Last year Dartmouth College Library was awarded a grant from the National Film Preservation Foundation to preserve and make accessible an instructional film from 1961, “The Orozco Mural Quetzalcoatl”. The film has a special relationship to Dartmouth in that it tells the myth of Quetzalcoatl as depicted in “The Epic of American Civilization” frescos painted by José Clemente Orozco in Baker Library. The film was written, produced, and directed by Robert Canton, a Dartmouth graduate from the Class of 1958.
Colorlab is conserving the film and I expect the project to be completed by the end of the summer. Once it is back on campus, a public viewing will be offered. Watch public postings around campus for details.
Colorlab shared some before and after stills of the film conservation and I must say the change in image quality is remarkable. I was unable to locate the original negative reel so Colorlab was working off of three print copies that the Library owned. Working from the best copy they digitized the film, which had faded to magenta, and corrected the color as much as possible back to the original. A brochure, “Orozco at Dartmouth," which was made possible by the Manton Foundation, provided the technicians with color photos of the murals that they could use as their guide.
Here are two after and before images of the film.
Written by Barb Sagraves