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Martin Scorsese Handpicked These 16 Key B-Movies and Westerns for Unique MoMA Series

Jenna Marotta

7/10/2018 4:15:00 PM

The two-part retrospective "Martin Scorsese Presents Republic Rediscovered: New Restorations from Paramount Pictures" returns in August.

Among Martin Scorsese’s directing projects-in-progress are a new television show (“The Caesars”), plus films based on an Oklahoma murder mystery (“Killers of the Flower Moon”) and the life of the 26th U.S. president (“Teddy”). He will also soon reunite with actors who delivered their most-acclaimed performances opposite his lens: “Casino” veteran Sharon Stone will star in a Scorsese film that’s still under wraps, while Robert De Niro’s ninth collaboration with the director — Netflix’s “The Irishman” — will be the priciest film of Scorsese’s career (reported budget: $140 million).

Still, the Oscar winner (“The Departed”) has set aside spare time for his signature cause: film preservation.

In his hometown next month, MoMA will host the second-half of its exhibition,“Martin Scorsese Presents Republic Rediscovered: New Restorations from Paramount Pictures.” The defunct studio Republic Pictures churned out 3,000 films and series, all of which are now property of Paramount. In January, Paramount’s chairman and CEO, Jim Gianopulos, announced that his company had preserved more than 800 of the films. For the MoMA retrospective, which commenced in February and was underwritten by the museum’s Annual Film Fund, Scorsese selected a collection of his 30 favorites, restored by Paramount and his own Film Foundation.  

“From the ’30s through the ’50s, the different studio logos at the head of every picture carried their own associations and expectations,” he said in a statement. “And for me, the name Republic over the eagle on the mountain peak meant something special. Republic Pictures was what was known as a ‘poverty row’ studio, but what their pictures lacked in resources and prestige they made up for in inventiveness, surprise, and, in certain cases, true innovation.”

Here are the 16 Republic films Scorsese selected for the series’ conclusion:

“Three Faces West,” directed by Bernard Vorhaus (1940)

“Strangers in the Night,” directed by Anthony Mann (1944)

“I, Jane Doe,” directed by John H. Auer (1948)

“Moonrise,” directed by Frank Borzage (1948)

“Wake of the Red Witch,” directed by Edward Ludwig (1948)

“Surrender,” directed by Allen Dwan (1950)

“Champ for a Day,” directed by William A. Seiter (1953)

“Fair Wind to Java,” directed by Joseph Kane (1953)

“Laughing Anne,” directed by Herbert Wilcox (1953)

“Hell’s Half Acre,” directed by John H. Auer (1954)

“Make Haste to Live,” directed by William A. Seiter (1954)

“The Outcast,” directed by William Witney (1954)

“A Man Alone,” directed by Ray Milland (1955)

“A Woman’s Devotion,” directed by Paul Henreid (1956)

“Come Next Spring,” directed by R.G. Springsteen (1956)

“Flame of the Islands,” directed by Edward Ludwig (1956)

“Martin Scorsese Presents Republic Rediscovered: New Restorations from Paramount Pictures, Part 2,” run from August 9 — 23. View the full schedule here.  

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“Enamorada” di Emilio Fernandez al Cinema Ritrovato 2018

Francesca Divella

6/24/2018 12:00:00 AM

Una banda mariachi ha introdotto ieri sera in Piazza Maggiore la prima proiezione del Cinema Ritrovato sulle note di grandi classici della tradizione latina come Besame Mucho, La bamba, Guantanamera e Malaguena Salerosa, il brano reso celebre nel mondo proprio grazie ad una scena di Enamorada in cui il generale Reyes (Armendàriz) chiede perdono a Beatriz (Maria Félix con una serenata in pieno stile mariachi). 

La presentazione della pellicola restaurata da Ucla Film & Television Archive e The Film Foundation’s è affidata al suo mentore, Martin Scorsese, che come primo atto del suo intervento dedica un accorato ricordo al regista e amico Peter Von Bagh, tra gli ideatori del Festival. Specificando: “Da tanti anni mi sarebbe piaciuto presenziare al Cinema Ritrovato, ma ero sempre impegnato sul set di qualche film...è quindi entusiasmante poter celebrare con voi oggi questo festival del cinema del passato, ma anche del presente e del futuro con un film bellissimo come Enamorada di E. Fernández, che è un classico del cinema messicano e mondiale, ed è un tributo all’amore ed alle difficoltà che si devono affrontare per raggiungerlo”. A proposito del regista, Scorsese cita il celebre aneddoto secondo il quale Fernández, fuggito dal Messico in rivoluzione, si rifugiò a Los Angeles dove si unì ad una compagnia di attori messicani tra cui Dolores Del Rio, sposata con il celebre scenografo Cedric Gibbons, che alla fine degli anni ‘20 ebbe il compito di progettare la statuetta degli Oscar. Scorsese ricorda che a posare come modello per la statuetta fu proprio Emilio “El Indio” Fernández, all’epoca molto attivo come attore e simbolo di beltà latina sia in Messico che ad Hollywood, partecipando a film come Il mucchio selvaggio e Billy the kid. 

Fernández, che in prima persona aveva partecipato alla rivoluzione messicana (1917) ed era stato in prigionia, ambienta Enamorada in quello stesso frangente storico, producendo una pellicola che diverrà il simbolo dell’epoca d’oro del cinema messicano nel mondo. La trama melodrammatica di Enamorada è illustrata dalla fotografia di Gabriel Figueroa, che predilige immagini pittoresche di panorami con una profondità di fuoco riecheggiante quella dell’incompiuto Qué viva Mexico! di Ejzenstejn. Il film si apre con una carrellata dichiaratamente western che galoppa al ritmo della rivoluzione messicana: bombe e rivoluzionari a cavallo scorrono per introdurci nel contesto della storia. Un contesto che con il western ha in comune anche una certa visione romantica della frontiera (qui la città di Cholula) intesa come ideale di libertà e di speranza di riscatto per i più deboli e poveri.

La presentazione dei personaggi avviene in modo più classico: il rivoluzionario è ritratto nei termini dell’eroe che “ruba ai ricchi per dare ai poveri” e che dedica tutta la sua esistenza alla restaurazione del principio di giustizia sociale, dimenticando in questo di pensare a se stesso ed alla possibilità di un amore. Quasi subito l’intreccio però ci fa sapere che José non è mai stato innamorato. La sua figura è caratterizzata dai tratti marcatamente messicani di Armendariz, dal sopracciglio inarcato all’insù e dalla falda del suo sombrero che nei primi piani occupa almeno la metà dello schermo.

Allo stesso modo Beatriz (Maria Félix, lanciata proprio da questa pellicola) appare da subito immortalata da un mezzo primo piano che ne esalta lo sguardo fiero, gli occhi neri sgranati, in contrasto con la veste bianca, e il petto gonfio di rabbioso coraggio. La sua bellezza è in netto contrasto con il carattere da Bisbetica domata, opera alla quale sono palesi i riferimenti del film: Beatriz non incarna un ideale di donna svenevole e sottomessa, ma piuttosto quello a sua volta “rivoluzionario” di donna con la pistola, poco obbediente ai canoni prestabiliti della sua condizione sociale e dallo schiaffo facile. Queste peculiarità del personaggio e il corto circuito che si innesca negli incontri con José/Armendariz, prestano il fianco alla disseminazione nel film di numerose gag di radice screwball comedy in cui la donna prende a schiaffi, legnate insulti il suo pretendente, incredibilmente disarmato di fronte all’esplosione del suo amore per lei. Esplosione resa visibile concretamente dalla scena dei fuochi di artificio, che scoppiando lo mandano letteralmente con il sedere per aria e in totale confusione d’amore, anch’essa denunciata dal dettaglio sonoro degli uccellini che cinguettano sulla testa del generale ad ogni suo risveglio da una botta o una caduta dovuta a Beatriz.

La commistione dei generi è un marchio di fabbrica per l’accoppiata Fernández/Figueroa che grazie al successo delle loro pellicole ebbero il merito di rendere visibile nel mondo il cinema messicano. Tutt’ora Fernández è considerato uno dei massimi esponenti dell’epoca d’oro, ricordato per una filmografia dallo stampo folclorico e indigeno, e vincitore nel 1946 della Palma d’Oro a Cannes con il suo Maria Candelaria (interpretato dalla Del Rio). La fotografia di Figueroa ha invece il grande merito, come scriveva Mereghetti nel suo dizionario “di fissare figure ed elementi decorativi (qui i templi di Cholula dall’ evidente valore metaforico) con una ieraticità ed una nitidezza estetica che trasformano il cinema in fotografia in movimento”.

Ed è proprio il fattore religioso, nel personaggio di Padre Sierrita (Fernando Fernandez) ad intervenire in Enamorada per mediare e ricomporre il corto circuito innescato tra la matrice rivoluzionaria di José/Armendariz e quella proto-femminista, ma allo stesso tempo classista di Beatriz/Felix. Il ritmo mariachi della rivoluzione verrà placato dalle note liturgiche dell’Ave Maria di Schubert, che risuonano sui dettagli sfarzosi della chiesa di Cholula e sui primi piani del sacerdote in un’estasi quasi mistica. Estasi interrotta dalle incursioni di un umano turbamento dovuto alla bellezza irresistibile di Beatriz, o alla sua “erotica” descrizione, come nella celebre scena in cui il rivoluzionario dichiara il suo amore per la donna all’amico sacerdote, descrivendone dettagliatamente la carnale bellezza.

Di questa fiera beltà resta schiavo dunque il prode rivoluzionario, che allo stesso tempo riuscirà a domarla grazie alla sua magnanimità. Il film si chiude con un finale che riecheggia in qualche misura l’epopea del cinema muto, perchè a dirci che la protagonista ha ceduto all’amore non saranno parole nè dichiarazioni esplicite, ma le immagini di Beatriz che fugge dal matrimonio con il suo promesso allo scoppiar delle bombe che minacciano la vita del generale, per raggiungerlo ed affiancarlo nella fuga dalla città. Lui maestoso al galoppo del suo destriero e a marciargli di fianco, a piedi, la sua nuova conquista.

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Universal Pictures And The Film Foundation Announce Film Restoration Partnership

5/1/2018 12:00:00 AM

Martin Scorsese and Steven Spielberg to lend technical and artistic expertise


UNIVERSAL CITY, Calif., May 1, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- Universal Pictures and The Film Foundation announce a multi-year partnership to restore a handpicked selection of the Studios' classic titles. With this collaboration, Universal will fund the restorations as well as provide research and technical services.  Through The Film Foundation, Martin Scorsese and Steven Spielberg will be personally involved in the process contributing their unique artistic expertise and historical knowledge throughout the restoration process.  The restored versions will be screened at film festivals and archives around the world. The 2018 restoration slate includes the following:

  • DESTRY RIDES AGAIN (1939, d. George Marshall)
  • KILLERS, THE (1946, d. Robert Siodmak)
  • KILLERS, THE (1964, d. Don Siegel)
  • MY LITTLE CHICKADEE (1940, d. Edward Cline)
  • WINCHESTER '73 (1950, d. Anthony Mann)

Additional titles will be announced in the coming months.

"I'm so excited by this partnership with Universal and the chance to continue what we started with the restoration of ONE-EYED JACKS," said Martin Scorsese. "Steven and I grew up with these pictures. We didn't just watch them—we absorbed them, they became part of our DNA. Neither of us can wait to get to work on WINCHESTER '73the first of Anthony Mann's eight pictures with James Stewart, and on both versions of Hemingway's THE KILLERS: two different pictures from two different eras, both of them classics. And there's so much more to choose from in the Universal library. We're all thrilled to be making these treasures of American cinema available to audiences once again." 

"I'm delighted to be working with Marty, The Film Foundation and Universal on this project," said Steven Spielberg. "It's a great opportunity to not only restore a remarkable selection of films, but also to make them available to audiences the way they were meant to be seen. The focus and scope of this project will result in valuable contributions to the preservation of our film history."

"We are very happy to deepen our long relationship with Martin Scorsese, Steven Spielberg and The Film Foundation," said Michael Daruty, Senior Vice President, Global Media Operations Management for NBCUniversal.  "These films represent some of the landmark titles in Universal's rich history and library."   

This restoration partnership marks another step in Universal's film restoration initiative announced during the company's Centennial in 2012.  More than 70 titles have been fully restored including All Quiet on the Western Front,The Birds, Buck Privates, Dracula (1931), Drácula Spanish (1931), FrankensteinJaws, Schindler's List, Out of Africa,Pillow Talk, Bride of Frankenstein, The Sting, To Kill a Mockingbird, Touch of Evil, Double Indemnity, High Plains Drifter, Holiday Inn, Spartacus, King of Jazz, Cleopatra (1934), Duck Soup, and One-Eyed Jacks. In 2015, Universal launched their silent film initiative.  Since then, the company has restored 15 titles such as Outside the Law, Sensation Seekers, The Last Warning, Straight Shooting, and The Man Who Laughs. 

The Film Foundation is a nonprofit organization established in 1990 dedicated to protecting and preserving motion picture history. By working in partnership with archives and studios, the foundation has helped to restore over 800 films, which are made accessible to the public through programming at festivals, museums, and educational institutions around the world. The Film Foundation's World Cinema Project has restored 31 films from 21 different countries representing the rich diversity of world cinema. The foundation's free educational curriculum, The Story of Movies, teaches young people - over 10 million to date - about film language and history.

Universal Pictures is a unit of NBCUniversal, one of the world's leading media and entertainment companies in the development, production, and marketing of entertainment, news, and information to a global audience. NBCUniversal owns and operates a valuable portfolio of news and entertainment television networks, a premier motion picture company, significant television production operations, a leading television stations group, world-renowned theme parks, and a suite of leading Internet-based businesses. NBCUniversal is a subsidiary of Comcast Corporation.

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JANUS FILMS TO TOUR NEW 4K RESTORATION OF EDGAR G. ULMER’S DETOUR

Ryan Gallagher

4/25/2018 12:00:00 AM

Today, our friends at Janus Films announced that later this year they’ll tour the Film Foundation’s new 4k restoration of Ulmer’s 1945 film: Detour.

The film will play at TCM Fest on Thursday.

 


The Academy Film Archive and the Film Foundation Present New 4k Restoration of Edgar G. Ulmer’s Detour (1945)
 

Restoration to Premiere April 26, 2018 at the TCM Classic Film Festival Janus Films to Release Theatrically in Fall 2018
 

New York, NY. (April 25, 2018) – The Academy Film Archive and The Film Foundation, in collaboration with Cinémathèque Royale de Belgique, The Museum of Modern Art, and Cinémathèque Française, with funding from the George Lucas Family Foundation, have completed a new 4K digital restoration of Edgar G. Ulmer’s DETOUR (1945) that will premiere Thursday, April 26 at 7:45pm at the TCM Classic Film Festival in Hollywood. Audiences across the US will also be able to enjoy this seminal film noir when it is released theatrically by Janus Films in the fall.
 

Added to the National Film Registry in 1992, DETOUR is a quintessential example of distinctive filmmaking on a low-budget. Now the Academy Film Archive has carefully restored the film with sources from three different countries and an innovative use of 4K digital technology.
 

The film noir recounts events in the life of musician Al Roberts’ (Tom Neal) through an extended flashback. On his way to join his girlfriend Sue (Claudia Drake), in Los Angeles, he hitches a ride with con man Charles Haskell (Edmund MacDonald). When Haskell mysteriously dies, Al assumes his identity, believing he will be blamed for the death if he goes to the police. Al runs into a new set of troubles when he picks up a hitchhiker, Vera (Ann Savage), who discovers the truth and uses his lies against him.
 

“DETOUR, shot in 14 days by Edgar G. Ulmer for $100,000, is now an acknowledged milestone in American cinema. It’s a picture about bad luck, about being down and out, about thinking you’ve hit bottom and then realizing that it’s a longer way down than you thought. The style of the picture reflects the desperate situation of the characters,” said Martin Scorsese. “For many years, it was possible to see DETOUR only in copies mastered from extremely degraded 16mm prints. Which was okay, it seemed, because it was in keeping with the spirit of the picture. Then, in the late 90s, there was a photo-chemical restoration made from far better elements, though it was still a bit rough. With this new restoration, to be able to see so much detail in the frame, in the settings and in the faces of the actors, is truly startling, and it makes for a far richer and deeper experience. In fact, watching this new restoration of DETOUR might make you feel like you’re back there in 1945, seeing the picture on opening night.”
 

“We’ve been looking forward to restoring DETOUR for years,” said Michael Pogorzelski, Director of the Academy Film Archive and co-supervisor of the restoration. “It’s wonderful that The Film Foundation and four archives from around the world have collaborated to make this restoration as complete and perfect as possible.”
 

“I’m not sure anybody has ever seen DETOUR looking so good,” said Janus Films President Peter Becker, “and it’s still one of the most revered and beloved B-movie noir classics of all time. We’ve been hoping for years that this day would come and now thanks to The Film Foundation and the Academy Film Archive we can see Edgar Ulmer’s work clearly for the first time – and it’s a revelation.”
 

The restoration team began by examining potential sources, including: a 35mm dupe negative from The Museum of Modern Art, which was incomplete and riddled with jump cuts; a 35mm safety composite print from the Cinémathèque Française; and a 35mm nitrate print from the Cinémathèque Royale de Belgique. That print, thought to have been made from the original camera negative, was clearly the best element in terms of image clarity, contrast, and density, but had never been considered as a source for preservation because it contained burned-in French and Flemish subtitles.
 

This obstacle was overcome by scanning all of the print elements to 4K, then compositing frames from the MoMA print over the matching subtitled frames from the Belgian print. Where frames from the MoMA print were missing, and in shots that contained significant movement within the frame, the subtitles were removed by dedicated and talented digital artists using digital painting techniques.
 

On Sunday, April 29, the TCM Classic Film Festival will also feature TUNES OF GLORY (1960, d. Ronald Neame), another film restored through the collaborative efforts of the Academy Film Archive, The Film Foundation, MoMA and Janus Films, with generous support from the George Lucas Family Foundation.

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