Last year, the New Zealand Film Archive and the National Film Preservation Foundation announced that they'd discovered a tinted print of The White Shadow (1924), "an atmospheric melodrama starring Betty Compson, in a dual role as twin sisters — one angelic and the other 'without a soul.' With mysterious disappearances, mistaken identity, steamy cabarets, romance, chance meetings, madness, and even the transmigration of souls, the wild plot crams a lot into six reels." As David Sterritt noted in that announcement, though he was only 24 at the time, "Alfred Hitchcock wrote the film's scenario, designed the sets, edited the footage, and served as assistant director to Graham Cutts, whose professional jealousy toward the gifted upstart made the job all the more challenging."
Today, Farran Nehme, Marilyn Ferdinand and Roderick Heath have announced that their third For the Love Film blogathon, running from May 13 through 18, will be a fund-raising drive to rouse up the $15K needed to get The White Shadow on the NFPF site so that we'll all be able to see it for free for four months.
Meantime, three films have just been added to the collection of "lost" American silent-era films being restored by the NZA and the NFPF. From the NFPF's Jeff Lambert: "Of special note is Billy and His Pal; film historian Frank Thompson personally funded the preservation of this Western by Gaston Méliès (brother of Georges), and the Silent Society of Hollywood Heritage commissioned a new score by Michael Mortilla."
There's a somewhat related event happening San Francisco tomorrow evening at 8: "Oddball Films is proud to present a film programming throwdown between New York's Andrew Lampert of Anthology Film Archives and home towner, the National Film Preservation Foundation's Jeff Lambert. Putting their decades of film preservation experience to use, these two cinema savants will raid the Oddball stacks to do battle in a blind curatorial showdown."
In the Bay Guardian, Dennis Harvey flags another San Francisco event, a double feature next Thursday at the Vortex Room of the 1972 documentary Marjoe, about the infamous four-year-old evangelist, and The Second Coming of Suzanne (1974), "one of the most flabbergastingly pretentious movies ever made, the first and last screen opus of writer-director Michael Barry, son to second-tier Hollywood and Broadway leading man Gene Barry. Featuring a pre-fame Richard Dreyfuss and a pre-Decline of Western Civilization Penelope Spheeris in support roles, it's such a timepiece — for better and far worse than you can begin to imagine."
Clermont-Ferrand. I just happen to like the poster, is all. The festival's on through Saturday.
In the works. "Wild Bunch is reteaming with Cristian Mungiu for the 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days helmer's first feature effort since his 2007 Palme d'Or winning drama," reports Deadline's Nancy Tartaglione. "Set in an Orthodox convent in Romania, the story centers on a young woman's descent into madness, her subsequent exorcism and the police investigation it sparks.
Also at Deadline, Mike Fleming: "Ridley Scott is in talks to direct the Cormac McCarthy-scripted drama The Counselor."
"Incendies director Denis Villeneuve is set to direct an adaptation of Joe Sacco's graphic novel Footnotes in Gaza," reports Melanie Goodfellow for Screen. The Playlist's Oliver Lyttelton notes that Villeneuve's been attached to two other projects as well, "the long-gestating Black List script Prisoners" and an adaptation of Russell Banks's novel The Darling with Jessica Chastain.
Back to Goodfellow. She notes that once Walter Salles has On the Road all wrapped up, he'll turn to Terra, "set to shoot in Chile and Argentina at the end of 2012 with Gael García Bernal and Ricardo Darin co-starring."
And back to the Playlist. Kevin Jagernauth notes that Mia Wasikowska will soon be appearing not only in John Hillcoat's The Wettest County and Park Chan-wook's Stoker but also in Richard Ayoade's The Double, which takes Dostoevsky tale to the contemporary US and features Jesse Eisenberg. Oh, and Laurent Cantet's adaptation of Joyce Carol Oates's Foxfire will likely premiere in Toronto.
Plus: "The first postwar stereovision fiction feature was neither House of Wax (1953) nor Bwana Devil (1952) but rather the 1947 Soviet production Robinzon Kruzo, adapted from Daniel Defoe's classic. And thanks to the lenticular screen developed by engineer Semyon Ivanov, no glasses were needed to experience the illusion of cinema depth — at least by those positioned in perfectly aligned seats." J Hoberman tells the story.
Jed Perl in the New Republic: "The secret of Scorsese's success in Hugo has everything to do with the inherently impure and unstable nature of the movies, where art can be precipitated by — can maybe even be a by-product of — technological innovation. Say what you will, that's not possible in an art gallery."