Christmas Thoughts: Giving for the Holidays

This post was produced with help from Heidi Holmstrom and Ivy Donnell, who made the GIFs. In December of 1920, Ford Motor Company sent prints of the film Christmas Thoughts (FC-FC-328) to Ford dealers around the country. The film encouraged viewers to establish a local Goodfellows’ Club, with their local dealer serving as the headquarters. … Continue reading Christmas Thoughts: Giving for the Holidays

“The Camera Tells the Truth”: Camera Rolls from the Battle of Tarawa

Five days before Thanksgiving 1943, American forces bombarded a tiny, Japanese-held island in the Tarawa Atoll. Eighteen thousand Marines would land on the shores of Betio, and over 1,000 would lose their lives there. On November 23rd, the United States claimed victory. Recording the Battle Three men of the 2nd Marine Division landed on Betio … Continue reading “The Camera Tells the Truth”: Camera Rolls from the Battle of Tarawa

Favorite Film Finds of 2017

This post was written with Heidi Holmstrom. In the past year, staff in the motion picture preservation lab handled millions of feet of film. Films might come to us for inspection and repair, photochemical duplication, or digitization. To continue an annual tradition, we’ve identified a handful of films that were digitized in 2017 and found their … Continue reading Favorite Film Finds of 2017

“Tunisian Victory”: Operation Torch Gets the Hollywood Treatment

This post was written with Heidi Holmstrom. In the spring of 1943, Frank Capra, Hollywood director and colonel in the Army Signal Corps, began work on a film about the Allied campaign to take North Africa. The stakes were high—the film needed to demonstrate the strength of the Anglo-American relationship and build support among the … Continue reading “Tunisian Victory”: Operation Torch Gets the Hollywood Treatment

Favorite Film Finds of 2016

This post was written with Heidi Holmstrom. In the past year, staff in the motion picture preservation lab handled millions of feet of film. Films might come to us for inspection and repair, photochemical duplication, or digitization. To follow up last year’s list, we’ve identified a handful of films that were digitized in 2016 and … Continue reading Favorite Film Finds of 2016

In Search of…Leonard Nimoy

A few months ago, I spent more time than usual with a film reference request. The film copy that came down for Clear Skies, Clean Air (1971) was 35/32mm, which meant that I had to make a print before I could run it on the film scanner. I listened to the soundtrack several times while … Continue reading In Search of…Leonard Nimoy

Film Preservation 101: This 80 Year Old Film Printer Still Contributes to Preservation

This week we celebrate the National Archives’ 80th birthday. For the motion picture lab, this anniversary was an opportunity to look back to the beginnings of the organization, when the Archives was still in its teen years and William T. Cooper, Jr. posed for photographs with the Depue optical reduction film printer. The photos, taken … Continue reading Film Preservation 101: This 80 Year Old Film Printer Still Contributes to Preservation

Protecting Your Past–It’s What We Do Here: The Preservation and Restoration of The March

Today’s post is from Criss Kovac. Criss is the supervisor of the Motion Picture Preservation Lab, which is responsible for performing conservation and preservation work on motion picture records held across the National Archives. Recently, she completed a digital restoration of The March. The March, the James Blue film documenting the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs … Continue reading Protecting Your Past–It’s What We Do Here: The Preservation and Restoration of The March

About the Bloggers

Audrey Amidon is a preservation specialist in the Motion Picture Preservation Lab, where she and her colleagues perform conservation and preservation work on motion picture records held across the National Archives. Before joining her lab family in 2006, Audrey worked with the Donald B. MacMillan film collection at the Peary-MacMillan Arctic Museum at Bowdoin College. When … Continue reading About the Bloggers

The Great Beard Contest of 1941

Last week, Heidi transferred several reels of film documenting “overseas activity” in the summer of 1941. Nestled among shots of city streets and training exercises were playful scenes depicting a facial hair contest at Fort Stotsenburg in the Philippines. If a beard contest doesn’t scream “put me on the Internet” I don’t know what does, so … Continue reading The Great Beard Contest of 1941