Sunday, February 21, 2010

The Restoration: Glimpses of the Past - and Future?

L'amour fou (1969), dir. Jacques Rivette. Not on DVD.

This is an entry in the For the Love of Movies Film Preservation Blog, hosted by Ferdy on Films, etc. and Self-Styled Siren.

A year and a half ago, I proposed a series (meme, if you will) in which bloggers named a dozen "holy grail" films they wanted to see but couldn't. A massive list emerged, cause for both celebration and consternation (why aren't these films available again?). As it turns out, some of the films are available; a few bloggers, at my behest - eager as I was for participation - had bent the rules a bit, including films that were out and about but which they just hadn't seen. Furthermore, I allowed for Region 1 DVDs not on Netflix and certainly for films which had been restored but were only available on other shores (or to those with the means & ability to procure a multi-region player and appropriate discs). Finally - and this is cause for celebration - a very great number of these films actually were released within the past year, rendering the master list somewhat out-of-date.

Originally I planned a very precise post for today, in which I searched that great list with a fine-toothed comb and emerged with a round-up of all the movies still unavailable on DVD, in any country. Then I would display "screen shots" for each film (from VHS tapes or old prints, presumably) and call it a day. Sadly, the task proved too daunting: not only determining which films were and weren't available, but finding images from the films themselves.

I've solved this problem in two ways. First, I'm going to kick off with a marathon of genuine screen-shots from truly unavailable films - the vast majority of which have presumably never been restored. These come from Allan Fish, a devoted cinephile who has been counting down the best films of each decade on Wonders in the Dark. I've gone through his list and re-produced the stills for every film that bore the sorry caption "not on DVD" (ignoring the many that just aren't on Region 1). After that, purity be damned, I explore the rest of the "holy grails".

Which means...I've cheated. Instead of parsing which of that aforementioned list have hit DVD and which haven't, I simply re-visited all the blogs who participated in the Holy Grail meme and took the images they provided - in many cases posters, in others stills or yes, even screen-shots - and displayed them here. The bloggers/blogs are credited after each cache, and there are repeats; some movies appeared on multiple lists (the only time I excluded an overlap was when both blogs used the same image). I've already noted that many of the titles have been restored and/or released - if only in the eighteen months since "The Holy Grail" was formulated. Think of it as a tribute to the work that's been done, as well as a call for more.

By the way, this exercise was not a perfect match for the present theme. Some of the picks were goofy flicks that caught the bloggers' eyes, not necessarily classics that should be lovingly and painstakingly restored. (You'll see what I mean...) By and large, however, these holy grails would be well worth the investment in time and money needed to bring them back into the limelight.

Speaking of which, if you'd like to support that sort of effort, please donate to the National Film Foundation, the beneficiary of this very blog-a-thon. Heck, I myself was able to spare a small amount (won't say how much...) so you've got no excuse:

Donate to the Foundation.

Here then, are the Holy Grails. Some have had their thirst quenched (starting with Tony's first), some have not (see my favorite still, above), some may never...but let's keep hope alive. Titles are not included, unless they appear on the poster. Click on the blog link if you wish to learn more (and to see the titles that didn't come with pictures attached)...

(Warning, not all images are safe for work, nor the family den):




"Not on DVD"
(courtesy of Allan Fish)




"To Have and Have Not (Been Restored)"(participants in The Holy Grail)


- Tony Dayoub, Cinema Viewfinder



- Joseph Demme, Cinexcellence


 

- Erich Kuersten, Acidemic-Film


 

- T.S., Screen Savour


 

- Joseph Campanella, Cinema Fist


. 

- Elgringo, He Shot Cyrus



- Fox, Tractor Facts



- Adam, DVD Panache



- Dean Treadway, filmicability



- Rick Olson, Coosa Creek Mambo



- Dennis Cozzalio, Sergio Leone and the Infield Fly Rule (visit the site for more great posters, albeit mostly for available movies Dennis had not yet seen...)



- Marilyn Ferdinand, Ferdy on Films, etc.



- Farran Nehmes, The Self-Styled Siren



- Brian Doane, Bubblegum Aesthetics



- Greg, Cinema Styles



- Cinebeats



- Peter Nelhaus, Coffee, Coffee, and More Coffee



- Bill R., The Kind of Face You Hate



- Glenn Kenny, Some Came Running



- Filmbrain, Like Anna Karina's Sweater



- Bob Turnbull, Eternal Sunshine of the Logical Mind



- hotspur, The Wind in the Trees



- mrsemmapeel, House of Mirth and Movies



- me, The Dancing Image


And on and on and on...

This is a Top Post. To see other highlights of The Dancing Image, visit the other Top Posts.

5 comments :

Marilyn said...

Wow, what a feast for the eyes! Thanks, Movie Man. Not a cheat at all, but a reminder of why we are doing this blogathon. Thanks!

MovieMan0283 said...

Thanks Marilyn, glad you enjoyed! You (and the Siren) were in there somewhere too - funny to take a trip down memory lane as well (in terms of blogging, I mean). Keep up the good work.

Joe Thompson said...

Don't feel you cheated. This was overwhelming. I haven't seen very many of these.

C. Jerry Kutner said...

Among my most-wanted-on-DVD, a film I just mentioned on my own blog, Carol Reed's brilliant adaptation of Joseph Conrad's Outcast of the Islands.

MovieMan0283 said...

Thanks, guys.