Tuesday, September 7, 2010

List of once lost films announced

Last week's screening at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences of the John Ford silent, Upstream (1927), might well be the first of many such screenings.  

Upstream is one of a number of films recently uncovered in New Zealand. Over the next few years, it and others will be repatriated, preserved and made available at the Academy Film Archive and at four other major American film archives, in collaboration with the National Film Preservation Foundation.

Last week, the complete list of uncovered films was announced. Of the 75 titles identified for preservation, more than 90 percent are thought to survive nowhere else. The remaining 10 percent represent the best surviving source material. The complete list, along with a few images and preview, can be found on this page. Here are a few highlights.
  • The Active Life of Dolly of the Dailies—Episode 5, The Chinese Fan (Edison, 1914), episode of the famous serial in which ace reporter Dolly Desmond, played by Mary Fuller, rescues a kidnapped girl and gets the scoop (Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences).
  • Albert Spalding Playing Cavatina by Raft (Vitaphone, 1929), early sound film featuring American violinist and composer Albert Spalding (Library of Congress).
  • American Co-Op Weekly (producer unknown, 1917?), newsreel featuring stories related to World War I (George Eastman House).
  • A Bashful Bigamist (Vanity Comedies, ca. 1922), one-reel farce, starring Billy Bletcher, in which a wife plots to keep her husband at home (Museum of Modern Art).
  • Defying Destiny (Rellimeo Film Syndicate, 1923), melodrama in which a wronged man, played by Monte Blue, changes his appearance through plastic surgery and returns home to reclaim his good name and win his girl (George Eastman House).
  • An Easter “Lily” (Vitagraph, 1914), fragment from a drama about the friendship between a white boy and the daughter of his family’s African American servant (Library of Congress).
  • His Neglected Wife (U.S. Motion Pictures Corp., ca. 1919), comedy about a writer’s neglected wife who devises her own story to make her point (George Eastman House).
  • Hold ‘Em Yale (De Mille Pictures Corp., 1928), college romance, based on the play by Owen Davis, about an Argentinean football player at Yale. This film will be preserved through a collaboration of Sony Pictures and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
  • Hollywood Snapshots (producer unknown, ca. 1925), tour of Filmdom with glimpses of celebrities Ramon Novarro, Jack Warner, Max Linder, and Vola Vale (Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences).
  • Hunting Wild Geese for Market (Salisbury Wildlife Pictures, ca. 1915), documentary about hunting in the Sacramento Delta, which ends with a plea for greater government regulation (Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences).
  • Hypnotic Nell (Kalem, 1912), fragment from a comedy in which Nell, played by Ruth Roland, tries to land her cowboy using pointers from a mail-order hypnotism course (Museum of Modern Art).
  • Idle Wives (Universal, 1916), first reel of a Lois Weber feature in which a film inspires three sets of moviegoers to remake their lives. More of the film exists at the Library of Congress.
  • Mary of the Movies (Columbia, 1923), Hollywood comedy about a young woman seeking stardom. This earliest surviving film from Columbia Pictures exists in an incomplete copy and will be preserved through a collaboration of Sony Pictures and the UCLA Film & Television Archive.
  • Maytime (B.P. Schulberg Productions, 1923), feature with Clara Bow in an early role. This film will be preserved by the Library of Congress through the support of David Stenn.
  • A Modern Cinderella (Vitagraph, 1910), update of the classic fairy tale, set in a boarding house and featuring Mary Fuller (Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences).
  • Reckless Youth (Select Pictures, 1922), drama about a restless convent girl whose fling in high society teaches her a lesson (George Eastman House).Selznick News (Selznick News, ca. 1922), newsreel with stories about burglar-proof mail containers, golfing moms, a prototype car phone, the Princeton crew team, and the latest fashions (UCLA Film & Television Archive).
  • Smithy (Hal Roach, 1924), two-reel comedy in which a hapless ex-military man, played by Stan Laurel, discovers that civilian life is tougher than it looks (Library of Congress).
  • Under the Daisies, or As a Tale That Is Told (Vitagraph, 1913), two-reeler featuring an early performance by Norma Talmadge. The New Zealand footage is expected to complete the copy held at the Library of Congress.
  • Unseen Forces (Mayflower Photoplay, 1920), feature directed by Sidney Franklin in which a clairvoyant, who uses her psychic powers to help others, eventually wins back her man (Library of Congress).
  • The Woman Hater (Powers Picture Plays, 1910), early Pearl White vehicle in which a disgruntled suitor, claiming to hate all women, changes his tune after his girlfriend saves him from Indians (George Eastman House).
  • Won in a Closet (Keystone, 1914), (Keystone, 1914), first surviving movie directed by and starring Mabel Normand. Released in New Zealand as Won in a Cupboard (Library of Congress).

Hopefully, someday, a few of these films will make their way to the San Francisco Bay Area! [ Pictured above, at left, is Bay Area favorite Clara Bow in Maytime, one of her earliest films. ]

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