'Back Pay,' 'The Bargain,' 'Husbands' among pix

WASHINGTON — The National Film Preservation Foundation on Tuesday announced a $200,000 grant to produce three DVDs of rarely seen films, with the list of candidates ranging from footage of the 1906 San Francisco quake to Cecil B. DeMille’s 1915 “The Girl of the Golden West.”

NFPF, which received the grant award from the National Endowment for the Humanities, will work with a handful of archives housing the country’s preeminent silent-film collections. In Los Angeles, they are the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences’ Academy Film Archive and the UCLA Film & Television Archive.

In New York, the NFPF will collaborate with the George Eastman House in Rochester and the Museum of Modern Art in Gotham. The Library of Congress in Washington, D.C., also will be enlisted.

The “Saving the Silents” DVD, skedded to bow in 2004, will illustrate the range and diversity of the silent era before talkies entered the scene. Exact titles will be taken from a list of candidates drawn up by NFPF.

In order to complete the project, the NFPF will begin raising matching funds.

20% of silents survive

NFPF board member Leonard Maltin said fewer than 20% of all silent pics survive, and that the DVD project is a milestone in that it will allow the archives to give the world an easy glimpse of what does remain.

“Too often people read about the fine silent film preservation done by archives, but don’t have a chance to see it for themselves,” Maltin said. “It is wonderful that the NET is supporting this project to make silent films available to scholars and film audiences everywhere.”

Included in the DVD anthology will be rare features, newsreels, documentaries, animation, kinetoscope loops, one-reelers, serial episodes, technical tests and exhibitor reels. Each DVD will run up to three hours and will include new musical accompaniments and scholarly notes.

Project borrows from the Treasures of American Film Archives, a four-DVD set produced by the NFPF in 2000.

Selection of Films Suggested by Contributing Archives for the DVD Series:

FEATURES

“Back Pay” (1922, LC), Frances Marion screenplay, directed by Frank Borzage.

“The Bargain” (1914, LC), first W.S. Hart feature, filmed on location in the Grand Canyon.

“Blind Husbands” (1919, MoMA), Erich von Stroheim’s directorial debut.

“The Dragon Painter” (1919, GEH), starring Sessue Hayakawa as the poetic artist.

“A Fool There Was” (1915, MoMA), steamy tale of a married man who loses everything in pursuit of the Vampire, seductress Theda Bara.

“The Girl of the Golden West” (1915, LC), directed by Cecil B. De Mille.

“The Line-Up at Police Headquarters” (1914, UCLA), based on police records, starring the real-life New York City Deputy Police Commissioner.

“Moana” (1926, MoMA), documentarian Robert Flaherty’s legendary portrait of Samoan life.

“A Tale of Two Cities” (1911, LC & UCLA).

“Trilby” (1915, GEH), directed by Maurice Tourneur.

ANIMATION

“Alice’s Spanish Guitar” (1926, GEH), Ub Iwerks.

“Baron Bragg and the Devilish Dragon” (1922, GEH), silhouette animation by Herbert M. Dawley.

“The Breath of a Nation” (1919, GEH), G. LaCava.

“Now You’re Talking” (ca. 1920, LC), Max Fleischer on telephone etiquette.

“Sing-along for My Old Kentucky Home” (1926, LC), with Ko-Ko the Clown.

“The Teddy Bears” (1906, MoMA & LC ), retelling of Goldilocks, with puppet animation.

“Westward Whoa!” (1926, LC), with Mutt and Jeff.

SERIALS

Exhibitors reel for “Hands Up” (1918, UCLA).

“Lucile Love, the Girl of Mystery” (1914, LC), F. Ford.

“Plunder” (1922-23, UCLA), with Pearl White.

“Who Pays?” (1915, UCLA), with Ruth Roland.

FICTION AND COMEDY SHORTS

“All in a Day” (1920, LC), Snub Pollard comedy.

“Bud’s Recruit” (1918, UCLA), WW I home-front tale directed by King Vidor.

“The Closed Door” (ca. 1926, UCLA), Community Chest film with Hedda Hopper.

“Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” (1913, UCLA).

“Fine Feathers” (1912, LC), with Lois Weber.

“The High Cost of Living” (ca. 1911, UCLA), directed by Alice Guy-Blaché.

“Jus Passin’ Through” (1923, UCLA), Will Rodgers.

“Private Bunny” (1914, UCLA), with John Bunny.

“Ramona: A Study of the White Man’s Injustice to the Indian” (1912, LC),

directed by D.W. Griffith, with Mary Pickford.

“The Roller Skate Craze”(1907, GEH).

“Serenade by Proxy” (1913, MoMA), Edison film.

“A Western Girl” (1911, GEH), directed by Gaston Méliès in the U.S.

“Why Broncho Billy Left Bear Country” (1913, GEH).

AVANT-GARDE

“The Life and Death of 9413–A Hollywood Extra” (1928, GEH), by Robert Florey and Slavko Vorkapich.

“Manhatta” (1921, GEH), by P. Strand & C. Sheeler.

“Skyscraper Symphony” (1928, GEH), meditation on New York by Robert Florey.

“The Tell-Tale Heart” (1928, GEH), Klein & Shamroy.

“The Yellow Girl” (1916; GEH).

ETHNIC COMMUNITIES

“Santa Lucia Luntana” (1931, GEH), melodrama of Italian American assimilation.

“Symbol of the Unconquered” (1920, MoMA), Oscar Micheaux’s tale of a black homesteader’s struggle.

“Ten Nights in a Barroom” (1926, GEH), African American version of famous play.

TECHNICAL INNOVATION IN SOUND AND COLOR

“The Flute of Krishna”(1926, GEH), Martha Graham Dance Company in color.

“Casey at the Bat” (1924, LC), early sound.

“Example of Color Cinematography Produced by the Kodachrome Process” (1916, GEH).

“Mary Pickford Technicolor Test” (1926, GEH).

“Opera Versus Jazz” (ca. 1924, LC), early sound.

“The Scarlet Letter” (1913, GEH), rare surviving reel in the Kinemacolor process.

“Theodore Case sound tests” (1923-25; GEH).

ACTUALITIES, NEWSREELS, DOCUMENTARIES, PROMOTION

“De-Light: Making an Electric Light Bulb” (1920, UCLA).

“Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera in Mexico” (ca. 1935, GEH).

“The Gorilla Hunt” (1926, MoMA), by Ben Burbridge, the earliest film of great apes in the wild.

“Hearst International News,” Feb. 4, 1920 (UCLA).

“Mr. Edison at Work in His Chemical Laboratory” (1897, MoMA).

“100% American” (1918, LC), war bond drive.

“Photoplay Magazine Screen Supplement: Stars as They Are” (1919, UCLA), with King Vidor and T. Ince.

“President Roosevelt’s 4th of July Oration” (1903, LC).

“San Francisco Disaster” (1906, LC).

“Selznick News” (1922, UCLA).

“Things You Ought To Know About San Jose” (ca. 1927, UCLA).

“Westinghouse Works” (1904, MoMA).

EARLY STAGED FILMS

“The Barbershop” (1894, MoMA).

“The Dream of a Rarebit Fiend” (1906, MoMA).

“From Leadville to Aspen”; or, “A Rocky Mountain Hold-Up” (1906, MoMA).

“The Life of an American Fireman” (1903, MoMA).

“The Suburbanite” (1904, MoMA).

“Terrible Teddy, the Grizzly King” (1901, LC).

TRAILERS FOR LOST FILMS

“Beau Sabreur” (1928, UCLA), with Gary Cooper.

“The Patriot” (1928, UCLA), with Emil Jannings.

“Shore Acres” (1920, UCLA).

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