Film Forum NYC presents “Orphans of New York,” Oct. 14 & 15

October 18, 2018: Now that the two screenings are done, I’ve updated the filmography and comments for the record. At the conclusion of the October 15 show, Film Forum announced this screening would turn into a semi-annual series.

Orphans of New York.”
That’s what Bruce Goldstein, Director of Repertory Programming at New York’s influential* nonprofit indie moviehouse Film Forum, entitles our show of 22 entertaining but previously neglected films shot around the city from 1899 to 1979.

Tickets are available online at or at the box office.
Film Forum, 209 W. Houston St.
Sunday, Oct. 14, 3:10 pm
Monday, Oct. 15, 7:00 pm

Introductions by Bruce Goldstein (Film Forum) & Dan Streible  (NYU Cinema Studies / Orphan Film Symposium) + special guests. Piano accompaniment for silent films by Steve Sterner.

Library of Congress Paper Print Collection, new scans and other early cinema:
* Across Brooklyn Bridge (March 1899) American Mutoscope Co., file from Bill Morrison of the BFI master made from the original 68mm film print. 
* New Brooklyn to New York Via Brooklyn Bridge no. 1  (September 1899) Edison Co.
* What Happened on Twenty-third Street, New York City (1901) Edison
* Panorama of Flatiron Building (1903) AM&B
* Opening Ceremonies, New York Subway, Oct. 27, 1904 (1904) Edison (See how the Bleecker Street station has not changed in 114 years.)
* The Deceived Slumming Party (1908) Biograph Co.  Excerpt of one of the first samples from LOC scanning the original paper prints (rather than the 16mm films derived from them in the 1950s and 60s). Film historian Tracey Goessel is working with LOC on this project, prioritizing the Biograph titles in the Paper Print Collection that are not found in the Museum of Modern Art’s Biograph Collection of 35mm film materials. 
* Actors’ Fund Field Day, at the Polo Grounds, New York City, August 19, 1910 (1910) Vitagraph Co. of America, with rare footage of two legends actor Bert Williams and sharpshooter Annie Oakley!  Scanned from an original nitrate print. Vitagraph did not deposit a paper print for copyright. 

Dawson City Collection, three newsreel fragments, selected by Bill Morrison (maker of the acclaimed Dawson City: Frozen Time) from the Library and Archives Canada.
* The “Uplift” of the Horse (Universal Animated Weekly, 1917)
* Negroes’ Protest a Silent Parade (Universal Animated Weekly, 1917) 
* Anarchists Bomb Wall Street (British Canadian Pathé, 1920) 

* Sunday only: [Elsa and Albert Einstein at Warner Bros. – First National Studio 1931] a never-ever-released, charming-as-all-get-out document with the Einsteins enjoying a flying motor trip around the world. (Read about how Becca Bender found the nitrate reel in a family collection long stored at the archive of Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts.)

* NYC Street Scenes and Noises outtakes (1929) Fox Movietone News, University of South Carolina Moving Image Research Collections; LOC made a new 35mm print from MIRC’s original negative.

* Broadway by Day (1932) Magic Carpet of Movietone, 16mm from Richard Scheckman’s collection. A Blackhawk print. 

Bronx Baby Parade outtakes (1934) USC MIRC Fox Movietone News Collection.  Shot outside the Loew’s Grand Theater on Jerome Avenue, June 29, 1934, ballyhoo for the Paramount release Little Miss Marker and new box office sensation Shirley Temple. Also includes a very young girl doing a Mae West impression, replete with cigarette holder and West’s catch phrase “Come up and see me some time.” [!] Watch here.

* New York University (1952) Willard Van Dyke, for the NYU Alumni Association, reel 3 of 3 of an otherwise lost film found in the Prelinger Collection at LOC. No published filmographies of the prolific and important documentary director Van Dyke list this film. (Sunday only)

* The Making of Pelham One Two Three (1974) featurette narrated by NYPD detective-turned-actor Carmine Foresta. 16mm print from the Academy Film Archive. 

Young Filmmakers Foundation, NYPL 16mm prints
* Black Faces (1970) Studio Museum, Harlem
* Life in New York (1969) Alfonso Pagan & Luis Vale
* Ellis Island (1975) Steve Siegel & Phil Buehler
Sunday only: intro by Elena Rossi-Snook (New York Public Library for the Performing Arts) 

* What’s Happening in Harlem? (1949) Communist Party USA.  A hard-hitting political short about the exploitation of and violence against African American and Puerto Rican residents of Harlem.  Craig Baldwin’s print has the first 9 minutes, but the final sequence (about 2 minutes) has not been found. Research underway by Rick Prelinger and by Kimberly Tarr in NYU Communist Party USA Collection.  (See Guide to the Communist Party of the United States of America Record, Tamiment Library and Robert F. Wagner Labor Archive,  NYU Bobst Library.)

* Venus and Adonis (1935) Harry Dunham & J. V. D. Bucher’s amateur surrealist film. Music by Paul Bowles. Cast: Victor Kraft (violin prodigy, photographer, and Copland’s longtime companion);  Erick Hawkins (as Eric Hawkins; dancer later married to Martha Graham), and Anne Miracle (muse for a Virgil Thomson composition bearing her name). 
A restoration-in-progress using the Library of Congress’s silent 16mm print from the Aaron Copland Collection and the Museum of Modern Art’s print with sound.  Research by Blake McDowell for his NYU MIAP thesis led to this rediscovery.  

* EPH 4/27/16 (1979) Ephraim Horowitz’s masterful amateur film memoir. Thanks to Genevieve Havemeyer-King for tracking down this long-sought film.  Print scanned by Colorlab for 
Monday intro by Kimberly Tarr (NYU Libraries).  Read about its preservation in time for the centennial of Eph’s birth.  After the second screening, Bruce Goldstein declared the Horowitz film was “a sensation” for the Film Forum audiences. Look for more Eph screenings in the future. 

________________________________________________________________ Ephraim Horowitz, at age 63, in his film EPH 4/27/16..

* Three American Beauties (1906) directed by Edwin S. Porter and Wallace McCutcheon. A stencil-colored Edison Mfg. Co. beauty with the complete original ending, recently restored by the National Library of Norway from its unique hand-colored 35mm print. The surprise ending is not seen in the various video versions found on the web to date, all of which are from DVD releases of the Museum of Modern Art’s beautiful but different 35mm copy.  (The Library of Congress has a black-and-white 16mm print in its George Kleine Collection, made from a 35mm monochrome nitrate print that was destroyed after being copied).  

The performer in the film has not been identified. Who is she?? 

SOURCES (It takes a village.)
Academy Film Archive
Albert Einstein Archives, Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Craig Baldwin / Other Cinema Archives
estate of Ephraim Horowitz (via
Library and Archives Canada (via Bill Morrison)
Library of Congress
Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts
Museum of Modern Art
National Library of Norway
New York Public Library for the Performing Arts
New York University Libraries
Prelinger Archives
Richard Scheckman
University of Iowa Libraries (via Andrew Sherburne, Tommy Haines, Saving Brinton)
University of South Carolina Moving Image Research Collections


Thanks to the film whisperers and NYU alumni of the Moving Image Archiving and Preservation Program whose research when they were students led to some of these discoveries:  Becca Bender (now Film Archivist & Curator of Recorded Media at the Rhode Island Historical Society), Genevieve Havemeyer-King (now of NYPL’s Preservation of Audio and Moving Image Unit), and Blake McDowell (now media archivist at the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture). In 2003, as part of the first MIAP course offered,  Jeff Martin and Cinema Studies PhD student Jennifer Zwarich researched NYC Street Scenes and Noises and wrote this report with Evan Friss (NYU master’s student in the Department of History; now an associate professor at James Madison University). The NYU MIAP research projects were done in tandem with the University of South Carolina’s Orphan Film Symposium using film archival material in the USC Newsfilm Library. In 2004, the lab Cinetech in Los Angeles did pro bono preservation of the two rolls of film and made a 35mm print for the 4th Orphan Film Symposium.  MIAP students and faculty (Howard Besser, Mona Jimenez) participated in that symposium in Columbia, SC. 

Today the collaborations between NYU Cinema Studies’s MIAP Program and USC MIRC continue. 

* See Sara Aridi, “How Influential Is Film Forum?” New York Times, July 31, 2018,

</b> <b>