John Ford’s UPSTREAM To Receive An Academy Re-Premiere
UPSTREAM, a 1927 silent film by director John Ford that was thought lost for decades, will be re-premiered by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences next Wednesday, September 1, at 7:30 p.m. at the Academy’s Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Beverly Hills. The film will be presented under the Academy’s “Lost and Found” series banner.
UPSTREAM is one of 75 American films recently found at the New Zealand Film Archive and repatriated to the United States. The films were rediscovered when Brian Meacham, an archivist for the Academy, dropped in on his New Zealand counterparts while on vacation. During Meacham’s tour of the archive, he asked if there were any American films represented in the collection. A thorough search revealed numerous titles including three feature films that were thought to be lost. UPSTREAM is the first of the features to be preserved and screened for the public. The preservation work was carried out by Park Road Post Production in Wellington, New Zealand, under the direction of Twentieth Century Fox and the Academy Film Archive.
Over the next few years, all of the repatriated films will be preserved and made available at the Academy Film Archive and four other major American film archives, in collaboration with the National Film Preservation Foundation.
Although Ford was already known in 1927 for his direction of Westerns, UPSTREAM is a backstage comedy that focuses on a love triangle involving an egotistical actor and a young couple who partner in a vaudeville knife-throwing act. The film is from an interesting chapter in the career of Ford, who by his own admission was strongly influenced by the work of German director F.W. Murnau, who had immigrated to the United States to make films for the Fox studios, enabling Ford to study his working methods first hand.
The evening’s presentation will include a live trio with music composed by Michael Mortilla, as well as an advertising trailer which contains the only known surviving footage of the John Ford sound film STRONG BOY (1929).
LOST AND FOUND is a periodic screening series designed to showcase archival prints of films that have been recently discovered, or restored from new materials that improve the presentational quality of their previously available versions. In some instances the films may be incomplete or damaged, making access unlikely through more traditional venues. The series serves not only as an opportunity for rare access to a “lost” film, but also will call attention to some of film preservation’s more notable success stories.
Tickets to UPSTREAM are $5 for the general public and $3 for Academy members and students with a valid ID. They may be purchased online at http://www.oscars.org/events-exhibitions/events/2010/upstream.html, by mail, in person at the Academy during regular business hours or, depending on availability, on the night of the screening when the doors open at 6:30 p.m. The Samuel Goldwyn Theater is located at 8949 Wilshire Boulevard in Beverly Hills. For more information, call (310) 247-3600 or visit www.oscars.org.