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These Amazing Shadows: The Movies That Make America [Blu-ray]

 NR (Not Rated)   Blu-ray
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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Product Description

2011 official Sundance Film Festival selection. Tells the history and importance of The National Film Registry, a roll call of American cinema treasures that reflects the diversity of film, and indeed the American experience itself.

Product Description

Studio: Pbs Release Date: 11/22/2011 Run time: 88 minutes

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By bernie TOP 50 REVIEWER
Format:Blu-ray
The films in this documentary are part of the National Film Registry.

The subject of coloring old films is discussed.
This leads to the National film Preservation Act to create the national film registry.
The American film crates a sense of nationhood.

The real problem with this documentary is that it is in less than 5 second sound and picture bytes. They never complete a thought before moving on to the next. There I s no coherence in the train of thought or presentation. The bites have great sounds but no follow-up as to what those bits are trying to say.

It would have been better presented with ether fewer speakers of let one speaker finish before the next begins.

They do slow down for the courtroom speech from "To Kill a Mockingbird"

How many of these narrators do you know?

Jeff Adachi (Filmmaker)
Dr. James H. Billington (Librarian of Congress)
Robin Blaetz (Chair of Film Studies, Mount Holyoke College)
Brooks Boliek (Journalist)
Charles Burnett (Director, Killer of Sheep)
Jay Carr (National Film Preservation Board)
Martin Cohen (President of Post Production, Paramount Pictures)
Peter Coyote (Actor, E.T. The Extra Terrestrial)
Arlene Damron (daughter of Director- Dave Tatsuno: Topaz (1945 documentary))
Julie Dash (Director, Daughters of the Dust)
Allen Daviau, ASC (Cinematographer)
Caleb Deschanel, ASC (Cinematographer)
Zooey Deschanel (Actress) describes wizard of OZ
Kristine Fong
Robert A.
Read more ›
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.7 out of 5 stars  26 reviews
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Documentary for Film Lovers! Oct. 21 2011
By JMM - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Blu-ray
Every year, 25 films are added to the National Film Registry to be preserved at the Library of Congress. This is a fascinating documentary that uses the Film Registry as a springboard to discuss American film culture. Some very talented filmmakers are included in the discussion - Christopher Nolan, John Lasseter, and Rob Reiner are some notable directors who appear in this film. The film also includes the thoughts and reflections of various actors, critics, and historians.

Many documentaries, particularly ones that consist mostly of interviews, tend to get tedious and boring. But the film (88 minutes long) has a brisk pace and moves along quickly (but without feeling too rushed).

One of my favorite aspects of the film is the original score by Peter Golub. The music really adds to the sense of nostalgia you feel while watching the documentary. It is available for purchase now, and I highly recommend it.

The blu-ray will include the following bonus material:
- Lost Forever, a look at film preservation, restoration, and more
- Live from Prague: Recording the Score
- These Amazing Shadows at Sundance
- Outtakes
- Alternate and Deleted Scenes
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Culturally, Historically, Aesthetically, Significant Jan. 16 2012
By bernie - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Blu-ray
The films in this documentary are part of the National Film Registry.

The subject of coloring old films is discussed.
This leads to the National film Preservation Act to create the national film registry.
The American film crates a sense of nationhood.

The real problem with this documentary is that it is in less than 5 second sound and picture bytes. They never complete a thought before moving on to the next. There I s no coherence in the train of thought or presentation. The bites have great sounds but no follow-up as to what those bits are trying to say.

It would have been better presented with ether fewer speakers of let one speaker finish before the next begins.

They do slow down for the courtroom speech from "To Kill a Mockingbird"

How many of these narrators do you know?

Jeff Adachi (Filmmaker)
Dr. James H. Billington (Librarian of Congress)
Robin Blaetz (Chair of Film Studies, Mount Holyoke College)
Brooks Boliek (Journalist)
Charles Burnett (Director, Killer of Sheep)
Jay Carr (National Film Preservation Board)
Martin Cohen (President of Post Production, Paramount Pictures)
Peter Coyote (Actor, E.T. The Extra Terrestrial)
Arlene Damron (daughter of Director- Dave Tatsuno: Topaz (1945 documentary))
Julie Dash (Director, Daughters of the Dust)
Allen Daviau, ASC (Cinematographer)
Caleb Deschanel, ASC (Cinematographer)
Zooey Deschanel (Actress) describes wizard of OZ
Kristine Fong
Robert A. Harris (Film Restorer)
Amy Heckerling (director, Fast Times at Ridgemont High)
Jan-Christopher Horak (Director, UCLA Film & Television Archive)
Jennifer Horne (Assistant Professor, The Catholic University of America)
Gale Anne Hurd (Producer, The Terminator)
Steve James (Director, Hoop Dreams)
Barbara Kopple (Director, Harlan County, USA)
Farran Smith Nehme (Writer)
Christopher Nolan (Director)
Stephen Peck (son of Gregory - Director, US VETS Community Development)
Jennifer Phang (Filmmaker)
Rick Prelinger (Prelinger Archives)
John Ptak (National Film Reservation Board)
Rob Reiner (Director)
Del Reisman (Former President, Writers Guild of America)
Debbie Reynolds (Actress, Singing in the Rain)
Prof. Robert Rosen (Retired Dean, UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television)
Tim Roth (Actor)
James Schamus (Producer)
Paul Schrader (Director and Writer)
Eric J. Schwartz
John Singleton (Director, Boyz n the Hood)
Anthony Slide (Film Historian and Author)
Michael Smith
Shelley Stamp (Professor, Film and Digital Media, University of California, Santa Cruz)
Liz Stanley (Preservation Specialist, Packard Campus)
George Takei (Actor)
Wayne Wang (Director, Chan is Missing)
John Waters (Director)
George R. Willeman (Nitrate Film Vault Manager, Packard Campus)
Jan Yarbrough (Colorist, Warner MPI)
Kevin Yost (Editor - Lucasfilm)
Betsy McLane (Author, A New History of Documentary Film)
Nina Paley (Animator)
Jennifer Hagar (Animator - Disney Feature Animation)
Antonia Lant (Professor, Cinema Studies, New York University)
Barry Jenkins (Filmmaker)
Michael Smith (director, American Indian Film Institute)
Heather Olson-Linville (Archivist, Academy Film Archive)
16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars MUST see documentary on the Movies - and the Bonus Features are important too! Nov. 5 2011
By Steven I. Ramm - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
MUST see documentary on the Movies - and the Bonus Features are important too!

In 1988, Congress passed the National Film Preservation Act and with it the National Film Preservation Board, under the auspices of the Librarian of Congress (James Billington). In 1989 the NFPB chose the first group of 25 films for its Registry and, to date 550 films of all types and periods, have been chosen to be preserved in their original form. This includes well-known films like "The Godfather", and "The Wizard of Oz" to pieces of home movies.

The feature film on this DVD was produced in 2011 and presented at Sundance - as well as an airing on PBS. It is essential viewing by anyone who watches movies. While there is significant discussion of why films deteriorate or why a film is "culturally important", this documentary is crafted so it is entertaining as well. Film critics and authors on film are interviewed, but so are celebrities like directors John Waters (hilarious) and Rob Reiner. The real "star" is someone you've never heard of: Library of Congress archivist George Willeman. Looking, and sounding, like a cross between Michael Moore and Roger Ebert, Willeman is the guy in charge of the rare Nitrate film vaults at the modern Packard Campus that the Library of Congress opened in Culpepper, VA about six years ago. He will make you smile and really appreciate film history.

The film has an original score by composer Peter Golub, whose soundtrack could easily stand on its own on a CD.

One of the parts I enjoyed most is the one on censorship, where it shows how recently found footage was able to restore the 1930s film "Baby Face" which had been destroyed by heavy censorship editing. And you'll discover new films to seek out and watch. (Keep a pen and pad handy to just titles down as you watch it.)

If you saw this film on PBS, you still need to see this DVD with its bonus features. The 27 minute short "Lost Forever" (with more great comments from Willeman) is almost as good as the 88-minute Feature. Next comes a seven-minute featurette on the score with Golub, four alternate or deleted segments (approx nine minutes), and eight minutes of additional interviews with Waters (just great!), director Christopher Nolan and actor Tim Roth. The last "bonus" is five minutes of the panel at Sundance. Done with a jerky hand-held camera this is the only extra that disappointed.

This is also a DVD you can watch a second time as you'll discover things you missed the first time.

All the above features are on both the Standard DVD (which I viewed) as well as the BluRay

Steve Ramm
"Anything Phonographic"
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing shadows indeed Dec 26 2012
By E. Hernandez - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
THESE AMAZING SHADOWS (2011, 55 minutes for PBS) is one of those immortal and absolutely necessary little documentaries that doesn't exactly cover our history or views - but it covers a most vital way in which we express those things.

This documentary, while revealing very little, explains America's National Film Registry, which I believe is in the Library of Congress. Each year, only 25 motion pictures are chose to the Registry, picked by the National Film Preservation Board but the documentary tells us may be nominated by almost anyone.

We are shown snippets of films in the registry, from what you might expect - The Wizard of Oz, It's A Wonderful Life, The Godfather - to totally unknown indie films and old documentaries. One that impressed me was a 1916 silent film by the great but forgotten Lois Weber, one of many important female writer/directors before women got booted out of the filmmaking industry. Weber's contribution in the Registry is WHERE ARE MY CHILDREN?, included in the set Treasures III: Social Issues in American Film, 1900-1934, an emotional account of abortion and all the concomitant issues.

This work also addresses the restoration of film by utilizing THE GODFATHER as a prime example. The way it was shot was done so that no one could change its light or color values. It is a dark, foreboding film that was guaranteed to remain so. However, when the negative was examined "it was in tatters" and that had to be corrected post-haste. Though too little of that sort of information is provided here, it is still a good shorthand example of the need to preserve/restore film. As one important industry worker said, it is most essential that in such work, a film be restored to the way it was originally and nothing more.

Some might argue that narrow view. Whatever one thinks, documentaries like these are vital, vital, vital. As one filmmaker states, a documentary is absolutely unique because there is one and only one time it can be made. It freezes time for all time - and I wonder, if anyone is left at all and if they can view films, what they might make of this film that describes our present efforts to save, preserve and present films as long as humanly possible.

Of course, if the National Film Registry has done its job, people will have all these treasures for as long as there are people to treasure them. As a fan, but also as a historian, connoisseur, collector and critic, my feeling about film has always been anchored by one personal standard: I think a film ought to show us something we would otherwise never see or have any hope of seeing.

Thanks to this documentary, the viewer gets to learn how the NFR is saving, preserving and appreciating film for us and for our descendants. The small humble films, the few home-movie-type things and short documentaries in the NFR will tell the stories to future generations who know next to nothing about their subjects. Here you will get to know the opinions of everyone from Zooey Deschanel to Rob Reiner, and some surprise interviewees such as Stephen Peck, Gregory Peck's son.

Now HERE is some great stuff I could otherwise never have seen.

In spite of the immense library of such work PBS has given us over the decades, this documentary in particular belongs in all schools and colleges, in every walk of life where people are educated.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Well done- honors film well. Feb. 6 2013
By Prof and spouse. - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Blu-ray|Verified Purchase
I require viewing this in a couple of film classes. It presents an important aspect of the history of film and why it is important to us as more than mere entertainment. Highly recommended for those who are interested in knowing about the history of film - not exhaustive by any means but a good first step. The issues of storage, restoration, and so forth are well presented.
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