Cohen Media Group, now a major force in U.S. classics restoration, distribution and overseas sales, will unveil three new sales titles at Mipcom and Lyon Lumière Fest’s Classic Films Market: “Magician: the Astonishing Life and Works of Orson Welles,” “Nurse Edith Cavell” and “Steamboat Bill Jr.”
Bowing Monday, the Lumiere Festival also screens a further three recent CMG titles: “Thief of Baghdad,” “Jamaica Inn” and docu-feature “What Is Cinema?”
Newly restored, the heritage titles form part of the Cohen Film Collection: The Rohauer Library, created when Charles S. Cohen’s Cohen Media Group bought the 700-title-plus Rohauer Library in 2012 and committed to the complete digital and sometimes photochemical restoration of its contents.
Tim Lanza, the Cohen Film Collection archivist who has overseen Rohauer Library over the last two decades, will be at Lumière Festival with Liz Mackiewicz, svp, intl. distribution, Cohen Media Group.
World premiering at early September’s Telluride Festival, and helmed by Chuck Workman, “Magician’s” Welles career overview takes in his odyssey from child genius and Hollywood star to Hollywood ostracism to pioneer Euro indie producer, taking in rare archive forage – Workman’s speciality – of interviews, screen tests and international footage, Richard Linklater’s “Orson Welles and Me.” Interviewes include Steven Spielberg and Peter Bogdanovich. This new documentary premiered at the TellurideFestival and is being offered to all the buyers in time for Orson Welles’s Centenary next year, Mackiewicz said.
Helmed by Herbert Wilcox, a director on romantic omnibus feature “Forever and a Day,” another CFC title,
the anti-war “Nurse Edith Cavell” stars Anna Neagle as the British nurse attempting to save soldiers, friend and foe alike, from the horrors of battle, until her execution for treason by the occupying German High Command in 1915.
Restoration coincides with the World War I centenary. “That’s one of the reasons to restore these films: Their relevance to today,” Mackiewicz said.
Receiving a 4K restoration, “Steamboat Bill, Jr.” stars Buster Keaton as the seemingly effete son of as steamboat captain, enamored of the daughter of a rival, was his last-but-one movie as an independent, before signing on as a contract artist at MGM.
One factor driving the burgeoning classic films biz is the energy of companies to restore more and more titles.
CFC now has about 40 films on its sales slate, including new documentaries. All classic films being offered are restored, some in HD, others in 2K and 4K, Mackiewicz said from Cannes, where she is selling CFC’s titles.
Usually holding world right to the titles, CFM underscores one factor driving the classic film business: the systematic restoration and introduction to the market of pristine prints of great movies.
CFC’s first release, digitally restored in 2K from two negatives, “The Thief of Baghdad” screens in Lyon at the Lumiere Festival’s Sublime Moments of Silent Films. A quintessential Douglas Fairbanks inspired film which he also wrote, Raoul Walsh’s 1924 “The Thief of Baghdad” features lavish sets from William Cameron Menzies (“Gone With the Wind”), special effects and Fairbanks’ refinement of the American action hero: An athlete with a nice line in put-downs.
A demanding 4K restoration by CFC, the BFI, RRsat and Finishing Post Productions – the nitrate negatives had shrunk, were warped – the restored “Jamaica Inn,” Hitchcock’s last U.K. Film, world premiered at 2014’s Cannes Classics.
Picking up on the title of André Bazin’s celebrated collection of writings, a seminal influence on the Nouvelle Vague, Chuck Workman’s “What is Cinema?” uses over 100 clips and interviews with David Lynch, Mike Leigh, archival
interviews with Alfred Hitchcock to ask where cinema is and should be going next.
“The documentary shows the huge diversity of cinema,” Mackiewicz said.