That still of Carole Lombard is from the late 1928 Pathe feature "Ned McCobb's Daughter," the most recent film of hers deemed as "lost." If it somehow turns up -- and in recent years, more than a few movies have been uncovered from oblivion -- this may be one of the places where it would be nursed back to cinematic health:
It's the Library of Congress Film Archive near Culpeper, Va., a site we've examined in the past (http://carole-and-co.livejournal.com/300088.html). And you can take in some of the fruits of the archive's labor on Wednesday and Thursday without having to visit its Mount Pony Theater. That's because the archive is being profiled...
...by Turner Classic Movies, which is honoring the archive for 24 hours, beginning at 8 p.m. (ET) Wednesday. And what a way to begin -- with the long-unseen 1943 romantic drama "The Constant Nymph," starring Joan Fontaine and Charles Boyer.
Warners' story rights for the film expired in 1951, and the movie has thus been in legal limbo for decades. It's supposedly Fontaine's favorite film, and thankfully she is still around to watch it on television for the first time.
It will be followed at 10 p.m. by the Barbara Stanwyck pre-Code favorite "Baby Face," which the archive helped restore to its fully uncensored form, and at 11:30 by "Two Heads On A Pillow," a 1934 comedy-drama starring Neil Hamilton and Miriam Jordan from the Poverty Row outfit Liberty Pictures. (This is not to be confused with Frank Capra's Liberty Films that made "It's A Wonderful Life.")
At 12:45 a.m., it's "All Quiet On The Western Front," the 1930 Academy Award winner for best picture, but chances are you've never seen this classic, this way. That's because this is the silent version, released to those few U.S. theaters that still hadn't wired for sound, and to non-English speaking countries. This version is somewhat longer than its talking counterpart, and supposedly closer to the intent of director Lewis Milestone. Here's a trailer for the silent version:
You can briefly view Zasu Pitts in this trailer. She was initially cast as the mother of Lew Ayres' character, but audience reaction in previews (Pitts, perceived as a comedic actress, drew laughs, despite earlier dramatic turns in "Greed" and other films) led Universal to replace her with Beryl Mercer.
The rest of the lineup includes four long-unavailable Will Rogers silent travelogues from 1927, and an array of features, including a noon (ET) Thursday showing of the film Lombard might have made, but didn't -- "Taxi!", a Warners pre-Code from 1932:
That's Loretta Young, who took the role after Lombard passed it up (to her later regret), with star James Cagney on the set.
For more on the film archive tribute, go to http://www.tcm.com/this-month/article/430527|0/Tribute-to-the-Library-of-Congress-Film-Archive-9-28.html.
This week's header features Carole at the race track with her first husband, William Powell.