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A World-Class Archive On Your Home Screen

A World-Class Archive On Your Home Screen

Major archives sharing their latest finds on DVD: that’s a
21st century concept, and the latest example is Lost & Found: American Treasures from the New Zealand Film Archive,
just released by the National Film Preservation Foundation. By now, most film
buffs are aware of the incredible cache of cinematic rarities uncovered in New
Zealand over the past few years, including a long-lost John Ford feature and an
early effort by Alfred Hitchcock. These and scores of short subjects have been
preserved by a coalition of U.S. labs and archives in close cooperation with
our Kiwi friends. But unless you live in the few major cities where these films
have been screened, you haven’t been able to experience them first-hand…until

This egalitarian approach to film preservation and education
is a key reason I’m proud to be on the Board of Directors of the NFPF, which
serves as a conduit for funding from the Library of Congress to America’s
largest (and smallest) film archives. I’m also happy to have written a foreword
to the booklet that accompanies the new DVD release; the impeccably researched
historical essays about each film are the work of Scott Simmon. As in the Foundation’s previous DVD sets, the purpose of this collection is not only to put
the films in circulation, but to place each one into proper historical context.

It’s impossible to itemize all the work that has gone into
this project, from identifying films without main title cards to shipping
volatile nitrate prints across the globe…but the enterprise has been blessed
from the start and facilitated by right-thinking people in New Zealand and here
in the U.S.

As it happens, the selection of films on the Lost & Found disc, running more than
three hours altogether, comprise a time capsule of the silent era, including two
feature films (John Ford’s delightful Upstream
and an incomplete copy of the early Hitchcock effort The White Shadow), a serial chapter (Dolly of the Dailies), an animated cartoon (Paul Terry’s amusing Happy-Go-Luckies), a pair of slapstick
comedies (Won in a Cupboard, directed
by its star Mabel Normand, and Andy’s
Stump Speech
), a preview trailer (for a missing John Ford feature, Strong Boy), a picturesque early
two-color Technicolor short (The Love
), a novelty (Lyman H. Howe’s
Famous Ride on a Runaway Train
), several newsreel segments, and even an
educational film about the manufacture of Stetson Hats. Each subject, carefully
transferred from original 35mm prints at the proper speed, is accompanied by an
original music score.

For glimpses of these films and more news and information
about the National Film Preservation Foundation, I encourage you to click HERE and check
in on a regular basis. There are always new discoveries being chronicled—and

And if you haven’t seen the earlier DVD sets Treasures from
American Film Archives
you really should.


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