April 4th, 2019

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Saluting a pair who preserved film history

For decades, the 1931 Carole Lombard-Gary Cooper drama "I Take This Woman" had been out of circulation and feared lost. But a 16mm print was found in the late 1990s, followed by one in 35mm. Both have been rehabilitated and exhibited, enabling fans of both iconic performers to see them in action.

Two titans of the film preservation movement will be honored at next week's 10th Turner Classic Movies Film Festival in Hollywood.

One-time media mogul Ted Turner (top), who founded the channel that bears his name 25 years ago this month, and film historian Kevin Brownlow, who's written extensively about film in general and the silent era in particular, are to be part of this year's event, and deservedly so.

We've previously praised Turner's often-overlooked work in film preservation (https://carole-and-co.livejournal.com/438472.html), but to repeat -- he not only purchased several classic studios' movie libraries (MGM, RKO, Warners), but he preserved thousands of titles and made them commercially viable, something hardly anyone else was doing at the time. The eventual result...

...TCM, a commercial-free channel that's the closest thing most of America currently has to a revival or repertory house. It's built a devoted fan base, as the TCMFF makes evident each spring (https://carole-and-co.livejournal.com/986365.html).

Brownlow is arguably best known for helping write, produce and direct the 13-part history of the silent era, "Hollywood," a 1980 series that opened eyes and shattered myths about the period before dialogue changed everything. While rights issues have prevented "Hollywood" from a DVD release for years, it can be found via YouTube (https://carole-and-co.livejournal.com/452990.html).

Brownlow also wrote "The Parade's Gone By," an essential history of silent cinema.

Turner will be honored April 11, the opening night of the festival, with a video tribute and an interview with TCM host Ben Mankiewicz (https://www.warnermediagroup.com/blog/posts/20190403-movies-and-the-maverick-man-tcm-to-salute-ted-turner-at-tcmff). Two nights later, Brownlow will become the second recipient of the Robert Osborne Award, given for his contributions to film preservation and history (https://www.turner.com/pressroom/hollywood-pioneer-filmmaker-kevin-brownlow-receive-2nd-annual-robert-osborne-award-his). That night, the TCMFF will show Brownlow's 1964 film "It Happened Here."

Congratulations to both men.
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