Mike Barnes

4/15/2022 7:00:00 AM

Turner Classic Movies is expanding its partnership with The Film Foundation with a multiyear financial commitment to fund education and the restoration of classic movies, it was announced Friday.

The fruits of this relationship will be on full display — in 4K, no less — at next week’s TCM Classic Film Festival with an April 22 screening of a restored version of Giant (1956) at the TCL Chinese Theatre in Hollywood.

At 7 p.m. before the start of the film, TCM’s Ben Mankiewicz will host a conversation with Film Foundation board member Steven Spielberg, executive director Margaret Bodde and George Stevens Jr., whose father won an Oscar for directing the sweeping Texas-set family saga that starred Elizabeth TaylorRock Hudson and James Dean.

Since its launch by Martin Scorsese in 1990, The Film Foundation has restored more than 900 movies. Scorsese and fellow board member Spielberg hand-picked Giant as one of the group’s latest restoration projects, working with the Warner Bros. archives team for a year to complete the process.

“Anything that presumes to call itself ‘Giant’ better have the goods to keep such a lofty promise,” Spielberg said in a statement. “Both [novelist] Edna Ferber and George Stevens far exceeded the title to bring such an epic American story to the big screen, and I’m proud to have been a small part of the restoration team of this classic motion picture.”

The restoration was completed by Warner Bros. Post Production Creative Services: Motion Picture Imaging and Post Production Sound by sourcing both the original camera negatives and protection RGB separation master positives for the best possible image, then color corrected in high dynamic range for the latest picture display technology. The audio was sourced primarily from a 1995 protection copy of the Original Magnetic Mono soundtrack.

The restoration also will be available on HBO Max this year.

“Working with The Film Foundation allows us to preserve these important films for future generations to experience across multiple platforms,” TCM GM Pola Changnon said. “There is so much to learn from classic movies, and we are honored to host the world premiere screening of the 4K restoration of Giant.”

Added Stevens Jr.: “I was with my father during the writing of the Giant screenplay, and he measured films by how they stood the test of time. Giant has more than met that test, and he would be grateful that Steven, Marty, The Film Foundation and Warner Bros. have achieved this brilliant restoration so a new generation can see Giant on the big screen, streaming and Blu-ray.”



4/4/2022 9:00:00 AM

I was recently looking at an interview that Dick Cavett did with Billy Wilder around the time of Buddy Buddy, his last movie. At one point, they start discussing WWII, in which Wilder lost his mother, his stepfather and his grandmother, all of whom died in Auschwitz in 1943. “I was here and there was nothing that could be done,” he says, hauntingly. “It’s very strange how people react to all that,” adds Wilder. “A friend of mine told me that he went to see The Diary of Anne Frank, the play. And he went with a young man, not necessarily German—he was European, I think, or maybe American. After the play, my friend said, ‘Would you believe that things like this could happen?’ And the guy just looked at him and said, ‘Well, let’s hear the other side. This is just one man’s perspective. Let’s not rush to judgment.’ How quickly it is forgotten.”

The art of cinema developed in the shadow of two world wars that left whole cities in ruins, millions dead, and many more millions displaced or shattered inside and out. During those years, the movie business developed on the back of the art form, forever knocking on its door, intruding, prodding, strongarming, insisting on its right of ownership. When Lewis Milestone showed the first cut of his adaptation of Erich Maria Remarque’s novel All Quiet on the Western Front to Universal executives, someone in the room wondered about the necessity of the “downbeat ending.” Milestone sarcastically suggested that maybe he could shoot a happy ending where the Germans won.

In the case of All Quiet, the director prevailed. Universal later went ahead with an adaptation of Remarque’s sequel, The Road Back, directed by James Whale. In the middle of production, 60 cast members received a letter from Georg Gyssling, the German Consul, informing them that their future films would not be screened in Germany as a consequence of their involvement in the project. The studio later reshot scenes and watered down the film’s suggestions of impending fascism. In the case of The Road Back, the business won. As an aside, it was later revealed that Gyssling was an American spy, but his cover activity kept references to fascism at a minimum and Jewish-sounding names off of credit rolls for too many years.

The moral urgency of accounting for and struggling to justly represent so much wholesale destruction, from 20 million dead in WWI to over three times that number in WWII to those lost in the many horrors that followed, has been an essential part of the story of cinema. That urgency can be felt at the heart of the art form at its greatest. It’s there in many titles restored over the years by The Film Foundation that have dealt either directly or indirectly with the wars and their aftermaths. These include Milestone’s classic and Whale’s compromised sequel (returned to something close to its original version with the Library of Congress’ 2015 restoration), George Stevens’ adaptation of The Diary of Anne Frank, Milestone’s A Walk in the Sun, Herbert Kline, Hans Burger and Alexander Hammid’s Crisis: A Film of ‘The Nazi Way,’ Marcel Ophuls’ The Memory of Justice (more about that in the coming weeks) and Stanley Kubrick’s Paths of Glory as well as The Best Years of Our Lives, Jonas Mekas’s Lost Lost Lost and Reminiscence of a Journey to Lithuania, So Ends Our Night (another Remarque adaptation), Visconti’s Vaghe Stella dell’Orsa and Mizoguchi’s Ugetsu.

The heroic spirit of cinema now exists only in the work of individual filmmakers, a few fine threads left from what was once a rope of the greatest tensile strength. The tidal wave of mass-manufactured worldwide entertainment has overwhelmed everything. In common media discourse, the very idea of cinema has been systematically demeaned and sidelined and everything has been reduced to a matter of numbers. Concurrently, the idea of history has been lazily reimagined as malleable, alterable, and censorable. The young man in Wilder’s story would have a lot more company today. And now, we’re in the shadow of another war—or is that an insane revival of the same European war? What is transpiring right now in the Ukraine brings to mind a haunting exchange from the extraordinary 2013 documentary Return to Homs. A young Syrian freedom fighter proclaims victory in the early days of that nation’s uprising and predicts that Assad is finished. Don’t be so sure, cautions the older man he’s talking to, who adds: “These people would sooner drown in their own blood than give up power.” That the comment seems applicable to current circumstances seems blindingly obvious.

But then, when armed conflicts have come to some kind of stopping point, the cinema has often been present as a regenerative force. I have no doubt that it will be there in the Ukraine, probably led by Sergei Loznitsa, maybe invigorated by the spirit of Alexander Dovzhenko’s silent films. It won’t revive the dead, replace severed limbs or rebuild homes, but it will speak from and for the best in us.

- Kent Jones

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ALL QUIET ON THE WESTERN FRONT (1930, d. Lewis Milestone)
Preserved by the Library of Congress with funding provided by The Film Foundation. 

A WALK IN THE SUN (1945, d. Lewis Milestone)
Preserved by UCLA Film & Television Archive, in cooperation with the British Film Institute, with funding provided by The Film Foundation. Special thanks to: Schawn Belston, Twentieth Century Fox.

THE BEST YEARS OF OUR LIVES (1946, d. William Wyler)
Restored by The Academy Film Archive, The Library of Congress and The Film Foundation. Restoration funding provided by the Hobson/Lucas Family Foundation.

CRISIS: A FILM OF "THE NAZI WAY" (1939, dirs. Herbert Kline, Hans Burger and Alexander Hammid)
Restored by The Museum of Modern Art and The Film Foundation, with funding provided by the Hobson/Lucas Family Foundation.

THE DIARY OF ANNE FRANK (1959, d. George Stevens)
Restored by Twentieth Century Fox in collaboration with The Film Foundation.

LOST LOST LOST (1976, d. Jonas Mekas)
Preserved by Anthology Film Archives through the Avant-Garde Masters program funded by The Film Foundation and administered by the National Film Preservation Foundation.

THE MEMORY OF JUSTICE (1976, d. Marcel Ophuls)
Restored by the Academy Film Archive in association with Paramount Pictures and The Film Foundation. Restoration funding provided by the Material World Charitable Foundation, Righteous Persons Foundation, and The Film Foundation.

PATHS OF GLORY (1957, d. Stanley Kubrick)
Restored by UCLA Film & Television Archive in cooperation with MGM Studios with funding provided by The Film Foundation and The Hollywood Foreign Press Association. 

Preserved by Anthology Film Archives with support from The Film Foundation.

THE ROAD BACK (1937/1939, d. James Whale)
Restored by the Library of Congress in association with UCLA Film & Television Archive, Universal Studios, and The Film Foundation. Restoration funding provided by The Film Foundation and the Library of Congress.

SO ENDS OUR NIGHT (1941, d. James Cromwell)
Preserved by George Eastman Museum with funding provided by The Film Foundation. 

UGETSU (1953, d. Kenji Mizoguchi)
Restored by The Film Foundation and KADOKAWA Corporation at Cineric Laboratories in New York. Special thanks to Masahiro Miyajima and Martin Scorsese for their consultation on this restoration. Restoration funding provided by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association in association with The Film Foundation and KADOKAWA Corporation.

VAGHE STELLA DELL'ORSA (1965, d. Luchino Visconti)
Restoration by Sony Pictures Entertainment in collaboration with Cineteca di Bologna at L'Immagine Ritrovata, Archivio Storico delle Arti Contemporanee di Venezia and The Film Foundation.


'The Housemaid' 'Revenge' and more films restored by Scorsese's Film Foundation to stream on MUBI

The Week Staff

4/1/2022 12:00:00 AM

'The Housemaid' 'Revenge' and more films restored by Scorsese's Film Foundation to stream on MUBI

PTI Updated: March 30, 2022 19:58 IST

Mumbai, Mar 30 (PTI) Restored versions of 17 feature titles, including Korean film "The Housemaid", "Revenge" from the erstwhile Soviet Union, Turkey's "Dry Summer", and Philippine movie "Insiang", are heading to global streaming service MUBI for viewing in India.

MUBI and The Film Foundation, founded by celebrated filmmaker Martin Scorsese, have partnered to bring these international classics ranging from 1931 to 2000 to the platform for cinephiles.

Other films that are part of the line-up are Cameroon's "Muna Moto / The Child of Another" (1975) and 1980's "Pixote" (Brazil). Both titles are available for streaming now.

Iranian film "Chess Of The Wind" (1976) will premiere on April 11, with 1931's "Limite" ready for viewing on April 21. "The Housemaid" (1960) will arrive on MUBI in India on April 27.

May will see the debut of "Law of the Border", a 1966 Turkish film, on the streamer, along with "Oh, Sun", a France-Mauritanian production that was released in 1967.

The Film Foundation works with archives and studios to restore and preserve films from all over the world.

Scorsese said he is thrilled that these films, restored through The Film Foundation's World Cinema Project, will be streaming on MUBI.

"For over three decades, The Film Foundation has worked to preserve, restore, and make available films from every era, genre, and region – over 925 to date.

"MUBI is an ideal partner for The Film Foundation as they share the same mission: to make films accessible to viewers around the world and to educate about cinema's artistic, cultural, and historical significance. I look forward to sharing these beautiful restorations with MUBI's vast and appreciative audience," Scorsese, Founder and Chair of The Film Foundation, said in a statement.

According to the streamer, this collection of films will be featured in a film group on MUBI called 'Martin Scorsese's World Cinema'.

Movies such as "Revenge" (1989) and "Sayat Nova/ The Color of Pomegranates" (a 1969 film from the erstwhile Soviet Union) will stream in July.

Arabic language film "Trances" (1981), 1969's movie from Côte d'Ivoire "La Femme Au Couteau", and "Insiang" (1976) are coming in August, with "Dry Summer" (1964) premiering in September.

Indonesian film "After The Curfew" (1954) and 2000's "Mysterious Object at Noon" from Thailand will stream in October.

Premiere dates of French language dramas "Black Girl" (1966) and "The Wagoner" will be announced soon. PTI RDS RDS

(This story has not been edited by THE WEEK and is auto-generated from PTI)



2/24/2022 1:00:00 PM

Back in the early 80s, I took a course in avant-garde cinema at NYU with the late Peter Wollen. We watched all of the films in the classroom, including Michael Snow’s 270-minute Rameau’s Nephew—I call attention to the running time because I remember Peter asking the projectionist to take a mid-afternoon break so that we could all get a quick bite to eat (we were undergrads, so that meant a slice and a Coke). Snow’s film was impressive but exhausting, and we all staggered up after it was over, only to cross paths with my favorite professor, Nöel Carroll, in the adjoining classroom. “Come on in and watch a real movie,” he said to Peter and those of us remaining, so I popped in and caught a few minutes of Roger Corman’s X – The Man with the X-Ray Eyes. Nöel’s passing remark wasn’t meant as a knock on Snow (he was an admirer of the avant-garde and wrote about it often) as much as an expression of excitement that he was showing a Roger Corman movie.

Roger Corman will be 96 in April. As a producer and a cultivator of young talent, he had a massive effect on the American cinema of the 60s and 70s. As a distributor, he imported Bergman, Truffaut, Rosi, Schlondorff, Herzog, Kurosawa and Fellini. And as a director he made a torrent of films between 1955 and 1971 (he returned to directing to make one more film in 1981, Frankenstein Unbound) that did as much to re-orient and re-invent the idea of cinema and the role of the filmmaker as the work of Mekas, Warhol or Godard. He is best known as a director for a cycle of Poe adaptations, almost all of them starring Vincent Price, that he inaugurated in 1960. The series ended with two relatively lavish 1964 pictures shot in England, The Tomb of Ligeia and The Masque of the Red Death. Corman put off making the latter film, adapted from a story set in the time of plague in medieval Italy, for several years because he wanted to avoid comparisons to The Seventh Seal. The film is often noted as his greatest visual achievement as a director (it was shot by Nicolas Roeg), and it has been beautifully restored by the Academy with the support of The Film Foundation and the Hobson/Lucas Family Foundation. But for me Corman’s work is all of a piece, a torrent of films made for low budgets on tight schedules with little if any fuss, as elemental as the first silents, grounded in a real love of the work of making films. I treasure the spirit of those films. It’s no wonder he launched so much talent. 

- Kent Jones

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THE MASQUE OF THE RED DEATH (1964, d. Roger Corman)
Restored by the Academy Film Archive and The Film Foundation, with funding provided by the Hobson/Lucas Family Foundation.



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