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All Movie Talk

Welcome to All Movie Talk! In this audio podcast, Samuel Stoddard and Stephen Keller talk about old and new movies, famous directors, historical film movements, movie trivia, and more.

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Lost and Found

It's always a pleasure when a film thought lost turns up in some random place. A pristine print of The Passion of Joan of Arc (1929), presumed lost, turned up in a mental institution in Oslo. The Rules of the Game (1939), a French film and one of the greatest of all films, was banned by the French, then banned by the Nazis after they took over, then was incinerated by Allied bombing, but somehow enough fragments survived that the film could be pieced together, with only one minor scene missing.

One of the most interesting recovery stories, however, is about Shadows (1959), by director John Cassavetes.

Many say Cassavetes started the whole independent film movement with this very film. The version of Shadows readily available today is the second of two versions Cassavetes made. After finishing and screening one version in 1957 and 1958, he decided he didn't like it, and the problems ran too deep to fix with a re-edit. So he reshot almost the whole thing, casting different actors, and essentially making a completely different movie.

The original cut was presumed lost for years. But Ray Carney, a professor from Boston University and a scholar of Cassavetes' work, made it a mission to track it down, and pursued this foolhardy goal with dogged determination. In 2004, quite miraculously, he found a 16mm print in the most unlikely of places.

The story is best told by Carney himself, who recounts the discovery here, in one of the most interesting articles I've ever read about film.

The consequences, unfortunately, still have the film tied up from any sort of public release. Carney and Cassavetes' widow, actress Gena Rowlands, have a bit of a feud going on.

Still, maybe one day we'll get to see this.

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