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The Valley Of The Giants (1919) Repatriated

December 31st, 2010 by Anne Richardson · No Comments · 1910's, Oregon as inspiration, Oregon film old definition, Oregon location (primary), Videos

A lost Oregon film, set in an existing Oregon forest, has been found, and given back to this country by a former enemy who is now a friend.

A print of The Valley Of The Giants (1919) has been discovered in Russia, and a digitized copy of this lost film  – with Russian subtitles –now resides in the Library of Congress. Shot in Southern Oregon and Northern California, The Valley Of The Giants was one of the very first Oregon films.

Here’s the press release:

October 21, 2010

Russia Presents Library of Congress With Digital Copies of Lost U.S. Silent Films

A major gift from Russia—digitally preserved copies of 10 previously lost U.S. silent films—will help the United States reclaim its silent-film heritage.

Vladimir I. Kozhin, head of Management and Administration of the President of the Russian Federation, officially presented the films to Librarian of Congress James H. Billington in a special ceremony today in the Library’s Thomas Jefferson Building.

The 10 films constitute the first installment of an ongoing series of “lost” films produced by U.S. movie studios that will be given to the Library of Congress. The films were digitally preserved by Gosfilmofond, the Russian State film archive, and donated via the Boris Yeltsin Presidential Library.

“The Library is committed to reclaiming America’s cinematic patrimony,” said Librarian of Congress James H. Billington. “I am grateful to the dedicated staff of Gosfilmofond, the state film archive of Russia, for their efforts to save these important artifacts of U.S. film history. I am also thankful for the commitment of Prof. Alexander Vershinin and the staff of the Boris Yeltsin Presidential Library for their collaboration and cooperation in making this cultural recovery effort possible.”

The films, created for an American public, were distributed in other countries—including Russia—during the silent era, 1893-1930. Shown in Russian movie houses, the films had been given Russian-language intertitles. More….

I discovered this news when I began poking around the internet after reading about Grant McOmie’s visit to the actual Valley of the Giants, a forest of old growth redwoods in Southern Oregon.


Here is the Library Of Congress’ description of the film Paramount called “a great big outdoor picture”:

10. Valley of the Giants (Famous Players, 1919)
Director: James Cruze
Cast: Wallace Reid, Grace Darmond

Upon his return from college, a young man (Wallace Reid) learns that his father is in danger of losing the family’s beloved land to an unscrupulous lumberman. The film is highlighted with a daring scene played out on a runaway logging train.

Reid, one of the most popular film actors of the late teens and early 20s, teamed up with director James Cruze for several pictures in 1919, including this outdoor adventure. Cruze, originally trained as a stage actor, started working in films in 1911. In 1918, he turned his attention to directing, and by 1927, was the most popular and highest-salaried director in the business. It was on this movie, filming on location in northern California and southern Oregon, that Reid was injured doing stunt work. He supposedly was given morphine injections for the pain by a studio physician, which led to his addiction and ultimate death on January 18, 1923.

Thank you, Gosfilmofond, for the gift! I hope someday to get a chance to see both the trees themselves, and the silent classic in which they appear.

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