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A few words about...™ Treasure 5 - The West 1898-1938

A Few Words About

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#1 of 9 OFFLINE   Robert Harris

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Posted December 27 2011 - 01:52 PM

Those who know me are aware of my predilection toward things archival and their preservation.   For the fifth time, The National Film Preservation Foundation, has gathered archival materials, and delivered them to us on DVD, thereby exhibiting the extraordinary work being performed by film archives.   Number Five is entitled simply, The West.   It gives a sampling of images from the beginning of the last century.  Something, that with all of the power of digital technology now available to us in our present time, may just not survive to be viewed a hundred years hence.  Although strangely, the images on these discs probably will.   While analogue image capture is something simply wrangled, digital images are not.   I've a feeling that those who captured precious images and sounds beginning in the late 1980s, and even worse, and current period, may not be lucky enough to have them available in another twenty years.   And this is one of the things, that sadly, makes the miracle of Treasures 5 even more intriguing.     The fact that we can look back at images taken well over a century ago, see how people dressed, lived, travelled and interacted in the old American West is something devoutly to be wished.   From the narrative film, to the documentary, and various bits and pieces of surviving film, Treasures 5 is an extraordinary window to the past.   Three DVDs and a book can be yours for $27 via Amazon.  Your support by purchasing this (and earlier offerings) goes to support film preservation and restoration.     A great product at a bargain price that helps support saving the films that we all love.   RAH

"All men dream: but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find that it was vanity: but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dreams with open eyes, to make it possible. This I did." T.E. Lawrence


#2 of 9 OFFLINE   Robert Harris

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Posted December 27 2011 - 03:05 PM

BTW, one of the highest of this three disc set was (aside from some 35mm Biographs) a blimp ride around Hollywood c. 1938.

"All men dream: but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find that it was vanity: but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dreams with open eyes, to make it possible. This I did." T.E. Lawrence


#3 of 9 OFFLINE   Robert Harris

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Posted December 27 2011 - 03:23 PM

And speaking of these archival...   http://www.cnn.com/2....html?hpt=hp_c1

"All men dream: but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find that it was vanity: but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dreams with open eyes, to make it possible. This I did." T.E. Lawrence


#4 of 9 OFFLINE   Richard--W

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Posted December 28 2011 - 07:19 AM

Thanks RAH for calling attention to this set.

Posted Image

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http://www.amazon.co...ref=pd_cp_mov_1


This set is priceless.
The image quality, overall, is about the same as Chaplin At Keystone, and sometimes better.
Everyone who loves silent films, and everyone who thinks he knows about westerns, needs to watch these three discs.

As an aside, I'm disappointed that the National Film Preservation Foundation included only an excerpt from the docudrama Passing of the Oklahoma Outlaws (1915), the single most important film in the set. They should have included the surviving footage in its entirety, about an hour long I'm told, even if it meant juggling the contents around. The film was produced and directed by frontier peace officer Bill Tilghman and his deputies who actually did the man-hunting and killing depicted in the film. Some famous and now-mythical events are re-enacted by those who were there. They wrote autobiographies and left behind a wealth of legal records to stop the mythmaking and legendizing which they thought was started by Al Jennings, an outlaw who had misrepresented them in his silent film Beating Back (1914). Passing of the Oklahoma Outlaws was part of that campaign. However, it had the opposite effect. It only added to the mythmaking and legendizing. This docudrama was a milestone in creating and defining the genre known today as the Western, America's unique and individual cinematic signature. The excerpt on the DVD is surprisingly clean, clear and sharp. A tease.

Someone needs to release Passing of the Oklahoma Outlaws and the other two or three docudramas related to it, with commentaries explaining the historicity of what's going on. Not all pioneers lived long enough to make their own movies, but some of them did. More of the films survive than are represented here. A small project, but a project that needs a champion in the biz.

Read West of Hell's Fringe and Guardian of the Law by law-enforcement historian Glenn Shirley.

#5 of 9 OFFLINE   Charles Smith

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Posted December 28 2011 - 08:06 PM

There's just something about "The West"...  which in terms of film and literature I only started getting fired up about over the past year or two.  Talk about yer late start in life...   But the word "archive" rings my bell, big time, so here we have a deadly combination.  I'm in, and I sure appreciate the heads up on this series which I hate to admit had been flying well clear of my radar up to now.  

#6 of 9 OFFLINE   Paul_Scott

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Posted December 29 2011 - 05:46 PM

for some reason this thread is showing up in the Blu-ray sub forum, not the DVD one where it would more logically go. I ordered this set back in September the second I read it included a watchable copy of the Clara Bow movie "Man Trap". After all the accolades though I find the actual visual quality of that particular feature merely OK to very good, but not quite as outstanding as earlier reviews had led me to believe. Not talking about the quality of the print or film elements, but rather the transfer/compression/encoding. The elements may not be in the best of shape, but I fully understand. It's the (slight) digital edge to the image (shimmer; aliasing; etc) that is bit of a disappointment. I don't want to leave the wrong impression though- it's still highly watchable, just not state of the art for the dvd format. Considering there are really no alternatives, don't consider this a complaint really- just an observation. Haven't had a chance to go through the rest of the set. Personally speaking, all the rest are extras to me, even though they may be the rarer and more precious jewels in the collection. It will be fun to explore on a rainy afternoon in the future.

#7 of 9 OFFLINE   revgen

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Posted March 03 2013 - 06:15 AM

I watched Mantrap (1926) yesterday at the UCLA Billy Wilder theater as part of their preservation festival. The picture from the UCLA print looks much better than what's presented on this DVD. Especially the black levels. The levels on this DVD look washed out in comparison.

#8 of 9 OFFLINE   Robert Harris

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Posted March 03 2013 - 12:36 PM

Originally Posted by revgen  I watched Mantrap (1926) yesterday at the UCLA Billy Wilder theater as part of their preservation festival. The picture from the UCLA print looks much better than what's presented on this DVD. Especially the black levels. The levels on this DVD look washed out in comparison.
One cannot reproduce the look of a 35mm print of a 480i DVD. RAH

"All men dream: but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find that it was vanity: but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dreams with open eyes, to make it possible. This I did." T.E. Lawrence


#9 of 9 OFFLINE   revgen

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Posted March 03 2013 - 01:37 PM

One cannot reproduce the look of a 35mm print of a 480i DVD. RAH
I'm not expecting to see the resolution or detail of film on DVD. But I do expect to see correctly calibrated levels, assuming of course that the print used on this DVD is the same as the one UCLA showed yesterday. If it's not, then I won't fault the DVD producers.





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