This paper explores the current controversies surrounding film preservation in the digital era. Questions address the benefits of new technologies and the potential sacrifices to a film's authenticity and designation as a valued historical, social, and cultural artifact. Issues examined include film's frail format, archives's financial and storage limitations, the concept of "the original film," and how current digitization methods affect each of these areas. This paper addresses the recent restorations of two particular films—Fritz Lang's Metropolis (1927) and Alfred Hitchcock's Vertigo (1958)—and concludes that digital technologies are not stable enough to replace traditional preservation methods, but they can greatly increase exposure to lesser-known films and support the general preservation of film.

About Author

Becca Bastron is a library student at San Jose State University, and a passionate film history buff.