If the Rising’s rebels had taken Trinity, might it today be called Pearse College Dublin? – The Irish Times

If the Rising’s rebels had taken Trinity, might it today be called Pearse College Dublin? – The Irish Times

During Easter Week 1916 Michael Taaffe, a medical student, was part of the small garrison that defended Trinity College from insurgent attack. Half a century later he wrote down his memories of those turbulent days. “I had a nightmare vision of a last stand at the Library windows, ammunition spent, while a horde of rebels with fixed bayonets swept in line across the Fellows’ Garden.” This extract from Defending Trinity College Dublin explores how close Taaffe’s nightmare came to being realised.

What would have happened had Michael Mallin shouted “left wheel! CHARGE!” once his Citizen Army column reached Trinity’s Front Gate at midday on Easter Monday? Or had members of Eamon de Valera’s 3rd Battalion rushed past the sole porter at the Lincoln Place Gate, or dropped down silently from the Loop Line bridge behind the Officer Training Corps (OTC) headquarters, unseen and unheard by its corporal’s guard? Or simply entered Trinity’s grounds by climbing over the northern wall, as multitudes of students were wont to do when patronising the Queen’s Theatre in Great Brunswick Street? Or taken advantage of the railings on the southern side of the college, described by an acute observer as “by no means unscalable”?

Who would have stopped them? A handful of porters armed with pikes? Four young cadets wielding empty rifles? Once the shooting began on April 24th, the military and police fled Dublin’s streets for their respective barracks, the latter emerging occasionally to collar an unsuspecting looter.

O’Connell Street during the 1916 Rising, with Trinity College in the background. Photograph: The Board of Trinity College Dublin.
O’Connell Street during the 1916 Rising, with Trinity College in the background. Photograph: The Board of Trinity College Dublin.
A portion of a Sinn Féin bullet which penetrated the roof of the Trinity College library during the rebellion of 1916. Photograph: Cyril Byrne
A portion of a Sinn Féin bullet which penetrated the roof of the Trinity College library during the rebellion of 1916. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Trinity was largely empty, its students all on vacation, so the first armed group to arrive in force would almost certainly have won the day, especially after taking control of the OTC armoury. Even after the alarm was raised, the gates were secured, and armed sentries posted, Trinity was still not safe from invasion. Merely waving an academic gown at the porter was sufficient to secure admission to College on Tuesday, while those students who entreated Ernie O’Malley to help to defend the university from “those damn Sinn Feiners” on Monday afternoon did not know their man – before the week was out O’Malley would be sniping at the Crown forces. Either he or one of Walter Starkie’s “Sinn Fein friends” in College could have expedited a rebel incursion, providing the “kindly traitor” whose possible existence so concerned Elsie Mahaffy, the Provost’s elder daughter.

For that matter, the rebels needed only to capture John Joly, Trinity’s well-known professor of geology, on one of his incautious spying expeditions to their strongholds to have secured a key to one of the several side gates to College. Had the rebels gained entrance to Trinity, its defenders had few illusions about the likely outcome. According to Gerald Fitzgibbon, “they could have had [the college] for the asking up to two o’clock on Monday, and at very small cost up to two o’clock on Tuesday.” Lieut James Glen agreed that “it is very doubtful whether with the small number of defenders a really determined attack in the dark could have been successfully resisted”.

Once secure in occupation, the rebels would have done just as Trinity’s defenders did: relocate the contents of the armoury, fortify the front quadrangles, and prepare for a siege. As in the other rebel strongholds, this would have involved a considerable amount of damage: smashing windows, boring holes in internal walls, using books to construct barricades, throwing furniture downstairs to block access. However, this destruction would have paled in comparison to the likely effect of the British response. Chief secretary Augustine Birrell had privately warned prime minister Asquith that artillery would be necessary in order to reduce Crown casualties when retaking the city. On his arrival in Dublin, Gen Maxwell made this threat public, declaring in his first proclamation as military governor that “if necessary, I shall not hesitate to destroy all buildings within any area occupied by rebels”.

The diary of Elsie Mahaffy from the Trinity College exhibition on the Rising. Photograph: Cyril Byrne
The diary of Elsie Mahaffy from the Trinity College exhibition on the Rising. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Trinity’s defenders applauded the use of artillery against rebel strongholds instead of the “expensive tactics” of a frontal assault by troops. They agreed that only intensive shelling would drive the rebels from their fortresses. Joly rejoiced as Liberty Hall “received its quietus” but would surely have changed his tune had the heavy guns been turned instead on his beloved university. He correctly foresaw that “once captured, nothing but the wholesale destruction of buildings, containing the most precious heirlooms of the ancient university, would suffice to dislodge the enemy”.

As Michael Taaffe’s nightmare scenario suggests, Trinity’s library was a symbol to generations of graduates. The destruction of “the College’s greatest asset” would have been a tragedy on the scale of the loss of the University of Louvain’s library in August 1914. No one would have intended this outcome, but war is no respecter of culture. Trinity meant little to soldiers like Lowe and Maxwell, and as the historian Charles Townshend notes, “an alien kind of militarism was in the ascendant” during the Rising.

Joly conceded that rebel occupation would have consigned Trinity to “the same fate which befell every public building into which the Sinn Feiners entered”. Fire would probably accomplish what shelling did not. By the end of Easter Week at least some of the university’s fine buildings would have resembled the shell-like remnants of the recently refurbished General Post Office.

What of the wider strategic implications? Rebel occupation of Trinity would not only have deprived the Crown of a vital troop concentration centre, but also prevented the division of rebel forces planned by Brig-Gen Lowe. British troops would no longer be able to simply bypass and ignore rebel strongholds like Boland’s Bakery and Jacob’s Biscuit Factory. Attacks on these places would have driven the surviving rebels towards the centre of the city, accentuating a natural centripetal tendency as the British cordon tightened.

For the beleaguered rebel outposts Trinity would then have become a place of refuge; even the headquarters garrison at the GPO and Ned Daly’s 1st Battalion at the Four Courts might have made it across the Liffey, especially with the rebel snipers commanding Carlisle (later O’Connell) Bridge from the heights of Trinity. Given Maxwell’s refusal to accept anything less than unconditional surrender and the rebel leaders’ desire for as spectacular a “blood sacrifice” as possible, the stage was set for a fight to the death, possibly across the Fellows’ Garden as Taaffe had envisaged. There would be no civilians dying in tragic circumstances to dishearten Patrick Pearse, only a straight-out showdown between the armed forces of the Crown and what Thomas MacDonagh called the “zealous martyrs” of the new Irish Republic.

Rory Sweetman, author of Defending Trinity College Dublin, Easter 1916: Anzacs and the Rising
Rory Sweetman, author of Defending Trinity College Dublin, Easter 1916: Anzacs and the Rising

Trinity would have become first a funeral pyre for the rebels, and then – rapidly – a shrine to their memory. There would be fewer insurgent leaders for Gen Maxwell to execute, but the shock of their grisly deaths would contribute to shifting public opinion in their favour. With the rebels’ ashes mixed in the rubble of the university’s once splendid buildings who would then be in a hurry to rebuild the College of the Holy and Undivided Trinty? It took thirteen years to reconstruct the GPO, and over a decade to restore the Custom House; within six years of the Rising most of Ireland was under new management, a Free State created in the image of the dead rebel leaders.

During the Rising a rumour spread in the suburbs that, should the rebels succeed in their audacious enterprise, Patrick Pearse was to be Trinity’s new Provost. Elsie Mahaffy scoffed at the idea, but Pearse ended Easter Week as Commandant-in-Chief of the Army of the Republic and President of the Provisional Government, and within a few years the railway station and main street on Trinity’s northern boundary would both bear his name (over the energetic protests of Trinity’s board). Is it entirely fanciful to suggest that any new educational establishment erected on the former site of Trinity might have been called “Pearse College Dublin”?
An edited extract from Defending Trinity College Dublin, Easter 1916: Anzacs and the Rising (Four Courts Press). It will be launched at 5.30pm on Wednesday September 11th, in the top floor suite of The Long Room Hub, Trinity College Dublin


Melville Academy Museum in Jaffrey turns 100 Sunday – Monadnock Ledger Transcript

Melville Academy Museum in Jaffrey turns 100 Sunday – Monadnock Ledger Transcript

The 100-year-old Melville Academy Museum came into being when a piano was donated to a new group dedicated to improving Jaffrey Center.

The Jaffrey Village Improvement Society, now the Jaffrey Center VIS, was started in 1906. In 1919, the Wesselhoff family, who lived in the first house on Gilsum Road, gave a piano to the Jaffrey Village Improvement Society, said Ken Campbell, a member of the Society and a former curator of the museum. His wife Suze Campbell is the current curator. The only problem was that the Society didn’t have anywhere to put the piano.

“The reason that they thought of taking over the Melville building is that they had nowhere to put the Wesselhoff piano,” Campbell said. “So they said ‘Well what about the Mellville Academy, it’s just sitting there.’ So they asked the town, so the town said ‘Well if you want to restore it you can take it over,’ And so they did. In 1920, a year later, they established the museum.”

Sunday marks the day the party held in the new museum on Aug. 4 to celebrate its opening.

“And it ties into the movement of village improvement societies,” Suze Campbell said. “The area was really dilapidated and a group of people got together and wanted to make the place look nice again and it was the village improvement society movement that inspired them I’m sure. … The museum happened to be the project that the Jaffrey Village Improvement Society took on. … Each village improvement society started had a different thing that they focused on.”

After a major restoration of the building, in 1961 Jaffrey voters agreed to turn over the deed for the building to the JCVIS for $1.

The academy was built 60 years after the town was founded in 1773.

“It originally was the first high school in Jaffrey, a private academy,” said Ken Campbell said. “It was named for Jonas Melville who was the principal donor and driver, I think, of the construction. He also funded a building of the First Church of Jaffrey in 1831 and the United Church in Jaffrey in 1857.”

“It was very coed. It started in 1833 and in 1835 they packed 87 boys and 87 girls into these two floors. Upstairs you’ll see the original desks and apparently they used to seat three to a desk, which is mind-blowing,” Ken Campbell said.

Jonas Melville went “bust” in “the crash of 1857,” Ken Campbell said. Without his financial support, the academy closed. Six years later the town adopted it as the number 11 schoolhouse.

“They had an interesting arraignment. They would have an elementary school in Jaffrey Center one year and then in the school building on School Street downtown the next,” Ken Campbell said.

The mission of the museum is to preserve and communicate the history of Jaffrey, the Academy, and the Jaffrey Center Village Improvement Society.

The Melville Academy Museum, certainly tells the story of the old schoolhouse but also the old Jaffrey Center Post Office and the entrepreneurs and authors that also called Jaffrey their home.

Author Willa Cather has a prominent display that added last year, the “Willa Cather’s Spirit Lives On” exhibit. Ken Campbell said that Cather wrote that the best parts of her books were written in Jaffrey, while staying at the Shattuck Inn. Cather was known to sit in a tent in the woods, with a view of Mount Monadnock while she wrote many of her novels, including My Antonia, A Lost Lady, Death Comes for the Archbishop, and One of Ours.

The museum also has a large collection of bandboxes made by Jaffrey entrepreneur Hannah Davis, who made her bandboxes out of thinly slices wood using a machine she had invented herself.

“She would take her horse and cart and go all the way over to Lowell Mills and sell bandboxes to the mill girls,” Ken Campbell said.

These women are included in the first floor exhibits that are arranged into 14 “themed areas,” which also include 19th and early 20th-century clothing and exhibits about Amos Fortune, Rev. Laban Ainsworth and Jonas Melville and a 1922 model of the Jaffrey Meetinghouse.

Upstairs on the second floor are 28 of the original school desks.

The Campbells said they are not sure what happened to the Wesselhoff’s donated piano.

The building that sits on Thorndike Pond Road at Blackberry Lane in Jaffrey Center, the original center of the town, not only tells the town’s history but is a symbol of the dedication and devotion the town’s people have to preserving that history.

“Jaffrey was a special place and it is a special place and it will be a special place if people keep, not only preserving history and talking about it, but also in doing things to boost up the things that were here,” Suze Campbell said. “And The Park Theatre will be really a big boost. The library is doing great things – showing history up on the second floor, they’ve got all kinds of these exhibits. The Jaffrey Historical Society is really working away having programs and exploring all these things and this museum here is the compliment to all of that along with the Meetinghouse, saying we are special.”

The Melville Academy Museum is located at 39 Thorndike Pond Road and is opened during the summer months on Saturday and Sundays from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. The last day this summer will be Sunday, Sept. 1. Admission is free but donations are gratefully accepted.


Public Invited to Recreate Historic DeSoto Theatre Photo – Coosa Valley News

Public Invited to Recreate Historic DeSoto Theatre Photo – Coosa Valley News

In August of 1929, Northwest Georgians from across the region lined the sidewalks of Broad Street in droves, craning their necks in excitement to witness the grand opening of Rome Georgia’s shining jewel: the DeSoto Theatre. For most, it was the first “talkie” they would ever see.

Now it’s time to honor and recreate the thrill of that historical moment in celebration of the theatre’s 90th year. On Monday, August 5th at 5 p.m., the Historic DeSoto Theatre Foundation invites the public to gather in front of the theater at 530 Broad Street to recapture the image of the crowd waiting to enter the DeSoto to see “Gone with the Wind.”

The photo, published in a 1939 edition of the Rome News-Tribune, shows a crowd of hundreds eager to watch Vivian Leigh and Clark Gable’s swirling southern romance come to life on the silver screen. Therefore, hundreds of people are needed on August 5th to recreate history. 

“This is a free event, and we invite as many people as possible to come celebrate the legacy of the Historic DeSoto Theatre,” says Vice President of the HDTF Jim Powell. 

“The DeSoto Theatre has touched countless lives over generations, and we want to honor that,” says HDTF Board President David Clonts. “Our grandparents watched some of the first films there. Some of us remember seeing blockbuster hits such as JAWS or Star Wars on that screen, or have attended concerts. Today, many associate the DeSoto with the wonderful theatre productions that grace the stage.”

“There have been numerous great forms of visual art that have happened under the DeSoto’s roof for 90 years,” he continues. “This is a proud moment for our region, so let’s honor that as a community.” 

A Celebration to Remember

The photo recreation will be followed by a “Party Like it’s 1929” reception and celebration ceremony, including some words by Historic DeSoto Theatre Foundation and City of Rome officials. Locals may dress in period attire, though it’s not required, and all are welcome. 

In addition, a sneak peek of the locally shot independent film, “Tate’s Hell,” written and directed by Rome International Film Festival Executive Director Seth Ingram, will be screened to celebrate the theatre’s film heritage. 

Earlier in the day, historical tours of the theatre will be given by local historian Selena Tilly at 11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. Tilly has not only extensively researched the history of area theaters, but has also been instrumental in the DeSoto’s recent renovations. 

More renovations are needed to restore the historical landmark that put Rome on the map many years ago.

“The purpose of the Historic DeSoto Theatre Foundation is to protect the integrity of the building and restore the theater to its original glory because it’s an important part of our local heritage,” says Powell. “We’re getting there, but there is still much to be done.”

Monday’s historical tours are $10 per person, with the proceeds going toward the theater’s restoration efforts. People may call Jim Powell at 706-346-3276 to reserve a tour. 

Also, on Saturday, August 3rd at 1 p.m., the HDTF and ts resident theatre company for over 35 years, the Rome Little Theatre, will host a ‘Happy Birthday Open House.’ There will be cake and ice cream, tours of the theatre, and a 3 p.m. presentation of the film “Mamma Mia!” to promote the RLT’s next show lineup of the musical. 

About the Historic DeSoto Theatre 

When the DeSoto Theatre opening in August 1929, it was one of the seven largest movie venues in Georgia, and the first location in the South designed and built specifically as a “talkie” for sound films. 

According to the DeSoto Theatre’s page on the Georgia’s Rome website, O. C. Lam, the owner of Lam Amusement Company, laid plans to construct the theatre in early 1928. He purchased a section of prime real estate on the main street of downtown Rome for $50,000, with the intention of building a luxurious movie palace modeled after New York’s Roxy. 

The building’s exterior and Georgian interior stylishly housed a number of recent movie palace innovations including a Vitaphone sound system. The theatre was heated and cooled by an innovative blower-fan air conditioning and tubular boiler system. Additionally, it was equipped with state of the art fire safety equipment. Fitted with many exits, the DeSoto could be emptied in two minutes.

Lam named his new movie palace for Hernando DeSoto, who was thought by many historians to have passed through the area that is now Rome in 1540. The DeSoto was completed at a cost of $110,000. When it opened, the theatre seated more than 1,000 patrons. The DeSoto was an instant success and one of the main sources of entertainment for Northwest Georgia and Northeast Alabama for the next 50 years.

In 1982, The DeSoto closed as a movie theatre, but soon reopened as the venue for the Rome-based community theater group, the Rome Little Theatre. Now seating 500 patrons, the Rome Little Theatre staged scores of plays in the 23 years it owned the DeSoto. 

In 2005, RLT deeded the facility to the Historic DeSoto Theatre Foundation in order to preserve and protect the building. RLT performances continue to take place at the DeSoto today, as well as many events to benefit the HDTF throughout the year. The DeSoto is also one of the venues for the annual Rome International Film Festival, which celebrates its 16th year November 7th-10th. 

For more information, visit https://www.thedesoto.org/

Public Invited to Recreate Historic DeSoto Theatre Photo

Lincoln Theatre undergoes restoration in Bessemer. Learn about the revitalization of this “arts desert” and the women behind it. (PHOTOS) – Bham Now

Lincoln Theatre undergoes restoration in Bessemer. Learn about the revitalization of this “arts desert” and the women behind it. (PHOTOS) – Bham Now


Mary Holland (left) and Glenny Brock (right). Photo by Richard Rayburn

Downtown Bessemer’s Lincoln Theatre is getting a facelift! Being restored to help revitalize the arts within the community, the Lincoln Theatre is a historic African American theatre in downtown Bessemer. Keep reading for more info on the project and the two inspiring women behind it—Glenny Brock and Mary Holland.

Brock is a project consultant and currently works with the Alabama and Lyrics theatres. Holland is the mother of actor Andre Holland and one of the founding member’s of the Holland Project.

Established in 2018 and spearheaded by Andre Holland, the Holland Project will own and operate the Lincoln Theatre when its restoration is complete. Holland’s goal is to provide access to the arts for Bessemer and surrounding areas.

The History

Photo courtesy of the Birmingham Public Library archives

The Lincoln Theatre was built in 1948 as an African American movie theatre and closed in the 1970s. Many historic theatres, including the Lincoln, have been used for other purposes since their closing, or even completely demolished.

Holland has many memories of visiting the theatre when she was young, stating that at the time, it was considered to be the “African American entertainment district” in downtown Bessemer.

The original film reels. Photo by @shivedesign on Instagram

Brock and Holland hope to restore and revitalize as much of the original structure as possible while also creating a modern community space. The original marquee is still intact and will remain on the building to signify its history.

Big Plans

The seats. Photo by Donna Ware Photography

Brock and Holland hope the theatre will be completed by the end of 2020/2021. In June of this year, they received a $21,000 design grant from the Alabama State Council on the Arts. This grant will be used for signage and the marquee in order to make it more visible to the community. The Lincoln also has a commitment for a historic facade grant of $100,000 from the city of Bessemer.

The women described Bessemer as an “arts desert.” They want to allow everyone in the Bessemer area, especially children, to have access to the arts and entertainment.

“There is not much access to the arts…I want to expose all kids to a wide range of activities. Children should be exposed to the arts without having to travel outside of their city.”

Mary Holland

Volunteer cleanup day. Photo via @bamalincoln on Instagram

The Lincoln has also hosted its first volunteer clean up day in July. People from the Bessemer Historic Society, community members, friends and relatives came out to help.

Working at Forge

The sleek design at Forge creates a modern space in which to work. Photo by Lauren Bedford for Bham Now

Although the hands-on work gets done at the theatre, Brock and Holland say that they enjoy working at Forge for all of their paperwork, applications, meetings and more.

Bham Now: Why do you like working at Forge?

Holland: The thing I like most about working at Forge is the atmosphere and the energy that is generated by everyone there. I feel that I’m surrounded by a diverse group of people who are there to bring about positive change for our community.  It’s contagious and makes me want to do more!

Brock: That grant that we won, we wrote the application at Forge. In the middle of the night. Then we did a second Lincoln grant, quite a lot. Then we met with Sidewalk here. We got a lot done here. It’s a great place to come and get good work done.

Want to follow the renovation process? Follow @bamalincoln on Instagram to stay updated!

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“Out of the Blue”: Kickstarter to Restore Dennis Hopper’s Cult Classic in 4K – Bleeding Cool News

“Out of the Blue”: Kickstarter to Restore Dennis Hopper’s Cult Classic in 4K – Bleeding Cool News

Discovery Productions has launched a Kickstarter campaign to restore Dennis Hopper’s Out of the Blue to 4K for its 40th anniversary.

“Out of the Blue”: Kickstarter to Restore Dennis Hopper’s Cult Classic in 4K

“Out of the Blue”: Kickstarter to Restore Dennis Hopper’s Cult Classic in 4K

Dennis Hopper‘s Out of the Blue is a movie from my teenage years. I used to see it in heavy rotation at the Scala Cinema in London back in the 1980s. The Scala, now long gone, was in a slightly seedy part of Kings Cross that regularly ran a lot of cult movies. Sam Raimi’s Evil Dead, Pier Paolo Pasolini’s Salo, Russ Meyer’s Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!, Dario Argento’s baroque slasher flicks and many other movies cemented their cult status from being shown at the Scala.

Out of the Blue has a greater reputation in the UK and Europe than it does in the US. In the UK, it was considered one of the seminal Punk movies. It was even shown on BBC’s Film Club with Alex Cox providing an introduction.

The movie stars Linda Manz as a troubled teenager who seeks solace in Elvis Pressley and Punk Rock music from her chaotic family life. Her home life with her ex-con trucker dad (played by Hopper) and her highly-strung mother disintegrates in a dark, downbeat spiral.

The Chequered History of “Out of the Blue”

“Out of the Blue”: Kickstarter to Restore Dennis Hopper’s Cult Classic in 4K

“Out of the Blue”: Kickstarter to Restore Dennis Hopper’s Cult Classic in 4K

Discovery Pictures released a detail account of how the movie came to be. Dennis Hopper was initially cast as an actor for a Canadian tax shelter- funded movie in 1979.  After two weeks, the director was fired and Hopper took over as director with full control. He rewrote the entire screenplay over the weekend and started shooting on Monday.

Hopper turned what was meant to be an after school special TV movie into a bleak, nihilistic drama that lost its certification as a Canadian movie and set producers and financiers at odds.  When the movie premiered in the Cannes Film Festival in 1980 as an Official Selection, it was the only movie ever to screen without a country’s flag flying over the Palais or national anthem playing on the red carpet.

Despite positive reviews and praise for Linda Manz and Hopper’s performances, “Out of the Blue” remained unreleased in the United States.

Then John Alan Simon rescued it from the shelf in 1982. He and Hopper took it on the road and did guerrilla distribution city by city long before it was ‘a thing’.  Jack Nicholson called the film a “masterpiece.”

“Out of the Blue”: Kickstarter to Restore Dennis Hopper’s Cult Classic in 4K

“Out of the Blue”: Kickstarter to Restore Dennis Hopper’s Cult Classic in 4K

‘”Out of the Blue” played in art house cinemas across the U.S. including a 17 weeks record-breaking run at the Coolidge Corner Cinema in Boston and a NYC and Los Angeles theatrical release that Dennis credited with re-launching his career as a director, which had stalled for ten years after his follow-up of “Easy Rider” with the divisive “The Last Movie.” Sean Penn hired Hopper to direct ‘Colors’ after seeing “Out of the Blue.’

“Out of the Blue” reflects Hopper’s nonconforming and uncompromising personality as auteur and artist, with a raw and brutal take on the 80s, as well a photojournalist eye on the punk rock movement.

A Cult Reputation

Hopper said, “In many ways, “Out of the Blue” may be my best film; people who hate it have a real problem… It’s about the society of North America; the family unit is falling apart. People who say all this doesn’t exist in this country, where have they been?”

“Out of the Blue”: Kickstarter to Restore Dennis Hopper’s Cult Classic in 4K

“Out of the Blue”: Kickstarter to Restore Dennis Hopper’s Cult Classic in 4K

Some critics see Out of the Blue as a spiritual sequel (and cautionary counterpoint) to Hopper’s own Easy Rider. It chronicles the idealism of the sixties decline into the decadence of the 1980’s. Time Out London raved about its depiction of the era’s punk rock scene: “If ever there was a movie about Sex and Drugs and Rock ‘n’ Roll, this is it. Extraordinary.”

Today, celebrity fans of “Out of the Blue” include Jack Nicholson, Natasha Lyonne and Chlöe Sevigny, Warren Beatty, Ethan Hawke and Richard LinklaterNeil Young contributed the title theme song that inspired the movie to the UK band Primal Scream, who incorporated Linda Manz’s famous opening ham radio dialogue into their song “Kill all Hippies”.

When ‘Out of the Blue’ screened at The Metrograph in 2018, The New York Times said: “‘Out of the Blue’ makes haunting use of Neil Young tracks and is regarded by some as a neglected great film of the 1980s.”

The Current State of the Movie

In 2008, Discovery Productions completed a 35 mm restoration of the film’s negative and struck two new 35mm prints, funded with support from Cinemateque Francaise and Thomson Film & TV Heritage Fund.  Those are the only two prints of the movie in existence. One is held by Discovery and the other given to the Cinemateque. That print was used for the premiere event in their month-long Dennis Hopper retrospective in 2008. Dennis Hopper attended the premiere less than two years before his death in 2010.

“Out of the Blue”: Kickstarter to Restore Dennis Hopper’s Cult Classic in 4K

“Out of the Blue”: Kickstarter to Restore Dennis Hopper’s Cult Classic in 4K

Discovery Productions, Inc. (John Alan Simon and Elizabeth Karr) are now undertaking the 4K digital restoration from the original negative. ‘Out Of The Blue’ exists only as a 35mm print and last century standard-def masters. Its audience has been limited to “event” screenings like the Brooklyn Academy of Music, Lincoln Center Film Society, British Film Institute, Cinemateque Francaise, Anthology Film Archives, Danish Film Institute, Eastman House and rare bookings at The Roxie, Metrograph and other art house and indie cinemas.

The Need for Digital Restoration

An official high-def quality copy of the movie does not exist digitally. It’s not on Blu-Ray, and the DVD release it saw in 1999 is now long out of print.

“Out of the Blue”: Kickstarter to Restore Dennis Hopper’s Cult Classic in 4K

“Out of the Blue”: Kickstarter to Restore Dennis Hopper’s Cult Classic in 4K

Earlier this year, the U.S. 35mm film print lost a few frames in a screening mishap.  The 10-year-old print will eventually wear out, tear, get further damages, even lost. As Simon explained, “Elizabeth and I would like to retire the American 35mm print while still in pretty good shape. Donate it to an archive for posterity.”

Digital projection has almost entirely taken over in the theatre business.  Technicolor, where the 35 mm negative was restored, left the “film” business altogether.

After research and advice from restoration experts, Discovery Productions decided to partner with Roundabout Entertainment, based in Burbank.  A Lasergraphics Director Film Scanner is being used for the 4K restoration from the original 35mm negative materials.

The KICKSTARTER campaign launches July 30 thru August 23 to support the restoration finishing funds and re-release effort.  Amongst the ‘rewards’ are vintage posters from the original theatrical release, signed by the now-retired from show-biz Linda Manz.

Plans for Re-Release

The restored “Out of The Blue” will have its world premiere at the 76th Venice Film Festival in September.

“Out of the Blue”: Kickstarter to Restore Dennis Hopper’s Cult Classic in 4K

“Out of the Blue”: Kickstarter to Restore Dennis Hopper’s Cult Classic in 4K

The movie will open in the US in early 2020 in New York, Los Angeles and selected cities. Then it will be released on streaming and VOD as well as a Blu-Ray and DVD release. 2020 will mark the 40th anniversary of the movie’s original premiere in Cannes.

John Alan Simon is also the writer and director of Radio Free Albemuth, the movie adaptation of Philip K. Dick’s dystopian antifascist novel. Simon credits Hopper with encouraging him to become a filmmaker. Restoring Out of the Blue is Simon’s way of repaying Hopper.

Alienation, addiction,” Simon said. “And the erosion of the American family depicted in “Out of the Blue” are current crises society faces today. Hopper’s treatment of these underdogs and outsiders is both empathetic and raw. As director and performer, Dennis Hopper’s needs to be remembered and studied by many generations of film lovers and filmmakers to come.”

“It’s incredibly important to us that “Out Of The Blue” be preserved for future audiences to experience its emotional impact and artistry.”

You can support the restoration Out of the Blue with tier benefits like DVDs and Blu-Rays at the movie’s Kickstarter page.

(Last Updated July 31, 2019 12:48 pm )

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