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April 20, 2008 in General Discussions
Over the years, I have come to take great exception to the idea of leaving historic film material to public and university libraries and archives, to public libraries or to any other institution that is not actively involved in media publication. That is a good part of the reason some "lost" films don't come to light! These institutions often play a purely custodial role with these films, and have nobody who feels any incentive to arrange exhibition, video and film releases. Talking to the people in charge about such things is almost always like talking to a wall! They are willfully dumb and couldn't care less.>>
While I feel your pain about archives and special collections and the Home Video Departments of some studios and some of the staff therein, I feel I must stand up for my archivist brethern who toil every day to save our filmic heritage and the ephemera that accompanies it.
Many archives and special collections are bound by the terms of the donated material. There are times when the donor puts in writing how the material can be used and whether or not the public can have access to it. As silly as this sounds, some donors don't want their collections shared with anyone but bona fide historians or researchers.
Another factor is that there just isn't the money available to make entire collections available to the public. It costs money to transfer all those films to a digital format for viewing. It costs money to move films from nitrate to safety stock. It costs money to buy the equipment that makes it possible for the public to view the films. It costs money to care for and repair prints to make them suitable for projecting.
Archives and special collections at universities are often woe-fully underfunded and the men and women who believe in doing a good job battle against the clock and the few dollars available to save and preserve what they can.
We the public need to do our part and make our local, state and federal agencies know that film preservation is important and deserves as much financial support as possible.
For every David Packard, Hugh Hefner, Marty Scorsese, and other big name donors out there, the bottom line is there just aren't enough donations big or small on a yearly basis to make it possible to save, restore or make available what they have in collections.
When you consider the amount of films, newsreels and ephemera housed at archives like UCLA Film and Television, Eastman House, the Academy of Motion Pictures, MOMA and the other archives around the country not to mention the world, the number is staggering and the bottom line is there just isn't enough money to go around.
Until we as a community and as a cultural decide that our filmic heritage is worth saving, this will always be a problem.
THE DIVINE LADY has been shown on TCM with it's vintage score. I have it on DVD-R. The restoration really varies in quality though as it was pieced together from numerous foreign and domestic print material. Some not in so great of a shape.
Corinne Griffith was largely considered the most beautiful actress of the Silent Era, and I wish more of her films had survived. "WHAT MY LIPS CAN'T SAY FOR ME" is another original compostion form Lewis Milestones THE GARDEN OF EDEN (1928), is another of the great films in which she starred.
There were many, many original compositions for true Silent films. Harold Lloyd had one for most of his Silent features. There were tie in songs to GRANDMAS BOY, GIRL SHY, THE FRESHMAN (Freshsie), FOR HEAVENS SAKE, and SPEEDY (Speedy Boy). The song "OH HAROLD" published in 1922 was also written about Harold Lloyd, it became a major standard, and was used as accompinment to all Harold's films from that point. If you can find a good recording of OH HAROLD that is not Piano or Organ I would love to hear it? Vintage recordings may still exist, but they are very hard to find. I have good recordings of most of the others.
Henry King's THE WHITE SISTER (1923) with Lillian Gish, and Ronald Coleman had both a Tango and a Fox Trot released as part of it's House band Cue-sheets. Both were original compositions, but I have forgotten the names? Clarence Brown's lost feature HOLLYWOOD (also 1923) had a an original melody that became a big hit record. These references are mearly scratching the service of what was released.
As for hybrid's The haunting LITTLE MOTHER was a big hit song by Erno Rapee-and Lew Pollack from the Movie-tone track of John Ford's Masterpiece FOUR SONS (1928), Though ignored on the recent DVD release. It is critical to the film! The film is far superior with it's vintage score.
LAUGH CLOWN LAUGH was a big recording for Harry Richman from the 1928 Lon Chaney film. JEANNINE I DREAM OF LILAC TIME from the Colleen Moore Blockbuster LILAC TIME was a popular Standard for many years. Such a beautiful melody. But the tune was also released with the cue-sheets for Theather Organ, house bands, and live orchestra in 1928.
I should also note that there are probably more Silent films with 2-Strip Technicolor sequences than there are early musicals? These are equally important, if not even more so.
I would hope that the majority of the major surviving Silent films have already been transferred to Safety stock years, and years ago. Most of the time this is not an issue. However, not all of those transfers were necessarily well done at the time? Many were not. Remember what Kevin Browlow mentioned about the vast majority of titles being poorly handled by careless lab technicians, and telcine operators. Thus losing their original photographic brilliance. Even fine-grain mastered can be degraded if improperly transferred.
I neglected to mention last night, One of the best know Melodies composed for a true Silent film is Erno-Rapee and Lew Pollack's CHARMAINE. Which originated in 1926 with the release of Raoul Walsh War-drama WHAT PRICE GLORY?.
In 1927 Charmaine (The name of Delores Del Rio's character in the movie) became a number one hit record with Lyrics added for Guy Lombardo & His Royal Canadians. In the early 1950's Montavoni re-recorded the tune, and Charmaine became a huge hit instrumental again.
And speaking of color & Paramount, that studio produced quite a large number of films in Technicolor during the late 30's and thru the 40's but I don't think many perople today realize that because that library has barely been tapped into the way the Fox and MGM libraries have. Let's try to get TCM to license some of these and encourage Universal to make them available on DVD. For example:
THE TRAIL OF THE LONESOME PINE (1936 - the first outdoor 3-strip Technicolor picture)
EBB TIDE (1937), MEN WITH WINGS (1938), HER JUNGLE LOVE (1938), UNTAMED (1940), VIRGINIA (1941), BAHAMA PASSAGE (1941), TYPHOON (1940), LADY IN THE DARK (1944), BRING ON THE GIRLS (1945- Veronica Lake's only Technicolor film), ALOMA OF THE SOUTH SEAS (1941), THE FOREST RANGERS (1942), RAINBOW ISLAND (1944), BEYOND THE BLUE HORIZON (1942), DIXIE (1943), DESERT FURY (1947), RIDING HIGH (1943), HAPPY GO LUCKY (1942).
I have at least four different versions of the RAMONA song. One is sung by the famed Ruth Etting. Another by Delores Del Rio Herself. And two more by Male recording artists. All are vintage though from the late 20's. The song pre-dates the film by about a year I think? Alas the movie RAMONA, a United Artists release in 1928, is considered to be lost. How very sad! I have seached for it for years with no success.
Great picture of Vilma Banky, but why is she Red??? I never heard of "THIS IS HEAVEN" before. Would like to hear the song!
I have enjoyed Sally O' Neil in the few films I have seen her in. MIKE is another song from one of her films, released in 1926. in another note, Bebe Daniels had a song written about her 'BEBE" in 1923. I have seen the sheet music, but have not heard that song either.
Several of the songs mentioned I have good recordings of. CRAZY WORDS, CRAZY TUNE sung by Vaugn De Leath is a very funny and peppy tune.
I liked PICCADILLY as well, however the music score is not all that good which can make watching the film a bit of a rough go at times.
I agree the Neil Brand score to PICCADILLY isn't great, but in comparison to the new arrangement we heard for BROKEN BLOSSOMS last night, it is Paradise to the ears! Did you hear any of that atrocity??? I thought it was the Alloy Orchestra, but apparently it was actually some admires of the Alloy Orchestra? Good Lord! What a sickening thought that is!
What's this? You are apparently overlooking both THE TOLL OF THE SEA (1922), filmed in 2-strip Technicolor, and OLD SAN FRANCISCO (1927), with it's Vintage Vita-phone score, and beautiful Delores Costello! Personally I like OLD SAN FRANCISCO the best out of these three. Though many people seem to find it rather offensive.
I especially disliked the music the PICCADILLY, guys, because it reminded me of one of those BBC 20s series with Francesca Annis....
Your sheet music covers are like previously undiscovered movie posters.
I adore this film so much! My favorite part is when Conrad Nagel sings "You Were Meant For Me" to Anita Page. It is so sweet and romantic. And Anita looks absolutely gorgeous.
If you're interested the full Hollywood Revue is on YouTube. That's where I saw it. Here is the link:
The Hollywood Revue of 1929
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