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23 Oct, 2010 13:36

Russia presents US with 10 restored American silent films

Russian government has presented the Library of Congress with digital copies of ten American silent films that had been thought to be lost forever, but were found in Gosfilmofond, the Russian state film archive.

The copies of the films, carefully restored by Russian masters, were handed over to the head of the Library of Congress, James Billington, on Thursday. The solemn ceremony of transfer enjoyed the presence of the head of Presidential Affairs Department, Vladimir Kozhin, the general director of Gosfilmofond, Nikolay Borodachev, and the general director of the Boris Yeltsin Presidential Library, Aleksandr Vershinin.

Specialists at the Library of Congress revealed that over 80 per cent of American "silent era" movies that were created between 1890s and early 1930s no longer exist in the country. Over 20 years some of the films in international archives.

The ten transferred films were on loan to the Soviet Union in the 1920s. Some tapes still have Russian subtitles. However, Vladimir Kozhin believes these works are still of significant cultural value and "will cause great interest in America". The list of digitalized tapes includes “The Arab” (1915), an adventure film by Cecil B. DeMille; "The Valley of the Giants" (1919) directed by James Cruze; “The Call of the Canyon” (1923), a Western directed by Victor Fleming; “Circus Days” (1923) directed by Edward F. Cline and others.

Billington, who, incidentally, is one of the leading American experts in Russian culture and history, thanked the Russian experts for their rescue of the precious films and for returning them to the US. He named the restored and digitized films "a magnificent gift" and "a remarkable sign of friendship between two countries".

Kozhin also thanked representatives of Library of Congress for their contribution to the creation of Boris Yeltsin Presidential Library in St. Petersburg.