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"Nitrate films at TCM Festival " Topic

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249 hits since 10 Apr 2017
©1994-2018 Bill Armintrout
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Hafen von Schlockenberg Inactive Member10 Apr 2017 6:17 a.m. PST

Too late now, but Martin Scorsese helped to bring original silver nitrate prints to this past weekend's festival:


The film stock,which gave birth to the term "silver screen" stopped being made in 1950.The reason for that can be seen in this British Navy training film from the 1940s (sound is very low):

Still,seeing them is described as an unforgettable experience--assuming you don't burn up.

Personal logo Patrick R Supporting Member of TMP10 Apr 2017 8:27 a.m. PST

The original negatives (and in many cases all copies) of more than half of all movies ever made are considered lost.

But even more shocking is that of all the early documentaries, independently funded films, shorts etc ever made, less than 10% have survived because while movies were soon enough seen as valuable, the other work has been almost completely ignored. There was a whole sub-genre of cheap low budget independently funded films made for specific audiences anything from fairground crowds to revivals and church audiences, unions, trades, immigrants which are now almost completely lost.

Hafen von Schlockenberg Inactive Member10 Apr 2017 11:31 a.m. PST

Yes,it's a sad fact. Although there are serendipitous discoveries from time to time. The Spanish Dracula comes to mind. And I remember reading about this:


But you're right, the overall story is one of neglect and destruction,including from Hollywood,which has effectively no memory.

I recall an interview with Rod Steiger,who,after an operation,suffered a ten year bout of clinical depression. After finally getting treatment,he started acting again. He told of one session with a young casting director,who asked "Oh,by the way,do you think you can do a southern accent?"

But who knows what might still be out there,forgotten in some warehouse? When a quartet of dentists and lawyers bought and refurbished a closed theater in a small college town in Virginia,back in the late 70's, a friend of mine took the job of manager. He discovered stacks of old film canisters behind the screen,including complete prints of "The Savage Eye"(1960),and more importantly,1963's "The Slime People"!

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