Restoring the Films of William S. Hart
Sunday, February 13, 12:00 noon Pacific Time
Join George Eastman Museum Senior Curator Peter Bagrov and Preservation Manager Anthony L’Abbate to learn about the museum’s ongoing restoration of the works of everyone’s favorite cowboy, William S. Hart!
In 2021 the Moving Image Department at the George Eastman Museum embarked on a multiyear project, funded by the Louis B. Mayer Foundation, to restore nine silent films of one of the first western superstars, William S. Hart (1864 – 1946). Widely distributed across the world, rereleased and reedited on multiple occasions, these films now exist in a wide range of versions and formats (35mm nitrate, 28mm diacetate, 16mm triacetate, paper prints; with intertitles in Danish, Dutch, English, German, French, Italian, etc.).
The Eastman Museum has conducted a world-wide search for the best surviving film elements, and this restoration turned into a complex international reconstruction project. In addition to materials in the museum’s own collection, elements from at least seven other archives – The Library of Congress, the Museum of Modern Art, UCLA, Fondazione Cineteca Italiana, La Cinémathèque française, Centre national du cinéma et de l’image animée, and the EYE Film Museum (the Netherlands) – will be used to put the jigsaw puzzle together. Over 30 film elements will be scanned at Eastman Museum’s Film Preservation Services department where they will be digitally restored, reassembled and sent out to 35mm film to secure long-term conservation. During the search for elements, many discoveries were made – including two films previously considered lost!