Lost and Found – “Upstream” (1927)

Nancy Nash and Grant Withers

John Ford film, long thought lost, returns to the screen!

The Academy presents the U.S. re-premiere of a film directed by John Ford that was long believed lost.

“Upstream” (1927) is one of 75 American films recently discovered in the New Zealand Film Archive. These “lost” films will be preserved over the next several years at five major American archives, including the Academy’s, in collaboration with the National Film Preservation Foundation. “Upstream” is the first of the features to be preserved and screened for the public. The preservation work was carried out by Park Road Post Production in Wellington, New Zealand, under the direction of Twentieth Century Fox and the Academy Film Archive.

“Upstream” focuses on a love triangle involving an egotistical actor and a young couple who partner in a vaudeville knife-throwing act. The film is from an interesting chapter in the career of Ford, as he admitted that during this time he was strongly influenced by the work of German director F.W. Murnau, who had immigrated to the United States to make films for the Fox studios, enabling Ford to study his working methods first hand.

The evening’s presentation included live musical accompaniment by Michael Mortilla, as well as an advertising trailer which contains the only known surviving footage of John Ford’s 1929 film “Strong Boy,” and a Vitagraph film shot on the Santa Monica beach and in the mountains, “The Better Man” (1912).

“Lost and Found” is a periodic screening series designed to showcase archival prints of films that have been recently rediscovered, or restored from new materials that improve the presentational quality of their previously available versions. In some instances the films may be incomplete or damaged, making access unlikely through more traditional venues. The series serves not only as an opportunity for rare access to a “lost” film, but also calls attention to some of film preservation’s more notable success stories.

Event Information

Wednesday, September 1, at 7:30 p.m.
Samuel Goldwyn Theater
8949 Wilshire Blvd.
Beverly Hills, CA 90211
Frank Stark

Chief executive of the New Zealand Film Archive Frank Stark.

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