Fest revels in rediscovering gems

'Dinah Shore,' 'Lost Horizon' among features

The ninth Festival of Preservation continues Wednesday with the best of “The Dinah Shore Chevy Show” at the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.

The monthlong program of cinema rarities and discoveries features everything from a restored Orson Welles’ “Macbeth” to Roy Rogers’ best screen work in “Dark Command,” with stops along the way for silent animation, Metrotone News and a version of 1937’s “Lost Horizon” with an alternate ending not seen in 60 years.

Sponsored by the UCLA Film and Television Archives and primarily held at the campus’ James Bridges Theatre, the Preservation Fest has for years been one of the most eagerly awaited annual film events.

“Joan of Arc,” released in 1948, was the last film by “Gone With the Wind” and “The Wizard of Oz” director Victor Fleming. The classic tale of the 16th-century French martyr literally diminished over time, losing more than 40 minutes of its original 145-minute running time in re-release and in its television version. The opening-night presentation will present a complete restoration and UCLA Preservation Officer Robert Gitt will compare various subsequent alterations.

Gitt’s annual compare-and-contrast sessions have enlivened past events when archival work unearthed early cuts of such films as “My Darling Clementine” and “The Big Sleep.” This year, he’ll examine “Lost Horizon,” “Louisiana Story” and “Macbeth.” The screening and presentation promise another eye-opener about preservation and the slow destruction of classic movies.

This year’s program also includes a number of films made in the late 1920s as silents but which quickly added talkie sequences or musical scores in the wake of “The Jazz Singer.” They include “Eternal Love” starring John Barrymore, and Harold Lloyd in “Welcome Danger” (fest also screens his better-known “The Freshman”). The tribute to “The Dinah Shore Chevy Show” — with Pat Boone, Steve Allen and producer Bob Finkel scheduled to appear — will be presented at the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.

Further information and scheduling of the series is available by contacting the UCLA Archives at: (310) 206-FILM.

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