Reel Women in Film: Shoes
Texas Spirit Theater | NR | 60 min. | Drama
January 25, 2019 7:00pm - 8:30pm
Join the Bullock Museum for a screening and conversation about Lois Weber's silent film Shoes.
In this film, working-girl Eve Meyer is unable to afford a new pair of shoes on her meager wages. After several frustrating weeks of trying to scrimp and save, Eve is reduced to a difficult decision for the sake of the shoes.
Lois Weber was the first woman to direct an American feature and was seen as one of the top directors on the Universal lot in the earliest days of cinema. Her silent film, Shoes (1916), now over one hundred years old, marked several big screen innovations: picturing social issues like women's equality and freedom, and experimenting with on-location shooting. Weber was a visionary filmmaker whose work is still relevant a century later.
This screening is part of Reel Women in Film, a film series that highlights the filmic works of women in front of or behind the camera. In its first season, all films focus on influencers and visionaries within the field of filmmaking. This evening's program includes a film screening and Q&A with Associate Professor, Dr. Donna Kornhaber. Come early at 6pm for a welcome reception.
Please note: Entrance for this screening will be at the IMAX Lobby doors.
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Shoes was added to the National Film Registry in 2014.
The photochemical restoration of Lois Weber’s Shoes took three years and is based on three different source materials: two tinted nitrate copies from the collection of EYE Film Institute Netherlands (1150m and 85m) and one safety print from a shortened sound version called Unshod Maiden from 1932 (280m), held by the Library of Congress. The nitrate prints are affected by bacteria resulting in many white spots all over the images and severe nitrate deterioration. In the short sound version, the left edge of the image is cut off by the soundtrack. However, this print contains some short but important scenes, especially in the crucial last reel of the print. These are now reinserted to the film in order to reconstruct the most complete version. The edited material was then scanned for digital restoration. The images were stabilized and most of the bacterial spots are removed to allow a calmer viewing experience. The only available intertitles were the ones in the Dutch print. These are translated back into English and digitally recreated, using the font of the Dutch titles as a reference. Finally, a black and white negative was recorded back to film, from which the new color print is struck, using the Desmet method, simulating the tints of the nitrate print. In 2016, thanks to film historian Richard Koszarksi’s lead, EYE and Milestone acquired a copy of the newly found original script and intertitles from Universal in their 1940s’ 16mm microfilm files, with thanks to Jeff Pirtle and Janice Simpson.
Once considered one of early Hollywood’s “three great minds,” alongside D.W. Griffith and Cecil B. DeMille, Lois Weber remains largely unknown today while her male peers have long been celebrated as the fathers of American cinema. Yet Weber’s work as a director, screenwriter and actress demonstrates the extraordinary role that women played in shaping American movie culture. Of all the women active in the first decades of moviemaking, Weber produced the most sustained and substantial body of work, writing and directing more than 40 features and hundreds of shorts for close to 30 years. She was the first woman admitted to the Motion Picture Directors’ Association in 1916 – as an exception to policy – and she was a member of the first Director’s Committee at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in 1927. (Shelley Stamp, author)
Dr. Donna Kornhaber is an Associate Professor in the Department of English at The University of Texas at Austin, where she teaches film. She is the author of the books Charlie Chaplin, Director and Wes Anderson and was named an Academy Film Scholar by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in 2016.
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