“Forget Cannes, Sundance, even the Oscars: this is the cinematic event I look forward to most of all.”—Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times
The UCLA Film and Television Archive marked its 50th anniversary last year—cause for celebration at a time when fast-evolving technology has made safeguarding cinema history more challenging and urgent than ever. This traveling showcase of selections from UCLA’s 2015 Festival of Preservation highlights the archive’s efforts not only to preserve important and endangered films, but also to make sure the public sees them as they were meant to be seen. BAMPFA’s pristine new theater, with its stellar projection and sound, is an ideal space to appreciate these examples of the archivist’s art.
The series is a grab bag of genres spanning six decades of American cinema, from comedy to melodrama to war film to Western, both silent and sound. Marquee stars like Charles Boyer, Mary Pickford, and John Wayne and directors like John Ford, Anthony Mann, and Douglas Sirk share the screen with relative unknowns. Gorgeous images by the likes of master cinematographer Gregg Toland are presented in the best possible light, while even the lowliest of B pictures—so often seen in battered prints or shabby transfers—get their chance to shine.