Thursday, June 21, 2012

COMING SOON and Lost & Rare

Faithful visitors to the Bijou Blog and fellow-travelers in the classic film world are aware of our struggle to find a funding formula for a sequel Matinee at the Bijou series. We are thrilled to announce we have a breakthrough in this quest with a highly imaginative proposal on the table conceived by a veteran PBS insider. If successful, this idea will result in PBS stations nationwide being GIFTED with, at no cost whatsoever, a continuing series of original weekly Matinee at the Bijou shows! This innovative plan will serve to introduce America's cinematic heritage to entire new audiences and awaken nostalgia in those who fondly remember the original experience.

Our first choice for hosting a revival of Matinee at the Bijou has always been the incomparable Debbie Reynolds! A formal proposal for Ms. Reynolds' participation in this novel approach for Bijou's return is in the hands of her agent and we are awaiting the response prior to announcing further details. A positive outcome will reunite PBS with one of its most popular and successful series ever -- while adding a  beloved cinematic icon to the time-honored roster of PBS celebrity hosts.

Interest in vintage films has never been stronger! This is best demonstrated by TCM's ambitious commitment to putting classic movies back up on the big screen where they belong via their increasingly popular TCM Classic Film Festival held annually each spring in Hollywood; a winter TCM Classic Cruise; and now, traveling roadshow presentations with screenings each year in movie theaters across the country!

A special shout out from everyone here at Bijou goes to all involved in the special 60th anniversary screenings of Singin' in the Rain coming this July 12th to 475 screens from coast to coast, with a special onscreen Robert Osborne introduction and interview with Debbie Reynolds.

Meanwhile the Bijou Team remains committed to bringing back FREE to PBS stations nationwide a continuing Matinee at the Bijou classic film festival of our own, loaded with fabulous vintage cartoons, short subjects, cliffhanging serials and family-friendly feature films from the Golden Age of Hollywood. We  made this happen once before on PBS and with enormous success. Now, in collaboration with classic film industry professionals nationwide, we are poised for an even more successful second time around. Please stay tuned for further developments.

Festival Films' Lost & Rare DVD Series Debuts

Ron Hall and Festival Films have long been helping the Bijou Team locate an abundance of film content for the Matinee at the Bijou sequel series. In turn, Bijou is a participant in Festival Films' new DVD series Lost & Rare Film & TV Treasures. The recently released first two volumes of which have received a very encouraging response from media critics. In his review, Jef Burnam, Editor-in-Chief of Film Monthly highly recommends the premiere releases.

The Lost & Rare series is a brilliant concept for finding, restoring, thematically programming and  affordably distributing to the general public films that heretofore have been considered lost, unknown, extremely rare or near impossible to find.

Simultaneously with release of these first volumes, the Lost & Rare series is now undergoing a beta test phase prior to release of subsequent volumes. During this evaluation period producers are seeking answers to issues such as the suitable amount of content for future volumes -- 5 films, 10 films, more? Ideal price points once the volume of content is determined. What will be the ideal release pattern -- 2 volumes released monthly, quarterly? How best to tailor the series for educational markets.

Also during the beta test stage Ron and his colleagues are seeking to develop a creative partnership with an existing film archive that shares a similar mission, and exploring potential sponsorship branding opportunities and the potential for grants or in-kind help with film restoration work. Also, how the series might be adapted beyond the DVD format for television and/or online markets.

Most significantly, much of the Lost & Rare content Festival  Films has so far acquired for release this fall is truly stunning and certain to amaze classic film enthusiasts worldwide.

Here is a sneak peak at five remarkable film discoveries Coming Soon in a pair of Lost & Rare Film & TV Treasures  programs: Discoveries & Innovations and Primeval Television ...

Alan Ladd's first credited screen appearance and color film role in Unfinished Rainbows (1940).

The until now long-lost complete version of the 1922 Felix the Cat cartoon Felix in the Bone Age.

A little-known and long forgotten film industry gem called I.A.T.S.E., an imaginative historical documentary produced for the International Alliance of Theatrical and Stage Employees union's 50th anniversary in 1947.

A 1948 lost TV pilot created by veteran animator Jay Ward called The Comic Strips of Television that evolved into the first cartoon series produced directly for television and introduced the world to the iconic animated characters Crusader Rabbit and Dudley Do-right:

A restored original print of the condensed 2-reel version of the infamous 1913 exploitation film Inside of the White Slave Traffic with original music soundtrack scored for this version.

The first two volumes in the Lost & Rare Film & TV Treasures DVD series: Lost & Rare Television Pilots and Lost & Rare Sports Immortals are available from Movies Unlimited.

Here on the first screen you can watch scenes from films selected thus far for the upcoming Lost & Rare Discoveries and Innovations collection and on the second screen scenes from Lost & Rare Primeval Television. Further information on the series is available at the Lost & Rare website.

Here are scenes from content selected thus far for inclusion in the upcoming Lost & Rare Primeval Television collection:

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