That’s my gal Colleen Moore in the film that made her one of the icons of the flapper era, Flaming Youth (1923). Moore tried all her life to find copies of the films she worked on, but so many had vanished into time, including all but one reel of Flaming Youth. It’s possible that the complete film did not physically survive, but it’s also possible that it is squirreled away with a private collector or part of an archive that hasn’t got the time or resources to identify it and get to work on saving it. That’s why the work of the National Film Preservation Foundation is so important. Last year, they helped repatriate from Australia a number of films that no longer existed in the United States and turned them over for restoration. To get the full story on the NFPF, I highly recommend a browse through their website. And for more on why The Self-Styled Siren’s Farran Nehme and I are doing this, read here.
But now, I even more heartily recommend you start this blogathon by reading and commenting on the contributions of these wonderful bloggers. And don’t forget, this is a fundraising blogathon. For the Love of Film, please donate as generously as you can to the NFPF. Remember, four lucky donors chosen at random with receive one of two box sets of films preserved by the NFPF: Treasures III: Social Issues in American Film, 1900-1934 and Treasures IV: American Avant Garde Film, 1947-1986
And we’re off:
Sunday, February 14 (Happy Valentine’s Day, everyone)
Betty Jo Tucker of Reel Movie Talks has treated us to a look at the most famous film preservationist around, Martin Scorsese, and the great work he’s done to save our heritage.
Over at Buttermilk Sky, a new blog find for me, is a new look at the Marx Brothers and Monkey Business.
David Cairns of the wonderful blog Shadowplay has a charming entry on Rin Tin Tin.
Kendra Bean at the Leigh-Olivier specialty blog, Viv/Larry/Blog, reminds us again why we all love Criterion!
Ray Young of the ever-popular Flickhead has a great review of a book all film lovers should get their hands on, The Film Is Dangerous: A Celebration of Nitrate Film.
Bob Fergusson at Allure has a fascinating list of Photoplay films from 1931 and their status as lost, available, or something in between.
Blogathon cohost Farran Nehme has started her series on why we fight for films at her essential blog The Self-Styled Siren.
Anne Richardson of Oregon Movies, A to Z has a fascinating interview with Oregon projectionist Dennis Nyback on what it was like to project nitrate film. The tech geek in me is swooning!
Film Noir Foundation president Eddie Muller, guest-blogging here on Ferdy on Films, etc., celebrates the return of Cry Danger , which is perhaps Dick Powell’s best noir.
David Ehrenstein of Ehrensteinland: David E’s Fablog (and it is) offers his tribute to nitrate, including some fab film clips. Check it out!
DeeDee at Noirish City has produced a round-up article of our activities that injects her own dedication to film preservation. Thanks, DeeDee!
Arthur S. at This Pig’s Alley discusses the special gifts of the great Raoul Walsh, showcasing two films from 1932-1933 he’d like to see restored and made available: The Bowery and Me and My Gal.
Vince at the Carole Lombard specialty blog Carole & Co. has a fascinating post on Lombard’s lost silent films and scarce sound films.
Now here’s a post after my own heart: A tribute to three lost films starring Rudolph Valentino by Donna over at Strictly Vintage Hollywood.
Buckey Grimm at Mindless Meanderings has posted Part 1 of three parts on the history of film preservation, which he cites as beginning as early as 1906! Fantastic stuff, Buckey!
Ivan Shreve over at Thrilling Days of Yesteryear ponders the short film career of radio comic Fred Allen and the different versions of his best film It’s in the Bag!. I didn’t know Allen made movies!
Film studies student Meredith pays homage to the newly restored Powell/Pressburger classic The Red Shoes, which has been wowing audiences all year, at her blog Or Maybe Eisenstein Should Just Relax.
Film scholar Sarah Jane Baker of Flapper Jane tackles the legend and misperceptions of an actress famed in her time who was thought to have none of her works available for viewing: Olive Thomas.
On Home & Amateur, Dwight Swanson has presented our first preserved amateur movie, Think of Me as a Person First, a moving home documentary about a child with Down Syndrome.
Monday, February 15 (Happy Presidents Day, everyone)
Rob Gonsalves takes on Martin Scorsese’s Preservation 101 lesson The Race to Save 100 Years (1997) at Rob’s Movie Vault. Imagine Scorsese choosing to make Raging Bull in B&W because he didn’t want to have a color film fade!
Jacqueline Lynch celebrates the glorious restoration of the badly faded Vertigo at her lovely (and musical) site Another Old Movie Blog.
Paula writes on Paula’s Movie Page about Frank Borzage’s Lucky Star and posts some terrific, captioned screencaps. Thanks, Paula!
College student Maggie Larkin sees value in saving both The Awful Truth and From Justin to Kelly because of what each says about culture. Read more of her thoughts at Silver Screen Dream.
Catherine Krummey at Speaking of Cinema honors Martin Scorsese and provides a link to his Cecil B. De Mille acceptance speech at the Golden Globes in which he talks about preservation.
Kendra Bean at Viv/Larry/Blog continues her Criterion love with a second post, on The Hamilton Woman.
The interview subject of Anne Richardson’s post on Day 1 of the blogathon, Dennis Nyback, has contributed a post himself, on the conventional, but erroneous wisdom on the dangers of nitrate and the loss to cinematic beauty by its obsolescence, at Dennis Nyback Films.
Christopher Snowden at A Silent Movie Blog has some great stills of lost films starring the likes of Theda Bara, Rudolph Valentino, and Louise Brooks and provides scavenger hunt clues on where to find them. Great fun and eye-popping images to boot!
Alterdestiny contributor Erik Loomis thanks the NFPF for making films available that help him teach history, specifically, cultural attitudes toward immigrant living conditions in urban areas in The Land Beyond the Sunset (1912).
Tuesday, February 16
Here’s a fun entry from Gordon Dymowski. He pays homage to one of my favorite things, movie serials, by writing about the restoration of the Green Hornet serial on his excellent site, Blog This, Pal!
Blogathon cohost Farran Nehme continues her Why We Fight for Film series with a look at newsreels and the remarkable, brief glimpse of Anne Frank at an window looking into the street in Amsterdam.
My friend Peter Nellhaus has contributed a review of an NFPF/Eastman House rescue, Lon Chaney’s The Penalty at his essential blog, Coffee, coffee, and more coffee.
Kendra Bean from Viv/Larry/Blog is back with her third ode to Criterion, Terrence Malick’s Days of Heaven. A beautiful film.
Coming to us from Barcelona, Gloria Porta presents a fantastic post about Charles Laughton’s lost scenes from Spartacus at her blog Rooting for Laughton.
Paula of Paula’s Movie Blog is back with look at another one of her favorite movies, Where Are My Children (1916), rescued by the NFPF.
Joe Thompson has started his history of nitrate, which includes some great newspaper clippings from the dawn of cinema, on his blog The Pneumatic Rolling-Sphere Carrier Delusion, which focuses, among other things, on obsolete technology. Good stuff, Joe!
Wednesday, February 17
Adam Zanzie at Icebox Movies reviews and tackles the difficulties for Kubrick completists in seeing the master’s Fear and Desire (1953).
David Cairns calls Bill Morrison’s Decasia (2002) “avant-garde, experimental, non-narrative or abstract,” which, had it not been for Criterion, would mean “endangered” in preservations terms.
Tony Dayoub at Cinema Viewfinder takes on the newly restored John Barrymore vehicle Sherlock Holmes (1922), which shows Barrymore to be a Holmes for the ages.
Blogathon “art director” and multiblog wizard Greg Ferrarra has a terrific post on C.B. De Mille’s last silent film, 1928’s The Godless Girl at Cinema Styles. This newly restored film shows off De Mille’s flare for the dramatic. Thanks, Greg!
Jeffrey Goodman, whose directing effort The Last Lullaby was a favorite of mine last year, pays homage to the premiere “preservationist” of the 20th century, Henri Langlois, at his blog The Last Lullaby (and) Peril. Thanks, Jeffrey.
Lou Lumenick joins the blogathon (after giving us a great plug in the The New York Post) discussing the limbo into which a 1933 Shirley Temple/Randolph Scott film called To the Last Man has fallen.
Brian Herrara of Stinky Lulu offers thoughts five thoughts on the “enthralling, often incoherent mix of cinematic high-style” of Who Killed Teddy Bear? that nearly fell down the rabbit hole of cultural memory. There’s a bonus for anyone who mails Brian proof of at least a $20 donation!
Buckey Grimm of Mindless Meanderings is back with part 2 of his preservation series. In this one, he tackles the longest-running film preservation project in film history, the Library of Congress Paper Print collection.
Kendra Bean’s latest entry in her Criterion love series is the classic David Lean melodrama Brief Encounter. This is a beautiful film, made more beautiful by the care of the Criterion label.
Dennis Nyback is back again talking about “two theaters that survived the nitrate era but couldn’t survive the changes in values that made them obsolete before the end of the century:” the Michigan Theater and the Grand Riviera, both in Detroit. See their former glory at Dennis Nyback Films.
Justin Muschong of Brilliant in Context does a very good job of expressing exactly why preservation is so important. Thanks, Justin!
Brent Walker talks about the distribution link in the preservation chain at his blog Mack Sennett. Good stuff!
David Bordwell discusses the intricacies of preserving avant garde films at Observations on Film Art.
Leo Lo, who blogs 365 Films a Year: A Librarian’s Film Journal has given us a wonderful prescription for what academic libraries can do to preserve film images.
Karie Bible of Film Radar tells a sad story of watching a Clara Bow film whose last moments were too degraded to show and then gives a list of the lost films by this charismatic star.
Thursday, February 18
Peter Nellhaus of Coffee, coffee, and more coffee is back with another entry, in his special area of interest of Asian cinema – Wu Yonggang’s debut film The Goddess (1934), saved through the efforts of one man.
Marc Edward Heuck at The Projector Has Been Drinking talks about his own film preservation efforts, particularly his work on 1973’s The Candy Snatchers. This is a really fascinating read!
My awesome blogathon cohost Farran Nehme at The Self-Styled Siren comes through with a fascinating interview with TCM’s Corporate Legal Manager Lee Tsiantis, who talks about how the legal rights tangle that keeps films from viewers.
Joe Thompson brings us part 2 of his brief history of nitrate at The Pneumatic Rolling-Sphere Carrier Delusion.
Jon Marquis pays tribute to film archivists over at Thoughts of Stream, particularly James Card, to whom we all owe thank for returned the fabulous Pandora’s Box.
Film collector John McElwee talks about his misadventures with nitrate and his gratitude for to collectors for being “unofficial” film preservationist in his photo-filled entry at Greenbriar Pictures Show.
A great friend and a great blogger Ed Howard knows how to get this girl what she wants: an entry on the preservation of two avant garde short films. Go to his fabulous blog Only the Cinema for all the details.
We got a two-fer from Paula of Paula’s Movie Blog: Ernst Lubitsch’s adaptation of Oscar Wilde’sLady Windemere’s Fan (1925) and Different from the Others (1919), a landmark film in the portrayal of homosexuality. More great commentary and screencaps!
Greg Ferrara said not to post these, but how can I not! On his wordless screencap blog, Unexplained Cinema, Greg has been posting fantastic screencaps from several rescued films, including The Godless Girl, about which he wrote on Cinema Styles. Go take a look and be awed.
The incredible Doug Bonner discusses on his wonder blog Postmodern Joan a film stock whose time has come and gone, perfect for the Golden Age of Porn”: Eastman Commercial Original 7252 16mm film.
Catherine Grant, the film scholar who provides film enthusiasts with suggestions for self-study on her essential blog Film Studies for Free, offers embedded videos on film preservation for your viewing pleasure.
Tinky Weisblat at In Our Grandmothers’ Kitchens offers some great thoughts on pioneering film critic, preservationist, and Museum of Modern Art film curator Iris Barry and a darn good recipe for Film (and Fish) Lovers’ Tea Sandwiches.
Buckey Grimm is back with part 3 of his film preservation tour, this time talking about nitrate testing and storage. I have learned a lot from Buckey.
DeeDee at Noirish City is back with another entry: Writer Andrew Katsis reviews the Georges Méliès film Le Voyage à travers l’impossible (The Impossible Voyage, 1904).
Tim Brayton at Antagony & Ecstasy discusses the restoration stories of three classics of the vampire genre. It’s really great stuff!
Our thanks to MovieMan for interrupting his regularly scheduled post on Rossellini’s Stomboli at The Dancing Image to offer it to the blogathon at his other blog The Sun Is Not Yellow.
Shahn at Sixmartinis and the Seventh Art offers some shockingly deteriorated frames from Mario Bava’s La maschera del demonio (1960) and Alfred Hitchcock’s Murder! (1930) to show us just what is at stake.
Kendra Bean at Viv/Larry/Blog focuses her gaze away from that thrilled couple from Britain to cast her eyes adoringly at the Criterion Collection’s issue of Federico Fellini’s Nights of Cabiria. The cave scenes were restored to the film a few years ago, and now we have the whole package as only Criterion can do it.
Phil Nugent has thrown his hat in the ring over at The Phil Nugent Experience with a post that appreciates the wide range and age of films that need preservation and pays homage to Henri Langlois.
Friday, February 19
Joe Thompson of The Pneumatic Rolling-Sphere Carrier Delusion finishes his three-part history of nitrate with a look at the Pittsburgh Film Exchange Fire of 1909. This has been a great series, Joe. Thanks!
Hind Mezaina of The Culturist has been offline for a few days. She has made up for lost time by posting several film clips from the British Film Institute Archive, including a cinematic postcard of London in the 1920s. Enjoy!
Sadie Menchen, Trisha Lendo, and Charles Edward Rogers, three members of the student chapter of the Association for Moving Image Archivists at UCLA, have contributed short, personal blogs on preservation on the student chapter site. The future of films past is in good hands!
University of Vermont environmental studies professor Adrian J. Ivakhiv gives us an in-depth look at a film that has been popular during the blogathon, Decasia, on his blog of ecocriticism Immanence.
Justin Muschong at Brilliant in Context has another contribution and it’s a doozy! A short story about film preservation. Bravo!
My own post here on Ferdy on Films, etc. is up. I talk about a big star with a very small body of surviving work: Theda Bara, and the film that made her The Vamp, A Fool There Was (1915).
Another cool post from Donna at Strictly Vintage Hollywood: still and posters from lost films, including some starring Theda Bara and Colleen Moore.
Cinema OCD’s Jenny the Nipper asks the $64 question: bootleggers or preservationists? See what she has to answer.
Lou Lumenick gives us another plug at The New York Post and names two films he would really like to see: the 1926 version of The Great Gatsby (lost) and The Man from Blankley’s (1931) (lost soundtrack). Same here, Lou!
Garth from Gareth’s Movie Diary ranges through the diversity of film culture and the uses of preserved films. Thanks, Gareth!
Saturday, February 20 (Happy Birthday, Dad, Wherever You Are)
David Cairns at Shadowplay graces us with another very entertaining post, a clip of a novelty act filmed by the Spanish Méliès, Segundo de Chomon.
Tinky Weisblat of In Our Grandmothers’ Kitchens is back with an appreciation of three film preservationists in her life and with another item to preserve: peaches! Thanks, Tinky!
Paula of Paula’s Movie Page is back with a write-up and screencaps of John Ford’s The Shamrock Handicap, saved by the Museum of Modern Art in NYC. Sounds charming.
Andreas at Pussy Goes Grrr gives an impassioned plea for film preservation that is inspiring even me to give more! Awesome, Andreas.
J. Cheever Loophole a history and humanities professor who blogs at The Shelf is bullish on preservation for many reasons, including that he uses film “as context, and to help students make a personal connection to the past.”
Stephen Morgan at Screen Addict has an interesting meditation on the difficulty of knowing how true a silent film is to the original intention, using Murnau’s masterpiece The Last Laugh as an example.
Sara Freeman at Today’s Chicago Woman has a terrific appreciation for women in the cinema, and focuses on how grateful she is to have seen Lillian Gish portray Hester Prynne in the 1926 version of The Scarlett Letter.
Tom at Motion Picture Gems reviews the history of movies as seen by a director who is besotted with them: Peter Bogdanovich’s Nickelodeon (1976).
Hind Mezaina of The Culturist returns with a post dedicated to the all the wonderfully creative, fun-loving, athletic women of days gone by. What a wonderful post, Hind!
Over at Medfly Quarantine, my buddy Ryan Kelly gives his home town, Fort Lee, New Jersey, its props as the birthplace of the motion picture industry. Hollywood’s got nuthin’ on the Joisee Palisades!
Sunday, February 21
Over at The Dancing Image, Movie Man has a real feast for the eyes. He has screencaps and posters of films that other bloggers put on their “holy grail” list (including me and The Siren). Take a look and be reminded of why we have such a love for film.
Dennis Nyback has honored us one more time with a touching story of reuniting family members through film, reminding us ” everyone preserved in motion pictures was a real person with a real life.”
DeeDee at Noirish City recaps the importance of the National Film Preservation Foundation and what is at stake. Great job, DeeDee.
Buckey Grimm is back urging us all to keep sounding the call for preservation and praising those who do the hard work every day of rescuing our cultural heritage. Thanks, Buckey. You’re an inspiration.
Noel Vera, the premier blogger on Filipino cinema at Critic After Dark, review Bagong Hari a noirish political film from 1986(!) that is all but lost and laments the tragic state of film preservation in his country, reinforcing the need for a global defense of cinema.
Arthur S. is back with a post on Sam Fuller’s neglected 1957 western Run of the Arrow at his fine blog This Pig’s Alley.
Over at Shadowplay, David Cairns Sunday Intertitle is Ernst Lubitsch’s The Oyster Princess, with promises of more Lubitsch all week. That sounds like a great week ahead. Thanks, David.
Joshua Range talks about the beauty and importance of the also-rans of moviedom, focusing particular attention on the biopic.
A Spanish-language post from Jaime Grijalba on Exodus 8:2discusses London after Midnight, the sadly lost Tod Browning experience.
Robert Humanick sits in The Projection Booth and shows a personal find of his, the 1910 Frankenstein.
Toby Roan has a fascinating blog called 50 Westerns of the 50s, where he talks of the rescue of a Joel McCrea film Stranger on Horseback. Good to see this, Toby.
Mary Hess, is using her very first post at her new blog, Laughing Willow Letters, to contribute to the blogathon. Make her feel welcome and go read and comment on her tribute to her mentor, preservationist James Card.
James Wolcott writes on Vanity Fair’s blog about a film the NFPF is preserving that he wants to see: Norman Mailer’s first film, [untitled].
C. Jerry Kutner celebrates with words and screencaps the restored Maurice Tourneur film Victory (1919).
David Cairns returns with one last post that has me enchanted: trailers of lost films from 1923-1928 (and one little extra).
Kenji Fujishima squeaks in a blogathon entry, a strong plea for all to support preservation, at My Life, at 24 Frames Per Second.
Brian Darr, while plugging the blogathon at his marvelous Hell on Frisco Bay, adds some interesting details about the full circle of preservation. Take a look at his great post.
Michael Guillen at The Evening Class is a day late with his post, but it is such a good one, on the restored Lola Montes, we had to include it.
Vanwall Green, in another late but worthwhile post, laments the loss of the children’s show that engendered a love of film in him at Vanwall Land.