Our Movie Heritage

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9780813524313: Our Movie Heritage
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ÒOur Movie Heritage is both a vividly illustrated encyclopedia and a suspense story replete with heroes and heroines and an imperiled treasure of such great worth that one feels impelled to ride to its rescue.ÓÑOlivia deHavillandÒThis book reads like a suspense story. Will we care enough, it asks, to save the rest of our great movie heritage before itÕs too late?  For all of us who love the movies there can only be one answer.ÓÑFay Kanin, chair of the National Film Preservation Board

Our Movie Heritage should be read by anyone interested in motion picture history.  Without film preservation, there can be no valid film history.  Documents, autobiographies, oral histories, and secondary sources are of importance, but viewing the actual films preserved or restored to a state comparable to the way they were originally viewed is of inestimable importance.Rudy Behlmer, film historian and author of Memo from David O. Selznick

Our Movie Heritage is an enticing, up to the minute account of the complex National Film preservation effort, and should be read by anyone interested in our rich cinematic heritage.Mary Lea Bandy, chief curator, The Museum of Modern Art

 Imagine an America without any images of itself no Judy Garland in the Wizard of Oz, no Orson Welles in Citizen Kane,  and no Bogart and Bergman in Casablanca.  Movies are an extraordinary personal and collective history of the American people. Unfortunately, over 90 percent of America's silent films are already lost to us, and more than half of the American feature films made before 1950 no longer exist. Whether it is a piece of cellulose nitrate exposed in 1910 or a strip of Eastman Color acetate stock produced in the 1970s all film self-destructs. Rapidly.

Our Movie Heritage is a highly readable and informative view of the world of film preservation, showing the work being done to save our national treasure trove of film history. Full of tales of discovery and rescue, the book is an urgent plea for preservation. Our Movie Heritage describes the race against time currently under way both in the public and private sectors in order to salvage what is left in vaults, theaters, and private collections. The book explains the basics of film preservation, covering the who, what, when, where, and how of the field, with top archivists and film restoration experts expressing their concerns and hopes for the future of movies. This beautifully produced book, with over one hundred pictures of top stars, directors, and film people, is itself a treasure that showcases the importance of this legacy.

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Review:

"... A wake-up call for studios, foundations, and governments to provide the necessary funds for film preservation of an aesthetic and sociological mirror of our lives and times. Ms. Yeck and Mr. Mc Greevey Have focused perceptively on the exciting in this endeavor while never letting us forget how much remains to be done. A must-read for all true believers in film." -- Andrew Sarris, Columbia University, and film critic, New York Observer

"A fascinating, dramatic story of the fight to save the films of the past-the last chance for us to be able to see ourselves as we were, flickering back to life from the 1890s to the present." -- Gregory Peck

"I thoroughly enjoyed reading the book. I think it is the first time that a publication on the work of film archives has not been obsessed with personality conflicts. Instead it reveals the excitement and the frustrations involved in safeguarding our film heritage." -- David Francis, Chief, Motion Picture, Broadcasting, and Recorded Sound Division, The Library of Congress

"If I had my way, every American citizen would be required to have this book. It's a clear, well-documented, and important study that tells us all too well how endangered our great film heritage really is. Hooray for all the people who are doing something about it, and hooray for this book, which will further the cause." -- Jeanine Basinger, Wesleyan University

"Our Movie Heritage is an enticing, up-to-the-minute account of the complex national film preservation effort, and should be read by anyone interested in our rich cinematic heritage." -- Mary Lea Bandy, Chief Curator, Department of Film and Video, The Museum of Modern Art

"Our Movie Heritage is both a vividly illustrated encyclopedia and a suspense story replete with heroes and heroines and an imperiled treasure of such great worth that one feels impelled to ride to its rescue." -- Olivia de Havilland

"Our Movie Heritage is eloquent on the case of film preservation, frightening on the size of the task, encouraging on the remarkable progress, fascinating on the saving technologies. It's best overall look at the preservation story I've read." -- Charles Champlin, Arts Editor Emeritus, Los Angeles Times

"Our Movie Heritage should be read by anyone interested in motion picture history. Without film preservation, there can be no valid film history. Documents, autobiographies, oral histories, and secondary sources are of importance, but viewing the actual films-preserved or restored to a state comparable to the way they were originally viewed- is of inestimable importance." -- Rudy Behlmer, film historian and author of Memo from David O. Selznick

"This book is a tribute to the unsung heroes of motion picture preservation and a passionate call for action. Protecting our film heritage protects our culture, memories, and most treasured dreams for posterity." -- Paolo Cherchi Usai, Senior Curator, Motion Picture Department, George Eastman House

"This book reads like a suspense story. Will we care enough, it asks, to save the rest of our great movie heritage before it's too late? For all of us who love the movies there can only be one answer." -- Fay Kanin, Chair, The National Film Preservation Board

From Booklist:

Given the popularity and pervasiveness of the motion picture, realizing to what extent films have been lost can be a shock. Eighty percent of pre-1929 films and half of those made before 1950 have vanished completely--a loss not only of artwork but of an irreplaceable form of visual history. As this readable, informative study points out, the effort to save films is a race against time. All film disintegrates; even the negative of Star Wars had deteriorated significantly before its recent restoration. McGreevey and Yeck recount preservation efforts from the "paper prints" of films placed on copyright deposit in the Library of Congress in the nineteenth century to such recent successes as the 1989 restoration of Lawrence of Arabia, a painstaking project that took longer than the original filming of the movie. The profusely illustrated volume's overview of the need for preservation, showcasing of notable restoration efforts, and discussion of the future of preservation compellingly argue the urgency of stepping up preservation efforts while there is still time. Gordon Flagg

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