Founded in 1915 by the self-educated entrepreneur William Fox, the Fox Film Corporation became home to the most dazzling lineup of directorial talent in the studio era. As silent film transitioned into sound, Fox’s roster of directors included Frank Borzage, Allan Dwan, John Ford, Howard Hawks, William K. Howard, Henry King, William Cameron Menzies, F. W. Murnau, Alfred Santell, Raoul Walsh, and many others. Yet this legacy was almost lost when a 1937 vault fire at Fox’s New Jersey storage facility destroyed all of the Fox Film negatives and most of the positive prints. That any of the Fox Film inventory survives today is largely thanks to Eileen Bowser, the former head of MoMA’s Department of Film, who worked with the producer Alex Gordon to rescue the nitrate work prints and reference copies stored at the Fox studio in Los Angeles.
Following last summer’s three-week program of rarely seen Fox films, here is another selection of Fox gems from the MoMA vault, including new digital restorations of several important titles, including Frank Borzage’s 1928 masterpiece Street Angel, as well as archival prints not publicly screened in decades.
Organized by Dave Kehr, Curator, Department of Film. Special thanks to Schawn Belston, Caitlin Robertson, and Victoria Stevenson, Twentieth Century Fox.