The Siren is exhausted, but very, very happy.
It's the last day of the blogathon, and donations and posts are still coming in. Let's make this the best day yet. Keep reading, and if you have not done so already, toss something in the hat.
As Marilyn has posted on our Facebook page, the troops have answered the rallying cry: "We've raised enough to preserve a 1,200-foot black-and-white nitrate silent film in fair condition, starting with lab inspection, cleaning, minor repair, and then moving on to make a new negative and print."
And what's more, "If we keep the donations coming, we might even be able to save a two-reeler or three-reeler."
The Siren has been delighted with the number of bloggers participating, and the very high quality of their posts. We are raising awareness in a big way, and creating an archive on this topic that will be a great resource on the Net.
But of course, the point is to raise money. And while donations have been present, and steady, and the good folks at the National Film Preservation Foundation are grateful for every dime, the Siren thinks we can do better.
First person truth time here: I've been running this blog for five years, and never asked anyone for a dime, until now. Please consider throwing a donation into the hat for the NFPF, no matter how small.
This week, the film blogosphere is demonstrating vast knowledge and love of film history. Let's also show our generosity.
More in store today here and at Ferdy on Films.
I have a new post up, an interview with Lee Tsiantis
, the man who played a key role in bringing the RKO Six back onto our screens a couple of years ago. Lee is a film lover working a dream job as Corporate Legal Manager at Turner Broadcasting. His work entails sifting through the vast paperwork associated with the film library there, and he has much to say about the ins and outs of film rights.
Welcome! Here is where the Siren will be keeping track of posts as they come from bloggers. You can drop her a line in comments or via email (firstname.lastname@example.org) to say your post is up. And please do the same at Marilyn's place, Ferdy on Films
; as co-hosts we will be both be keeping lists.
Over at Cinema Styles, Greg has a beautiful new commercial
for the Blogathon, suitable for embedding.
And remember to include the all-important
to the National Film Preservation Foundation. Feel free to include the following boilerplate, for your readers' convenience:
The National Film Preservation Foundation is the independent, nonprofit organization created by the U.S. Congress to help save America’s film heritage. They work directly with archives to rescue endangered films that will not survive without public support.
The NFPF will give away 4 DVD sets as thank-you gifts to blogathon donors chosen in a random drawing: Treasures III: Social Issues in American Film, 1900-1934 and Treasures IV: American Avant Garde Film, 1947-1986.
Do follow the links to the posts. The Siren is mighty impressed with the lineup and can't wait to read the contributions herself. Remember too that comments are a blogger's joy.
As the week goes on, this post will be continue to be top o' the Siren's blog; her own preservation posts
will be immediately below.Sunday, February 21st
The mighty James Wolcott sets a good example with his own donation and notes with pleasure that he's helping to save, among others, a Norman Mailer film called [untitled].
C. Jerry Kutner of Bright Lights After Dark has a lovely screen-cap essay on Maurice Tourneur's Victory
. Stunning images
, complete with the original tinting.
Mary Hess of Eastman House pays tribute to her mentor
, James Card, who is a hero to all those who care about preservation. Includes a clip from the restoration of Melies' Peter Pan, which Card supervised; at Mary's new blog, Laughing Willow.
Toby Roan, of 50 Westerns from the 50s, a great blog that's new to the Siren, posts about the near-miss
involving Jacques Tourneur's Stranger on Horseback
, starring the beloved Joel McCrea.
Noel Vera, a familiar name to the Siren's readers, brings a preservation bulletin from the Philippines (the news ain't good
) and a brilliant write-up of a sharp and prescient film that is almost entirely lost--and it was made in 1986.
Arthur S. discusses Samuel Fuller's Run of the Arrow
, arguing passionately for the film's greatness and lamenting its lack of availability. (And by special request of the Siren, he includes a link to a piece on The Cobweb
, a film we would both like to see resurrected.)
David Cairns devotes his Sunday Intertitle to our blogathon. The Siren won't tell you the one word of the intertitle, but she will tell you the post focuses on a name that makes her happy just to hear or look at: Lubitsch
. And there is more Lubitsch here
, in the splendid "Trailers for Lost Films."
MovieMan0283, at his Dancing Image blog, has an absolutely not-to-be-missed roundup of images
, many from movies that are either unavailable, or damn close to it. The good news: In the year since he compiled the list, a number have been released from non-DVD purgatory (I see you, African Queen
Tinky Weisblatt returns to give props to three more heros of preservation
, as well as to the bienniel Orphan Film Symposium. All this, and an easy recipe for peach jam. Yum!
DeeDee of Noirish City
wraps up her blogathon posting with another reminder of what is at stake for film lovers. Thanks so much for your week-long support, DeeDee!
Sarah Baker, who wrote so movingly about Olive Thomas, has another must-read post
, Reputations Restored: Lost and Found Movies of 1929.
Donna Hill closes out her blogathon posting with a series of marvelous clips
from the silent era.
Joshua Ranger argues for preserving the lesser lights of filmdom, including the unloved biopic
: "we also have to maintain the insignificant because it, too, is a piece of the picture of the past."
Jaime Grijalba posts, in Spanish
, on Exodus 8:2 about one of the most keenly lamented of all lost films, London After Midnight
Finally, my pal Glenn Kenny of Some Came Running gives us another plug, and fulfills a previously unrecognized but nonetheless urgent need: The blogathon's own haiku
.Saturday, February 20th
Buckey Grimm sums up his series with a post in praise
of those who have been doing the hard work of preservation for decades now.
Dennis Nyback is back with a post about a 1940 movie, which Dennis transfered himself, of singer Ronnie Mansfield--which he screened for Mansfield's granddaughter and her children
Stephen Morgan at Screen Addict writes about original intent
--not constitutional, but cinematic.
Sara Freeman of Today's Chicago Woman has a tribute to women of the cinema, with special mention of the radiant Lillian Gish in The Scarlet Letter
Hind Mezaina returns with clips of women
having fun with swimming, cycling and sending Valentines in the early days of the century.
Tom at Motion Picture Gems posts about a film the Siren believes to be seriously underrated, Peter Bogdanovich's Nickelodeon
, and the preservation message it carries.
Ryan Kelly of Medfly Quarantine signs in with a piece about that screwy, ballyhooey, phoney, super Coney, one and only...Fort Lee, New Jersey! What, you were expecting someplace else
J.C. Loophole of The Shelf outs himself as an academic, an historian to be precise, and explains with great eloquence the historical case for film preservation
: "The images we have of our nation, of our entertainment, or our highs and lows, of how we interpret those highs and lows are as important as the self-same written documents and government papers that we spend so much time and effort to preserve."
Andreas at Pussy Goes Grrr ponders the tragedy of lost films, including janitors both shamed and redeemed
They tell me there's an Olympics going on; well, David Cairns has a clip depicting (ahem) amazing athleticism at Shadowplay
Paula has more stills, this time from The Shamrock Handicap
. Friday, February 19th
Marilyn is looking deep into the eyes of Theda Bara in A Fool There Was.
At Gareth's Movie Diary, the proprietor uses the beguiling Bar Harbor Movie Queen
, among others, to talk about the urge not only to preserve, but to present
Jenny the Nipper of Cinema OCD has an excellent and provocative post: Bootleggers or Preservationists?
From the University of Vermont comes Adrian J. Ivakhiv at his blog Immanence
, talking about the ways in which Decasia
"comments on its own materiality."
Joe Thompson ends his series on the history of nitrate with a bang: the 1909 Pittsburgh film exchange explosion
. Many photos.
Marilyn and I are very pleased to be joined by students, including Trish Lendo, Sadie Menchen and Charles Edward Rogers, in the moving-picture archive program at UCLA--they are the the future of preservation
. (I'm also very taken with "Let Us Now Praise Scratchy Prints.")
Hind Mezaina, who writes The Culturist blog from her home in Dubai, brings in an international flavor with a series of posts
that include some marvelous clips from the BFI Archive.
Justin Muschong returns with A Trip to the Acme Film Preservation Emporium
Donna Hill also returns with stills and posters from lost films
.Thursday, February 18th
At the Phil Nugent Experience, the host gives props to several heroes of film preservation, including the inimitable Henri Langlois.
Shahn runs Six Martinis and the Seventh Art, that pictorial temple to the art of black and white; but in this photo series, she shows the ravages of decay.
Before the blogathon began, a man of the Siren's acquaintance demanded, "If this is about saving all film, what about porn, huh?" Well then, here is Doug Bonner, with a post about the perfect film stock for the Golden Age of Porn
and which film from that era he would most like to see preserved.
Movie Man at The Sun's Not Yellow warms up with a post on Rossellini's Stromboli
, ahead of another promised post on Sunday.
Tinky Weisblat of Our Grandmother's Kitchen posts some reminiscences about Britain's Iris Barry,
who used her influence as a critic to support preservation early on. And there's also a swell recipe for tea sandwiches.
Kendra at Viv & Larry has another entry in her series tribute to the fine folks at Criterion, this one on Nights of Cabiria.
Tim Brayton at Antagony & Ecstasy finds three different faces of film preservation in those once and future media darlings, vampires.
DeeDee of Noirish City returns with a post
about George Melies' The Impossible Voyage
Buckey Grimm continues his Brief History of Nitrate with a brief post
about nitrate testing, and a link to remarkable photos from some tests.
Catherine Grant at the invaluable Film Studies for Free contributes a plug and clips
from "some entertaining and informative online videos about film preservation," as well as links to "openly accessible, scholarly material about this essential but expensive art and science."
Ed Howard of Only the Cinema writes about two avant-garde shorts
, by Bruce Baillie and Storm de Hirsch, that have been preserved by Anthology Film Archives and included on the Treasures IV set from the NFPF.
The Siren adores Greenbriar Picture Shows, and thoughtful, funny, well-versed John McElwee, who runs it. You owe it to yourself to click on this one: "We Are All Preservationists."
The name James Card should be as familiar to film lovers as Henri Langlois. Jon Marquis, of Thoughts of Stream, shows why as he examines Pandora's Box
, the resurrection of which was one of Card's finest accomplishments
Joe Thompson is back with part II of a Brief History of Nitrate
, including the perils of moviegoing at the turn of the century.
Mark Edward Heuck, who does freelance work rescuing genre and exploitation films from limbo and coaxing them onto DVD, has a touching story
about how one such film brought back a small piece of a wife and mother for her famous widower and son. At the delightfully named blog The Projector Has Been Drinking.
Peter Nelhaus returns with a post about the 1934 Chinese film The Goddess
, saved through the efforts of a single person, Professor Richard J. Meyer.
What this blogathon really needed was more Conrad Veidt; Paula's Movie Page has a boatload of pictures from Different From the Others.Wednesday, February 17th
Lou Lumenick, New York Post head film critic and the Siren's TCM comrade
, has a fantastic piece of writing and research
at his place, about the Public Domain Purgatory of Henry Hathaway's To the Last Man
--"a tight, surprisingly dark and impressive little movie."
Adam Zanzie at Icebox Movies examines Fear and Desire
, the hard-to-see Stanley Kubrick film that for years has garnered "a frown, a groan, a snicker, or a goofy grin" from fans.
Brent Walker, at his blog devoted to Mack Sennett, uses that director's career to explain why the best fate for a silent movie was to be made for a company that went out of business
Brian Herrera of Stinky Lulu signs in with a post on the sui generis Who Killed Teddy Bear
, analyzing it as artifact of its era ("like a nudist magazine, Teddy Bear lets it all hang out without really ever showing anything") and as a "queer" film.
Buckey Grimm of Mindless Meanderings explains the origins and preservation methods of the Library of Congress Paper Print collection
David Bordwell and Kristin Thompson lend their highly respected voices in support of our efforts; the plug is part of an essay about the intricacies of preserving experimental films
, when the "flaws" are deliberate.
David Cairns is back with a look at the avant-garde film Decasia
, so brief and impeccable the Siren will spoil it no further.
Dennis Nyback returns with an elegiac tribute
to two theatres that were once grand temples of nitrate, the Michigan Theater and the Grand Riviera, both in Detroit.
Greg Ferrara, having done so much with promoting the blogathon, chips in even more
at his blog Cinema Styles, with a post about C.B. DeMille's The Godless Girl
, a recently restored silent sent to him by the NFPF: "The restoration of The Godless Girl
allows cinephiles everywhere to witness the last great gasp of a director in the silent era before sound slowed him down."
Director Jeffrey Goodman joins in with memories of screening films with the ghost of Henri Langlois, at The Last Lullaby (and) Peril.
Justin Muschong, at Brilliant in Context, meditates on which film is worth saving ("all of it")
in a witty essay that ranges from Welles to Army boots.
Karie Bible of Film Radar takes us through the lost films of Clara Bow
, as well as hope in the form of some that have been restored.
Kendra at Viv & Larry is back with a loving tribute to the immortal romance of Brief Encounter
Leo Lo, whose blog is 365 Films a Year: A Librarian's Film Journal, tackles the question of what academic librarians can do
to preserve films.
At Paula's Movie Page, she has posted more stills
, from Where Are My Children?
and Lady Windemere's Fan
Tony Dayoub at Cinema Viewfinder checks in with a review
of the recently restored 1922 Sherlock Holmes
, and finds not only a subdued performance from John Barrymore, but also a supporting cast that includes a future ghost magnet, a future columnist and a future martini-drinking icon.Tuesday, February 16th
Roger Ebert is once again rallying the troop for the blogathon, with more tweets about our fundraising
and praise for the contributors
. His devotion to preserving cinema has been an example to everyone for more than forty years, and his support gladdens our hearts.
James Wolcott gives us more reason to rejoice, with a rousing plug for the blogathon,
full of links, praise and the all-important donation link to the NFPF.
Gloria Porta, lover of film in general and Charles Laughton in particular, has an amazing treat for all fans of the actor and Spartacus: an in-depth look
at the movie's convoluted filming, from screenwriting to editing, and extensive discussion of Laughton's preparation and interactions on set, and a huge, invaluable list of references and links.
Gordon Dymoski of Blog This, Pal writes about the intersection of film preservation and pop culture with a piece about VCI Entertainment's reissue of the first Green Hornet serial
Joe Thompson at The Pneumatic Rolling-Sphere Carrier Delusion offers a history of nitrate, via newspaper articles and clippings
from as early as 1889--for example, a letter to the editor, in 1897, from a fire warden worried about the dangers of the movie projector setup.
Kendra of Viv & Larry continues her appreciation of all things Criterion with a post about Days of Heaven
, surely on everyone's list of the most beautiful movies ever made.
Peter Nelhaus of Coffee, Coffee and More Coffee, who is rumored to have seen everything, makes his first contribution
: a look at Lon Chaney's first starring role in The Penalty, detailing Chaney's amazing preparations for the role of a legless crime lord.
Sarah Baker at Flapper Jane continues her contributions with three simple, but eloquent, reasons to support film preservation
.Monday, February 15th
Catherine Krummey at Speaking of Cinema pays tribute to Martin Scorsese
, a hero to preservationists everywhere, and gives a link to his acceptance speech for the Cecil B. DeMille Award at the Golden Globes.
Christopher Snowden of The Silent Movie Blog has a beautiful set of rare stills from lost movies, and some witty suggestions as to where to find the missing films--far off the beaten track
Dennis Nyback, having wowed everyone in his interview with Anne Richardson, is going even further to help out, via a post at his own site
. The irresistible title: "Nitrate Film – More Feared Than Frankenstein – Less Understood Than Eraser Head – More Dangerous than repeated viewing of Sleepless in Seattle."
Erik Loomis of alterdestiny is a historian with a specialty in the late 19th and early 20th century. Here he talks
about the importance of the NFPF archives in his teaching work, using the example of a chilling 1912 movie about slum life, The Land Beyond the Sunset
Greg offers a concentrated dose of gorgeous in a teaser post at his pictures-only blog Unexplained Cinema: 10 Frames: The Godless Girl.
Jacqueline T. Lynch at Another Old Movie Blog delves into Vertigo,
reminding us that it took years for the movie's stature to grow. Although Vertigo
was made in 1958, restorers stil found film stock of Hitchcock's masterpiece that was rotting in the can.
Kendra at Viv & Larry continues her blogathon contributions with a loving writeup of That Hamilton Woman
, in which she pays careful attention to the design and cinematography of the film as well as the two glorious leads.
Maggie at Silver Screen Dream bemoans the state
of Love Affair
's print; and fearlessly tackles the question of whether some films are "worth saving."
Paula will be promoting us by posting movie pictures at her Shutterfly page all week; view the first batches here
Rob at Rob's Movie Vault dubs The Race to Save 100 Years "Preservation 101,"
and unearths many salient facts among the paeans to Ted Turner. (We forgive him for that fling with colorization now, don't we?)Sunday, February 14th
Anne Richardson of Oregon Movies A to Z
has an interview with Dennis Nyback
, a collector, curator and projectionist with much experience of nitrate--and film booth stories to scare the hell out of Quentin Tarantino.
Arthur S. brings his unerring eye and deep sense of film history to bear on the great Raoul Walsh
and two early sound pre-Code films, The Bowery
and Me and My Gal
Betty Jo Tucker of Reel Talk Movie Reviews
looks at Martin Scorsese's invaluable role as a high-profile, tireless advocate for film preservation.
Bob Fergusson, the Operator 99 of Allure, takes a single issue of Photoplay magazine from 1931 and analyzes the survival status of all 186 movies listed in it, in a riveting exercise he calls "Now You See It, Now You Don't."
A must for Pre-Code hounds.
Buckey, back at his blog Mindless Meanderings, writes about the early days of film preservation
, while silent movies still reigned. Among many things the Siren learned from this piece: "Productions such as D.W.Griffith’s ‘The Avenging Conscience’ were totally unusable in as little as 10 years after its release."
Buttermilk Sky, long a treasured commenter at the Siren's place, has a post on her favorite Marx Brothers film, Monkey Business,
and why it deserves restoration. You had me at "Marx Brothers," though!
David Cairns, whose Shadowplay is simply one of the best classic-movie blogs anywhere on the Interwebz, ponders why Rin Tin Tin
is more like Burt Lancaster than Montgomery Clift.
David Ehrenstein of FaBlog has a clip-studded tour
through the highly flammable, but oh-so fabuloso history of nitrate, with Max Reinhardt's gleaming, glorious A Midsummer Night's Dream
as the centerpiece.
DeeDee at Noirish City
has links to the blogathon, her thoughts on and her own pledges for film preservation--and plans for her own giveaway. Check it out!
Donna at Strictly Vintage Hollywood furthers her love of all things Rudolph Valentino with a look at the great lover's three lost films
. Two of these, A Sainted Devil
and The Young Rajah
, have fragments surviving; but Donna gives a complete storyline and numerous production stills for Uncharted Seas
, not one frame of which is still with us.
Dwight Swanson of Home & Amateur writes about the poignant history
of Think of Me First as a Person
, a documentary put together from home-movie footage that was shot in the 1960s and 1970s by the father of a child with Down Syndrome.
Eddie Muller, president of the Film Noir Foundation, guest blogs at Marilyn's Ferdy on Films
. He describes the making of Cry Danger
, praises the film's excellence, and offers a heartening example of how his foundation worked with studios to get a decent print circulating once more. Lucky San Franciscans will be able to see it at the Noir City festival this year.
Ivan G. Shreve untangles the Very Meta Mystery
of the two versions of It's in the Bag
! (1945), one of only six movies made by radio legend Fred Allen. Ivan has even included a transcript, so you can play along at home.
Kendra of the smart, well-written Leigh & Olivier fan blog, Viv & Larry, pays tribute to everyone's favorite DVD house, Criterion
Lou Lumenick, chief film critic of the New York Post, links arms with the blogosphere
and plugs the blogathon. His teaser post has a cameo from a sad Kay Francis and a high-profile villain: Joseph P. Kennedy.
At her blog Or Maybe Eisenstein Should Just Relax, Meredith chooses the restored version of The Red Shoes
to be her valentine, after seeing it at the British Film Institute--along with memorabilia from the movie, lent by Martin Scorsese.
Ray Young of Flickhead, one of the most original film writers around, reviews all six pounds
of the apparently definitive work of research and love, This Film Is Dangerous: A Celebration of Nitrate Film.
Sarah Jane Baker, the film historian and writer who maintains the Flapper Jane blog, has a lovely piece about that iconic figure of Hollywood tragedy, Olive Thomas
. In Sarah's quest to blow the cobwebs off the legend, she was able to locate and preserve some films that reacquaint us with Olive, the talented actress.
Vince is the proprietor of Carole & Co., a fan blog cherished by all who appreciate painstaking research and excellent writing, as well as the great Carole Lombard. His post delves into the mystery
of what Lombard looked like before her facial injuries in a 1926 car accident, and describes the fate of two early Lombard sound films.