Posts Tagged ‘1997’

If You Love Film Preservation, Thank This Man

September 22, 2011

Despite all the craziness surrounding this summer’s debt ceiling negotiations and the subsequent downgrading of the U.S. credit rating, not every bureaucrat in Washington is to be viewed with scorn. Case in point, ever heard of the National Film Preservation Foundation (NFPF)? Someone in Washington was instrumental in establishing it in 1997 and it is a copyright lawyer named Eric J. Schwartz. His love of films lead to him helping to establish this foundation, whose mission is to “preserve American films and improve film access for study, education, and exhibition” The foundation doesn’t just preserve films from Hollywood, it also preserves films ranging from an early talkie featuring President Calvin Coolidge  from 1925 to a collection of home movies taken in the 1930’s from the Japanese-American community of Los Angeles.

I’m sure many of you are asking why American tax dollars are going to support something like this when so many people are either out of work or just barely getting by on whatever work they can get. Well the answer to that is two-fold:

1. According to the NFPF’s website, “Every penny of these federal funds goes out to the field and we raise operational support from other sources.”

2. Historical preservation isn’t something you do when times are good. It is something you do all the time, because you never know when you will find something worth preserving.

Without archivists and a foundation that supports their work, these films mentioned and other would be sitting in a closet, somewhere, never to be seen. An even worse scenario is that many films would be lost forever. You see, movies made prior to the 1950’s were filmed using nitrate film and over time, nitrate yellows the film base, oxides the silver image, and can, under certain conditions, spontaneously combust. All of which would end up damaging such a film beyond repair. In fact, only 20 percent of American films from the silent era survive and half of the films made prior to 1950 survive. So, a foundation like NFPF is necessary to prevent nitrate based and all films from being lost forever.

Films are meant to be seen, not locked up in a vault. Motion pictures have become the storyteller for the collective. If the story is lost, so is a part of our history, which is why films need to preserved for future generations. Without people like Schwartz and the archivists at the foundation, who knows how many films would be either stuck in a storeroom, tossed in a trashcan or  just plain unseen and forgotten. So, thanks to Eric J. Schwartz and the folks at National Film Preservation Foundation, they are saving pieces of American history, one frame at a time.



ROI From Hollywood Collectibles

September 29, 2010

Recently, I read on that movie posters, particularly classic movie posters, can be good investments. I also read on Paul Fraser Collectibles.Com that said if a certain item is mentioned in or associated with a successful movie, the value of said item goes up.

Those articles got me thinking. After all, I’ve stated many times on this blog that I don’t recommend people buy movie posters or movie collectibles as investment vehicles, because no one knows which movies will become classics and which ones will be duds. So, I read the articles and found that the authors made good points about collecting with an eye towards return on investment.  Regarding movie posters, mentions:

Take the 1931 classic horror film Dracula, starring Bela Lugosi. There are only three original movie posters from that film in existence.  One of those posters recently sold on an online auction for over $300,000.  If there more than three Dracula posters, they wouldn’t command those kinds of prices.

The Movie Itself
Classic movies, like Gone with the Wind or The Wizard of Oz have seen movie posters, props and costumes sell very well at auction.  Flops, like Krull* wouldn’t do very well in an auction.

Who Starred in the Movie
Movie posters featuring the likes Marlon Brando, James Dean, Marilyn Monroe, Audrey Hepburn, do well for two reasons. One, they are all dead, which is related to rarity. Two, they starred in classic films, which is related to the movie itself.

What about items associated with a movie?  What’s so great about them? Well according to Paul Fraser Collectibles.Com:

Valuable Before More Valuable After
Items associated with the H.M.S. Titanic were valuable before the film Titanic was released in 1997.  Subsequently, they went up in value after the film’s theatrical release.

Possible To Plan Ahead
A film about Margaret Thatcher is going to be made and reports state that none other than Meryl Streep (Need an accent? Call…) is on board as the Iron Lady. That should renew interest in Thatcher’s political career and England in the 1980’s. Also, there will be two more Harry Potter movies scheduled for release and that should increase the value of things related to Harry Potter movies and series author J.K. Rowling.

My advice remains not to buy a movie poster or other collectible for investment value. Still, it never hurts to research what you plan to buy. After all, knowledge is power.

When it comes to investing, there are other investments vehicles out there and if you are interested in one of them, don’t ask me. Instead, consult a financial advisor as to which one is right for you.

* Krull, released in 1983, is a movie about a world that is about to be invaded by aliens, and a prince and princess marry in order to unite their world and fight the enemy. The princess is kidnapped and prince goes on quest to find her. The film stars Ken Marshall, Lysette Anthony and Liam Neeson (yes that Liam Neeson)