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America preserves Halloween to Blazing Saddles

FilmCamera.jpgIt's a shame that so little film is preserved, because come twenty years time we really have next to no idea what will remain as classics and what could have remained as such if they had been preserved, and just think about the extras and special editions we've missed out on because the film has been thrown.

For me choosing what films to preserve means choosing which to let die. It's like the BBC program where the audience had to phone in for the close to extinct animal that they wanted to save. Should we not have phoned in for the one we wanted to let die?

Anyway I digress. Now the American National Film Preservation Foundation has announced the twenty five films they are going to preserve this year. Twenty five in a year?! Imagine the work that must be required if that's all that can be saved.

You can see the full list over the page, a list which includes Groundhog Day, Sex, Lies and Videotape, Rocky, Notorious, Halloween, Fargo and even Blazing Saddles.

1) Applause (1929)
2) The Big Trail (1930)
3) Blazing Saddles (1974)
4) The Curse of Quon Gwon (1916-17)
5) Daughter of Shanghai (1937)
6) Drums of Winter (1988)
7) Early Abstractions #1-5,7,10 (1939-56)
8) Fargo (1996)
9) Flesh and the Devil (1927)
10) Groundhog Day (1993)
11) Halloween (1978)
12) In the Street (1948/52)
13) The Last Command (1928)
14) Notorious (1946)
15) Red Dust (1932)
16) Reminiscences of a Journey to Lithuania (1971-72)
17) Rocky (1976)
18) Sex, Lies and Videotape (1989)
19) Siege (1940)
20) St. Louis Blues (1929)
21) The T.A.M.I. Show (1964)
22) Tess of the Storm Country (1914)
23) Think of Me First as a Person (1960-75)
24) A Time Out of War (1954)
25) Traffic in Souls (1913)

The full press release is over at the official site.



Film preservation is an area I wouldn't want to work in, purely because of the logistical difficulties involved. There's something like a hundred million feet of unique, unpreserved nitrate film footage just in the US, and at current funding rates it'd take something like two hundred years to preserve it all, except that in two hundred years' time most of it will have been lost. The decisions on what to spend money on must be agonising, because you'll never really please anyone (including the people on alt.movies.silent, who are probably whining as usual about the list not being composed entirely of silent films, about the Chinese-American film fragment being included out of political correctness, etc) with them.


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