Lost US silent film treasures uncovered in New Zealand
Saturday 12 June 2010
A treasure trove of 75 long-lost US silent movies has been unearthed in New Zealand, including an early feature film by legendary Oscar-winning director John Ford, officials said Tuesday.
No copies of the films - dating from as early as 1898 through to the 1920s - remain in the United States.
The films will be returned to the US National Film Preservation Foundation for preservation after being unearthed in the New Zealand Film Archive, New Zealand Arts Minister Chris Finlayson said Tuesday.
The films will be preserved over the next three years for access through major American silent film archives and copies will be returned to New Zealand, Finlayson said.
US film historians first became aware of the existence of the films when Brian Meacham, a preservationist for the Los Angeles archive of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, visited the New Zealand archive while on holiday last year.
"It became clear they had some real treasures in their collection," Meacham told Radio New Zealand.
"It's beautiful to see these... have survived for 80 or 90 years - it's incredible to see what great condition they're still in."
The most important find was a copy of Ford's full-length feature "Upstream" from 1927, a backstage romance between a Shakespearean actor and a target girl from a knife-throwing act.
The US foundation said only about 15 percent of silent era films by the four-time Academy Award-winning director were believed to have survived.
The New Zealand collection also included a trailer for Ford's lost 1929 feature "Strong Boy", starring Victor McLaglen.
Also in the collection are "Maytime", a 1923 feature with silent star Clara Bow and the first surviving film directed by and starring Mabel Normand.
The foundation said it was estimated that copies remained of less than 20 percent of all US films from the first four decades of the movie industry.
Meacham said places distant from the US such as New Zealand and Australia were a good source of otherwise lost silent movies.
"New Zealand, Australia and other places that are further afield from Hollywood were really the end of the line for a lot of films in the early days of distribution," he said.
"By the end of the road, it wasn't really financially worthwhile for the film producing companies to pay to have them sent back."
Review: A panoramic account of the hacking scandalbooks
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Sabina Altynbekova, the girl branded 'too good looking' for volleyball, says social media obsession with her is a 'bit much'
- 2 Disney heiress Abigail disowns her share of family profits in West Bank company
- 3 Israel's propaganda machine is finally starting to misfire
- 4 Zayn Malik on Israel-Gaza: One Direction singer bombarded with Twitter death threats after posting #FreePalestine
- 5 'Hello mum, this is going to be hard for you to read ...'
New Netflix releases: Films and TV shows coming August 2014
Samuel Beckett's biographer reveals secrets of the writer's time as a French Resistance spy
Best movies on Netflix UK and US: 32 films that will end your endless scrolling
Star Wars Episode 7: Simon Pegg hints at role
Guardians of the Galaxy - review: A superficial and half-hearted Marvel film
The secret report that helps Israel hide facts
Land for gas: Merkel and Putin discussed secret deal could end Ukraine crisis
Woman and two children killed by mob in riots over 'blasphemous' Facebook post in Pakistan
A day in the life of Vladimir Putin: The dictator in his labyrinth
Putin is 'thuggish, dishonest and reckless', says British ambassador to US
Richard Dawkins tweets: 'Date rape is bad, stranger rape is worse'
- < Previous
- Next >