Classic Restorations

We invite you to revisit—or see for the first time—these five classic films, all recently restored to their original glory (or better!). Silent clown Harold Lloyd’s antics in his classic campus comedy, The Freshman, look fantastic in a crisp new digital restoration featuring a new score by Carl Davis, and the British Film Institute National Archive’s award-winning restoration of The Epic of Everest reintroduces the original colored tints and tones that made the film such an astonishing accomplishment in 1924. Compared to both Days of Heaven by Terence Malik and The Grapes of Wrath by John Ford, Northern Lights is a landmark of American independent cinema.  The story of immigrant Scandinavian homesteaders in the early 1900s looks amazing in a newly restored black and white 35mm print that captures the beauty of the windswept plains of North Dakota. Eric Rohmer’s A Summer Tale, shown newly restored and in its first American theatrical release, “makes obvious this director's influence on the epic walk-and-talks and romantic inquisitions of latter-day Richard Linklater, or why in 2010 Noah Baumbach [Frances Ha] named his son Rohmer.” (Village Voice) Widely considered the best monster movie of the sci-fi loving 1950s, Godzilla: The Japanese Original screens in a 60th-anniversary restoration that features scenes deleted from versions previously shown in the U.S. Finally, Orson Welles’s Othello, based on Shakespeare’s famous tragedy, will be shown in a new 2K digital restoration.

From Stephanie Zacharek’s April 2014 review in the Village Voice:

“This Othello took nearly four years to make: Welles began planning it in the summer of 1948, and it debuted at Cannes in 1952. It was filmed in fits and starts, in at least four locales in two countries, as Welles's finances were alternately drained dry and replenished. Several Desdemonas came and went. Because so much of the movie had been shot on the fly, at different times in different places by different cameramen, Welles assembled it largely in the editing room, cleverly stitching one sequence to the next to impart the illusion of continuity. Othello came together in defiance of any unifying principle beyond the scrappy vision of its director. It's a work of seat-of-the-pants grandeur. Welles's Othello is so intimidated by women that he'd rather avoid them.
Even if Othello isn't one of Welles's greatest films — on my own list, it would trail The Magnificent Ambersons, Touch of Evil, and Citizen Kane — the stark beauty of its compositions alone make it a standout. Welles locates the humanity in Shakespeare's characters by finding the proper visual setting for each: A rejected wife is dwarfed by the vast, chilly emptiness of the marital bedroom; an embittered underling schemes and fumes as sinister black flags ripple in the wind around him, as ragged and tatty as the hair of witches. How did Welles take such a seemingly delirious clash of visual patterns — the slender, pointed windows of Venice, the all-work, no-play parapet of a mighty Moroccan fortress, the vertigo-inducing swirl of mosaic tile floors, and more varieties of iron grillwork than you'd think mankind could dream up — and synthesize them into such an expressive, visually vibrant whole? That's one of the great mysteries of Welles's genius, and a splendid new, velvety-crisp restoration of Othello… is as good an excuse as any to bask in it.”

©2014 Cornell Cinema, r.haarstad