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Film Restoration and DVDs


molo14
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I noticed the following blurb while googling a movie title.

 

From the LA City Beat 09/07/07 Special screenings section:

 

Hammer Museum, UCLA Film & Television Archive at the Billy Wilder Theater, 10899 Wilshire Bl, L.A., (310) 443-7000. Cinema.ucla.edu. Recent Columbia Restorations ? No Greater Glory, 7:30; followed by The Boy from Stalingrad

 

I have always wanted to see "The Boy From Stalingrad" 1943 because it seems like an unusual film from Hollywood. I assumed it was just one of those films that I would never have an opportunity to view. It was the "Recent Columbia Restorations" part that set me to wondering about studio restorations in general. I live on the east coast and have no idea how the film industry works. Do studios often restore films and then have a special screening before returning them to the vaults? I would of thought that most studio restorations would be done so that the film could be released on DVD. "The Boy from Stalingrad" seems like an odd choice for a DVD release so did Columbia do this simply for the sake of preserving even it's obscure titles? Or is "Columbia Restorations" actually a term used by UCLA preservationists and the studio is not involved at all? If so when an institution such as UCLA preserves an obscure film like this do they routinely show it locally then put it back in their vaults? Are these films made available to the public on site?

 

I know I'm asking a lot of questions but for those of you with more knowlege of this process I would appreciate your insights.

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The original MASTERS are always kept in a climate controlled vault to preserve the original as much as possible. Future technology will sometimes make a "better" restored copy and this is why the original must be kept in prime condition. I am glad that SOMEONE like UCLA is doing something to restore ANY long forgotten film. A company called Grapevine is doing something similiar, putting recently found or forgotten films onto DVD. Once the DVD is out, its up to the public to buy it or it may not get restocked. A DVD called "The Singing Kid" with Al Jolson is one of the forgotten films and it was transferred to DVD several years ago. Because hardly no one bought it, it is now unavailable. Amazon.com was the last to sell it.

 

Do you know if "The Boy from Stalingrad" was made in the former Soviet Union or did somebody else produced it.

 

I hope its like the movie "Enemy at the Gates". I like that movie very much.

 

I guess it can be easly assumed that Columbia like other film studios are restoring as many films as possible. Don't forget they are now owned by Sony.

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It was made at Columbia Studios in 1943. According to IMDB it was released in May 1943. I'm sure it was made to support our Russian allies during the war and it was released very soon after the German defeat at Stalingrad. I've never seen it but both of those facts are part of what intrigues me about it. I've heard it was a very bold film for it's depiction of children in war and it is a heart wrenching film. Has anyone seen it?

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As strange as it may seem, some films are restored only for the purpose of preserving them and they never get more than a couple of public showings at the archive that holds them. Others have limited 35mm screenings in major cities and some eventually get a DVD release. While others, if we're really lucky, get shown on TCM. It all depends on the archive, the studio involved and what strings were attached when the film was put in the hands of the archives.

 

I've been involved with a classic film convention for the last 25 years and sometimes, because of our reputation, we're allowed to show some of these truely rare films, but many times they just won't let them out of the vault. I've never understood why they let these films sit on the shelf, but not let them be seen.One thing for sure is that the archives never sell copies of their holdings.

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There has been talk on this forum during the past summer about getting one of the forgotten films "Helens Babies" out of the vault and onto DVD. Do you have any information on it?

 

Here is a link that best discuss the movie itself and even shows images from the movie.

 

http://www.silentsaregolden.com/featurefolder6/helensbabiespage.html

 

It will make a nice TCM Silent Sunday Night presentation. At present it is NOT available in no matter way shape or form !

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It is strange that some films are restored and then put back away. *Children of Divorce* (1927) is a good example of that. It was fully restored and is part of the Library of Congress's holdings but has never been released on any home video format. It stars Clara Bow, Esther Ralston and Gary Cooper (in his first leading role) and they are three of my faves and I'm absolutely chomping at the bit to see this movie. However, the rights still belong to Paramount and they seem not to care a thing about their silent films.

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