This project is to fund the purchase of ENCHANTMENT (1921) from the Library of Congress. The film is in the public domain and has been seen only a few times since 1921. It's an important work in the filmography of Marion Davies and should be accessible to film scholars. It's one of hundreds of silent films locked away in archives, unseen by the vast majority of film buffs and historians. Since the cost of digitizing/copying a film is prohibitive for the individual, I've started this campaign to organize a collective effort to give this film back to the public.
I will make necessary contacts with LOC staff to ensure the film is public domain and that there are no donor restrictions, ensure the condition of the film is acceptable, and to obtain an estimated turnaround time.
Once I have submitted a check covering the costs, LOC staff will create a master DVD from the best surviving materials and mail it to me. This is the same process I pursued in obtaining a copy of GETTING MARY MARRIED (1919) from LOC a few years ago.
Once I have the master DVD, I will make copies and mail them to those who donated $25 or more. Again, the film will be mute, but the picture quality should be OK since the film has been shown at a few silent film festivals. A copy of the print held by LOC was loaned to the Wexner Center in Columbus, OH for Cinevent in 2001.
Each donor who receives a copy of ENCHANTMENT is free to edit the film or add a music track as they wish.
The entire process, from submitting the check to LOC to receiving the master DVD and copying/mailing copies could take up to 2 months since LOC is rather slow in fulfilling these kinds of orders.
Bottom line: Marion Davies was a major film star for 20 years, spanning the silents to the talkie era at MGM and Warners. Unfortunately, most of her silent films have never been released in any format for home theater. Make ENCHANTMENT accessible to film scholars, movie buffs, and the general public can only help repair a reputation that was unwittingly tarnished by CITIZEN KANE. Davies was in the front ranks of America's first movie stars, and this project aims to enhance her reputation.
Risks and challenges
There really are no risks or challenges to this project. I have already contacted LOC and have the basic information with which to move forward once I have the purchase price in hand. The great majority of donors (if not all) are knowledgeable about silent films and the various kinds of deterioration that can afflict them. No one will be expecting a pristine print.
LOC can be slow in fulfilling these types of orders, and the turnaround time could be up to 60 days. Once I have the master DVD from LOC, I should be able to make copies and mail them to qualifying donors within a week at most.
After purchase, the Library of Congress will produce a DVD of ENCHANTMENT (1921) and mail it to me. I will make copies of this film for those who have donated at least $25. The film is not restored and has no music track. My hope is that the film will eventually be prepared for commercial DVD release but that is not the immediate goal of this campaign.
The major portion of the work involved in getting a copy of ENCHANTMENT is with the LOC. They may be slow but there is no risk in NOT getting what we've paid for. I have dealt with LOC before and have gone through this exact same process with them.
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