Night of the Living Dead. 1968. USA. Directed by George A. Romero. Screenplay by Romero and John A. Russo. With Duane Jones, Judith O’Dea, Marilyn Eastman, Karl Hardman. 95 min.
Perhaps the most influential horror film of the last 50 years, George A. Romero’s classic is also one of the most abused—subjected, because of its public-domain status, to well over 100 home video releases of abysmal quality. On November 5, Romero introduces the world premiere of a new 4K digital restoration by MoMA and The Film Foundation. Drawing upon the original camera negative, which was carefully guarded over the years by the members of Image Ten, the Pittsburgh partnership that originally produced it, MoMA and The Film Foundation have returned the film to its full, original glory. From the barrier-breaking casting of an African American leading man (Duane Jones) to its reinvention of the zombie as a metaphorical figure of seemingly infinite richness, this is one American independent movie that has left a profound mark on our culture. Funding provided by the George Lucas Family Foundation and the Celeste Bartos Fund for Film Preservation. The restoration was overseen by George A. Romero and Image Ten—most especially, Gary Streiner, Russ Streiner, and John Russo—with restoration work done by Cineric Inc, NYC, and Audio Mechanics, Burbank, CA. DCP.