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Cohen Media Group Announces Plans for 700-Film Collection

14 Feb, 2013 By: Chris Tribbey

Charles Cohen, chairman and CEO of the Cohen Media Group, has big plans for a lot of titles. More than 700 of them, in fact.

“We don’t want to just dump these in the marketplace,” he said. “We’re going to meticulously restore them, and they’ll all see a lot of tender loving care.”

Cohen acquired the rights to this collection — then the Rohauer Film Collection — in late 2011, and was put together over the course of three decades by Los Angeles theater owner Raymond Rohauer.

The collection includes dozens of silent movies — many from famed actor Buster Keaton — as well as films from D.W. Griffith, Rudolph Valentino, Vivien Leigh and Harry Langdon. Cohen said that the collection includes the only known materials for some films, garnered from overseas warehouses and The Library of Congress.

“We think we have a real treasure trove of material, and we think fans will respond,” Cohen said.

The first release from the collection is Douglas Fairbanks’ The Thief of Bagdad, out on DVD and Blu-ray Disc Feb. 19. The 1924 fantasy epic has been digitally restored in 2K from two 35mm negatives, incorporating tints and tones of original release prints. The release will include an audio commentary and other extras, and Cohen said it will set the standard for the future films from the collection.

On March 12, Cohen will release Tristana, the 1970 Spanish film from director Luis Buñuel (Los Olvidados).

Other highlights from the collection include:

• Keaton’s Civil War comedy The General, which will feature a 4K transfer from the original nitrate camera negative. Other Keaton films include Sherlock Jr., Our Hospitality, The Navigator and Go West.

• Alfred Hitchcock’s Jamaica Inn (1939).

• Other early Fairbanks films, including 1915’s The Lamb and Double Trouble, The Mark of Zorro, The Three Musketeers, Robin Hood, The Black Pirate and The Taming of the Shrew.

• Musical shorts featuring Duke Ellington, Billie Holiday, Bing Crosby, Louis Armstrong, Cab Calloway, Hoagy Carmichael, Bessie Smith, Rudy Vallee and Ethel Merman.

• The 1916 D.W. Griffith film Intolerance, which is getting a 2K restoration and includes the orchestral score from composer Carl Davis. Other Griffith films include The Birth of a Nation (both the 1915 original and the 1930 cut), Broken Blossoms, Way Down East and Orphans of the Storm.

Fire Over England (1937), the first screen pairing of Vivien Leigh and Laurence Olivier, one of four Leigh films in the collection.

• Comedy shorts featuring W.C. Fields, George Burns and Gracie Allen, Robert Benchley and Milton Berle.

Sudden Fear (1952), starring Joan Crawford and Jack Palance.

L’Etoile de Mer (1928) and other experimental shorts from photographer Man Ray.

• Hangmen Also Die (1943), from Fritz Lang, which will include a never-before-seen sequence.

• Song of Freedom (1936), one of six films starring singer-actor Paul Robeson.

• Son of the Sheik (1926), Valentino’s last film, along with Blood and Sand and The Eagle.

• Forty years of British films spanning from the 1930s to the 1960s.

About the Author: Chris Tribbey

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