This post is part of the Film Preservation Blogathon, a wonderful project that has already yielded a great number of fascinating and passionate articles on film preservation from some of the web's best film bloggers. The Blogathon is being headed by The Self-Styled Siren and Ferdy on Films, and the master list of contributed articles can be found on both sites. This week-long endeavor is in support of the National Film Preservation Foundation, a nonprofit organization devoted to a very important cause, and I highly encourage everyone to offer a donation here. As they put it:
The National Film Preservation Foundation is the independent, nonprofit organization created by the U.S. Congress to help save America’s film heritage. They work directly with archives to rescue endangered films that will not survive without public support.
The NFPF will give away 4 DVD sets as thank-you gifts to blogathon donors chosen in a random drawing: Treasures III: Social Issues in American Film, 1900-1934 and Treasures IV: American Avant Garde Film, 1947-1986.
Considering this blog is strictly film reviews, I probably shouldn't spend too much time getting anecdotal about film preservation and engaging in hero worship about someone who had no creative ties to the film in question, but screw it. Film preservation is too important a cause to rush through, and without the work of James Card and like-minded film archivists, I would not be able to write about G.W. Pabst's 1929 silent masterpiece starring Louise Brooks today.
When I mentioned “like-minded film archivists” above, it was mainly in reference to Henri Langlois, whose Cinémathèque Française was tirelessly devoted to film preservation and whose screening of Louise Brooks films in the 1950s helped spark renewed interest in her career in France. A lot has been written about Langlois, especially in terms of his relation to French New Wave filmmakers, and he certainly deserves the many gushings of praise that have been placed alongside his name, but he'll have to settle for a simple hat tip here as I shift my attention to James Card, the first curator of the George Eastman House's film collection, one of Langlois' contemporaries and a personal hero of mine.