Universal Aims to Restore More Classic Silent Films

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ralfy
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Universal Aims to Restore More Classic Silent Films

Unread post by ralfy » Thu May 31, 2018 8:56 am

Universal Aims to Restore More Classic Silent Films
At a screening of a restoration of the 1928 silent film 'The Man Who Laughs' at the San Francisco Silent Film Festival, the studio revealed that it will be restoring 10 new titles in the next few years.

camaro
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Re: Universal Aims to Restore More Classic Silent Films

Unread post by camaro » Thu May 31, 2018 10:07 am

Very good news! I still don't know what all the titles they have restored are? I know it was mentioned a few years ago they planned to do 15 and a few of those were announced. It would be nice if some of them got a blu ray release though!

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Re: Universal Aims to Restore More Classic Silent Films

Unread post by Paul Penna » Thu May 31, 2018 12:34 pm

ralfy wrote:Universal Aims to Restore More Classic Silent Films
At a screening of a restoration of the 1928 silent film 'The Man Who Laughs' at the San Francisco Silent Film Festival, the studio revealed that it will be restoring 10 new titles in the next few years.
That linked Hollywood Reporter article begins:
Universal Pictures' silent film initiative, first announced in 2012, has led so far to the restorations of films like All Quiet on the Western Front, The Birds and Touch of Evil.
Going by one of the comments, that's a revision of the earlier version:
Since 2012, Universal's silent film initiative has led to the restoration of 78 films including major titles like Dracula (1931), Frankenstein, Jaws, Schindler's List, Out of Africa, The Sting, To Kill a Mockingbird, Double Indemnity, Holiday Inn, Spartacus and Cleopatra.
I'm glad that got straightened out.

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Re: Universal Aims to Restore More Classic Silent Films

Unread post by oldposterho » Thu May 31, 2018 1:16 pm

To be fair, Jaws, To Kill a Mockingbird, and Double Indemnity are some of my favorite silent films...

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Re: Universal Aims to Restore More Classic Silent Films

Unread post by boblipton » Thu May 31, 2018 1:26 pm

Also one that a few Nitratevillains might have heard of: King of Jazz.

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Re: Universal Aims to Restore More Classic Silent Films

Unread post by Keatonesque » Thu May 31, 2018 2:02 pm

Universal's restoration of Out of Africa was the pinnacle of silent film restoration. The Toto soundtrack that lasted the whole film never sounded better, and who could not love hearing "Africa" twenty times? They don't make silents like they used to.

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Re: Universal Aims to Restore More Classic Silent Films

Unread post by Brooksie » Thu May 31, 2018 2:19 pm

Well, geez. Let's complain when Universal don't restore their older films, and let's complain when they do.

I understand from those who were in attendance at last night's screening of The Man Who Laughs that the restoration is magnificent, and the accompaniment received a standing ovation. If it's half as good as The Last Warning, I'll be lining up to see it whenever I get the chance. Let's give credit where credit's due.

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Re: Universal Aims to Restore More Classic Silent Films

Unread post by Paul Penna » Thu May 31, 2018 2:31 pm

Brooksie wrote:Well, geez. Let's complain when Universal don't restore their older films, and let's complain when they do.
Well, we're making fun of The Hollywood Reporter for their including sound films in the "silent film initiative" listing, not complaining about Universal.

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Re: Universal Aims to Restore More Classic Silent Films

Unread post by Keatonesque » Thu May 31, 2018 2:37 pm

Paul Penna wrote:
Brooksie wrote:Well, geez. Let's complain when Universal don't restore their older films, and let's complain when they do.
Well, we're making fun of The Hollywood Reporter for their including sound films in the "silent film initiative" listing, not complaining about Universal.
This. If Universe launched this initiative in 2012, how many silents have they restored as of 2018? Seems like a handful. One can give credit to a fantastic restoration but still hold a studio accountable for an otherwise snail's pace in restoration work, aside from THR including almost entirely sound films as part of this "initiative." The same reason I am not impressed with Warner giving basically all of its silents the DVD-R treatment with only 2 of its 600+ BD releases being silents.

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Re: Universal Aims to Restore More Classic Silent Films

Unread post by mwalls » Thu May 31, 2018 3:47 pm

Universal is a business, and in all likelihood they will never recoup the money spent on restoring these films. I am very grateful for Universal's initiative in restoring these films, at whatever schedule they are on.

Matthew

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Re: Universal Aims to Restore More Classic Silent Films

Unread post by westegg » Fri Jun 01, 2018 8:24 am

I'm still puzzled (or forgetful) how Universal has any substantial silents to restore, given they had a bonfire or two with them way back when. Or are they being sourced from elsewhere in some cases? Still, congrats on their ongoing mission.

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Re: Universal Aims to Restore More Classic Silent Films

Unread post by milefilms » Fri Jun 01, 2018 10:03 am

I've mentioned it before, but I've been friends with the Universal archivists for a long time and I have great faith in them, not only in terms of talent, but also in the desire to preserve and restore their films. I think we'll see great things from them in the coming years...
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Re: Universal Aims to Restore More Classic Silent Films

Unread post by MaryGH » Fri Jun 01, 2018 8:30 pm

milefilms wrote:I've mentioned it before, but I've been friends with the Universal archivists for a long time and I have great faith in them, not only in terms of talent, but also in the desire to preserve and restore their films. I think we'll see great things from them in the coming years...

I hope so.

It would be nice if Universal would start with digitizing for DVD "Jungle Mystery" then they can do "Clancy of the Mounted" which the BFI has in all 12 complete chapters.
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Re: Universal Aims to Restore More Classic Silent Films

Unread post by buskeat » Sat Jun 02, 2018 6:33 am

The fact that Universal is putting forth this effort is extraordinary considering the priorities one expects from a company owned by Comcast. Ten years ago, to think the restoration of King of Jazz was going to happen, or Man Who Laughs? I would've said those were pipe dreams at BEST.

The last studio silent films were made almost 90 years ago. 99.9% of everyone who made them and everyone who saw them in theaters is dead. There is absolutely no profit to be made in restoring them, and giant profits are the sole reason for a corporation to exist in 2018. We live in a world where Solo: A Star Wars Story made $83 million at the box office in its opening weekend and it's considered a failure. There's no financial incentive whatsoever for any of the studios to restore their legacy silent film assets at ALL. Zero. None. Especially as more of them fall into the public domain in a few years. So, I am blissfully happy with whatever they do and will accept with glee whatever comes down the pipeline whenever they come down the pipeline.

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Re: Universal Aims to Restore More Classic Silent Films

Unread post by Robert W » Sat Jun 02, 2018 8:18 am

Well said, Buskeat !

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Re: Universal Aims to Restore More Classic Silent Films

Unread post by Donald Binks » Sat Jun 02, 2018 4:32 pm

Ditto.


I'm just happy to have lived long enough to see some examples of the good work.
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Re: Universal Aims to Restore More Classic Silent Films

Unread post by Tracy » Mon Jun 04, 2018 2:24 pm

The silent films being restored for 2018 are:

K- The Unknown (1924)
A Chapter In Her Life (1923)
A Tokio Siren (1920)
20,000 Leagues Under The Sea (1916)
Delicious Little Devil (1919)

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Re: Universal Aims to Restore More Classic Silent Films

Unread post by Hamilton's Grandson » Mon Jun 04, 2018 6:36 pm

It would be interesting to learn how each of these titles were acquired by Universal or were these prints something the studio had always had? Occassionally, an archive will inform the public how a print was acquired, so since the studio had a few incidents of losing film (ie 1922 electrical fire at their studio that destroyed 185 K of film material and of course intentional destruction of silent film materials in 1948 by Universal-International) it would be interesting to know if they were donated to Universal or purchased from collectors.
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Re: Universal Aims to Restore More Classic Silent Films

Unread post by westegg » Tue Jun 05, 2018 6:28 am

Hamilton's Grandson wrote:It would be interesting to learn how each of these titles were acquired by Universal or were these prints something the studio had always had? Occassionally, an archive will inform the public how a print was acquired, so since the studio had a few incidents of losing film (ie 1922 electrical fire at their studio that destroyed 185 K of film material and of course intentional destruction of silent film materials in 1948 by Universal-International) it would be interesting to know if they were donated to Universal or purchased from collectors.
That's more or less the same question I posed above. :)

Any leads on this?

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Re: Universal Aims to Restore More Classic Silent Films

Unread post by Jim Roots » Tue Jun 05, 2018 11:22 am

Tracy wrote:The silent films being restored for 2018 are:

K- The Unknown (1924)
A Chapter In Her Life (1923)
A Tokio Siren (1920)
20,000 Leagues Under The Sea (1916)
Delicious Little Devil (1919)
What is K - The Unknown?

The only similar title that shows up on Universal's website is 1957's X - The Unknown.

Jim

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Re: Universal Aims to Restore More Classic Silent Films

Unread post by Danny Burk » Tue Jun 05, 2018 11:35 am

Jim Roots wrote:
Tracy wrote:The silent films being restored for 2018 are:

K- The Unknown (1924)
A Chapter In Her Life (1923)
A Tokio Siren (1920)
20,000 Leagues Under The Sea (1916)
Delicious Little Devil (1919)
What is K - The Unknown?

The only similar title that shows up on Universal's website is 1957's X - The Unknown.

Jim
It's, ummm, unknown.

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Re: Universal Aims to Restore More Classic Silent Films

Unread post by ajabrams » Tue Jun 05, 2018 12:34 pm

Info on K - The Unknown
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0015030/" target="_blank

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Re: Universal Aims to Restore More Classic Silent Films

Unread post by boblipton » Tue Jun 05, 2018 12:38 pm

ajabrams wrote:Info on K - The Unknown
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0015030/" target="_blank" target="_blank
Sigh. Review by F. Gwynplainte McIntyre.

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Re: Universal Aims to Restore More Classic Silent Films

Unread post by Frame Rate » Tue Jun 05, 2018 1:25 pm

Back in January of 2011, when Comcast acquired NBC/Universal, some of us optimistic types thought the time was ripe for Comcast to form their own version of TCM, fully (and cheaply) exploiting the whole Universal back catalogue, including the grossly neglected pre-1949 Paramount talkies and what survives of the Universal silents.

Instead, what we got was only a "trickle" of the highest-profile (but not yet on DVD) titles finally released to home video -- and a still smaller bunch licensed for occasional TCM scheduling.

Does anyone know if the Comcast suits even considered creating a rival to TCM?

But at least we can be thankful for what Comcast has done so far -- as well as for their "benign neglect" in seemingly overlooking much of the extensive grey-market DVD and YouTube availability of that enormous horde of vintage titles which they own but don't exploit.

(Of course, the possibility also exists that Comcast is quietly approving/monetizing some of those YouTube titles -- rather than just robotically firing off volleys of takedown orders, after the fashion of Aesop's fabled "Dog in the Manger".)
If only our opinions were as variable as the pre-talkie cranking speed...

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Re: Universal Aims to Restore More Classic Silent Films

Unread post by Jim Roots » Tue Jun 05, 2018 2:23 pm

boblipton wrote:
ajabrams wrote:Info on K - The Unknown
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0015030/" target="_blank" target="_blank" target="_blank
Sigh. Review by F. Gwynplainte McIntyre.

Bob
But at least the synopsis is by Jim Beaver, a credible guy.

I've never heard of this thing before. From the title, I figured it was either a very, very early attempt to film Kafka's The Trial or else there was a typo in the name of Lon Chaney's The Unknown. Or -- something to drool over -- Lon Chaney in Kafka's "The Trial".

Jim

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Re: Universal Aims to Restore More Classic Silent Films

Unread post by linquist » Tue Jun 05, 2018 3:24 pm

K-THE UNKNOWN was a 1924 film starring Virginia Valli and Marguerite Fisher (née Fischer until we declared war on those naughty Huns and she dropped the "C" from her name.) Valli was a star at Universal and Fisher had retired, having married Universal director Harry Pollard. She returned to make K THE UNKNOWN with her husband directing. The sotry was based on the Mary Roberts Reinhart novel "K" and was released through Jewel.
That news blurb was in June of 1924 but it looks like the film didn't come out until the end of the year. This is part of what Universal had to say about the film:
"K-The Unknown will make motion picture history. It is human right down to the depths of it. It sparkles with the best kind of comedy - the comedy of true characterization which makes people nudge each other and say, "Haven't you seen folks just like that?" Its problems that confront folks like any of us.....
K - The Unknown is great, and when we say great we mean it in the way that Webster defines it..."
From the Universal synopsis, it sounds like a non-medical mystery in a hospital.

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