Archive | Feature RSS feed for this section

Zlateh The Goat (1973)

20 Mar
Director  Gene Deitch
Producer  Weston Woods Inc.
Contributors  Consultation – Maurice Sendak, Original Story – Isaac Bashevis Singer
Length  20 minutes
B&W/Color  Black and White
UO Library Catalog description:  A heartwarming story about a little boy and his heroic family goat who must survive stranded in a harsh blizzard
Call #  FILM MB192
Genre  Feature
Rare  No
Online  Yes
Copyright status  Protected
Physical condition  Poor
Oregon-related  No

Notes:

Zlateh The Goat is an adaptation of a children’s story from Israel, written in 1966 by Isaac Bashevis Singer. In order to survive in a time with little work, a man sends his son Aaron to the butcher with the family goat, Zlateh. On their way to town, a terrible blizzard sets in, and they are forced to take shelter in a haystack, where Zlateh keeps Aaron alive for three days with her warmth and milk. When Aaron returns to his family alive, they are overjoyed, and decide to keep Zlateh after all.

The characters of the film remain silent, while light music and the amiable voice of a narrator keep us informed of the story.

The film is directed by Gene Deitch, known for his animated work on Tom & Jerry and Popeye.

Maurice Sendak, renowned creator of Where The Wild Things Are, and original illustrator of the print edition of Zlateh The Goat, is credited as a creative consultant.

A Year Towards Tomorrow (1966)

16 Mar
Director Edmund A. Levy
Producer Edmund A. Levy
Contributors Sundial Films Inc., The Office of Economic Opportunity
Length  25 minutes
B&W/Color  Color
UO Library Catalog description: Follows Volunteers In Service To America (VISTA) on their one year assignments. Two women go to a Navajo reservation in Arizona, while a man goes to a poor district of Atlanta, Georgia.
Call # FILM MC154
Genre  Feature
Rare  No
Online  Yes
Copyright status Protected
Physical condition  Poor
Oregon-related  No

Notes:

This film is commonly referred to as a documentary, but is actually a re-enactment of true events after their conclusion, although the characters are portrayed by the original VISTA volunteers themselves. The VISTA organization is a national service program specifically aimed at fighting poverty. Vista members commit to one-year assignments in poor communities around the country.

The film follows three volunteers as they settle into the communities they’ve been assigned to. Two women go to Lukachukai, Arizona to join a Navajo reservation. There they attempt to teach the residents how to speak English, sow clothing, and to make the best use of their government-issue food provisions. Meanwhile, a young man arrives in a poor African-American district of Atlanta, Georgia. There his goal is to start a tenant union and also to assist in the education of the neighborhood youth, some of whom rarely set foot in school.  Many of the residents are resilient to the program, and the volunteers must use compassion and wit before they can even begin to help their charges.

Of particular note is the dry narrative delivered by Academy award winner and entrepreneur Paul Newman.

This film won an Oscar for best documentary short at the 39th Academy Awards Ceremony in 1967.

The Crazy Ray (1927)

15 Mar
Director René Clair
Producer Henri Diamant-Berger
Contributors Film Arts Guild, Eastin-Phelan Corp., released by Blackhawk Films
Length 35 minutes
B&W/Color  B&W
UO Library Catalog description: none
Call # Mb154
Genre feature
Rare  No (available online and on DVD)
Online  Yes
Copyright status Public Domain
Physical condition Poor
Oregon-related  No

Notes:

The Crazy Ray (1925), also titled “At 3:25” and “Paris qui dort”, is a short film about an Eiffel Tower nightwatchman who finds that all of Paris is frozen in time. He meets up with a group of Parisians who evaded this strange phenomenon, and the they celebrate their newfound freedom by eating at a restaurant, taking money, wearing fancy clothes, and living in the Eiffel Tower.

René Clair is one of the most celebrated French filmmakers of the silent era. His most notable films include And Then There Were None and Le Silence est d’or, which both won Best Picture at the Locarno International Film Festival. His film A nous la liberté (1936) created some controversy when Charlie Chaplin released his film Modern Times (1936). Modern Times contained some similarities to Clair’s film, including the conveyor belt scenes. Clair showed great admiration for Chaplin, and said that if Chaplin did get any inspiration from his film, that it would be an honor. Clair, not wanting to participate in any legal recourse, settled out of court.

Peege (1972)

15 Mar
Director  Randal Kleiser
Producer  Leonard S. Berman & David Knapp
Contributors  Kleiser-Knapp Productions
Length  28 minutes
B&W/Color  color
UO Library Catalog description: A dramatization which shows how a young man who comes home for the Christmas holidays is able to break through communication barriers and reach his grandmother who has become isolated by age and failing mental and physical capacities.
Call # Mc217
Genre feature
Rare No
Online No (a two minute clip is online)
Copyright status Protected
Physical condition Fair
Oregon-related No

Notes:

Peege is short film written and directed by Randal Kleiser. Kleiser graduated from the University of Souther California in 1968, and Peege became his Master’s thesis film, winning awards such as a Chris Award at the Columbus Film Festival, the top honor at the National Council on Family Relations Film Competition, a Maxi Award, and a TEAM Film Award for Best Film in Family Counseling.

Kleiser went on to direct Grease (1978) and The Blue Lagoon (1980) starring Brooke Shields.

In 2007, Peege was added to the National Film Registry by the LIbrarian of Congress.

Bernice Bobs Her Hair (1976)

15 Mar
Director  Joan Micklin Silver
Producer  Perspective Films, Learning in Focus Inc.
Contributors  Executive Producer: Robert GellerCast: Shelley Duvall (Bernice), Veronica Cartwright (Marjorie), Bud Cort (Warren), Dennis Christopher (Charley), Henry Fonda (narrator), Patrick Reynolds (Draycott)
Length 48 minutes
B&W/Color  Color
UO Library Catalog description: A young flapper bobs her hair to gain peer approval. She doesn’t get approval but she learns a lesson in values
Call # Md110
Genre  Theatrical
Rare  No
Online  Yes
Copyright status  Copyrighted
Physical condition  Good
Oregon-related  No

Notes:

Bernice Bobs Her Hair is an adaptation of the short story with the same title by F. Scott Fitzgerald.  It was a part of the series, The American Short Story and aired on PBS’ American Playhouse on April 5, 1977 in tandem with Sherwood Anderson’s I’m a Fool.  Some consider it to be the best film adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald.

Joan Micklin Silver is an American director born in 1935.  Her early low budget film Hester Street received a Best Actress Oscar nomination for actress Carol Kane.  Her film Between the Lines was entered into the 27th Berlin International Film Festival in 1977.

The Golden Honeymoon (1980)

15 Mar
Director  Noel Black
Producer  Robert Geller
Contributors Perspective Films; distributed by Coronet Films; Writers Frederic Hunger and Ring Lardner; starring James Whitmore, Teresa Wright, and Larry Loonin
Length  52 minutes
B&W/Color  Color
UO Library Catalog description: Based on the story of the same title by Ring Lardner, about an elderly couple who takes a winter vacation in St. Petersburg, Fla., in the 1920’s, and discovers that 50 years of marriage have not prevented the arousal of old jealousies nor diminished the chances of an even deeper love.
Call #  Md121
Genre  Feature film
Rare  No
Online  Available on Netflix and from various other retailers
Copyright status  Protected
Physical condition  Good
Oregon-related  No

Notes: 

The Golden Honeymoon is an adaptation of Ring Lardner’s The Golden Honeymoon. Written in 1922, the short story follows a couple celebrating their honeymoon during their golden years. The 1980 television film version opened for the second season of PBS’ American Playhouse on February 4th. It was directed by Noel Black who won an award in 1966 at the Cannes Film Festival for his short silent film Skaterdater, which was also nominated for an Academy Award; The Golden Honeymoon was produced by Robert Geller who is known for Seize the Day with Robin Williams, and The Jolly Corner which is on hold in the Knight Library 16mm film section.

The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1919 35mm, 1961 16mm)

28 Feb
Director Robert Wiene
Producer Rudolph Meinert, Erich Pommer
Contributors Decla-Bioscope AG
Length 71 minutes
B&W/Color B&W (no tinting in transfer from 35mm to 16mm)
UO Library Catalog description: No UO Catalog Description
Call # Not Entered Into UO Libraries
Genre Feature
Rare No
Online Yes
Copyright status Public Domain
Physical condition Reel 1 – Fair, Reel 2 – Good
Oregon-related No

Notes: The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari is often referred to as one of the first horror films ever (if you disregard the Lumière brothers’ Arrival of a Train at La Ciotat). It was a feature length film directed by Robert Wiene that employed numerous expressionist aesthetic choices and some of the most defined set design and costuming seen since the birth of cinema. The distorted style of the film has influenced everyone from Tim Burton to Rob Zombie, and has taken an integral place in American pop culture despite its German origin. In my opinion it is an essential film to have in this format as it is such a seminal feature that figures so heavily into movies made after it.

The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari is available in the public domain, and has been for quite some time. Therefore it is widely available online and there are quite a few 16mm film reels still in existence. Most of the 16mm transfers popped up between the 1950’s and 1960’s. 35mm prints of the film are considerably more rare and there has been a noted effort among movie theaters and film festivals to screen restored versions of it to the public. I did some research on how to tell with a 16mm print what type of 35mm print it was transferred from. The most likely scenario would be that it was taken from a Russian print made in the 1920’s. This is probably the case because there is a visible frame line that appears at the top of the picture when it is being used. A tiny bit of the image at the top of the main image at the bottom overlap slightly within the visible dark horizontal frame line. The Russian 35mm prints of The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari had to be adjusted for preservation prints in order for the frame line of the original German-made cameras, but in the transfer to preservation prints (which would include 16mm ones), “A sliver of image at the top and the bulk of the image at the bottom now overlap slightly within the visible dark horizontal frame line” (celtoslavica.de). This effect also appears on the DVD transfer of the film.

In terms of a unique history of the reel itself, my mother obtained it from New Mexico State University sometime in the 60’s. It was transferred onto 16mm film by the college, I’m assuming for educational purposes. The transfer leaves out any attribution to directors, stars, producers or distribution companies. Perhaps these didn’t need to be included since the film was being used for educational purposes. The reel is strictly the feature and nothing else. The fantastic condition of the reel would also indicate that my mother obtained it very soon after it was transferred as she essentially put it into storage when she moved and hadn’t watched it since.

Tell Me Where It Hurts (1974)

15 Feb
Director Paul Bogard
Producer Herbert Hirshman; Tomorrow Entertainment (Firm); Learning Corporation of America
Contributors Maureen Stapleton, Paul Sorvino, Doris Dowling
Length 78 min.
B&W/Color Color
UO Library Catalog description: “A drama about the quiet love between two ordinary middle-class people.”
Call # FILM Md79
Genre Feature
Rare YES
Online NO
Copyright status Protected
Physical condition FAIR
Oregon-related NO

Notes:

Learning Corporation of America made its name by producing made-for-television films like Tell Me Where It Hurts from 1970 to 1989. This film exemplifies the “B” movie; while failing to garner critical acclaim, it brought together award-winning talent and a reputable production staff. “Writer Fay Kanin, winner of two Emmies for her work on Tell Me Where It Hurts, appears as one of Stapleton’s friends. This TV movie was originally broadcast March 12, 1974 as a General Electric Theatre special.” (Source)

“‘Tell Me Where It Hurts’ was a beautiful drama about a blue collar family. It pursues the major theme of a wife’s identity in the empty nest stage of the cycle. Through a circle of friends, mostly blue collar wives, a fascinating range of responses involving other themes is revealed (see Le Masters, 1975).”

Lieberman, Leonard , and Leslie Lieberman. “The Family in the Tube: Potential Uses of Television.” Family Coordinator. 26.3 (1977): 235-242. Web. 7 Feb. 2012. <http://www.jstor.org/stable/583400>.

“Paul Bogart has enjoyed a career as a director in almost every medium of visual communication. Mr. Bogart is one of a handful of individuals who has directed live television productions of the ‘Golden Age’, the telefilm, the made-for-television movie, and the feature film. …… In 1991, Bogart was awarded the French Festival Internationelle Programmes Audiovisuelle at Cannes, one of the few television directors to be recognized for a remarkable body of work. Many directors working in television today are members of a generation raised on television. The better of these directors are those who paid attention to the work of Paul Bogart.” Bogart won several awards for his work over the duration of his directing career. (Source)

At the time this film was made, Maureen Stapleton was already an accomplished, award-winning actress; she would go on to be inducted in the American Theater Hall of Fame (Source). At the time this film was made, Paul Sorvino was at the beginning end of an accomplished, award-winning acting career (Source).

The Great Train Robbery (35mm 1904, 16mm 1961)

13 Feb
Director Edwin S. Porter
Producer Blackhawk Films
Contributors Gatewood W. Dunston Film Collection, Library of Congress
Length 10 Minutes
B&W/Color B&W with sections of hand painted frames in color.
UO Library Catalog description: Bandits tie up the station master, stop the train, rob the mail car, take the passenger’s valuables, and then escape, and the station master’s daughter frees her father, alerts a group at a dance who then chase and overtake the robbers.
Call # Ma163
Genre Feature
Rare No
Online Yes
Copyright status Public Domain
Physical condition Poor
Oregon-related No

Notes: The Great Train Robbery is arguably one of the most influential films of all time, and certainly one of the most important in terms of editing and visual aesthetics. The film created such techniques ascross cutting, double exposure, composite editing, camera movement and on location shooting. There are certain 35mm prints that featured hand-colored frames as well to accentuate some of the more exciting parts of the movie.

This version is a 16mm duplicate of an original 35mm print. There is a disclaimer by Blackhawk films featured at the beginning indicating this. It states, “Presented in virtually the original form in which it was initially shown. Re-processed to eliminate the appearance of surface blemishes and scratches.” This may have been the case when the 35mm was transferred into the 16mm format in 1961, but the condition of the film now is absolutely terrible, with multiple frames that have been totally blown out and melted by heat, scratches, extensive warping and tons of splices. I would imagine that a film so important would have been watched and handled quite a bit for educational purposes as well as for any entertainment value, which would explain why its physical condition is so bad.

One of the strangest things however is that this may be actually two 16mm versions of The Great Train Robbery spliced together. About a quarter of the way through, the film jumps suddenly from one scene to a seemingly unrelated one. When this happens the color changes completely from black and white to red. Although the disclaimer by Blackhawk films says that certain hand painted scenes from the 35mm were retained in the transfer to 16mm, the sudden shift from black and white to pinkish-red doesn’t seem intentional, and doesn’t occur at a point of excitement or elevated emotion. This leads me to believe that at some point the original 16mm reel had become so damaged that someone decided to splice it into a different reel that had undergone some serious emulsion degradation. This would make sense, because the portion of the film with the red coloring is in notably better physical condition than the initial black and white portion. Perhaps the red part was handled and used less, but stored in less than favorable conditions while the black and white part of the reel was used to the point of being in terrible physical condition, but stored in a way that preserved its black and white properties.

Dead Birds (1964)

26 Jan
Director  Gardner, Robert
Producer  McGraw Hill Films
Contributors  Harvard University Film Study Center
Length  84 min
B&W/Color  Color
UO Library Catalog description:  Presents an ethnographic cross section of the life and customs of the Dani people of the Baliem Valley in West New Guinea, recording actual events that occurred during the Peabody Museum expedition of 1962
Call # FILM Mc316
Genre  Ethnographic
Rare  No
Online  No
Copyright status  ©McGraw Hill Films (1962)
Physical condition  Good
Oregon-related  No

Notes:

The sound recorder for this film by the name of Michael Rockefeller disappeared shortly after production while doing field research in Netherlands New Guinea. He was declared legally dead in 1964. This disappearance has been deemed as one of the 20th century’s greatest mysteries. This film is a graphic real-life depiction of a New Guinea tribe that goes through the motions of war, death, agriculture, and traditional ceremony.

%d bloggers like this: