Continuing our celebration of the Republic Pictures library, which is currently being restored and returned to wide distribution by Paramount, here are 16 more rarely seen titles, each handpicked by Martin Scorsese.
“From the ’30s through the ’50s, the different studio logos at the head of every picture carried their own associations and expectations,” said Scorsese. “And for me, the name Republic over the eagle on the mountain peak meant something special. Republic Pictures was what was known as a ‘poverty row’ studio, but what their pictures lacked in resources and prestige they made up for in inventiveness, surprise, and, in certain cases, true innovation. Among the many ‘B’ pictures produced at Republic in the studio’s heyday, there are so many titles that have been overlooked or forgotten; waiting for decades to be seen again. I’m truly excited that MoMA will be presenting these films, some in newly restored versions courtesy of Paramount Pictures and The Film Foundation. For two weeks in August, you need to go to MoMA. I can promise you that you have some discoveries in store.”
The program opens with a rare Republic A-picture, Edward Ludwig’s dreamlike South Seas romance Wake of the Red Witch (1948), with John Wayne and Gail Russell, and includes Republic’s 1953 Trucolor follow-up, Fair Wind to Java (Joseph Kane, 1953)—a Scorsese favorite starring Fred McMurray and Vera Ralston, in a 35mm restoration from The Film Foundation. Other filmmakers to be highlighted include John H. Auer (I, Jane Doe, 1948), William A. Seiter (Make Haste to Live, 1954), William Witney (The Outcast, 1954), Bernard Vorhaus (Three Faces West, 1940), Anthony Mann (Strangers in the Night, 1944), Herbert Wilcox (Laughing Anne, 1953), Allan Dwan (Surrender, 1950), and Frank Borzage (Moonrise, 1948).
Organized by Dave Kehr, Curator, Department of Film. Special thanks to Andrea Kalas and Laura Thornburg, Paramount Pictures; Margaret Bodde, Jennifer Ahn, Kristen Merola, and Rebecca Wingle, The Film Foundation; and Gina Telaroli, Sikelia Productions.