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Programming Suggestion: Pre-1920 Movies


Metropolisforever
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Sadly, the fact of the matter is that over 85% of all silent films no longer exist. I would think that the percentage is even higher for earlier films before 1920. Back then, the studios sold the prints to local "states rights" distributors who would run them until they fell apart and then destroyed them. Proper preservation of negatives was unknown back then so I guess we're lucky to have any of them left. It has also been mentioned before that in the 1940's the studios destroyed many of the films themselves because they felt silents no longer had any commercial value and they didn't want to pay for storage of "worthless" films.

 

Many of those that are still around are in archives or private collections and may not be available to TCM to run.

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I seen "A Trip to the Moon" twice on TCM. Its neat considering it was made in 1902. Georges Melies brought us the first Sci Fi movie. The movie actually got a couple of things right, the splash down and pickup by ship for example. (Apollo)!

 

I like the insect men in the movie. The travelers only needed (but forgot) a can of RAID - not lasers! LOL.

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Whatever "films" still exist from the Teens, to be presented on TCM they would need to be of broadcast quality and in a digital format. (Being on "film" doesn't cut it anymore.) And then there is the issue of an available accompanying soundtrack.

 

With all that in mind, a few years back TCM did turnover three evenings in one month to early (and very early) "films" that had been collected and released by the American Film Archives. One can read about the event and the films here -

http://www.tcm.com/thismonth/article/?cid=84024

 

Many of the very early offerings included all those non-narrative films called "views" but also included early experimental shorts and an occasional full length narrative film. And since this event was titled "More Treasures From The American Film Archives", that leads me to believe that there was an earlier "Treasures From The American Film Archives" event also. Can't confirm that as it probably occured prior to 2002 - and the website's archives don't go back further than approx. 2002.

 

Also, there has been a new collection of films released by the American Film Archives focusing on "Social Issues" in very early films. A TCM webarticle on the set can be found here -

http://www.tcm.com/movienews/index/?cid=187213

 

Perhaps some films from this collection will also make their way to TCM in a special event like the previous "Treasures" event(s).

 

Kyle In Hollywood

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