Monday, March 21, 2011

Theda Bara, Cleopatra

Baby Peggy

A 17-year-old Charleton Heston in Peer Gynt (1941)

Rarely Seen Cinematic Gems

On TCM Sunday, April 3, 2011

Lineup Includes Fragments: Surviving Pieces of Lost Films;
10th Anniversary Presentation of Unseen Cinema:
Early American Avant Garde Film 1894-1941

Turner Classic Movies (TCM) will take viewers on an eye-opening cinematic journey with a night of rarely seen gems on Sunday, April 3. The evening will open with Fragments: Surviving Pieces of Lost Films, a two-hour program of segments from films that have otherwise been lost to history, as well as interviews with people involved in making and preserving these films. Then, a special 10th anniversary presentation of Unseen Cinema: Early American Avant Garde Film 1894-1941 will mesmerize viewers with a 2 ½-hour collection of 16 experimental, mind-bending works from the early days of cinema. Both collections feature work by well-known filmmakers and performers, including director John Ford and a teen-age Charlton Heston.

“This night of rare movie treasures is the latest demonstration of TCM’s commitment to film preservation and to showcase the efforts of the world’s leading film archives,” said TCM host Robert Osborne. “With as many as 80% of all pre-1930 films lost or damaged beyond repair, Fragments stands as a testament to cinematic treasures that have been claimed by the ravages of time. And celebrating its 10th anniversary this year, Unseen Cinema provides a look at some of early film’s most imaginative visions, most of which have never been presented in a major public forum.”

Fragments: Surviving Pieces of Lost Films, which was inspired by a similar presentation at last year’s TCM Classic Film Festival, opens the April 3 lineup at 8 p.m. (ET). Produced by Flicker Alley, the two-hour showcase features nine thematically arranged segments and case studies of clips preserved by some of the leading film archives in the country, including the Academy Film Archive, the UCLA Film & Television Archive and the Library of Congress Packard Campus for Audio Visual Conservation.

Among the pieces featured in Fragments are the final reel of John Ford’s The Village Blacksmith (1922) and a glimpse at Emil Jannings in The Way of All Flesh (1927), the only Oscar-winning performance in a lost film. Fragments also features clips from such lost films as Cleopatra (1917), starring Theda Bara; The Miracle Man (1919), with Lon Chaney; He Comes Up Smiling (1918), starring Douglas Fairbanks; an early lost sound film, Gold Diggers of Broadway (1929), filmed in early Technicolor, and the only color footage of silent star Clara Bow, Red Hair (1928). The program is rounded out with interviews of film preservationists involved in identifying and restoring these films. Also featured is a new interview with Diana Serra Cary, best known as “Baby Peggy,” one of the major American child stars of the silent era, who discusses one of the featured fragments, Darling of New York (1923).

At 10 p.m. (ET), Unseen Cinema: Early American Avant Garde Film 1894-1941 will salute the rich – but often unheralded – artistry of avant garde and experimental filmmakers during cinema’s formative years. TCM’s presentation includes 16 titles hand-chosen by archivists Bruce Posner and David Shepard from their world-renowned 175-film retrospective, which premiered in Moscow in June 2001. Posner and Shepard also selected material from the acclaimed Unseen Cinema seven-disc DVD collection, released in 2005.

TCM’s Unseen Cinema showcase features such intriguing works as a pagan dance sequence from Peer Gynt (1941), starring a 17-year-old Charlton Heston; Annabell Dances and Dances (1894-97), a pioneering attempt to capture dance on film; a dream sequence from Beggar on Horseback (1925), featuring popular character actor Edward Everett Horton; Carousel – Animal Opera (c.1938), a visual symphony by artist and sculptor Joseph Cornell; and Ballet mécanique (1923-24), Fernand Léger and Dudley Murphy’s abstract collage of machines, objects and shapes set to a radical George Antheils score reconstructed by Paul Lehrman.

About Flicker Alley, LLC
Flicker Alley, LLC was founded in 2002 with the goal of bringing film history to new audiences by offering an ever-expanding selection of new digital editions of cinema classics and rare works, many being presented for the first time. Flicker Alley has partnered with Turner Classic Movies on several historic cable broadcasts including three previously unavailable silent films produced by Howard Hughes, three rarely seen Rudolph Valentino films and brand new digital editions two masterpieces by Abel Gance, of J’Accuse and La Roue.

The Flicker Alley publishing brand has grown to enjoy national and international critical acclaim and is regularly featured in annual “Best Of” lists. In 2009 and 2011, the company has been a Heritage Award recipient by the National Society of Film Critics. The company has also been honored twice with the prestigious Il Cinema Ritrovato Award: In 2008 for George Melies - First Wizard of Cinema, and again in 2009 for Douglas Fairbanks - A Modern Musketeer.

About Unseen Cinema
Unseen Cinema is a collaborative film preservation project sponsored by Anthology Film Archives, New York; Deutsches Filmmuseum, Frankfurt am Main; and 60 of the world’s leading film archives, with generous underwriting by Cineric, Inc. The innovative programming has been hailed a milestone in film history. It received the 2005 Film Heritage Award from the National Society of Film Critics and a 2005 Special Citation from the Los Angeles Film Critics Association. Additional information is available at

About Turner Classic Movies (TCM)
Turner Classic Movies is a Peabody Award-winning network that presents great films, uncut and commercial-free, from the largest film libraries in the world. Currently seen in more than 85 million homes, TCM features the insights of veteran primetime host Robert Osborne and weekend daytime host Ben Mankiewicz, plus interviews with a wide range of special guests. As the foremost authority in classic films, TCM offers critically acclaimed original documentaries and specials, along with regular programming events that include The Essentials, 31 Days of Oscar and Summer Under the Stars. TCM also stages special events and screenings, such as the TCM Classic Film Festival in Hollywood; produces a wide range of media about classic film, including books and DVDs; and hosts a wealth of materials at its Web site, TCM is part of Turner Broadcasting System, Inc., a Time Warner company.