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Just Imagine (1930)

Movie Collector OH

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Hi, I am a big classic movie fan and enjoy many of the movies on TCM.  Just Imagine was a film in 1930, and is said to be the first real Sci-Fi with sound in the US.  I have been trying for years to find a better copy than the one on Youtube and Archive.org which seems to have been copied from a VHS tape, and before that from a 16mm film.


There is this website I found on the net where someone supposedly had access to a 35mm copy of it back in 2012 for a film festival:




Co-presented by the Art Directors Guild Film Society and sponsored by the Hollywood Reporter.

Arguably Hollywood’s very first major science-fiction film, JUST IMAGINE was reportedly inspired by the grim METROPOLIS (1927). This rarely-seen film is a fascinating musical comedy set in the then unimaginably distant future of 1980 – a future of personal airships and rockets to Mars! With its unique and unconventional look, it was nominated for an Oscar for Best Art Direction in 1930.

Today, most films set in the future portray a bleak, dystopian, even apocalyptic world. “Just Imagine’s vision of the future is a playful utopia. Prohibition may still be a nuisance in their 1980 – but the hero can still woo his girl by flying to Mars – although he discovers the planet’s ruler is a showgirl in a chrome sarong!”
- Production designer John Muto, co-founder of the ADG Film Series.

5:30PM: Before the feature, a presentation will explore the film's legacy of futurism in American movies, as well as honor the film’s legendary Oscar-winning production designer Stephen Goosson for his major design contributions to this highly influential film. A series of clips illustrating the influence of JUST IMAGINE on such films as THE FIFTH ELEMENT (1997), BLADE RUNNER (1982), MINORITY REPORT (2002), THINGS TO COME (1936), LOGAN'S RUN (1976), BRAZIL (1985), and SLEEPER (1973) will be run.

6:00PM: Screening of JUST IMAGINE

8:00PM: Discussion following the film with Nicholas Cull, Professor of Public Diplomacy at USC’s Annenberg School. Cull’s books include Projecting Empire: Imperialism and the Popular Cinema and the forthcoming Projecting Tomorrow: Science Fiction and Popular Cinema. John Muto will moderate.

1930, 20th Century Fox, 109 min, USA, Dir: David Butler

In this highly original sci-fi musical, long-dead El Brendel is revived 50 years in the future - 1980! - and finds it impossible to adapt to the way times have changed. Maureen O'Sullivan and John Garrick costar in this stunning collection of then-futuristic set pieces.

Screening format: 35mm
Aero Theatre • Sun, Aug 19, 2012 • 5:30pm


I am just wondering if anyone might know anything about that copy, if that was even in decent shape, and who might have posession of it today.  It was produced by Fox Film Corp, and most of their early films are either lost or remain unrestored. 


This film has not seen the light of day in ages, and I am hoping to hear about at least a basic transfer from a 35mm source, if at all possible.


Thanks for any info


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Thanks Fred.  If it is a good quality 16mm that TCM might have, then that might work too.  For something that old, that may be the only option.  As long as it's a better copy than the one that's been floating around on the Internet.  That's why I was wondering if anyone could confirm the existence of the 35mm that supposedly was shown in 2012 (as per my last post).  That could have also been a typo though.  I probably should contact them too, even though it appears they are primarily an exhibitor and might not know its wereabouts at this point.


I guess next step would be for me to go to the TCM request page and actually ask for them to show it.




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