able to prove conclusively, on the basis of facts provided by fabular science that Snow White came from Lohr.” I’m not sure what “fabular science” entails, but the museum and the castle sound like a lot of fun. Read more about it here.
And much, much closer to home, the Strong National Museum of Play is featuring actual footage of Coney Island from film in the George Eastman House collection for its new exhibit “Boardwalk Arcade.” The footage will provide context for the recreation of turn-of-the-century boardwalk with games and attractions typical to the attractions up and down the East Coast. Opening weekend for the exhibit is July 6 and 7. Read about it here.
While these films are being sent around the world, make sure to take advantage of our own Dryden film series in June, including the Revisionist Sherlock Holmes series and – my favorite – To the Moon in June!