Mantrap (1926)

A wilderness comedy starring Clara Bow, preserved by the Library of Congress and presented on the Treasures 5: The West DVD set.

Treasures from American Film Archives

Overview  |  Contents  |  Contributors  |  Brochure (PDF)  |  Watch Films

4-DVD box set, with program notes

642 minutes, released 2000 and 2005

  • 2000 Film Heritage Award
    National Society of Film Critics
  • 2001 Best of Show—Non Theatrical
    Video Software Dealers Association
  • 2005 Best DVD Series
    Il Cinema Ritrovato Festival, Bologna

In 2000, 18 of America's premier film archives joined forces with the NFPF to release films preserved in their collections for the first time on video. The resulting Treasures from American Film Archives, 50 Preserved Films showcases the breadth of American filmmaking during the first 100 years of the motion picture. With rarities ranging from the first movie exhibited in the United States to a 1985 experimental documentary of New York's Battery Park, the 11-hour four-DVD box set received critical accolades and was covered on The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer.

Originally produced through funding from the National Endowment for the Arts and The Pew Charitable Trusts, Treasures was reissued in a reduced price edition, complete with updated program notes in 2005. The Encore Edition was made possible through the support of the Cecil B. De Mille Foundation and Sterling Vineyards®.

The contents include silent-era features (Hells Hinges, with Western star William S. Hart, 1916 Snow White, The Toll of the Sea in two-strip Technicolor, and the first feature shot in Alaska, The Chechahcos); landmark avant-garde works (The Fall of the House of Usher by Webber and Watson; Rose Hobart by Joseph Cornell; OffOn by Scott Bartlett, and others), documentaries and newsreels (John Huston's The Battle of San Pietro; footage from Orson Welles's 1936 "Voodoo Macbeth", Negro Leagues baseball, and Marian Anderson's Lincoln Memorial concert, and more); and samples of the earliest American movies, pioneering special effects, cartoons and experimental animation, home movies, travelogues, worker training films, political ads, and other less familiar types of American films made over the last century.

The 50 Treasures films are safeguarded for future generations through preservation masters and viewing prints. Together they stand as a reminder that the nation's archives hold many more such astonishing films that will survive and be seen only through further public support. Net proceeds support further film preservation.

Contributing films were the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, Anthology Film Archives, George Eastman House, the Japanese American National Museum, the Library of Congress, the Minnesota Historical Society, the Museum of Modern Art, the National Archives, the National Center for Jewish Film, the New York Public Library, the National Air and Space Museum, the National Museum of American History, the National Museum of Natural History, Northeast Historic Film, the Pacific Film Archive, UCLA Film & Television Archive, University of Alaska Fairbanks, and West Virginia State Archives. The first Treasures set was curated by Scott Simmon. The music, curated by Martin Marks, features piano and several ensembles. San Francisco’s Danielseed Design did the graphic design. AMPAS and Sony Pictures Entertainment generously provided technical assistance.