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Preserved by the San Francisco Media Archive with NFPF support.

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THE RED MARK at the San Francisco Silent Film Festival

The fastest way out of the penal colony of Nouméa, as seen in The Red Mark (1928), preserved by and screening at the San Francisco Silent Festival.

On Sunday, April 14th the San Francisco Silent Film Festival will the premiere the new restoration of The Red Mark (1928), a prison-set potboiler preserved with NFPF support.

Directed by James Cruze, best known for epics The Covered Wagon (1923) and Old Ironsides (1926), the film is a set on the South Seas prison island of Nouméa. Its governor is De Nou (Gustav von Seyffertitz), who loves nothing more than sending a inmate to the guillotine. Pickpocket Bibi Ri (Gaston Glass) has won his freedom and refuses to leave the island without his girl (Nina Quartero), but she has caught the creepy, jealous eye of De Nou...

"A powerful story, though not a pretty one," was the judgment of Motion Picture News, which also praised the "tremendous climax." The Red Mark was produced by Pathé Exchange, a small studio later absorbed into RKO, and marketed as a "Special." The film was adapted from a short story of the same name writen by John Russell, a scriptwriter who contributed to The Iron Horse (1924), Beau Geste (1926), and Frankenstein (1931).

The only surviving elements of The Red Mark were a tinted and toned nitrate print and an acetate duplicate negative, both held at the Library of Congress. The San Francisco Silent Film Festival worked from these to create a new 35mm preservation negative, a 35mm tinted and toned print, and a DCP.

Flowing Gold (1924)
De Nou (Gustav von Seyffertitz) measures Bibi Ri (Gaston Glass) for the guillotine in The Red Mark (1928), preserved by the San Francisco Silent Film Festival.

The preservation work, carried out last year, was funded by a Roger Mayer Legacy Preservation Grant from the National Film Preservation Foundation. Named in honor of the NFPF's founding Chair, the grant program also funded the preservation of two films that played at last year's SF Silent Film Festival, Man and Wife (1923) and Padlocked (1927), and will continue this year and beyond.

We hope you can make it to the Palace of Fine Arts, site of this year's Festival, and join the first audience to see The Red Mark in 96 years.

Tags: San Francisco Silent Film Festival, silent film, screenings

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