Archival News 51:1
Edited by Jennifer Peterson
TABLE OF CONTENTS
2. Commercial Acquisitions
3. Institutions and Organizations
4. New DVDs
5. On-Line Resources
• Nicholas Ray Archive Acquired by Harry Ransom Center
The archive of film director Nicholas Ray (1911–1979), best known for his film,Rebel Without a Cause,has been acquired by the Harry Ransom Center, a humanities research library and museum at The University of Texas at Austin.
Spanning more than 35 years, materials in the collection include, but are not limited to, Ray’s work onThey Live By Night(1949),In A Lonely Place(1950),Flying Leathernecks(1951),Rebel Without a Cause(1955),Run for Cover(1955),Bitter Victory(1957) and55 Days at Peking(1963).Rebel Without a Causestarred James Dean, Sal Mineo and Natalie Wood.
The holdings include original treatments, annotated scripts, photographs, journals, notes, audio reels, video recordings and film that provide an account of Ray’s working methods and ideas. Also included are materials from Ray’s teaching career, which he began in 1971. Ray taught film directing and acting at Harpur College of Arts and Sciences at Binghamton University, New York University and the Lee Strasberg Institute.
Storyboards fromRebel Without a Causereveal a different ending from the film that was released. In the alternate ending as originally planned, Plato, played by Mineo, is shot from the dome of the planetarium. The archive’s 64 storyboards contain Ray’s handwritten dialogue and directions. Almost all of Ray’s dialogue changes were incorporated into the film.
Ray's most ambitious personal project was the experimental filmWe Can't Go Home Again(1973–1976), which he made with students at Harpur. A version of the film screened at the Cannes Film Festival in 1973, but Ray continued working and editing the film until his death. Materials relating to the autobiographical project include hours of edited work print, rushes, cut negative, editing notes and journal entries.
Ray’s wife, Susan, is planning to release a restoration of the film based on Ray’s notes at this year’s Venice International Film Festival in honor of the centennial of Ray’s birth. EYE Film Institute Netherlands and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Film Archive assisted with the restoration, which repaired deterioration to sound and picture and clarified the soundtrack by returning to original recordings and augmenting it with Ray’s narration.
Ray was admired by the French New Wave, with director Jean-Luc Godard declaring "cinema is Nicholas Ray” in his review of Ray's filmBitter Victory. Ray’s early mentors included Frank Lloyd Wright, Elia Kazan and John Houseman. During his career Ray worked with actors Humphrey Bogart, Richard Burton, Joan Crawford, Dean, Dennis Hopper, James Mason, Robert Mitchum, John Wayne and Wood.
The archive also includes Ray’s work on uncompleted projects, including a film about the Chicago Seven trial, a collaboration with James Jones for the treatmentUnder Western Eyes(1963), a script written in collaboration with Norman Mailer titledCity Blues(1976) and a script in progress calledNew York After MidnightorOne Dollar Bill, Baby, written in Ray’s hand. Ray’s work with German director Wim Wenders onThe American Friend(1977) andLightning Over Water(1980) is well represented.
"Every frame of a Nicholas Ray film is expressive of the whole,” said Steve Wilson, curator of film at the Ransom Center. "From his inspired compositions to the subtlety of meaning and emotional richness he elicits from his writers, designers and actors, Ray created a body of work that has had a profound influence on generations of filmmakers who came after. The Ransom Center is proud to become the custodian of Ray's papers and we are particularly pleased to have Ray’s teaching materials, which are, outside of his films, the richest and most abundant expression of his life and ideas to be found anywhere.”
The Ray archive enhances the film collection at the Ransom Center, joining the archives of Robert De Niro, Ernest Lehman, Paul Schrader, David O. Selznick and Gloria Swanson, and it adds significantly to the Center’s holdings in filmmaking of the 20th century.
For more information, seewww.hrc.utexas.edu/.
• Rohauer Film Collection Purchased by Cohen Media
Charles S. Cohen has acquired the rights to the Raymond Rohauer Film Collection of over 700 titles, including prints of D. W. Griffith’sBirth of a Nation, Rudolf Valentino’sSon of the Sheik, and all of Buster Keaton's films. Other titles in the Rohauer Collection include Griffith’sIntoleranceandOrphans of the Storm, Joseph von Sternberg’sThe Blue Angel, Jean Cocteau’sBlood of a Poetand several Douglas Fairbanks films, includingThe Thief of Bagdad. While many of these films are in the public domain, or are still under copyright control by other parties, the collection nonetheless contains much of historical significance. The collection also includes yet-to-be-identified materials such as contracts, shooting scripts, filmmaker notes and film memorabilia.
Cohen Media Group said it plans to develop a comprehensive distribution plan for branding and presenting the library to the marketplace through theatrical distribution, DVD release and digital delivery. The company also intends to substantially increase efforts to market and develop its remake rights. The Cohen Media Group will also be seeking distribution and co-financing ventures for new productions as well as for sequels, remakes and live stage productions. Cohen formed Cohen Media Group in 2008. The company was a producer on the 2008 filmFrozen River, among other titles.
3.INSTITUTIONS AND ORGANIZATIONS
•Library and Archives Canada Opens New Nitrate Film Preservation Facility
On June 21, 2011, Library and Archives Canada marked the official opening of its new Nitrate Film Preservation Facility in the west end of Ottawa. The facility, located on the Communications Research Centre Canada campus, was constructed on time and within budget, resulting in measurable long-term benefits and savings. The "state-of-the-art” facility features a range of technical innovations that meet the current standards for preservation environments and provide the required fire prevention and protection measures. The building is also equipped with small individual vaults, specialized monitoring and an exterior buffer zone of land for added security.
A portion of Library and Archives Canada’s film and photographic negative collection is nitrate-based. This collection captures some of Canada’s most significant moments up until the 1950s when the medium became obsolete. The material was in danger because it was housed in facilities that did not provide the stable, cold and dry environment essential for preservation. Until recently, the collections were stored in an outdated facility, originally built in 1947 on the former Rockcliffe Air Base in Ottawa.
The Nitrate Film Preservation Facility is an eco-designed building with various sustainable features that include a "green” roof, well- insulated walls to reduce energy consumption, high-efficiency mechanical systems to reclaim energy, and technology to reduce water use.
The nitrate-based collection consists of 5,575reels of film, dating from as early as 1912, and close to 600,000photographic negatives. Among the materials preserved at the new facility is one of Canada’s first feature films,Back to God’s Country, along with works produced by the National Film Board and photographic negatives from the collections of Yousuf Karsh.
The mandate of Library and Archives Canada is to preserve the documentary heritage of Canada for the benefit of present and future generations, and to be a source of enduring knowledge accessible to all, contributing to the cultural, social and economic advancement of Canada. In addition, Library and Archives Canada facilitates co-operation among communities involved in the acquisition, preservation and diffusion of knowledge, and serves as the continuing memory of the Government of Canada and its institutions.
In 2004, the National Archives of Canada and the National Library of Canada were drawn together by theLibrary and Archives of Canada Actto create a new knowledge institution for Canadians—Library and Archives Canada, a source of enduring knowledge and the continuing memory of the government of Canada and its institutions.
For more information, seewww.collectionscanada.gc.ca/index-e.html.
• National Film Preservation Foundation and New Zealand Film Archive Honored at 2011 Pordenone Silent Film Festival
Le Giornate del Cinema Muto, the internationally renowned festival of silent film held annually in Pordenone, Italy, has honored the National Film Preservation Foundation with the 2011 Jean Mitry Award, the annual international prize established by the Province of Pordenone in 1986 to single out individuals or organizations "distinguished for their contribution to the reclamation and appreciation of silent cinema.”
The NFPF shares the award with the New Zealand Film Archive, the NFPF’s partner in a groundbreaking collaboration to preserve and make available American silent-era films identified in New Zealand. This is the first time that an American institution has received the award. It is also the first time that it has been shared by two organizations.
The award was given on October 7 before a screening of the surviving reels ofThe White Shadow(1923), the earliest surviving feature credited to Alfred Hitchcock (1899-1980). The opening 35 minutes of this British production were found at the NZFA by an NFPF researcher and preserved through the collaboration. The festival also presented three film programs drawn from the NFPF’s recent DVD release,Treasures 5: The West, 1898-1938, which hit stores in September.
Among the many rarities recovered through the multi-year initiative are the only extant print of the John Ford comedyUpstream(1927);Maytime(1923) with Clara Bow; andWon in a Cupboard(1914), the first surviving film directed by and starring Mabel Normand. All told, some 163 American silent-era titles have been identified for preservation in the United States. More than 80% are thought to exist nowhere else. Work to save these titles is well underway thanks to support from private donors, four Hollywood studios, Turner Classic movies, and a Save America’s Treasures grant, administered by the National Endowment for the Arts for the National Park Service.
The "lost” films will be accessed through the five major American silent film archives: the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, George Eastman House, the Library of Congress, the Museum of Modern Art, and UCLA Film & Television Archive, which are collaborating with the NFPF on this project. Copies of the complete films will also be publicly available in New Zealand. Many will be viewable on the NFPF Web site.
Only a fraction of the American films created during the first four decades of the motion picture still exist in the United States—probably fewer than 20%. American silent films, however, had a worldwide popularity, and many works discarded in the United States survive abroad as distribution prints that were salvaged decades ago at the end of theatrical runs. Most of the films recovered in New Zealand owe their survival to far-sighted collectors.
The National Film Preservation Foundation is the nonprofit charitable affiliate of the National Film Preservation Board of the Library of Congress. Since starting operations in 1997, the NFPF has helped save more than 1,810 films at archives, libraries, and museums across all 50 states, Puerto Rico, and the District of Columbia.
• President Obama Appoints Rutgers Professor Clement A. Price to Serve as Vice Chair of the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation
Clement Alexander Price, Board of Governors Distinguished Service Professor of History at Rutgers-Newark, has been appointed by President Barack Obama to serve as vice chair of the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation. The appointment was announced by the White House on July 29, 2011.
The Advisory Council on Historic Preservation ( ACHP ) is an independent federal agency that "promotes the preservation, enhancement, and productive use of our nation's historic resources, and advises the President and Congress on national historic preservation policy,” according to the ACHP’s website. ACHP advises the President and the Congress on national historic preservation policy.
Rutgers University President Richard L. McCormick commented on the appointment: "Clement Price is an outstanding choice. He brings to this leadership position enormous scholarly depth, a special understanding of the role that cities have played in our nation’s history, and an interest in capturing the experience of all Americans.”
"Clement Price has pioneered in bringing the study of history to broad public audiences,” Rutgers-Newark Chancellor Steven J. Diner said. "His appointment to this key position will broaden the nation’s understanding of its history and insure that federal historic preservation programs move beyond elite sites and structures to encompass the full history of the American people.”
Price, a member of the history faculty at Rutgers and a resident of Newark, NJ, has been a leader for many decades in organizations and causes serving preservation and advancement of history, culture and education in New Jersey and beyond.Price is chairman of the Save Ellis Island Foundation, president of the Newark Education Trust, a trustee of the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation and Newark Public Library, and a member of the Scholarly Advisory Committee to the National Museum of African American History and Culture, Smithsonian Institution. He serves on the Steering Committee of the Newark Black Film Festival and is a member of the advisory council for the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History.
In 2009, Price was agency lead for the National Endowment for the Humanities on President Obama’s transition team, and he was vice chairman of the New Jersey Lincoln Bicentennial Commission. Along with the late Giles R. Wright, he was the 1981 co-founder and co-organizer of the Marion Thompson Wright Lecture Series, one of the nation’s oldest and most prestigious conferences in observance of Black History Month in New Jersey. He has appeared in numerous television programs commenting on New Jersey and national history, politics and social issues. The award-winning PBS documentary, The Once and Future Newark, features Price’s tour of the historic and contemporary Newark.
The ACHP, founded in 1966 as part of the National Historic Preservation Act, was "established as a cabinet-level body of Presidentially appointed citizens … .to ensure that private citizens, local communities, and other concerned parties would have a forum for influencing Federal policy, programs, and decisions as they impacted historic properties and their attendant values,” according to the ACHP’s website. Commenting on the Council’s work, Price said, "I hope that my long-standing interest in the complicated rhythms of New Jersey's history, and the places where its history has unfolded, will benefit the Council's mission and its commitment to preserving the nation's richly diverse historic resources.”
For more information about Professor Clement Price, visithttp://ethnicity.rutgers.edu/BIOS/PriceBio.html.
For more information on the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation, visitwww.achp.gov/about.html.
•Treasures 5: The West, 1898-1938DVD Box Set Released
BeforeHigh Noon,Unforgiven, andTrue Grit, there was a wilder, wider West on film. On September 27, 2011, the non-profit National Film Preservation Foundation releasedTreasures 5: The West, 1898-1938, distributed by Image Entertainment. This 10-hour, 3-DVD box set celebrates the dynamic, gender-bending, ethnically diverse West that flourished in early movies but has never before been seen on video.
Treasures 5presents the American West as it was recorded and imagined in the first decades of motion pictures. Among the 40 selections areMantrap(1926), the wilderness comedy starring Clara Bow in her favorite role; W.S. Van Dyke’s legendaryThe Lady of the Dugout(1918), featuring outlaw-turned-actor Al Jennings;Salomy Jane(1914), with America’s first Latina screen celebrity Beatriz Michelena; Gregory La Cava’s sparkling Old West–reversalWomanhandled(1925); Sessue Hayakawa in the cross-cultural dramaLast of the Line(1914); one-reelers with Tom Mix and Broncho Billy, Mabel Normand inThe Tourists(1912), and dozens of other rarities.
Treasures 5showcases both narrative and nonfiction films. In addition to early Westerns, fascinating actuality films abound: travelogues from 10 Western states includingSeeing Yosemite with David A. Curryand the Fred Harvey Company’sThe Indian-detour; Kodachrome home movies; newsreels about Native Americans; and documentaries and industrial films about such Western subjects as cattle ranching in Santa Monica, riding the rails along the Columbia River, how vaqueros made horsehair ropes, the birth of the canned fruit industry, and the beginning of the water wars. There are even vivid docudramas by crime-fighting lawmen: Bill Tilghman restaging his capture of the Wild Bunch and a Texas sheriff reliving his fight against ammunition smuggling on the Mexican border.
The motion pictures are drawn from the preservation work of the nation’s foremost early film archives―the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, George Eastman House, the Library of Congress, the Museum of Modern Art, the National Archives, and UCLA Film & Television Archive—and include movies recently repatriated from the New Zealand Film Archive. Many of the films have not been screened in decades. None has been available before in high-quality video.
The fifth in the award-winningTreasuresseries, the set reunites the curatorial and technical team from the NFPF’s previous DVD anthologies. The project is made possible through the generous support of the National Endowment for the Humanities and the National Endowment for the Arts.Treasures 5retails for $59.98. Net proceeds will support further film preservation. For a full list of films, seewww.filmpreservation.org/dvds-and-books/treasures-5-the-west-contents.
The National Film Preservation Foundation is the nonprofit organization created by the U.S. Congress to help save America's film heritage. Since opening its doors in 1997, the NFPF has supported film preservation in 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico and has helped save 1,800 films. The NFPF is the charitable affiliate of the National Film Preservation Board of the Library of Congress.
• Internet Archive Compiles 3,000 Hours of 9/11 Television Coverage
The Internet Archive has launched the 9/11 Television News Archive, a library of news coverage of the events of 9/11/2001 and their aftermath as presented by U.S. and international broadcasters. A resource for scholars, journalists, and the public, it presents one week of news broadcasts for study, research and analysis.
Television is our pre-eminent medium of information, entertainment and persuasion, but it has not traditionally been a medium of record. The 9/11 Television Archive attempts to address this gap by making TV news coverage of this critical week in September 2001 available to those studying these events and their treatment in the media.
For more information, and to begin exploring 3,000 hours of international TV News from 20 channels over 7 days, and select analysis by scholars, seewww.archive.org/details/911/day.
• New Archive Blog
Jan-Christopher Horak, Director of the UCLA Film & Television Archive, has started a new blog about film and media archives and archiving, which can be accessed here:www.cinema.ucla.edu/blogs.
• Media History Digital Library Website Launched
The Media History Digital Library’s new website has been launched. A tremendous boon for researchers and scholars, the ever-expanding site provides over 200,000 digitized pages of motion picture and broadcasting industry trade papers, fan magazines and year books, includingMoving Picture World(1912-1918),Film Daily(1918-1936),Photoplay(1917-1940),Radio Broadcast(1922-1930),The Film Daily Year Book, and much more. All of the materials are in the public domain and available for reading online, download and reuse. Seehttp://mediahistoryproject.org/.
"Archival News” reports recent news highlights from the media archive community for theCinema Journalreadership. Some information in this column comes courtesy of the Association of Moving Image Archivists (AMIA) listserv, along with institutional newsletters, websites and press releases. This column is updated quarterly. Readers seeking more frequent news updates are encouraged to visit the AMIA news blog atwww.AMIANewsbriefs.com. Contributions to this column are welcomed. Information should be sent to Jennifer Peterson, Assistant Professor, Film Studies Program, 316 UCB, University of Colorado at Boulder, Boulder, CO, 80309-0316; phone 303-735-2694; email:firstname.lastname@example.org.