Exhibition Reel of Two Color Film (ca. 1929)

An experimental color short in Brewster Color, preserved by George Eastman House and presented on the More Treasures DVD set.

Treasures 5 Debuts in September

Contact: Barbara Gibson (510-531-4521, gibson@filmpreservation.com)

San Francisco, CA (May 31, 2011)—Before High Noon, Unforgiven, and True Grit, there was a wilder, wider West on film. Today, the non-profit National Film Preservation Foundation announced the line-up of Treasures 5: The West, 1898-1938, its 10-hour, 3-DVD box set celebrating the dynamic, gender-bending, ethnically diverse West that flourished in early movies but has never before been seen on video. The set will go on sale in September.

Treasures 5 presents the American West as it was recorded and imagined in the first decades of motion pictures. Among the 40 selections are Mantrap (1926), the wilderness comedy starring Clara Bow in her favorite role; W.S. Van Dyke’s legendary The Lady of the Dugout (1918), featuring outlaw-turned-actor Al Jennings; Salomy Jane (1914), with America’s first Latina screen celebrity Beatriz Michelena; Gregory La Cava’s sparkling Old West–reversal Womanhandled (1925); Sessue Hayakawa in the cross-cultural drama Last of the Line (1914); one-reelers with Tom Mix and Broncho Billy, Mabel Normand in The Tourists (1912), and dozens of other rarities.

Treasures 5 showcases both narrative and nonfiction films. In addition to early Westerns, fascinating actuality films abound: travelogues from 10 Western states including Seeing Yosemite with David A. Curry and the Fred Harvey Company’s The Indian-detour; Kodachrome home movies; newsreels about Native Americans; and documentaries and industrial films about such Western subjects as cattle ranching in Santa Monica, riding the rails along the Columbia River, how vaqueros made horsehair ropes, the birth of the canned fruit industry, and the beginning of the water wars. There are even vivid docudramas by crime-fighting lawmen: Bill Tilghman restaging his capture of the Wild Bunch and a Texas sheriff reliving his fight against ammunition smuggling on the Mexican border. For full list of films, click here.

The motion pictures are drawn from the preservation work of the nation's foremost early film archives―the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, George Eastman House, the Library of Congress, the Museum of Modern Art, the National Archives, and UCLA Film & Television Archive—and include movies recently repatriated from the New Zealand Film Archive. Many of the films have not been screened in decades. None has been available before in high-quality video.

Slated for release by Image Entertainment on September 27, Treasures 5 is playable worldwide and has special features for DVD audiences:

  • Audio commentary by 23 experts
  • Illustrated catalog with film credits and essays
  • More than 400 interactive screens
  • Newly recorded music

The fifth in the award-winning Treasures series, the set reunites the curatorial and technical team from the NFPF's previous DVD anthologies. The project is made possible through the generous support of the National Endowment for the Humanities and the National Endowment for the Arts. Treasures 5 retails for $59.98. Net proceeds will support further film preservation. A brochure can be downloaded here.

The National Film Preservation Foundation is the nonprofit organization created by the U.S. Congress to help save America's film heritage. Since opening its doors in 1997, the NFPF has supported film preservation in 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico and has helped save 1,800 films. The NFPF is the charitable affiliate of the National Film Preservation Board of the Library of Congress.

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