Thursday, September 25, 2014

Post #800 Salutes The EYE Project And FIlm Preservation

Our 800th post at Way Too Damn Lazy To Write A Blog spotlights the EYE Project and the EYE Film Institute Netherlands, one of the globe's truly indispensable archives and research centers.

From the epic EYE Film Institute film collection, quite a few wonderful reels have been chosen for restoration.

Partnering in this restoration is the National Film Preservation Foundation (a.k.a. NFPF), which has helped to preserve more than 2,135 films in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico.

There were quite a few amazing finds, especially comedies, in the New Zealand collection restoration, completed in 2013, now available on the Lost & Found: American Treasures From The New Zealand Archives DVD.

It is not a big surprise to that this time around, quite a few more rare silent comedies are in the mix. Among the EYE Film Institute film collection rarities chosen for preservation: classic slapstick short subjects starring the wonderfully over-the-top comediennes Alice Howell and Louise Fazenda, a very early silver screen appearance of Mickey Rooney (in the third Mickey McGuire comedy released), a farce produced in 1915 by Thanhouser Film Corporation and one of the very few surviving entries from the ultra-rare World War I era "Universal Joker" series.

Animation buffs will love the fact that a Happy Hooligan cartoon directed by Gregory La Cava and a long lost Fleischer Studio "Out Of The Inkwell" cartoon are on the to-be-preserved cue.

EYE Project: Films Slated for Preservation in 2014

The Backyard (Jimmy Aubrey Productions, Vitagraph Company of America, 1920)

This is just one among numerous Vitagraph Pictures, Joe Rock Productions and Weiss Brothers/Artclass Pictures comedy shorts starring the uber-goofy Jimmy Aubrey.

Co-starring with Aubrey as “the ruffian" - Oliver Hardy!

The Library of Congress and NFPF are co-funding the preservation of The Backyard.

Bashful Charley’s Proposal (Universal Joker Company, 1916)
The Library of Congress is funding the preservation of this entry from the Universal "Joker" series (the rarest of the rare) - and that means the star is pioneering comedienne Gale Henry.

In the supporting cast: Milburn Morante, ubiquitous character actor in silents, talkies, movies and TV. Henry and Morante must have appeared in 500 films for the Universal Joker Company alone. This one's set on a houseboat and involves look-alike twin brothers who romance a widow and her daughter - and get rather confused in the process.

Chicago Rodeo (1920)
Chicago Rodeo (1920)
This historic footage from Tex Austin’s rodeo show will be preserved by the Library of Congress. The rodeo, held in Chicago’s Grant Park in July 1920, features appearances by Ruth Roach, Foghorn Clancy, “Yiddish Cowboy” Dizzy Izzy Broad, and a fearless (though slightly injured) cameraman.

Clarence Cheats at Croquet (Thanhouser Film Corporation, 1916)
Two rivals for a fair lass duke it out as only macho he-men can - in croquet! Thanks to Thanhouser Company Film Preservation, Inc. for co-funding the preservation of this title with the NFPF.

The Darling of the C.S.A. (Kalem Company, 1912)

Anna Q. Nilsson stars as a daring cross-dressing spy (sans jokes) who defies capture to secure explosives for the Confederates. To be preserved by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

Fifty Million Years Ago (Service Film Corp, 1925) The theory of evolution told through animation. To be preserved by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

Flaming Canyons(Castle Films, 1929)
Flaming Canyons (1929)
A historic stencil-colored travelogue promoting Zion, Bryce, and Grand Canyon National Parks. To be preserved by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

A Knight of Daze (Fox Film Corporation, 1928)
The Library of Congress is funding the preservation of this Fox comedy, directed by Billy West (known ten years earlier as the #1 Charlie Chaplin imitator), starring Tyler Brooke as "Courtland Van Bibber" and set at a self-service men’s salon.

Koko's Queen (Fleischer Studios, 1926) In this mind-boggling and surreal entry from the Fleischer studio's Out of the Inkwell series, Koko The Clown designs his ideal woman. Thanks to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for funding the preservation of this title.

Mickey's Circus (Larry Darmour Productions, 1927)
The Library of Congress is funding the preservation of this, the third Mickey McGuire comedy released (and NOT the 1936 Disney cartoon by the same title). Mickey Rooney, in charge as usual, is the ringmaster of a kids’ circus.

Neptune’s Naughty Daughter (Century Comedies, 1917)
Alice Howell stars in this Century Comedy about a fisherman’s daughter who defies her father and falls for a sailor. This Library of Congress-funded restoration involves materials both from the British Film Institute and EYE Film Institute.

Patsy's Elopement(Lubin Manufacturing Company, 1915)
The ninth installment in the Patsy Bolivar series, featuring Clarence Elmer as the guy who never seems to do anything right. To be preserved by the Library of Congress.

Red Saunders’ Sacrifice (Lubin Manufacturing Company, 1912). A bandit braves capture to fetch a doctor for his sweetheart’s mother. This western will be preserved by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

A Smash-up In China (International Film Service/Hearst, 1919)
This Happy Hooligan cartoon, directed by Gregory La Cava, will be preserved by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

The Village Chestnut (Mack Sennett Comedies, 1918)
Wacky Sennett Studio 2-reeler co-stars Chester Conklin and Louise Fazenda in a scenario involving tangled classroom romances.

This bit of silent movie mayhem, directed by comedian, screenwriter and (later, in sound films) producer Raymond Griffith, shall be preserved by The Library of Congress.

When Ciderville Went Dry* (Esperanto Film Mfg. Co., 1915)
The Library of Congress will preserve this temperance spoof, thought to be the only surviving work from the Esperanto Film Manufacturing Company of Detroit.

Who’s Who* (Essanay Film Mfg. Co., 1910)
A comedy of mistaken identity, involving a minister and prizefighter—both with the initials S.O.B.—who arrive into town on the same train. To be preserved by the Library of Congress.

We salute and thank The Library of Congress in particular for its role in assisting and co-funding these efforts. The complete list, encompassing dramas, comedies, documentaries and historic footage, can be found on the NFPF website. Looking forward to a DVD set of Treasures From The Eye Film Institute Archives.

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