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Preserved by the San Francisco Media Archive with NFPF support.


Articles tagged orphan film spotlight

Daughter of Dawn on Blu-Ray

Daughter of Dawn (1920)

Films preserved through NFPF funding are always made available for public access, whether onsite or online, but some archives go further by partnering with a distributor to make a film available for film lovers to add to their collection. Such is the case with Daughter of Dawn (1920), to be released on Blu-Ray on July 19.

Named to the National Film Registry in 2013, this silent feature was preserved by the Oklahoma Historical Society (OHS), whose description is worth quoting:

“The story, played by an all-Indian cast of 300 Kiowas and Comanches, includes a four-way love story, two buffalo hunt scenes, a battle scene, village scenes, dances, deceit, courage, hand to hand combat, love scenes, and a happy ending. The Indians, who had been on the reservation less than fifty years, brought with them their own tipis, horses, clothing, and material culture. The lead actor is White Parker, … Read more

Tags: grant film, orphan film spotlight

Orphan Film Spotlight: Adaptive Behavior of Golden-Mantled Ground Squirrels

Working for peanuts in Adaptive Behavior of Golden-Mantled Ground Squirrels (1942).

Preserved by the University of Oregon, Adaptive Behavior of Golden-Mantled Ground Squirrels (1942) depicts members of the titular species (not to be confused with chipmunks) roaming around Crater Lake, Oregon, before moving indoors to show captive squirrels learning how to solve a series of increasingly challenging tasks. Tantalized by out-of-reach peanuts, the determined critters literally pull strings for food.

The man behind the squirrels was University of Oregon psychology professor and educational filmmaker Lester F. Beck (1909-77), whose love of animals stemmed from growing up on an Oregon ranch; he would later build a house that allowed wild rodents to crawl into a maze suspended from the living room ceiling. Beck called film “one of the greatest aids to learning since … Read more

Tags: grant film, streaming video, orphan film spotlight

Orphan Film Spotlight—Roach’s Lullaby (1973) and Welcome to Spivey’s Corner (1978)

Coharie elder Leonard Emanuel demonstrates hollerin' techniques in Welcome to Spivey's Corner (1978).

Thanks to everyone who attended last week’s Exploratorium screening of films preserved through NFPF funding. Those who couldn’t make it will be glad to know two of the screening’s biggest hits can be watched online.

Roach’s Lullaby (1973), preserved by the New York Public Library, was praised by the New York Times as a witty and “bold excursion into one of the city’s great conflicts—the war against the roach.” The documentary profiles three New Yorkers who demonstrate eccentric methods of pest removal. Directed by Claudia Weill and Eli Noyes, Roach’s Lullaby is a prime example of on-the-go, hand-held 16mm documentary-making. And yes, it has a song about roaches.

Welcome to Spivey’s Corner (1978), directed by Kier Cline, documents the “National Hollerin’ … Read more

Tags: grant film, streaming video, orphan film spotlight

Orphan Film Spotlight—Blackie the Wonder Horse Swims the Golden Gate (1938)

Blackie arrives in San Francisco after a pleasant swim.

The mission of the NFPF is to save and make accessible “orphan films.” These are movies unprotected by commercial interests, including documentaries, silent films, newsreels, home movies, avant-garde works, industrial films, and independent productions. “Orphan Film Spotlight” is a new regular feature of our blog and will highlight orphans preserved through our grant programs that are viewable online. Our inaugural selection has an unusual premise and unforgettable title: Blackie the Wonder Horse Swims the Golden Gate.

The story behind the film begins and ends at Roberts-at-the-Beach, a San Francisco restaurant owned by Richard “Shorty” Roberts. One day Shorty was arguing with Bill Kyne, owner of the famed Bay Meadows Racetrack, about whether horses could swim. Shorty claimed Blackie, his 12 year old … Read more

Tags: grant film, streaming video, orphan film spotlight

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