The National Film Preservation Fund has announced the third in its Treasures series of rare silent and early sound films from American archives. The four-DVD set will be published in October by Image Entertainment. For number three in this stunning series, the theme is social issues. Here’s the press release:
Cecil B. De Mille’s sensational reformatory exposé, The Godless Girl; Redskin in two-color Technicolor; Lois Weber’s anti-abortion drama Where Are My Children?; The Soul of Youth by William Desmond Taylor; and dozens of rare newsreels, cartoons, serials, documentaries, and charitable appeals are showcased in the National Film Preservation Foundation upcoming four-DVD box set, Treasures III: Social Issues in American Film, 1900-1934. Slated for release by Image Entertainment on October 16, Treasures III (retail price $89.99) introduces to DVD 48 films from the decades when virtually no issue was too controversial to bring to the screen.
“In film’s first decades, activists from every political stripe used movies to advance their agenda,” said Martin Scorsese, who serves on the NFPF Board of Directors. “These films are an important and fascinating glimpse of history. They changed America and still inspire today.”
Prohibition, birth control, unions, TB, atheism, the vote for women, worker safety, organized crime, loan sharking, race relations, juvenile justice, homelessness, police corruption, immigration—these issues and more are brought to life in the new 12-1/4 hour set. In addition to the four features, the line up includes the first Mafia movie, a 1913 traffic safety film, management’s version of the Triangle Shirtwaist fire, temperance and suffragette spoofs, A Call for Help from Sing Sing!, an action-packed Hazards of Helen episode, a patriotic “striptease” cartoon for war bonds, the earliest surviving union film, and a medley of prohibition newsreels kicked off by Capital Stirred by Biggest Hooch Raid.
The motion pictures are drawn from the preservation work of the nation’s foremost early film archives: George Eastman House, the Library of Congress, the Museum of Modern Art, the National Archives, and the UCLA Film & Television Archive. None of the works has been available before in high-quality video.
Treasures III is playable worldwide and has many special features for DVD audiences:
- Newly recorded music contributed by more than 65 musicians and composers
- Audio commentary by 20 experts
- 200-page illustrated book with essays about the films and music
- More than 600 interactive screens
- 4 postcards from the films
The third in the award-winning Treasures series, the new set reunites the curatorial and technical team from the NFPF’s earlier DVD anthologies. The project is made possible through the generous support of the National Endowment for the Humanities and the National Film Preservation Board of the Library of Congress. Net proceeds will support further film preservation. A four-page brochure with the full contents list can be downloaded from the NFPF Web site: www.filmpreservation.org/T3_brochure.pdf.
Program 1: The City Reformed
The Black Hand (1906, 11 min.)
Earliest surviving Mafia film.
How They Rob Men in Chicago (1900, 25 sec.)
Police corruption Chicago-style.
The Voice of the Violin (1909, 16 min.)
A terrorist plot is foiled by the power of music.
The Usurer’s Grip (1912, 15 min.)
Melodrama arguing for consumer credit co-operatives.
From the Submerged (1912, 11 min.)
Drama about homelessness and “slumming parties”
Hope—A Red Cross Seal Story (1912, 14 min.)
A small town mobilizes to fight TB
The Cost of Carelessness (1913, 13 min.)
Traffic safety film for Brooklyn school children.
Lights and Shadows in a City of a Million (1920, 7 min.)
Charitable plea for the Detroit Community Fund.
6,000,000 American Children…Are Not in School (1922, 2 min.)
Newsreel story inspired by census data.
The Soul of Youth (1920, 80 min.), with excerpts from Saved by the Juvenile Court (1913, 4 min.)
William Desmond Taylor’s feature about an orphan reclaimed through the juvenile court of Judge Ben Lindsey with excerpts from the political campaign film Saved by the Juvenile Court (1913. 4 min.)
A Call for Help from Sing Sing! (1934, 3 min.)
Warden Lawes speaks out for wayward teens.
Program 2: New Women
The Kansas Saloon Smashers (1901, 1 min.)
Carrie Nation swings her axe.
Why Mr. Nation Wants a Divorce (1901, 2 min.)
Role-reversal temperance spoof.
Trial Marriages (1907, 12 min.)
Male fantasy inspired by a feminist’s proposal.
Manhattan Trade School for Girls (1911, 16 min.)
Profile of the celebrated progressive school for impoverished girls.
The Strong Arm Squad of the Future (ca. 1912, 1 min.)
A Lively Affair (ca. 1912, 7 min.)
Comedy with poker-playing women and child-rearing men.
A Suffragette in Spite of Himself (1912, 8 min.)
Boys’ prank results in an unwitting crusader.
On to Washington (1913, 80 sec.)
News coverage of the historic suffragette march.
Hazards of Helen: Episode 13 (1915, 13 min.)
Helen thwarts robbers and overcomes workplace discrimination.
Where Are My Children? (1916, 65 min.)
Provocative anti-abortion drama by Lois Weber.
The Courage of the Commonplace (1913, 13 min.)
A young farm woman dreams of a better life.
Poor Mrs. Jones! (1926, 46 min.)
Why wives should stay on the farm.
Offers Herself as Bride for $10,000 (1931, 2 min.)
Novel approach to surviving the Depression.
Program 3: Toil and Tyranny
Uncle Sam and the Bolsheviki-I.W.W. Rat (ca. 1919, 40 sec.)
Anti-union cartoon from the Ford Motor Company.
The Crime of Carelessness (1912, 14 min.)
Management’s version of the Triangle Factory fire.
Who Pays?, Episode 12 (1915, 35 min.)
A lumberyard strike brings deadly consequences.
Surviving reel from Labor’s Reward (1925, 13 min.)
The American Federation of Labor’s argument for “buying union.”
Listen to Some Words of Wisdom (1930, 2 min.)
Why personal thrift feeds the Depression.
The Godless Girl (1928, 128 min.)
Cecil B. DeMille’s sensational exposé of juvenile reformatories.
Program 4: Americans in the Making
Emigrants Landing at Ellis Island (1903, 2 min.)
Actuality footage from July 9, 1903.
An American in the Making (1913, 15 min)
U.S. Steel film promoting immigration and industrial safety.
Ramona: A Story of the White Man’s Injustice to the Indian (1910, 16 min.)
Helen Hunt Jackson’s classic about racial conflict in early California, retold by D.W. Griffith and starring Mary Pickford.
Redskin (1929, 82 min.)
Racial tolerance epic, shot in 2-color Technicolor at Acoma Pueblo and Canyon de Chelly.
The United Snakes of America (ca. 1917, 80 sec.)
World War I cartoon assailing homefront dissenters.
Uncle Sam Donates for Liberty Bonds (1918, 75 sec.)
Patriotic “striptease” cartoon.
100% American (1918, 14 min.)
Mary Pickford buys war bonds and supports the troops.
Bud’s Recruit (1918, 26 min.)
Brothers learn to serve their country in King Vidor’s earliest surviving film.
The Reawakening (1919, 10 min.)
Documentary about helping disabled veterans to build new lives.
Eight Prohibition Newsreels (1923-33, 13 min.)
From Capital Stirred by Biggest Hooch Raid to Repeal Brings Wet Flood!
The National Film Preservation Foundation, the nonprofit organization created by the U.S. Congress to help save America’s film heritage, is the 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 1,100 films at archives, libraries and museums across 41 states, Puerto Rico, and the District of Columbia.
The NFPF website has details of Treasures volumes I and II, with some video clips, and a Treasures IV on the avant garde 1945-1985 will be available next year.