Over the last month or so I have been scouring the Internet Archive for pubic domain films. Below are 31 of the 38 movies I bookmarked in del.icio.us that are currently available at Internet Archive (del.icio.us seems to be balking the feed after 31 entries for some reason). To see all 38 go here. The list includes some amazing films like Akira Kurosawa’s multi-perspective masterpiece Rashomon; D.O.A. -the classic Film Noir starring Edmund O’Brien; Fritz Lang’s German masterpiece M and his Hollywood Noir Scarlet Street; Charlie Chaplin’s first full-length feature The Kid; the depression era classic My Man Godfrey; classic exploitation films from the 1930s like Sex Madness and Reefer Madness; the unedited version of They Call Me Trinity -a Spaghetti Western starring Terence Hill and Bud Spencer; what many believe to be the first narrative film The Great Train Robbery; and the list goes on and on…
I will be building a number of these films into an idea I had that centers around a public domain film course. The logic is to organize several of these movies into a hands-on curriculum wherein students can have structured space to both analyze the history of film along the lines of genre, film form, stylistics, etc. as well as incorporating a lab element wherein they get their hands dirty by re-editing, re-mixing, and mashing up selected films as a way of using this unbelievable archive to give students a more immediate relationship to the art, craft, and beauty of film making. Moreover, we can really start to experiment with and think through the implications of writing papers for a course with the very films themselves. An exciting conflation of the creative and analytical process of producing coursework by editing the arguments filmically. This is all made possible by the abundance of open, mashable, and freely distributed resources we have at our fingertips -isn’t it about time we started to take advantage of it?
A list of feature films freely available at the Internet Archive
You can subscribe to the RSS feed for all the public domain movies I come across click here.