Universal Pictures and The Film Foundation Tuesday announced a multi-year partnership to restore a handpicked selection of the studios’ classic titles, with Oscar-winning directors Martin Scorsese and Steven Spielberg lending a hand.
Universal will fund the restorations, as well as provide research and technical services.
Through The Film Foundation, Scorsese and Spielberg “will be personally involved in the process, contributing their unique artistic expertise and historical knowledge throughout the restoration process,” according to a statement announcing the collaboration.
The restored versions will be screened at film festivals and archives around the world.
The 2018 restoration slate includes “Destry Rides Again” (1939, director George Marshall); “`The Killers” (1946, director Robert Siodmak); “The Killers” (1964, director Don Siegel); “My Little Chickadee” (1940, director Edward Cline); and “Winchester ’73” (1950, director Anthony Mann), with additional titles to be announced in the coming months.
“I’m so excited by this partnership with Universal and the chance to continue what we started with the restoration of `One-Eyed Jacks,”’ Scorsese said. “Steven and I grew up with these pictures. We didn’t just watch them — we absorbed them, they became part of our DNA.
“Neither of us can wait to get to work on `Winchester ’73,” the first of Anthony Mann’s eight pictures with James Stewart, and on both versions of Hemingway’s “The Killers”: two different pictures from two different eras, both of them classics,” he said. “And there’s so much more to choose from in the Universal library. We’re all thrilled to be making these treasures of American cinema available to audiences once again.”
Spielberg said he was “delighted to be working with Marty, The Film Foundation and Universal on this project.”
“It’s a great opportunity to not only restore a remarkable selection of films, but also to make them available to audiences the way they were meant to be seen,” he said. “The focus and scope of this project will result in valuable contributions to the preservation of our film history.”
The restoration partnership marks another step in Universal’s film restoration initiative announced during the studio’s centennial in 2012. More than 70 titles have been fully restored, including “All Quiet on the Western Front,” “The Birds,” “Dracula,” “Frankenstein,” “Jaws,” “Schindler’s List,” “Out of Africa,” “Pillow Talk,” “Bride of Frankenstein,” “The Sting,” “To Kill a Mockingbird,” “Touch of Evil,” “Double Indemnity,” “High Plains Drifter,” “Holiday Inn,” “Spartacus” and “Duck Soup.”
In 2015, Universal launched a silent film initiative. The company has so far restored 15 titles, including “Outside the Law,” “Sensation Seekers” and “The Man Who Laughs.”
The Film Foundation was established in 1990 to protect and preserve motion picture history. By working in partnership with archives and studios, the nonprofit foundation has helped to restore more than 800 films, which are made accessible to the public through programming at festivals, museums and educational institutions around the world.
The Film Foundation’s World Cinema Project has restored 31 films from 21 countries, and its free educational curriculum, “The Story of Movies,” has taught more than 10 million young people to date about film language and history.
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