The following is a guest post by Jenny Paxson, an Administrative Assistant at the Packard Campus.
We’re starting 2015 by celebrating the Packard Campus Film Preservation Laboratory’s work all month.
The process of preserving a motion picture can be a long and tedious endeavor. Repairing old, fragile film frame-by-frame can take weeks, followed by extensive timing, printing and processing. Added to that is the level of expertise and skill necessary for photochemical preservation. This month’s selections, curated by the lab staff, show off some of their best preservation work and include some of their favorite titles.
Thursday, January 8 (7:30 p.m.)
It Happened Tomorrow (United Artists, 1944)
René Clair directed this fantasy comedy set in the 1890s about Larry (Dick Powell), a bored obituary writer for the Evening News. He wishes he could see into the future so he could scoop his colleagues and become the paper’s top reporter. When a guardian angel grants his wish, Larry’s life becomes full of unexpected complications involving a beautiful fortune-teller (Linda Darnell), her overprotective uncle (Jack Oakie) and the news of his own death. The film was a popular success for United Artists and received Oscar nominations for best sound recording and best music scoring by Robert Stolz. Preserved from a nitrate print in the Deutsche Bundesarchiv Collection.
Friday, January 9 (7:30 p.m.)
Shadow of a Doubt (Universal, 1943)
When her mother’s younger brother Charlie (Joseph Cotten) comes to visit the family in their small-town home, his adoring niece, also named Charlie (Teresa Wright), slowly begins to realize that her uncle may be a sought-after serial killer. Director Alfred Hitchcock often said that Shadow of a Doubt was his favorite film. This suspense thriller, which also stars Macdonald Carey, Patricia Collinge, Henry Travers, Wallace Ford and Hume Cronyn, was added to the National Film Registry in 1991. Preserved, with funding from The Film Foundation, from the original camera negatives in the AFI/Universal Collection.
Saturday, January 10 (7:30 p.m.) Warner Bros. Crime Drama Double Feature
Flaxy Martin (Warner Bros., 1949)
Virginia Mayo stars as the title character, a showgirl and the girlfriend of crime syndicate lawyer Walter Colby (Zachary Scott). When Colby is hired to defend a mobster on a murder charge, he finds himself framed in another killing. Directed by Richard L. Bare, this film noir also stars Dorothy Malone, Douglas Kennedy and Helen Westcott. Preserved from the original camera negatives in the United Artists Collection.
Night Nurse (Warner Bros., 1931)
A private-duty nurse is hired to look after two sick children at the mansion of their alcoholic socialite mother. She soon becomes suspicious that the treatment prescribed by their doctor is slowly starving the children to death and that the family’s brutish chauffeur is involved. William A. Wellman directed this crime drama, which stars Barbara Stanwyck, Ben Lyon, Joan Blondell and Clark Gable in one of his most impressive early appearances. Preserved from the original camera negatives in the United Artists Collection.
For more information on our programs, please visit the web site at www.loc.gov/avconservation/theater/.