×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

National Film Preservation Foundation Unearths Lost Silents in Pact with Dutch Museum

The National Film Preservation Foundation has found a rich source of silent pics through a pact with the EYE Filmmuseum in Amsterdam.

The partnership between the San Francisco-based foundation and the Dutch museum calls for the restoration and preservation of dozens of silent pics that haven’t been seen in decades. The worldwide hunt for collections of lost silent pics is part of the ongoing NFPF and Library of Congress effort to raise awareness of how many early films have been lost to history. By the Library of Congress’ estimate, only about one-third of American silent films survive with complete prints.

SEE ALSO: Library of Congress: 75% of Silent Films Lost

Among the first 26 titles slated for preservation are are “Fifty Million Years Ago” (1925), an animated introduction to the theory of evolution; “Flaming Canyons” (1929), a tour of national parks in the Southwest; short comedies featuring Mickey Rooney (pictured), Oliver Hardy, and Chester Conklin; Happy Hooligan and Koko the Clown cartoons; the only known work from the Esperanto Film Manufacturing Company of Detroit; “The Reckless Age” (1924), a flapper feature starring Reginald Denny; and the crime melodrama “For the Defense” (1922) starring ZaSu Pitts.

The pics were discovered in the EYE collection thanks to NFPF research funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. The pics are on highly flammable nitrate stock that were distributed to Dutch theaters in the 1910s and ’20s. Many of the prints are tinted. The pics selected for preservation through the NFPF initiative represent the best prints known to be available.

Once preserved the pics will be made available for screenings and web streaming via the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and the Library of Congress. The NFPF is the non-profit charitable arm of the National Film Preservation Board of the Library of Congress.

NFPF supporters said it was particularly rare to find so many documentary and informational titles in the EYE collection. The list includes “The Crystal Ascension,” a 1920s doc on the largest glacier in the state of Oregon. The Oregon Historical Society is taking part in the preservation of that title.

“It is thrilling to see nonfiction taking center stage in this groundbreaking collaboration,” said Professor Rick Prelinger of UC Santa Cruz and author of “The Field Guide to Sponsored Films.” “Movies like ‘The Last Word in Chickens’ and ‘From Ore to Finished Product’ were usually thrown out after serving their purpose. Through this international effort, they will live on as a tantalizing trace of American industries as they were decades ago.”

The NFPF has preserved more than 2,000 pics since its launch in 1997.

 

More Film

  • Trailer for Cannes Directors’ Fortnight Entry

    Watch: Trailer for Cannes Directors’ Fortnight Entry ‘Song Without a Name’ (EXCLUSIVE)

    MADRID — Peru’s La Vida Misma and Paris-based sales agent Luxbox have dropped the first trailer and poster of Melina Leon’s “Canción sin nombre” (“Song Without a Name”), selected this week for the Cannes Festival’s Directors’ Fortnight. Written by Leon and Michael J. White, “Song Without a Name” sums up some of ambitions and focus [...]

  • 'Aladdin,' 'Pokemon: Detective Pikachu,' 'Shaft' Set

    'Aladdin,' 'Pokemon: Detective Pikachu,' 'Shaft' Set for China Debuts

    Disney’s new live-action “Aladdin” will release in China on May 24, day-and-date with North America, giving the studio a run of three films in Chinese theaters as many months.  Two other Hollywood titles will also hit the big screen in the Middle Kingdom in the coming months: “Pokemon: Detective Pikachu” on May 10 and the [...]

  • Patrimonio

    Film Review: 'Patrimonio'

    Though it never really went away on much of the globe, a sort of creeping feudalism is making such a striking comeback — with the ever-more-fabulously-rich squeezing the poor of every dime and resource — that Lisa F. Jackson and Sarah Teale’s documentary “Patrimonio” feels like a frightening portent. Will such crude appropriations of land [...]

  • Fan Bingbing

    Fan Bingbing Starts to Re-Emerge Months After Tax Scandal

    Half a year after she was found guilty of tax fraud and disappeared from the public eye, Chinese superstar Fan Bingbing has begun to signal her comeback, attending a gala event and launching her own beauty product on social media this week. The 37-year-old actress unexpectedly hit the red carpet in Beijing on Monday at [...]

  • I Trapped the Devil

    Film Review: 'I Trapped the Devil'

    “I Trapped the Devil” sounds like the title of a sermon or gospel song, but it’s a very literal-minded statement coming from the mouth of a leading character in writer-director Josh Lobo’s debut feature. This being a horror film, there’s a chance he’s even literally correct, rather than simply mad. A mixed-bag frightfest, IFC’s limited [...]

  • American Factory

    Tribeca Film Review: 'American Factory'

    When the last truck rolled off the assembly line of the General Motors factory outside Dayton, Ohio, filmmakers Steven Bognar and Julia Reichert were there to film it, documenting the end of a certain American dream, along with the unemployment of more than 2,000 people — down from 6,000 in more prosperous times. That was [...]

  • Sony Pictures logo

    Sony Pictures Profits Rise to $489 Million but Music Profits Tumble

    Profits at Sony Pictures rose to $489 million for the financial year running to the end of March 2019. That compares with $376 million in the previous financial year. The pictures division result was achieved despite a fall in revenue. That dropped from $9.13 billion in the preceding financial year to $8.87 billion in the [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content