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Keepers of the Frame (1999)

An exploration of film preservation and restoration in the United States.


Mark McLaughlin




Credited cast:
Forrest J. Ackerman ... Himself
Eric Aijala Eric Aijala ... Himself
Alan Alda ... Himself
Laurence Austin Laurence Austin ... Himself - Silent Movie Theatre Owner
Stan Brakhage ... Himself
Mark Cantor Mark Cantor ... Himself
Mayme Clayton Mayme Clayton ... Herself (as Dr. Mayme Clayton)
Carla Deger Carla Deger ... Herself
Raymond Fielding Raymond Fielding ... Himself
Jean Firstenberg ... Herself (as Jean Picker Firstenberg)
David Francis David Francis ... Himself
Larry Franklin Larry Franklin ... Himself
Robert Gitt Robert Gitt ... Himself - UCLA Film Preservation Officer (as Bob Gitt)
George Hall George Hall ... Himself (as 'Professor' George Hall)
John Harvey John Harvey ... Himself - Cinerama Expert


An exploration of film preservation and restoration in the United States. We learn about nitrate film, which turns gummy before either disintegrating or burning, and which can cause nearby films to also go bad. We see "safety" film, which can also deteriorate with "vinegar syndrome." We see some of the places where films, once thought to have no lasting value, were discarded and rediscovered decades later. Soundtracks are often on film and are prone to the same problems, or for the earliest sound films, are on separate discs that often get separated from the film. Colors can fade, sometimes to the extent that the image is gone. The impressive Cinerama format has been abandoned except for some dedicated enthusiasts. Also worth preserving, but presenting their own problems, are avant-garde/experimental films and home movies. Written by Jon Reeves <jreeves@imdb.com>

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Release Date:

March 1999 (USA) See more »

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Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


Features Begone Dull Care (1949) See more »

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User Reviews

A very sad but important documentary
16 September 2006 | by HorrorweenComposerTonySee all my reviews

Much of our film heritage has been lost over the years for various reasons. Keepers of the Frame is a documentary about the valiant attempts at finding and restoration of the treasures which may slip from our history forever.

If you are a film or history buff, this is very much a must see documentary. Be warned it can make you cry. The stars and people who speak in this documentary have the full heart and passion for the restoration. The sad part is when there are no known copies to exist, not even badly decomposed copies. Many movies are simply wiped from existence due to various reasons. Some may turn up in strange places, true hidden treasures with a far more incalculable value than any mere gold or silver.

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