A fragment of a colour nitrate film

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roln

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A fragment of a colour nitrate film

PostThu Jun 02, 2011 6:28 pm

I have about 20 old nitrate film fragments that used to belong to my father who had them along with an old small hand cranked 35mm projector.


Only one of them is in colour - a couple of samples below:-


Image

Image


About every foot there is a splodge of green beyond the sprocket holes, and there seems to be a green and red shadow on each frame which you can sort of see on the second sample above.


It is a roll about 5" in diameter (not on a reel, just loose wound).
It shows a wagon train arriving at a "wild west" fort, with the stars and stripes flying (not exactly a gripping film).

Can anyone identify the particular colour technique and is this fragment worth preserving?
Any other info would be interesting - for instance is there a person or institution in the UK that would like the films? There is a bit of nitrate rot on a couple of them, so they may not last much longer.
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Jack Theakston

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PostThu Jun 02, 2011 6:53 pm

What it looks like you have is an example of two-color dye-transfer (probably Technicolor). The splotches are residual dye, and you'll note the BH perfs used for accurate pin registration. Not sure what the film is of, although it shouldn't be tough to figure out as they didn't do many full-aperture print jobs. Just a shot in the dark--maybe REDSKIN?

To be sure, can you hold it at an angle to the light to try to detect whether there are emulsions on each side or not?
J. Theakston
Capitol Theatre, Rome, NY
"You get more out of life when you go out to a movie!"
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roln

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PostThu Jun 02, 2011 7:21 pm

Hi Jack

I looked at the film at an angle but both surfaces look the same, so I did a little scratch test on the edge of one frame and there seems to be emulsion on only one side.
I'm not sure what you mean by BH perfs - are you talking about the little red tags on one side of the frame?
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Jack Theakston

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PostThu Jun 02, 2011 7:35 pm

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Film_perforations

BH perfs are bowed out on the sides, as opposed to KS perfs that are squared.
J. Theakston
Capitol Theatre, Rome, NY
"You get more out of life when you go out to a movie!"
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roln

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PostThu Jun 02, 2011 8:30 pm

Yes, I see the subtle difference now - my little stack of films seems to be about 1/2 and 1/2 BH & KS perfs, with the older films being the BH type.
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Tom Stathes

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PostThu Jun 02, 2011 11:54 pm

Fascinating. Any animation among the films?
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Penfold

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PostFri Jun 03, 2011 6:32 am

It won't be Redskin, that was a modern western; this looks set back in the Indian Wars period. Possibles include The Water Hole (1928), Court-Martial,(1928) and Wanderers of The Wasteland (1924)......none of which are apparently known to exist.
I could use some digital restoration myself...
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alabbate

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PostFri Jun 03, 2011 8:17 am

Your fragment is from the 1930 Warner Bros. Vitaphone (sound on disc which would explain lack of optical soundtrack) production THE SONG OF THE WEST, which I believe is lost. So your fragment is definitely worth preserving. I'm not sure how to post images I hope these work.

[img]
http://www.flickr.com/photos/63633640@N ... hotostream[/img]

Anthony
Anthony L'Abbate
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silentfilm

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PostFri Jun 03, 2011 11:14 am

Anthony,
Flickr does not make it easy to post photos on message boards, especially since you marked these as copyrighted, but here are the photos that you were attempting to post:

Image

Image

Image
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roln

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PostFri Jun 03, 2011 11:22 am

Tom - no cartoons, a mixture of drama, comedy, an interview with an actress (with soundtrack) but mostly an obscure mix of newsreels, including a funeral in the UK (Edward VII I suspect), the opening of the parliament in Australia, A $250,000 Chicago wheat fire, Labour demonstration in Hyde Park etc. etc.
This photo shows all the fragments I have:-
Image

alabbate- I got onto flickr.com and saw the images you'd posted there and it is without doubt THE SONG OF THE WEST.
If you look at the image above the colour fragment has the arrow pointing at it & it's only 4" in diameter.
You say that is it worth preserving which makes me still wonder if anyone knows a person or institution in the UK that would like the films?
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silentfilm

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PostFri Jun 03, 2011 11:40 am

I'm sure that the BFI would be glad to take them. Since you are in Scotland, why not contact the Scottish Screen Archive? Although they mostly collect Scottish-themed material, I'm sure that they could assist you.

http://ssa.nls.uk/index.cfm?sid=01.03

Also, remember that these are nitrate films, which are flammable. Do not store them in airtight containers, and keep them away from hot temperatures.
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roln

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PostFri Jun 03, 2011 12:02 pm

I have a webpage with pics of a few frames of about 1/2 of them which I emailed to the BFI then the SSA back in 2007, but only got the reply that my email had "been forwarded to the relevant department" (or words to that effect) and then heard nothing more.
(Maybe I could start a new thread here with that link, so other films could be identified..?)
As I have a bit more information now they may be a bit more interested - already I can say that I've got part of a lost film!

Thanks for the advice - they are stored in ceramic containers in a cool dry place, away from anything flammable.
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urbanora

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PostFri Jun 03, 2011 12:53 pm

There isn't a guarantee that either the BFI or the Scottish Screen Archive would take them in - the SSA because its collecting policy is restricted to Scottish material, and the BFI because it is very much narrowing down its collecting remit. However either should be offering you advice as a matter of course. For the SSA, contact Ruth Washbrook at r.washbrook [at ] nls.uk. For the BFI, it's hard to identify one curator who would speak for all of such a disparate collection, but try Bryony Dixon at bryony.dixon [at] bfi.org.uk.


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pookybear

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PostSat Jun 04, 2011 10:14 am

roln wrote:I have a webpage with pics of a few frames of about 1/2 of them which I emailed to the BFI then the SSA back in 2007, but only got the reply that my email had "been forwarded to the relevant department" (or words to that effect) and then heard nothing more.
(Maybe I could start a new thread here with that link, so other films could be identified..?)
As I have a bit more information now they may be a bit more interested - already I can say that I've got part of a lost film!

Thanks for the advice - they are stored in ceramic containers in a cool dry place, away from anything flammable.


Roln,

Yes a great find here even if only a fragment of the film. There is
an archive somewhere that would take these, just keep checking
around.

As for BFI, not my favorite people to work with. They tend to
be very aloof with anyone knocking on the door. And with
recent budget cuts I do not think they are even in the position
do anything but hold steady untill better times come around.

Pookybear
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roln

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PostSat Jun 04, 2011 3:47 pm

Over the next few days I’ll try and catalogue the films I have a bit more thoroughly and see what I’ve got & create a page somewhere with them on and post a link to it in a new thread.
The fragments of comedy/drama I can’t identify I’ll post a few frames in a thread to see if anyone can help.
The newsreels are mostly easy to date and identify, as they have dates, edition numbers or are of events that are on the web already (for instance the Australian parliament opening I mention above must be 1911 - 14, as Lord Denman is officiating).

Urbanora – once I’ve catalogued the film I’ll try the contacts at BFI & SSA you’ve suggested, and see if I get a result this time.

Pookibear - If you have any contacts who would like the film I am happy to follow up on them.
As the only reply I got from the BFI them lead to nothing, I tend to agree with you but it is worth trying again.

Thanks to all – roln
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silentfilm

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PostSat Jun 04, 2011 5:49 pm

I don't have his contact information, but Kevin Brownlow could certainly help you also.
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Brooksie

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PostSun Jun 05, 2011 7:58 pm

The fragment of the opening of the Australian Parliament by Lord Denman appears to be from a 1914 Pathe Gazette, a copy of which is held by the Australian National Film and Sound Archive - the database listing is at http://tinyurl.com/6j5krna. I haven't seen it, so I don't know what kind of condition it's in. If your footage happens to be a different gazette, or is particularly well preserved, it would definitely be worth contacting them. There are contact details at http://www.nfsa.gov.au/collection/collection-offers/.
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Penfold

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PostMon Jun 06, 2011 2:32 am

pookybear wrote:
As for BFI, not my favorite people to work with. They tend to
be very aloof with anyone knocking on the door.


I have to say that this is quite a long way from what I have experienced.....

And with
recent budget cuts I do not think they are even in the position
do anything but hold steady untill better times come around.

Pookybear


But this may be true....but there is only one way to find out. And that would almost certainly be equally true of any other institution in the UK that you could think of, right now.
I could use some digital restoration myself...
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roln

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PostMon Jun 06, 2011 12:56 pm

silentfilm - re. contact name; I'll start enquiring to see if I can interest him. I work in an allied industry, so may be able to find a common contact - "six degrees of separation". Hopefully I may be a few degrees there already.

Brooksie - thanks for that link; I don't have as complete a newsreel as described there - no marine arrival. But the second half of the description is exactly what I have, that is the Arrival at Parliament House, Melbourne (I had a look on Google Streetview, and the Theatre across the road looks just the same as the clip I have, though other buildings have disappeared, and there are fewer horse drawn carriages about!
[edit - and it's got a small "PATHE FRERES CINEMA LTD" plus logo in the bottom right-hand corner of the title!]

Penfold - re. BFI; I am certainly going to contact them again.

Thanks - once I've catalogued all I can and see how the contacts can help.
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Re: A fragment of a colour nitrate film

PostMon Apr 28, 2014 6:04 pm

I noticed that the wagon train part of "Song of the West" appears as a fragment in the film "Stranger In Town" 1931. I have posted the clip on youtube here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qv9O49qkB1k





Apparently more footage appears in the color Vitaphone short, "Romance of the West" (1935), which was a shortened musical "Broadway Brevity" version of the film "Song of the West" 1930

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0026946/?ref_=nm_flmg_act_16
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Silencebound

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Re: A fragment of a colour nitrate film

PostMon Apr 28, 2014 7:03 pm

Superb awesome piece of cakes that you have ! I would love 'em to be fully restored and uploaded to YT. Can yer do the scanning job on it all like that I've done some before. Won't it be significantly proud enough to be the first to shown them before BFI pick it up and have it shelved away for many years before we see it. Seemingly that BFI is caring but not really cared it well enough, for instance . . . :( ( I agrees with Pookybear's option ).
I just want to and have to show and tell everybody absolutely NOTHING but only the truth.
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JeffryDVD

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Re: A fragment of a colour nitrate film

PostTue Apr 29, 2014 7:32 am

If you want/need the address to get this film to a place that will preserve it, I can provide Kevin Brownlow's contact info.
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earlytalkiebuffRob

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Re: A fragment of a colour nitrate film

PostSat May 17, 2014 1:14 pm

Fascinating and tantalising clip! Am I correct in assuming STRANGER IN TOWN (1931) to be extant?

Just checked - yep, looks like it's out there. What about ROMANCE OF THE WEST (1935)?
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David Alp

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Re: A fragment of a colour nitrate film

PostThu May 22, 2014 6:44 pm

Hey listen; Why don't you send that Technicolor clip to "Silencebound" (our resident nitrate preservation expert here) and let him get it transferred onto digital format of 1080p and then put onto Youtube. He is BRILLIANT at restoration and preservation. He does it frame by frame! At least that way if it does turn into dust or blow up we have it on Digital media; and it won't take him long, he is really fast!
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Silencebound

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Re: A fragment of a colour nitrate film

PostThu May 22, 2014 10:52 pm

Thanks but, sadly enough, roln wasn't here for the Nitrateville Network for a long time after already posted his message and pixs here for only seven times and been offline for nearly three years . . . That was far back in 2011 ! Probably he has been disappeared away and left us stranded without knowing why. I don't know whether if BFI has already acquired his lollies after posted his last message here . . . :| Well, his acquiring of his twenty lovely lollies in a big pix above made us far more exciting feeling and being intrigued, for instance. :? Again, thanks to David Alp for remaining me. :) ( My 10th fragment project is finished cropping yesterday and will release it here later tonight - at earliest, hopefully )
I just want to and have to show and tell everybody absolutely NOTHING but only the truth.

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