I Saw Kitty Hawk: Film, Memory, and Archives

A couple of weeks ago, we wrote about the 110th anniversary of The Great Train Robbery, a film that pioneered editing techniques that are so commonplace as to be invisible to viewers today and is acknowledged as the first example of modern film fiction narrative. But this wasn’t the only important innovation taking place in December … Continue reading I Saw Kitty Hawk: Film, Memory, and Archives

Celebrating Aviation with Magee’s “High Flight”

“Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of Earth . . . . Put out my hand and touched the Face of God.” You may be familiar with these lines—the first and last of John Gillespie Magee, Jr.’s 1941 sonnet “High Flight”. Many of us likely recognize them from President Ronald Reagan’s speech on the … Continue reading Celebrating Aviation with Magee’s “High Flight”

Mission: Turkey! Thanksgiving Dinner and the U.S. Military

Are you ready for Thanksgiving? If it’s your turn to cook, no doubt the next few days will be stressful. But imagine trying to cook Thanksgiving dinner for an entire ship or regiment, or being a mess sergeant tasked with cooking and bringing the meal to troops in the field. Do you know how you’re … Continue reading Mission: Turkey! Thanksgiving Dinner and the U.S. Military

The Preservation and Restoration of John Huston’s “Let There Be Light”

Today's post is by Criss Kovac. Criss is the supervisor of the National Archives' Motion Picture Preservation Lab. In honor of Veterans Day, we are proud to share the National Archives' digital restoration of John Huston’s Let There Be Light (Local Identifier: 111-M-1241), the groundbreaking film about the treatment for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) of … Continue reading The Preservation and Restoration of John Huston’s “Let There Be Light”

Project Blue Book: Home Movies in UFO Reports

In a previous post, we gave an overview of Project Blue Book, the 1952-1969 United States Air Force investigation into UFO sightings. For that post, we featured publicity interviews produced by the Air Force that explained the project. This week, we’ll feature some of the home movies that were submitted by citizens as evidence of … Continue reading Project Blue Book: Home Movies in UFO Reports

Project Blue Book: Spotting UFOs in the Film Record

This week, we’ll be taking a look at Project Blue Book, via the National Archives' film holdings. Project Blue Book was not the United States Air Force’s first investigation into the reports of unidentified flying objects. It wasn't even the second. Project Blue Book was actually the third formal analysis of UFO sightings, coming after … Continue reading Project Blue Book: Spotting UFOs in the Film Record

The Sailor and the Seagull: FMPU Veterans Animate Re-Enlistment Efforts

For the last two weeks, we have been sharing films of the First Motion Picture Unit. This week, we’ll take a look at an animated film produced for the Navy by former members of the FMPU. This post was written with Criss Kovac, supervisor of the Motion Picture Preservation Lab at the National Archives. Like … Continue reading The Sailor and the Seagull: FMPU Veterans Animate Re-Enlistment Efforts

The U.S. Military Goes Hollywood: Behind the Scenes with the First Motion Picture Unit

I will admit, I didn’t know about the U.S. Army Air Forces First Motion Picture Unit until 2007, when the Motion Picture Preservation Lab was tasked with making theater prints for a special program at the Pacific Film Archive. I may not have heard of the unit, but I certainly recognized its stars: “Hey, is … Continue reading The U.S. Military Goes Hollywood: Behind the Scenes with the First Motion Picture Unit

From Top Secret Vault to Open Stacks: Declassification of Moving Images

Have you ever wondered how moving images and sound recordings get declassified? The process isn’t as simple as you might think. Because our records are media based - film, video or audio - the review process takes a few extra steps. Agencies transfer classified moving images and sound recordings to NARA according to Records Control … Continue reading From Top Secret Vault to Open Stacks: Declassification of Moving Images

Making 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 (306.765). On August 10th, 1963 The U.S. Government, under the auspices of … Continue reading Making The March