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Antti Alanen: Film Diary:

The Nitrate Picture Show: Nitrate Shorts (2019)

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The Battle of Midway (John Ford, 1942). The Nitrate Picture Show (NPS), George Eastman Museum, Dryden Theatre, Rochester, 3 May 2019. Battle of Midway John Ford, US 1942 Print source: Museum of Modern Art, New York Running time: 18 minutes      NPS: "About the print: Frequent framing adjustments are needed from shot to shot of this archival footage. Heavy perforation and edge damage was repaired. Shrinkage: 0.75%      About the film: Shot on 16 mm Kodachrome (some scenes with a handheld camera), this Technicolor film was released as a 35 mm documentary about the strategic importance of the island during World War II. Commander Ford personally shot some of the footage and was wounded while filming the battle. With voice-over narration by Ray Milland, Donald Crisp, and Jane Darwell. Preserved by the Academy Film Archive in 2006." (NPS)     AA: The Battle of Midway was the turning-point in the WWII Pacific theatre, with the battle of Salamis among the most decisive sea battles in history, and John Ford was there with his camera. There is no bombasm. Instead there is a human scale, with marines identified by name in medium shots, and an intimacy of tone in the various narrators. A Fordian soundtrack incorporates "America, My Country Tis of Thee", "U. S. Marine Corps Hymn" ["From the Halls of Montezuma to the Shores of Tripoli"] and "Onward Christian Soldiers" but also "Red River Valley" bringing associations to The Grapes of Wrath among other films. A film of gravity and dignity. Visual quality: blow-up from 16 mm Kodachrome with a lively warm glow. Frank Tashlin: Swooner Crooner. Frank Sinatra reincarnated as a rooster singing "It Can't Be Wrong" and "As Times Go By". Swooner Crooner Frank Tashlin, US 1944 Print source: Museum of Modern Art, New York Running time: 7 minutes     NPS: "About the print: While the stock does not have a visible edge code to date it, the print is nitrate with a print-thru edge code of 1943 and only minimal scratches. Shrinkage 0.70%     About the film: A look at propaganda during the war—but with humor, as hens lay eggs based on the effect of crooning roosters at the henhouse." (NPS)     AA: Another war contribution! Frank Tashlin's satirical targets include greater efficiency of production. Hens punch timecards diligently as they arrive to the workplace. They produce eggs literally on a conveyor belt. To boost production there are two competing roosters. One croons like Frank Sinatra, the other like Bing Crosby, and soon there are mountains of eggs. A bright and vivid Technicolor print of this Warner Bros. cartoon. Tulips Shall Grow. Tulips Shall Grow George Pal, US 1942 Print source: Library of Congress, Culpeper, VA Running time: 7 minutes     NPS: "About the print: Though the print required extensive edge repair, the image and sound remain in excellent condition, including the Technicolor dyes. Shrinkage: 0.83%.     About the film: A Dutch boy and girl fall in love, only to be invaded by an army of Screwballs that threaten to destroy their land. Perseverance and a hand from Mother Nature are their only defense." (NPS)     AA: A WWII allegory in an animated puppet film. A romance in the land of the windmills threatened by a Screwball army. A rainfall brings rust and corrosion to the attacking war machine. Life begins again. In pleasing Technicolor. Looking at London US 1946 Print source: Library of Congress, Culpeper, VA Running time: 10 minutes     NPS: "About the print: Aside from a fair amount of scratching, this print is in generally good condition. Slight repairs were needed. Shrinkage: 0.70%.     About the film: This Technicolor Fitzpatrick Travel Talk takes a look at postwar London, including the devastation caused by bombing." (NPS)     AA: A travelogue about London with Buckingham Palace intact but entire city blocks in ruins. Another genuine Technicolor experience, almost colour-driven. Gardens of the Sea US 1947 Print source: Academy Film Archive, Los Angeles Running time: 9 minutes     NPS: "About the print: Emulsion on both sides of the base makes this a tricky film to inspect and project, but the color remains astounding and the film itself remains in good shape. Shrinkage: 0.60%.     About the film: Shot and distributed in Cinecolor (like last year’s Lost Lake), this Lowell Thomas Movietone examines Australia’s Coral Reef and the myriad strange creatures that live and build there." (NPS)     AA: Also Gardens of the Sea is colour-driven with views of strange fish, turtles, spider crabs, starfish, little squids, mutton fish, snails, sea hares and hermit crabs. Cinecolor has its limitations but the print still looks fantastic. Landscape of the Norse. Landscape of the Norse Earl Allvine, US 1947 Print source: Academy Film Archive, Los Angeles Running time: 8 minutes     NPS: "About the print: The amount of edge repair in this print causes a lateral movement in the gate, requiring special projectionist attention to make sure the image remains in frame. Shrinkage: 0.70%.     About the film: A trip to Norway includes Constitution Day celebrations in Oslo, the shipping and fishing industry in Bergen, and a journey north of the Arctic Circle." (NPS)     AA: Also this travelogue about Norway is inspired by colour. In the old town of Bergen we visit the fish market and take the funicular to the mountains. Even in this film the shadow of WWII is present. From Norwegian Lapland there is beautiful footage of Sami life and reindeer herding. The Cobweb Hotel Hämähäkkimotelli / Hotel Spindelnätet / Spindelhotellet. Dave Fleischer, US 1936 Print source: UCLA Film and Television Archive, Los Angeles Running time: 8 minutes     NPS: "About the print: The wonderfully conserved print shows some edge repair, but little work was needed for this program. Shrinkage: 0.70%.     About the film: This “Color Classic” finds a spider opening a hotel for unsuspecting flies on what may have been Fleischer’s actual desk." (NPS)     AA: A gruesome horror cartoon of a spider managing a hotel. A pair of newlywed flies arrive and are quickly trapped but prove to have a fighting spirit. They rebel and liberate all the other victims, too. Reportedly the third three-strip Technicolor film of the Fleischer studio but memory fails and I am not sure if it looked like three-strip Technicolor. The Temperamental Lion. The Temperamental Lion Connie Rasinski, US 1939 Print source: George Eastman Museum / Chicago Film Society Running time: 7 minutes     NPS: "About the print: This is possibly a rejected print; the color dyes occasionally seem “smeared” throughout the film. The stock is somewhat brittle, and there is decomposition affecting the image in the opening credits. Shrinkage: 0.90%.     About the film: A captured lion is taken unwillingly to the zoo, full of complaints and waiting for the opportunity to take revenge on his captor, Major Doolittle." (NPS)     AA: A funny character study of a hammy, conceited and theatrical lion at the zoo ("they cant do this to me") but of course he is right to claim that "I don't belong here". Good voice talent. Aware of the disclaimers in the production notes I nevertheless felt I got a good sense of the colour world.

Avainsanat: boost blow bing bergen beatiful base attention army arctic archive angeles academy norway north war voice visual turtle travel town thomas third they theatre televisio talk takes study studio strip strange york world warner spirit spider special source soundtrack sound some society museum mother modern memory market marine make major machine lost los looks lively live lion like library lapland land john jane it island intimacy inspired include image human horror history herding heavy grow george funny frank ford footage fish film fair experience entire effect earl donald documentary desk dave credit country congress colour code christian chicago camera by build bright boy singing sinatra sides show shot shipping shape shall sense seem scenes scale sami running romance river released reindeer ray quality propaganda program production picture oslo opportunity old note norwegian