NFPF selects 48 social issue films


For the third in its "Treasures" series of DVD box sets, the National Film Preservation Foundation is focussing on films -- from newsreels and cartoons to documentaries and serials -- that cast a light on contentious social issues during the first decades of the 20th century.

The selection of 48 films, entitled "Treasures III: Social Issues in American Film, 1900-1934, will be released as a four-disc set by Image Entertainment on Oct. 16.

The collection includes such films as "The Godless Girl," an expose of reformatories by Cecile B. DeMille, and Lois Weber's anti-abortion drama "Where Are My Children?".

"In film's first decades, activists from every political stripe used movies to advance their agenda," Martin Scorsese, who serves on the NFPF board of directors, said. "These films are an important and fascinating glimpse of history. They changed America and still inspire today."

The collection treats such subjects as prohibition, birth control, unions, TB, atheism, the vote for women, worker safety, organized crime, loan sharking, race relations, juvenile justice, homelessness, police corruption, immigration.

The motion pictures are drawn from the preservation work of the George Eastman House, the Library of Congress, the Museum of Modern Art, the National Archives, and the UCLA Film & Television Archive.

The project is made possible through the support of the National Endowment for the Humanities and the National Film Preservation Board of the Library of Congress. Net proceeds will support further film preservation.