The lost films of Gene Stratton-Porter

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Harold Aherne

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The lost films of Gene Stratton-Porter

PostFri Oct 06, 2017 4:29 pm

No, not a performer--an author from Indiana, and a very popular one during the first first of the 20th century. Her works were used as the basis for 22 features between 1917 and 1960, as follows, with the studio of release included:

Freckles (1917, Lasky/Paramount)
Michael O'Halloran (1923, Hodkinson)
A Girl of the Limberlost (1924, FBO)
The Keeper of the Bees (1925, FBO)
Laddie (1926, FBO)
The Magic Garden (1927, FBO)
The Harvester (1927, FBO)
Freckles (1928, FBO)
A Girl of the Limberlost (1934, Monogram)
Laddie (1935, RKO)
The Keeper of the Bees (1935, Monogram)
Freckles (1935, RKO)
The Harvester (1936, Republic)
Michael O'Halloran (1937, Republic)
Romance of the Limberlost (1938, Monogram)
Laddie (1940, RKO)
Her First Romance (1940, Monogram)
Freckles Comes Home (1942, Monogram)
The Girl of the Limberlost (1945, Columbia)
Keeper of the Bees (1947, Columbia)
Michael O'Halloran (1948, Monogram)
Freckles (1960, 20th Century-Fox)

For the silents, not a single one has any archival holdings shown in the LOC database, which is especially unfortunate because most were produced by Stratton-Porter's own company and she may have overseen the early ones (she died in 1924).

Perhaps surprisingly, at least two of the mid-30s talkies are missing: Laddie and The Harvester. Two more titles from that period have hardly ever been seen since their original releases: Freckles apparently survives only in a private collection and was screened at Cinefest in 2010. Michael O'Halloran, which is missing a reel, was shown at Cinefest in 2006.

Of the rest, all appear to exist and some of the Monograms have been released by Alpha. The two Columbias are marked "not viewed" in the AFI book, but they are not shown on Jon Mirsalis' compilation of missing 40s features, and given their late date, I'd be rather astonished if they aren't around somewhere.

Did the Stratton-Porter estate just keep a really tight leash on its properties--limited terms, prints junked if rights weren't renewed, etc.--or are these lost/rare titles some peculiar coincidence?

-HA
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Richard Finegan

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Re: The lost films of Gene Stratton-Porter

PostSat Oct 07, 2017 2:50 am

The 1960 version of FRECKLES has been shown on The Fox Movie Channel. If rights issues are keeping these titles from being shown, how can Fox Movie Channel show FRECKLES?
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Brooksie

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Re: The lost films of Gene Stratton-Porter

PostSun Oct 08, 2017 3:05 pm

I've seen Her First Romance (1940) on one or other of the free streaming stations on my Roku - Tubi TV, perhaps? I recall it being a fairly obvious attempt on Monogram's part to turn Edith Fellowes into a Deanna Durbin-alike, pleasant enough but not especially memorable. I suspect it wasn't a very faithful adaptation of the original material.
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Danny Burk

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Re: The lost films of Gene Stratton-Porter

PostSun Oct 08, 2017 6:34 pm

Richard Finegan wrote:The 1960 version of FRECKLES has been shown on The Fox Movie Channel. If rights issues are keeping these titles from being shown, how can Fox Movie Channel show FRECKLES?


Rights are negotiated individually for a film. One version may have had time-limited rights, whereas another, years later, could have included rights in perpetuity.

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