By Marilyn Ferdinand
When Farran Nehme (The Self-Styled Siren) and I first started talking about doing a fundraising blogathon for film preservation, we didn’t know how much interest we would generate. Our choice of charity to support, the National Film Preservation Foundation, concentrates a great deal of its attention on rescuing the most endangered American films—silent films. And love for silent films is rabid, but not widespread.
Happily, when the blogathon was over, we’d found that a lot of people did indeed love silent films: we raised $30,000 in donations and matching funds and fielded 108 contributions from 81 bloggers. Furthermore, everyone who participated in the blogathon was so excited about our collective accomplishment and receiving credit for saving two important shorts from the 1910s, that we couldn’t not consider having another one.
We’re pleased to announce our second fundraiser, For the Love of Film (Noir), to benefit the Film Noir Foundation. If you’ve been as lucky as I have to attend the FNF’s Noir City, you know they present a terrific line-up, including lesser-known noir films that can’t be seen any other way. This summer, I was thrilled to see a film FNF president Eddie Muller wrote about for the first For the Love of Film blogathon, Cry Danger, as well as City That Never Sleeps, a noir shot in my own hometown, on the only 35mm print known to exist.
While silent films are most in danger, films from every era are being lost as prints disintegrate and disappear. You might be able to find some obscure noir films on an old VHS tape or recorded off TV, the print scratchy, missing scenes, or studded with commercials. That’s no way to treat a film. There is simply nothing like seeing these films the way they were meant to be seen. By helping the FNF, you will be supporting the important preservation and exhibition work they do, not only for American noir films, but also for those produced all over the world.
Last year, we didn’t know what films we would be helping to restore, but this year, we do! In 1950, United Artists released a searing drama called The Sound of Fury, aka Try and Get Me. The film recounts the same story Fritz Lang told in Fury (1936) and was directed by Cy Endfield, who would run afoul of the Hollywood blacklist. Its star, Lloyd Bridges, never had a better role, and Eddie told me that when Jeff and Beau Bridges finally saw the film, they were blown away by his performance. A nitrate print of the film will be restored by the UCLA Film & Television Archive, using a reference print from Martin Scorsese’s personal collection to guide them and fill in any blanks. Paramount Pictures, which now owns the film, has agreed to help fund the restoration, but FNF is going to have to come up with significant funds to get the job done. That’s where we come in.
I know everyone loves noir, and that noir crosses all borders of time and place. That gives everyone a large choice of topics, and we hope bloggers far and wide will join in what is bound to be a gigantic party. Once again, we’ll be offering helpful advice and taking suggestions from the film community on the For the Love of Film Facebook fan page, which we’ll be adding to regularly. Become a fan, and take a look around in the coming weeks for suggestions of topics, discussions about the blogathon, information about film preservation, and a lot more. And go to the For the Love of Film blog, where Cinema Styles’ Greg Ferrara has posted the banners he created for use on your own blog and Facebook page to promote participation and awareness.
We’ll have raffle prizes again this year, and perhaps a few more surprises. And seeing as the season of giving is upon us, think about making a donation to the FNF during this tax year. The more we all give, the more films they can preserve and exhibit.
For the love of film . . . please support The Film Preservation Blogathon.l