Busy, busy, busy

Things are a bit hectic down at Bioscope Towers these days, and what with broadband problems, not only is it hard to find time to write posts but even when the time does appear I can’t post them. So, in my lunch break, and before heading off to the Imperial War Museum to mark the retirement of its highly estemeed Keeper of the Film and Video Archive, Roger Smither, and then to the BFI Southbank to see the ‘new’ Metropolis, here are links to some interesting posts on silent cinema which other bloggers have produced lately.

Doing things differently
George Clark reports on the pioneering programme of early films shown at the recent Oberhausen Short Film Festival, for AP Engine. Enthusiastic, but not uncritical.

From the career of Louis J. Mannix
Nick Redfern, at the highly impressive Research into Film blog, takes a break from statistical analysis to tell us about (and quote from) the rare memoirs of a Leeds projectionist operating in the silent era.

Never too late silents
Kristin Thompson assesses the silent films of Joseph von Sternberg through the recent Criterion DVD set at the indispensible Observations on Film Art blog that she shares with David Bordwell.

Kevin Brownlow to receive special Oscar
From the San Francisco Silent Film Festival blog, news that Kevin Brownlow is to be awarded an honorary award from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Huge cheers and hats in the air about that piece of news.

The Lindgren manifesto
And from my other, infrequently updated blog, Moving Image, here’s philosopher-film archivist Paolo Cherchi Usai’s provocative but thought-provoking fourteen-point manifesto for film curators of the future, named after the founder of the BFI National Archive. Make of it what you will.

The world remembers more

St Kilda, Britain’s Loneliest Isle (1928)

A little while ago we told you about UNESCO’s Memory of the World programme, which highlights archival objects which best represent the world’s documentary heritage. The intention of Memory of the World is to “to guard against collective amnesia calling upon the preservation of the valuable archive holdings and library collections all over the world ensuring their wide dissemination.” Among the objects on the register so far as a number of films, most of them from the silent era. They are Metropolis (1927), Lumière films, Roald Amundsen’s South Pole Expedition (1910-1912), The Battle of the Somme (1916), The Story of the Kelly Gang (1906), and the non-silent Luis Buñuel’s Los Olvidados (1950), Norman McClaren’s animation film Neighbours (1952), The Wizard of Oz (1939), the Ingmar Bergman Archives, and the John Marshall Ju/’hoan Bushman Film and Video Collection.

Now their number has grown, because today it was announced that St Kilda, Britain’s Loneliest Isle (1928), nominated by the Scottish Screen Archive at the National Library of Scotland, and The Life Story of David Lloyd George (1918), nominated by the National Screen and Sound Archive of Wales, are to be added to the list (to be accurate, the UK Memory of the World Register).

The Life Story of David Lloyd George (1918)

The Lfe Story of David Lloyd George (1918) will be well-known to regular readers, as it was covered in detail by a Bioscope post last year – indeed, I believe that some of the words from the Bioscope account may have helped secure the nomination, in which case we are immensely proud. The film is a biopic of the British prime minister David Lloyd George, whose production and post-production history are fascinating, because the film was suppressed (for reasons that remain mysterious to this day) and never seen by the public until its happy rediscovery in 1994. It is cultural artefact of the highest order, and an excellent film on top of that. If you’ve not had the chance to see it yet, it is available on DVD from the NSSAW, and comes highly recommended. You can view a short clip here.

St Kilda, Britain’s Loneliest Isle has also been mentioned by the Bioscope, when we reported on the Scottish Screen Archive’s outstanding video streaming site. There you can see this exceptional documentary work, which records the last days of human habitation on the remote Scottish island, as the Gaelic speaking community prepares to leave the place where humans had previously existed for 2,000 years. It is a haunting document, forming a bridge between time immemorial and the modern area that the cinematograph itself represents (the film includes a sequence where St Kildans are taken to see their first film show). It runs for 17 minutes – do watch it if you can.

Warm congratulations to both the National Screen and Sound Archive of Wales and the Scottish Screen Archive.

Shoot a film, save a film

How good are you with a movie camera? Better than me, I hope, and if you are looking for a subject to bring out your finer skills and commitment to the moving image medium, then why not participate in the AMIA Short film Competition?

AMIA – the Association of Moving Image Archivists – has announced a short film competition on the theme of ‘Preserving the world’s moving image heritage’. AMIA is celebrating its twentieth years as an organisation dedicated to preserving moving images, and it wants the competition to provide an opportunity “to emphasize the importance of saving our moving images as important educational, historical, and cultural resources”.

The specific challenge is to produce a film running between two and three minutes which conveys the importance of saving the world’s moving image heritage. The competition is open to everyone, and you can submit more than one production. All entries must be in the English language or with English subtitles. Submissions may include any combination of original and archival material. All entries must be on DVD, formatted Region 1 or 0.

http://www.AMIA2010.org

Submissions will be accepted from 15 June 2010 and the deadline is 30 August 2010. There will be be Grand Prize of $2,500 (USD) prize, to be announced on October 27 as part of the World Day of Audiovisual Heritage celebration, and will be screened at the AMIA 2010 conference‘s Archival Screening Night, on 5 November 2010 in Philadelphia, PA. The runner-up will receive $1,000 (USD). The winner, runner-up and finalists’ productions will be included on the AMIA website.

Further details, including submission rules, technical requirements and entry form, are available on the AMIA website. Get cranking.

(The photo at the top of this post shows J.B. McDowell manning the camera, with British newsreel producer William Jeapes to the right, and Warwick Trading Company manager Will Barker obscured behind McDowell. It dates from 1908)

The lost Americans

The Sergeant (Selig Polyscope, 1910), from http://www.filmpreservation.org

You know, it’s getting difficult to keep up with all the silent news just at the moment. Hot on the heels of the discovery of a lost Chaplin film, A Thief Catcher, the National Film Preservation Foundation has announced a partnership with the New Zealand Film Archive to preserve and make available a collection of 75 American films (all silents) that no longer survive in American archives.

The films range in date from 1898 to 1929 and are a mixture of shorts and features, fiction and non-fiction. The plan is to preserve the films over the next three years and the make them accessible 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 the UCLA Film & Television Archive. Copies of the complete films will also be publicly available in New Zealand and viewable on the National Film Preservation Fund Web site.

A full list of the films hasn’t been announced as yet, but these are the highlights:

  • The Active Life of Dolly of the Dailies—Episode 5, The Chinese Fan (Edison Manufacturing Co., 1914). In this episode of the famous serial (previously entirely lost in the United States), ace woman reporter Dolly Desmond, played by Mary Fuller, rescues the editor’s daughter from kidnappers and gets the scoop. In the early 1910s, on-going serial narratives starring intrepid heroines lured female moviegoers back to the theater week after week.
  • The Better Man (Vitagraph Company of America, 1912), a Western in which a Mexican American outlaw proves himself the better man. This film will be preserved through funds raised in February by the “For the Love of Film” Blogathon.
  • The Big Show (Miller Brothers Productions, 1926), the only surviving fiction film made by the famous Oklahoma-based Wild West Show managed by the Miller Brothers. The film showcases performances by many of the troupe’s performers as well as its owner, Col. Joseph Miller.
  • Billy and his Pal (George Méliès / American Wild West Film Company, 1911), a Western filmed in San Antonio, Texas, and the earliest surviving film featuring Francis Ford. The actor-director introduced the movie business to his younger brother, John, who soon blossomed as director. Released in New Zealand as Bobby and his Pal.
  • Birth of a Hat (Stetson Company, 1920), an industrial short illustrating how Stetson makes its hats.
  • The Diver (Kalem Company, 1916), a documentary showing how to set underwater explosives.
  • Fordson Tractors (Ford Motor Co., 1918), an industrial film promoting the all-purpose tractor introduced by Henry Ford & Son in 1917.
  • The Girl Stage Driver (Éclair-Universal, 1914), an early Western filmed in Tucson, Arizona. American-made Westerns were in demand by movie audiences around the globe and helped establish the United States as the major film-exporting nation by the late 1910s.
  • Idle Wives (Universal Moving Pictures, 1916), the first reel of a Lois Weber feature in which a film inspires three sets of moviegoers to remake their lives. More of the film exists at the Library of Congress.
  • International Newsreel (ca.1926), newsreel including five stories from the United States and abroad. By the late 1910s, newsreels became a regular part of the movie program. Because the footage was usually cut up and reused, very few newsreels from the silent era survive in complete form.
  • Kick Me Again (Universal Pictures / Bluebird Comedies, 1925), a short comedy with Hungarian silent star Charles Puffy. As America became the center of world film production in the 1920s, European actors, such as Puffy, came to Hollywood to build their careers.
  • Little Brother (Thanhouser Film Corporation, 1913), one of two one-reelers from New York’s Thanhouser Company repatriated through the project.
  • Lyman Howe’s Ride on a Runaway Train (Lyman H. Howe Films, 1921), a thrill-packed short entertainment that was accompanied by sound discs which survive at the Library of Congress.
  • Mary of the Movies (Columbia Pictures, 1923), Hollywood comedy about a young woman seeking stardom in the movies. This first surviving film from Columbia Pictures exists in an incomplete copy.
  • Maytime (B.P. Schulberg Productions, 1923), a feature with Clara Bow in an early role. Nitrate deterioration has reached the point where “blooms” are starting to eat away at the emulsion.
  • Midnight Madness (DeMille Pictures, 1928), comedy starring Clive Brook as a millionaire who decides to teach his golddigging fiancée a lesson.
  • Run ‘Em Ragged (Rolin Films, 1920), a short featuring slapstick comedian Snub Pollard.
  • The Sergeant (Selig Polyscope, 1910), a Western filmed in Yosemite Valley when the area was managed by the U.S. Army. This film will be preserved through funds raised in February by the “For the Love of Film” Blogathon.
  • Trailer for Strong Boy (Fox Film Corporation, 1929), a “lost” feature directed by John Ford and starring Victor McLaglen as a courageous baggage handler who thwarts a holdup. No other moving images from this film survive.
  • Upstream (Fox Film Corporation, 1927), a feature directed by four-time Academy Award winner John Ford. Only 15% of the silent-era films by the celebrated director are known to survive. This tale of backstage romance stars Nancy Nash and Earle Foxe.
  • Why Husbands Flirt (Christie Comedies, 1918), one of the nine short comedies that will be preserved through this project.
  • The Woman Hater (Power Picture Plays, 1910), a one-reel comedy starring serial queen Pearl White.
  • Won in a Closet (Keystone Film Company, 1914), the first surviving movie directed by and starring Mabel Normand. Released in New Zealand as Won in a Cupboard.

Among the numerous highlights there are John Ford’s Upstream, a significant addition to the small number of silent features directed by Ford (there is to be a retrospective on Ford’s silents at this month’s Il Cinema Ritrovato in Bologna, though not with Upstream, fairly obviously) and the Clara Bow feature Maytime, though let’s not overlook such certain gems as the proto-sound Lyman Howe’s Ride on a Runaway Train, documentaries on how to make stetson hats and how to set underwater explosives, and particularly a rare example of a complete silent newsreel (i.e. with full titles and all the stories in place – so many newsreels only survive as individual stories).

There’s also the heartening news that the preservation of two of the films, The Better Man and The Sergeant, is to be funded by monies raised by the recent For the Love of Film film preservation blogathon, which ran 14-21 February 2010 – hats off to the blogosphere for that noble action (and read more about this aspect of the preservation at the highly commendable Self-Styled Siren blog). Preview clips of The Sergeant are available on the NFPF site.

This isn’t expected to be the last such international film preservation project (and it emulates an earlier Australian/American initiative). The Library of Congress estimates that roughly one-third of American silent-era features that survive in complete form exist only in archives in other countries. That’s an exciting prospect, but we must also think of the cost – preserving the New Zealand treasure trove is going to cost $500,000. Just consider the millions upon millions that will be required to preserve just the entirety of the American silent film heritage, and then add up everyone else’s heritage. Tough decisions lie ahead.

There’s more on the project and the films’ discovery from The New York Times.

Forever film

The National Audiovisual Conservation Center of the Library of Congress, Culpeper, Virginia

When good film archivists die, they’ll probably go to Culpeper. Or somewhere quite like it. Culpeper VA is home to the National Audiovisual Conservation Center (NAVCC) of the Library of Congress, a state-of-the-art film preservation centre funded by Packard half of Hewlett-Packard and a temple to the art of preserving the film heritage – 1.1 million film, television, and video recordings, to be precise.

The reason for mentioning the NAVCC is to introduce an engrossing account of the scale of the work that goes on there, written by Ken Weissman, Supervisor of the Film Preservation Laboratory. The piece, ‘The Ultimate Archive System‘, was written for Creative COW Magazine, and although it covers the breadth of the Library’s film collection across the last century and more, it has much to say about the treatment of its earliest films:

Here, for example, is what he writes about paper prints, which were once treated photochemically but are now being tested for digital restoration:

We started as a photochemical laboratory, and are primarily a photochemical laboratory to this day. It has only really been in the past half a dozen years, or less, that you can even begin a conversation that might convince people in the know that preserving motion pictures might be done digitally. So here in our lab, we began a pilot digital project for a very special collection that we have in the Library of Congress: the paper print collection.

These paper prints exist because of a vaguery in the copyright law at the time that motion pictures were invented. The Copyright Office at the Library interpreted the law to say that a motion picture film is simply a series of still photographs, and therefore the still photographic copyright law applied. If you wanted to copyright a motion picture, you had to provide the Library of Congress two copies of the film, and they had to be on paper. Not film.

A process was invented to literally create long strips of photographic paper, exactly the size of 35mm film stock, and then create contact prints from the original 35mm negatives, onto those long strips of paper. These were then deposited with the Library.

There are over 3000 titles within that collection, some of the earliest films ever made — from 1894-1915, with the vast majority from before 1912. Most of them are unique. In other words, these paper prints are the only copies of these films. They represent the single largest collection of early motion pictures in the world, by far. The Library is rightfully very proud of this collection.

The paper prints had been locked in a vault in the bowels of one of the library buildings, and rediscovered by librarian Howard Walls in the late 30s. The paper itself is still stable, but for the most part, you can’t see the images very easily except by looking directly at the paper — where of course there is no motion.

This is why there have been several attempts over the course of history since their rediscovery to put them back on film. One of the first was by Kemp Niver, and his company called Renovare. He took these 35mm prints (and there are some that are actually a larger gauge than that), and re-photographed them using a clever device that he built, printing to 16mm film. We have used various models of these Niver printers, including one where we replaced the 16mm camera with a 35mm camera, in order to print back to 35.

All of the processes have been interesting, and they’ve all been successful to some degree. However, they’ve also been unsuccessful to a great degree, in that the images are alternately soft, or fuzzy, or very shaky. There was also no way to accurately register the images. In fact, we’ve concluded that in many cases, the images aren’t very well registered on the paper.

The obvious solution is to scan the images, then take advantage of digital processing to stabilize them, correct positioning and so on. Our first scans of the paper prints were 2K x 2K, which theoretically should have been good enough, but in our analysis of the imagery, we think it might be better to go to 4K x 4K. But that’s one part of the pilot program, to figure out exactly how to do it. It’s more of a theoretical workflow because we haven’t practically implemented it yet, but we’re getting close.

Georges Méliès on a Library of Congress paper print

From film to paper to film to a row of ones and noughts – these particular ‘films’, a great many of which no longer exist in any other form than the paper on which their successive images are now held, would seem to be ripe for digitisation. But for Weissman, digitisation is essentially a means for returning the images to film. He argues that knowledge of of how ambient temperature and relative humidity affect decay, measured in a Preservation Index, means that film which under normal conditions might only last fifty years before serious degradation sets, when “stored at 25F and 30% relative humidity, you can expect it to last 40 times longer than that – 2000 years.”

That’s why, as we move further into digital technologies, the plan for now is still to scan the images, restore or preserve them as needed, then run them back to film, and put the film away at 25 degrees, 30% relative humidity, for practically forever. For most people, in practice, somewhere between 600 and 2000 years is beyond forever. Because frankly, once you get to that point, what are you really worrying about?

It reads likely a strangely regressive strategy, which so many other institutions are looking to become every more the completely digital library. But film takes up space, digitally speaking – one frame scanned at 4K amounts to 128MB, he informs us, or 24 terabytes for the average feature film. And then you’re not done with it, because you’ll probably have to migrate the files after five years “to the next greatest things”, and have back-up copies, and back-ups of backups, and then repeat the processes five years after that, and then again and again, and keep on paying for it all…

But what also drives Weissman is the love of film itself. A digital file tells you nothing until you can find the kit to run it (if it hasn’t become obsolete in those five years). But with reassuring filmstock all you need is a light source, a lens and a screen, and you can see what you’ve got. And it takes you back to what you started from. “I can’t help feeling in my heart of hearts that the simple solution is usually the best” he argues, adding “and film is a pretty simple solution.”

Film archivists like film, and arguments that film might actually be the best, even the most economic form for storing film long term, is bound to appeal. Until they stop producing film stock, of course. And then there are all those ‘films’ that weren’t ever on film because they were made digitally in the first place, which is what we’re making now. That might at least make the NAVCC’s challenge a finite one, because there will come a point when we stop producing films on film and so you’ll have a measurable problem. But what gets done with the 21st century’s motion picture medium of choice – born digital – doesn’t get mentioned.

It’s not easy having to think about keeping an impermanent medium forever.

Memory of the world

Roald Amundsen and his Norwegian team reach the South Pole. From http://unesco.no/generelt/english/norwegian-documentary-heritage

In the report on the British Silent Film Festival I covered the Amundsen polar films. What I didn’t mention is that the films have been included in UNESCO’s Memory of the World programme. It seems worthwhile just taking a look at Memory of the World and identifying those silent films which are registered on it.

UNESCO’s Memory of the World is an ongoing programme of identification and commemoration of key artefacts held in archives that are important to the world’s documentary heritage. The objective of the programme is described thus:

The vision of the Memory of the World Programme is that the world’s documentary heritage belongs to all, should be fully preserved and protected for all and, with due recognition of cultural mores and practicalities, should be permanently accessible to all without hindrance.

It has these three main mission statements:

  • To facilitate preservation, by the most appropriate techniques, of the world’s documentary heritage.
  • To assist universal access to documentary heritage.
  • To increase awareness worldwide of the existence and significance of documentary heritage.

In practice the Memory of the World means a register of the world’s archival gems. Archives, museums and libraries vie with one another for the honour of having their prized items listed on on the register (though nominations are by country, not by institution). There’s no monetary gain involved: merely glory, plus all the strength and worldwide recognition that comes from UNESCO’s backing. Consequently it is quite an achievement for the silent films and film collections that have made it to the register, although together they present a rather uneven picture of what is most precious about the world’s early film heritage.

These are the silent films (with their nomination details) currently on the register, alongside such world treasures as the Bayeux tapestry, the diaries of Anne Frank, Magna Carta and Criminal Court Case No. 253/1963 (State Versus N Mandela and Others).

METROPOLIS – Sicherungsstück Nr. 1: Negative of the restored and reconstructed version 2001

Documentary heritage submitted by Germany and recommended for inclusion in the Memory of the World Register in 2001.

Fritz Lang’s motion picture METROPOLIS (1927) is without doubt famous testimony of German silent film art, a testimony that made history. The combination of motion picture and architecture: this is above all and still METROPOLIS, the film which was shot by Fritz Lang in the Babelsberg Film Studios in 1925/1926, which, due to its immense expenditure, caused the UFA, the largest German film group, to run into financial difficulties, which then had a glittering première in Berlin in January 1927, and an unparalleled success all over the world ever since – and which became the symbol of a (film-) architectural model of the future.

Substantially shortened and changed almost immediately after the première in Berlin, only one (though fragmentary) of the initially three original negatives of METROPOLIS has been left in the possession of the German Federal Archives, as well as master copies of the lost original negatives in a few archives abroad.

As a result of intense investigations on the initiative of the Friedrich Wilhelm Murnau Foundation, a new reconstruction has been produced. It was first shown in February 2001, on the occasion of the Berlin Film Festival. Considering that the result this time is again not the original version of METROPOLIS, but “only” a synthetic version made of the fragments handed down, it comes, however, as close to the original piece of work as possible. With this reconstruction project a new digitized “original” negative has been produced to provide more independence and better copying quality in the future. This reconstructed version of METROPOLIS is proposed for nomination here.

Lumière Films

Documentary heritage submitted by France and recommended for inclusion in the Memory of the World Register in 2005.

The collection nominated for inclusion in the Memory of the World Register comprises all the original films (negatives and positives) known as the Lumière films (i.e. having round perforations) and listed in the catalogue of 1,423 titles produced at the factory of the brothers Louis and Auguste Lumière. Since 18 films have been lost, the collection comprises the original films of the 1,405 Lumière titles that have been identified and restored.

Roald Amundsen’s South Pole Expedition (1910-1912)

Documentary heritage submitted by Norway and recommended for inclusion in the Memory of the World Register in 2005.

Roald Amundsen and his 4-man team reached the South Pole, with the help of polar dogs, on 14 December 1911. The expedition, and particularly the dog-sled journey to the Pole, is described as daring and with an exceptionally good logistic planning and execution.

The Antarctic and the Arctic Polar Regions, for several centuries, were regarded as the final frontiers for mankind to conquer, and the North and South Poles were for a long period of time the great goals to attain within geographic discovery.

The discoveries in the polar areas contributed, not least in Norway but also internationally, to greater consciousness of, and political interest in, questions concerning sovereignty and rights in these sea and land areas.

The original film material of Roald Amundsen’s South Pole Expedition documents a great historic achievement, outside the borders of the civilized world and in an extreme climatic environment.

In his time, Roald Amundsen (1872 – 1928) contributed, through several expeditions and together with his teams, to new knowledge within several aspects of polar research. First and foremost, however, he is remembered as a master of the classic polar expedition’s planning and execution.

The film collection is unique, as it documents the important events of this first expedition to reach the South Pole. Though the material is incomplete, it is made up of original sequences, filmed between 1910 and 1912, consisting of negative film and first and second-generation print material.

The Battle of the Somme

Documentary heritage submitted by United Kingdom and recommended for inclusion in the Memory of the World Register in 2005.

The 1916 film The Battle of the Somme is uniquely significant both as the compelling documentary record of one of the key battles of the First World War (and indeed one which has come to typify many aspects of this landmark in 20th Century history) and as the first feature-length documentary film record of combat produced anywhere in the world. In the latter role, the film played a major part in establishing the methodology of documentary and propaganda film, and initiated debate on a number of issues relating to the ethical treatment of “factual” film which continue to be relevant to this day. Seen by many millions of British civilians within the first month of distribution, The Battle of the Somme was recognized at the time as a phenomenon that allowed the civilian home-front audience to share the experiences of the front-line soldier, thus helping both to create and to reflect the concept of Total War. Seen later by mass audiences in allied and neutral countries, including Russia and the United States, it coloured the way in which the war and British participation in it were perceived around the world at the time and subsequently, and it is the source a number of iconic images of combat on the Western Front in the First World War which remain in almost daily use ninety years later …

Finally, it has importance as one of the foundation stones of the film collection of the Imperial War Museum, an institution that may claim to be among the oldest film archives in the world.

The Story of the Kelly Gang (1906)

Documentary heritage submitted by Australia and recommended for inclusion in the Memory of the World Register in 2007.

Just as Fritz Lang’s Metropolis (1927) is testimony to German silent film art, The Story of the Kelly Gang (1906) symbolises both the birth of the Australian film industry and the emergence of an Australian identity. Even more significantly it heralds the emergence of the feature film format.

The Story of the Kelly Gang, directed by Charles Tait in 1906, is the first full-length narrative feature film produced anywhere in the world. Only fragments of the original production of more than one hour are known to exist and are preserved at the National Film and Sound Archive, Canberra. The original poster and publicity booklet provide confirmation of those fragments’ authenticity and together this material represents the unique and irreplacable beginning of feature film culture.

What is striking is just how much film is represented on the register so far. As well as the above, from the sound era there is Luis Buñuel’s Los Olvidados (1950), Norman McClaren’s animation film Neighbours (1952), The Wizard of Oz (1939), the Ingmar Bergman Archives, and the John Marshall Ju/’hoan Bushman Film and Video Collection – though one might query the documentary value of some of these choices. The prominence of film can be seen by looking an individual countries: there have been five items registered by the UK – the Hereford Mappa Mundi, Magna Carta, the Registry of Slaves of the British Caribbean 1817-1834 (submitted by the UK and Caribbean nations), the Appeal of 18 June 1940 (a radio broadcast, submitted by the UK and France), and The Battle of the Somme.

Not everyone would argue that The Battle of the Somme should be among the UK’s top five archival treasures (though I would), and its presence there is due in part to the strong arguments made in its favour by its host archive, the IWM – but nevertheless film is there on the register, again and again. It is not only heartening, but it adds significant strength to the arguments of archives that need to argue the case for the preservation of film as a medium equal to any other. Celluloid is the equal of vellum.

The individual records for the films listed above are worth checking out because there is a link to the nomination forms, which give much supporting information (in English and French) on the films’ preservation and current status. There are also some photographs.

But if you were picking five examples of silent film heritage to represent the world’s documentary heritage, would you have picked those five – or what would you argue should be included?

Finally, the restored Roald Amundsen’s South Pole Expedition film is to be made available on DVD from the Norwegian Film Institute on May 6th – details here.

Losing films

Production still for 4 Devils, from http://www.lost-films.eu

The keen-eyed among you may have noticed that there has been no announcement for the Bioscope Festival of Lost Films. I’ve decided not to pursue the festival any further. It ran for two years, and attracted quite a bit of interest, but I was never quite happy with the way it worked, and then there were the various people who contacted me subsequently who wanted to know where these long-lost films were, and who couldn’t grasp what was going on. And then there was the embarrassment of one of the films that I wrote about not being lost at all – or so I understand (I’ll identify it and report on its happy rediscovery when more concrete information emerges). All in all, it’s time to move on to other things.

But while we’re on the subject of lost films, it would be handy to summarise where things are these days, in particular to reassess the Lost Films site created by the Deutsche Kinemathek. Established in 2007, the ‘Lost Films’ project set out to gather information on films believed to be lost, with archivists and historians invited to add information, documents etc. What started out as a wiki with a strong emphasis on lost German films has grown into a fully-fledged portal, “aimed at collecting and documenting film titles, which are believed or have been declared ‘lost'”. 3,500 titles are now listed, many of them described in detail and illustrated by photographs and documents, and while the emphasis remains with German cinema the range has extended greatly to include lost films from around the world. Not all are silent films, but given the biases of time, the great majority comes from the pre-1930 era.

As an example of what one can now find on the site, take a look at one of the most keenly sought of all lost films, F.W. Murnau’s 4 Devils (US 1927). Starring Janet Gaynor, Charles Morton, Barry Norton and Nancy Drexel, this circus drama was Murnau’s second American film, and it was issued both as a silent as with a Movietone score (not with Murnau’s co-operation) with synchronised sound effects, music and dialogue sequences.

Lost Films gives us a synopsis (including different versions of the ending), cast and credits for both silent and sound versions, release information including length and censorship details, premiere dates, and this commentary by the Deutsche Kinemathek’s Martin Koerber on the film’s ‘lost status:

A print of this was last seen in the 1940s in the Fox warehouse in Los Angeles. According to the files on this title in the Fox papers at UCLA, the print was given to Mary Duncan, lead actress. Legend has it that she either burned it or drowned it in her swimming pool. We can still hope this is an urban legend. No one has traced Mary Duncan’s things, she died only in the 1990s, and there may be heirs. Janet Bergstrom’s video essay about this lost film is a fascinating story, presenting all the surviving stills and sketches and other evidence. This is a bonus on the SUNRISE DVD (or on some of them, anyway.)

Attached to this record are a mouth-watering 172 digitised documents:stills, programmes, advertisements, audience questionnaires (see above), censorship documents, drawings, screenplay (just a sample page, alas), distribution documents and more. The documents come from the Deutsche Kinemathek’s F.W. Murnau collection, and obviosuly not every lost film will be so richly documented, but nevertheless Lost Films has become a rich research resource, not just for specific lost films but for silent film history in general.

There are various ways in which you can search for films – by title, director, country, or year. One needs to be aware of the bias towards German production, and that the numbers of lost films per country is not a measure of overall loss – so, for example, there are currently 1,931 German films listed, but only 42 Japanese, yet the survival rate for Japanese silent film is catastrophic – at least 95% of all production is estimated to be lost (more on such figures in a moment). There are 752 American films listed, and 174 from the UK. Not all are silents, do note. Many of the American and British titles come from the Presumed Lost section of Carl Bennett’s Silent Era site.

Unidentified film no. 145 from Lost Films, a drama of Europeans in Japan, thought to date c.1925, possibly American

Lost Films invites you to register and then contribute information, including adding your own digital materials. It has a helpful links section (though I wish they’d spell my name right), which covers not only lost films but report on films which have been re-discovered. There are different kinds of lost film – those which we know about but no longer exist; those which exist in incomplete form or some non-original version only; those which exist but are hard to find (or see); and those which exist but are effectively lost because they are unidentified. So Lost Films has a section on films that require identification, all illustrated with stills, and a number (chiefly American) happily now identified.

A number of the stills has been contributed by the Nitrate Film Interest Group, and off-shoot of the Association of Moving Image Archivists (AMIA), which is using Flickr to host images of unidentified films in the hope that someone somewhere can identify a name, place or film company logo. There are some highly knowledgeable folk out there who can, and there is pleasure to be had simply in witnessing how sharp-eyed some people are. Do have a go, becuase if you don’t recognise the performers you may be able to spot a location, or a form of dress, and a piece of décor which may provide the vital clue.

There are other lost film resources out there, either aimed at the film history enthusiasts or the archivist looking to identify the mysterious or to help complete a national collection.

  • Moving Image Collections – Lost Films
    The AMIA and Library of Congress-support film archives portal includes a lost films section (all American), and a complementary found films section too.
  • The Silent Era – Presumed Lost
    The aforementioned Silent Era service list hundreds of lost silents from around the world, with credits, references and technical information, plus updated information on films previously listed as lost which survive complete or incomplete somewhere.
  • Recherche des films perdus
    Listing (in French) of films which were listed as lost in 1996 but which have been discovered in archives around Europe by the LUMIERE project (the list is arranged by country of archive, then by country of production).
  • Der Stummfilm in Lateinamerika
    This handy site on Latin America silent cinema (it’s in German) includes a listing of key lost films from Argentina, Brazil, Mexico etc.
  • Wikipedia
    Wikipedia has a selective list of lost films, arranged by decade, which many of the most sought-after titles. It also provides lists of incomplete or partially lost films and rediscovered films. (Much of the information derives from The Silent Era).

  • For the rest, check out Lost Filmslinks page.

To review all of the Bioscope Festival of Lost Films entries, visit the Series section of this site which has all the links – and see if you can guess which one now survives. While you’re there, you can also follow the links for the Lost & Found series, which tells the stories of the discovery of lost film collections.

There are some books on the subject too: Harry Waldman, Missing Reels: Lost Films of American and European Cinema; David Meeker and Allen Eyles, Missing believed Lost: The Great British Film Search; Frank T. Thompson, Lost Films: Important Movies that Disappeared. Note also Anthony Slide’s Nitrate Won’t Wait: a history of film preservation in the United States (2000); David Pierce’s essay, ‘The Legion of the Condemned: Why American Films Perished’, Film History vol. 9 no. 1 (1997), a revised version of which appears in Roger Smither (ed.), This Film is Dangerous: A Celebration of Nitrate Film (2002); and Gian Luca Farinelli and Vitorio Martinelli, ‘The Search for Lost Films’, in Catherine A. Surowiec, The LUMIERE Project: The European Film Archives at the Crossroads (1996).

There are different kinds of lost film, and different degrees of loss. Indeed, some argue that no film can be described as being definitively lost, since by the very nature of the medium multiple copies were produced, so there is always the chance that one may be squirreled away somewhere. Lost films are found in archives, in private collections, on distributors’ shelves, in projection rooms, in people’s basements, attics or garden sheds, in auction sales, and in some romantic cases among a collection of old radios (The 1895 Derby), hoarded by a Swiss school (the Joseph Joye collection), in a Chinese flea market (The Case of Lena Smith), at the bottom of the sea in the wreck of the Lusitania (The Carpet from Bagdad), buried underneath a Canadian swimming pool (the Dawson City collection), or on eBay (Zepped).

Nitrate films in an advanced state of decomposition, from http://www.archives.gov

But just how many silent films are lost? The figure generally bandied about is 80% of all films from the pre-1930 era, this was put together quite a few years ago (I believe it was at the behest of the Federation of Film Archives, or FIAF), and it hasn’t been challenged much since. It may be correct, but it was estimated by matching titles held in national film archives with the titles recorded in national filmographies. But national film archives don’t hold everything (as any proud collector will tell you) and national filmographies have tended until recently to restrict themselves to the fiction film. Nowadays there seems to be a less blinkered approach, but as the Film Foundation says, while “a mere 10 percent of the [fiction] films produced in the United States before 1929 are still in existence … for shorts, documentaries, newsreels, and other independently produced, ‘orphan’ films, there is simply no way of knowing how many have been lost”. Where did that 10% figure come from? The American Film Institute calculated in the mid-1970s that 25% of American silent era films were lost, a much-quoted figure, but as Anthony Slide points out, “such figures, as archivists admit in private, were thought up on the spur of the moment, without statistical information to back them up”.

Solid information for other countries is hard to find, and is certainly not gathered together in any one place that I know of. Here’s a start, however:

  • Australia – 50 out of 250 feature films made between 1906 and 1930 survive in whole or in part (source: National Library of Australia)
  • Brazil – around 10% of silent feature films survives, though many only in a fragmentary state (interview with Carlos Roberto de Sousa)
  • China – 5% of 1,100 productions made 1905-1937 survive (source: Griffithiana no. 54, 1995)
  • Germany – No overall figure, but of 700 films made in 1916 just 60 survive, while one fifth of films made in 1925 are held by the Bundesarchiv (source: Bundesarchiv, ‘Lost Films’)
  • India – of around 1,330 silent fiction films made, thirteen survive, all incomplete (India Profile)
  • Japan – 95-99% of all silents are estimated to be lost (Le Giornate del Cinema Muto catalogue, 2001)
  • Russia – 286 films, out of an estimated 1,716 films produced 1907-1917, or one sixth of production, is preserved by Gosfilmofond (Silent Witnesses: Russian Films 1908-1919, 1989)
  • United Kingdom – “a huge proportion of Britain’s early film heritage is believed lost” (BFI Collecting Policy document)
  • USA – a survival rate of 7-12% for each year of the teens (feature films only), moving to 15-25% for the 1920s (Library of Congress figures from 1993, cited by David Pierce)

(Anyone who has a source for figures from other countries, or better figures, please let me know)

We need an up-to-date international set of figures, one which takes into account the most authoritative filmographic work and which makes it clear the proportion of fiction and non-fiction, professional and amateur film that we should be considering. It would need to make clearer the national differences in survival rates, and what survives in public institutions, commercial concerns, and privately (however much of a guess the latter would have to be). Where certain figures cannot be computed, we need formulae that give an indication. The methodology needs to be made clear. We need the same for the talkie era, for the television era, and now all over again for the digital era, when user-generated content is rewriting the rules for what can be produced. Only then will we know with accuracy just how shamefully we have treated the medium that supposedly is the great mark of the modern age. And we will treasure what survives all the more.

Silents on the National Film Registry

The Great Train Robbery (1903), as featured in Precious Images (1986), one of the twenty-five films added to the National Film Registry

As is traditional at this time of year, the announcement has been made of twenty-five further films being added to the National Film Registry. Each year the Librarian of Congress (James H. Billington), with advice from the National Film Preservation Board (and with recommendations made by the public), names twenty-five American films deemed “culturally, historically or aesthetically” significant that are to be added to the National Film Registry, “to be preserved for all time”. The idea is that such films are not selected as the “best” American films of all time, but rather as “works of enduring significance to American culture”.

Six silent or silent-related films are among the titles chosen for 2009: Winsor MacCay and J. Stuart Blackton’s early animation classic Little Nemo; the slapstick gem Mabel’s Blunder; a Red Cross film on wounded WWI veterans, Heroes All; Karl Brown’s remarkable anthropological drama of mountain people, Stark Love; a compilation of actuality and fictional film concerning the Mexican revolution, The Revenge of Pancho Villa; and Chuck Workman’s dazzling compilation Precious Images, which brings together iconic images from American cinema 1903-1985, so therefore includes many silent film sequences. The National Film Registry supplies these descriptions for the silent choices:

Heroes All (1920)
The Red Cross Bureau of Pictures produced more than 100 films, including “Heroes All,” from 1917-1921, which are invaluable historical and visual records of the era with footage from World War I and its aftermath. “Heroes All” examines returning wounded WWI veterans and their treatment at Walter Reed Hospital, along with visits to iconic Washington, D.C., landmarks. Several Red Cross cinematographers achieved notable film careers, including Ernest Schoedsack and A. Farciot Edouart.

Little Nemo (1911)
This classic work, a mix of live action and animation, was adapted from Winsor McCay’s famed 1905 comic strip “Little Nemo in Slumberland.” Its fluidity, graphics and story-telling was light years beyond other films made during that time. A seminal figure in both animation and comic art, McCay profoundly influenced many generations of future animators, including Walt Disney.

Mabel’s Blunder (1914)
Mabel Normand, who wrote, directed and starred in “Mabel’s Blunder,” was the most successful of the early silent screen comediennes. The film tells the tale of a young woman who is secretly engaged to the boss’ son. When a new employee catches the young man’s eye, a jealous Mabel dresses up as a chauffeur to spy on them, which leads to a series of mistaken identities. The film showcases Normand’s spontaneous and intuitive playfulness and her ability to be both romantically appealing and boisterously funny.

Precious Images (1986)
Chuck Workman’s legendary compilation film to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Directors Guild of America is also a dazzling celebration of the first near-century of American cinema. The pioneer of rapid-fire film history montages, “Precious Images” contains in the space of seven short minutes nearly 500 clips from classic films spanning the years 1903-1985. It became the most influential and widely shown short film in history. Workman is known for creating the montages shown during the annual Academy Awards broadcast.

The Revenge of Pancho Villa (1930-36)
This extraordinary compilation film was made by the Padilla family in El Paso, Texas, from dozens of fact-based and fictional films about Pancho Villa. The films were stitched together with original bilingual title cards and dramatic reenactments of Villa’s assassination were added to the revised print. “The Revenge of Pancho Villa” provides stirring evidence of a vital Mexican-American film presence during the 1910-30s.

Stark Love (1927)
A maverick production in both design and concept, “Stark Love” is a beautifully photographed mix of lyrical anthropology and action melodrama from director Karl Brown. “Man is absolute ruler. Woman is working slave.” Such are the rigid attitudes framing this tale of a country boy’s beliefs about chivalry that lead him to try to escape a brutal father with the girl he loves. “Stark Love,” cast exclusively with amateur actors and filmed entirely in the Great Smoky Mountains, is an illuminating portrayal of the Appalachian people.

The other twenty-two titles nominated are: Dog Day Afternoon (1975), The Exiles (1961), Hot Dogs for Gauguin (1972), The Incredible Shrinking Man (1957), Jezebel (1938), The Jungle (1967), The Lead Shoes (1949), The Mark of Zorro (1940), Mrs. Miniver (1942), The Muppet Movie (1979), Once Upon a Time in the West (1968), Pillow Talk (1959), Quasi at the Quackadero (1975), The Red Book (1994), Scratch and Crow (1995), The Story of G.I. Joe (1945), A Study in Reds (1932), Thriller (1983), Under Western Stars (1938).

The full list of films entered on the National Film Registry since 1989 can be found here, while this is the list of all silents on the Registry 1989-2008:

Ben-Hur (1926)
Big Business (1929)
The Big Parade (1925)
The Birth of a Nation (1915)
The Black Pirate (1926)
Blacksmith Scene (1893)
The Blue Bird (1918)
Broken Blossoms (1919)
The Cameraman (1928)
The Cheat (1915)
The Chechahcos (1924)
Civilization (1916)
Clash of the Wolves (1925)
Cops (1922)
A Corner in Wheat (1909)
The Crowd (1928)
The Curse of Quon Gwon (1916-17)
Dickson Experimental Sound Film (1894-95)
The Docks of New York (1928)
Evidence of the Film (1913)
The Exploits of Elaine (1914)
Fall of the House of Usher (1928)
Fatty’s Tintype Tangle (1915)
Flesh and the Devil (1927)
Foolish Wives (1920)
The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse (1921)
The Freshman (1925)
From the Manger to the Cross (1912)
The General (1927)
Gertie the Dinosaur (1914)
The Gold Rush (1925)
Grass (1925)
The Great Train Robbery (1903)
Greed (1924)
H20 (1929)
Hands Up (1926)
Hell’s Hinges (1926)
The Immigrant (1917)
In the Land of the Head Hunters (1914)
Intolerance (1916)
It (1927)
The Italian (1915)
Jeffries-Johnson World’s Championship Boxing Contest (1910)
The Kiss (1896)
Lady Helen’s Escapade (1909)
Lady Windermere’s Fan (1925)
Land Beyond the Sunset (1912)
The Last Command (1928)
The Last of the Mohicans (1920)
The Life and Death of 9413 – A Hollywood Extra (1927)
The Lost World (1925)
Making of an American (1920)
Manhatta (1921)
Matrimony’s Speed Limit (1913)
Mighty Like a Moose (1926)
Miss Lulu Bett (1922)
Nanook of the North (1922)
One Week (1920)
Pass the Gravy (1928)
Peter Pan (1924)
The Perils of Pauline (1914)
Phantom of the Opera (1925)
The Poor Little Rich Girl (1917)
Power of the Press (1928)
President McKinley Inauguration Footage (1901)
Princess Nicotine; or The Smoke Fairy (1909)
Regeneration (1915)
Rip Van Winkle (1896)
Safety Last (1923)
Salome (1922)
San Francisco Earthquake and Fire, April 18, 1906 (1906)
Seventh Heaven (1927)
Sherlock Jr. (1924)
Show People (1928)
Sky High (1922)
The Son of the Sheik (1926)
Star Theatre (1901)
The Strong Man (1926)
Sunrise (1927)
Tess of the Storm Country (1914)
There it is (1928)
The Thief of Bagdad (1924)
Tol’able David (1921)
Traffic in Souls (1913)
The Wedding March (1928)
Westinghouse Works, 1904 (1904)
Where Are My Children? (1916)
Wild and Wooly (1917)
The Wind (1928)
Wings (1927)
Within our Gates (1920)

Silent movies calendar 2010

http://www.mont-alto.com/Calendar.html

2009 is slipping away, 2010 is clamouring to take over, and it’s time once more for the Silent Movies Benefit Calendar, produced each year by Rodney Sauer of noted silent film musicians the Mont Alto Orchestra. The calendar features photographs of silent film stars contributed by fans, and highlights birthdays and marriages of stars. Proceeds from the calendar go towards silent film preservation – the 2009 calendar supported an internship in film preservation through the San Francisco Silent Film Festival.

The cost is $15 for the first calendar to a particular address, plus $12 for any additional calendars going to the same address. Shipping is $2.49 for one calendar, $3.09 for two, or $4.95 for three or more. The Monto Alto website has a postage calculator which includes shipping to European countries. Payment is by cheque or credit card through Google Checkout.

National Film Registry

foolish_wives1

Foolish Wives, from http://www.kino.com

Twenty-five films have been announced as being added to the National Film Registry. Each year the Librarian of Congress, with advice from the National Film Preservation Board (and with recommendations made by the public), names twenty-five American films deemed “culturally, historically or aesthetically” significant that are to be added to the National Film Registry, “to be preserved for all time”. The idea is that such films are not selected as the “best” American films of all time, but rather as “works of enduring significance to American culture”.

These are the silents (excluding amateur films) included among the list just announced, which they describe as follows:

Foolish Wives (1922)
Director Erich von Stroheim’s third feature, staged with costly and elaborate sets of Monte Carlo, tells the story of a criminal who passes himself off as a Russian count in order to seduce women of society and steal their money. This brilliant and, at the time, controversial film fully established von Stroheim’s reputation within the industry as a challenging and difficult-to-manage creative genius.

One Week (1920)
“One Week” is the first publicly released two-reel short film starring Buster Keaton. One of Keaton’s finest films and one of the greatest short comedies produced during the 1920s, the film, as critic Walter Kerr noted, shows Keaton as “a garden at the moment of blooming.” Considered astonishingly creative even by contemporary standards, “One Week” is rife with hilarious comic, often surrealist, sequences chronicling the ill-fated attempts of a newlywed couple to assemble their new home.

The Perils of Pauline (1914)
“The Perils of Pauline” was among the very first American movie serials. Produced in 20 episodes, in a groundbreaking long-form motion-picture narrative structure, the series starred Pearl White as a young and wealthy heiress whose ingenuity, self-reliance and pluck enable her to regularly outwit a guardian intent on stealing her fortune. The film became an international hit and spawned a succession of elaborate American adventure serial productions that persisted until the advent of regularly scheduled television programs in the 1950s. Although now regarded as a satirical cliché of the movie industry, “Perils of Pauline” in its day inspired a generation of women on the verge of gaining the right to vote in America by showing actress Pearl White performing her own stunts and overcoming a persistent male enemy.

So’s Your Old Man (1926)
While W.C. Fields’ talents are better suited for sound films — where his verbal jabs and asides still delight and astound — Fields also starred in some memorable silent films. Fields began his career as a vaudevillian juggler and that humor and dexterity shines through in “So’s Your Old Man.” The craziness is aided immeasurably through the deft comic touches of director Gregory LaCava. In the film, Fields plays inventor Samuel Bisbee, who is considered a vulgarian by the town’s elite. His road to financial success takes many hilarious detours including a disastrous demo for potential investors, a bungled suicide attempt, a foray into his classic “golf game” routine and an inspired pantomime to a Spanish princess.

White Fawn’s Devotion (1910)
James Young Deer is now recognized as the first documented movie director of Native American ancestry. Born in Dakota City, Neb., as a member of the Winnebago Indian tribe, James Young Deer (aka: J. Younger Johnston) began his show-business career in circus and Wild West shows in the 1890s. When Pathé Frères of France established its American studio in 1910, in part to produce more authentically American-style Western films, Young Deer was hired as a director and scenario writer. Frequently in collaboration with his wife, actress Princess Red Wing (aka: Lillian St. Cyr), also of Winnebago ancestry, Young Deer is believed to have written and directed more than 100 movies for Pathé from 1910-1913. Many details of Young Deer’s life and movie career remain undocumented and fewer than 10 of his films have been discovered and preserved by U.S. film archives.

For the record, the other titles on the list are The Asphalt Jungle (1950), Deliverance (1972), Disneyland Dream (1956), A Face in the Crowd (1957), Flower Drum Song (1961), Free Radicals (1979), Hallelujah (1929), In Cold Blood (1967), The Invisible Man (1933), Johnny Guitar (1954), The Killers (1946), The March (1964), No Lies (1973), On the Bowery (1957), The Pawnbroker (1965), Sergeant York (1941), The 7th Voyage of Sinbad (1958), George Stevens WW2 Footage (1943-46), The Terminator (1984), Water and Power (1989).

The full list of films entered on the National Film Registry since 1989 can be found here, while this is the list of all silents on the Registry 1989-2007:

Ben-Hur (1926)
Big Business (1929)
The Big Parade (1925)
The Birth of a Nation (1915)
The Black Pirate (1926)
Blacksmith Scene (1893)
The Blue Bird (1918)
Broken Blossoms (1919)
The Cameraman (1928)
The Cheat (1915)
The Chechahcos (1924)
Civilization (1916)
Clash of the Wolves (1925)
Cops (1922)
A Corner in Wheat (1909)
The Crowd (1928)
The Curse of Quon Gwon (1916-17)
Dickson Experimental Sound Film (1894-95) [not strictly a silent, of course]
The Docks of New York (1928)
Evidence of the Film (1913)
The Exploits of Elaine (1914)
Fall of the House of Usher (1928)
Fatty’s Tintype Tangle (1915)
Flesh and the Devil (1927)
The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse (1921)
The Freshman (1925)
From the Manger to the Cross (1912)
The General (1927)
Gertie the Dinosaur (1914)
The Gold Rush (1925)
Grass (1925)
The Great Train Robbery (1903)
Greed (1924)
H20 (1929)
Hands Up (1926)
Hell’s Hinges (1926)
The Immigrant (1917)
In the Land of the Head Hunters (1914)
Intolerance (1916)
It (1927)
The Italian (1915)
Jeffries-Johnson World’s Championship Boxing Contest (1910)
The Kiss (1896)
Lady Helen’s Escapade (1909)
Lady Windermere’s Fan (1925)
Land Beyond the Sunset (1912)
The Last Command (1928)
The Last of the Mohicans (1920)
The Life and Death of 9413 – A Hollywood Extra (1927)
The Lost World (1925)
Making of an American (1920)
Manhatta (1921)
Matrimony’s Speed Limit (1913)
Mighty Like a Moose (1926)
Miss Lulu Bett (1922)
Nanook of the North (1922)
Pass the Gravy (1928)
Peter Pan (1924)
Phantom of the Opera (1925)
The Poor Little Rich Girl (1917)
Power of the Press (1928)
President McKinley Inauguration Footage (1901)
Princess Nicotine; or The Smoke Fairy (1909)
Regeneration (1915)
Rip Van Winkle (1896)
Safety Last (1923)
Salome (1922)
San Francisco Earthquake and Fire, April 18, 1906 (1906)
Seventh Heaven (1927)
Sherlock Jr. (1924)
Show People (1928)
Sky High (1922)
The Son of the Sheik (1926)
Star Theatre (1901)
The Strong Man (1926)
Sunrise (1927)
Tess of the Storm Country (1914)
There it is (1928)
The Thief of Bagdad (1924)
Tol’able David (1921)
Traffic in Souls (1913)
The Wedding March (1928)
Westinghouse Works, 1904 (1904)
Where Are My Children? (1916)
Wild and Wooly (1917)
The Wind (1928)
Wings (1927)
Within our Gates (1920)