Nitrate Nocturne 2

Decomposed nitrate film frame clippings from the Turconi Collection


Clip #15726: Red Eagle (di. Lawrence Trimble, Vitagraph, 1911)



These frames are from the Davide Turconi Project, which is a record of the 35mm nitrate film frame clippings collected by Italian film historian Davide Turconi (1911–2005) from the Josef Joye Collection in Switzerland and from other unidentified sources. Housed primarily at George Eastman House, the collection consists of 23,491 clippings in total (usually two to three frames each). The vast majority of the frames cover the early years of cinema (from ca. 1897 to 1915)... [continue reading the history behind these images].

Joshua Yumibe has again provided the selection. Whereas the majority of the images in our first posting from the collection were largely pristine samples, this time the focus is on clips that contain advance stages of nitrate decomposition. Joshua says that "such frames make up a relatively small yet remarkable portion of the collection. As these shapes and hues have tragically faded in disintegrating emulsion, we are left with fragments that, through the workings of time, have transmuted into breathtaking images akin to abstract works of art."


Further information on the collection can be found in Josh’s book, Moving Color, which is deeply informed by the Turconi Project in its account of the earliest color films.


Images courtesy of George Eastman House Motion Picture Department Collection.



Clip #12251: St. Francis of Assisi (di. Enrico Guazzoni, Cines, 1911)




Clip #19762: Alboino e Rosmunda (di. Ernesto Maria Pasquali, Pasquali, 1911)




Clip #21908: La Mort de Mozart (di. Louis Feuillade, Gaumont, 1909)




Clip #05843: La Vengeance du bottier (di. Max Linder, Pathé Frères, 1909)




Clip #11147: La lampada della nonna (di. Luigi Maggi, Ambrosio, 1913)




Clip #21972: Spaventare il deserto (Gaumont)




Clip #21726: Des Kindes bester Freund (unid.)




Clip #21277: Des Kindes bester Freund (unid.)




Clip #23053: Moderne Dresseur (Pathé, 1910)




Clip #18088: Barbe bleu (Pathé, 1907)




Clip #08386: Le Chien du volontaire (Lux, 1909)




Clip #23279: Le Chien du volontaire (Lux, 1909)




Clip #14434: Unidentified




Clip #23403: Unidentified (Gaumont)




Clip #19794: Marin Faliero, Doge di Venezia (di. Giuseppe De Liguoro, SAFFI-Comerio, 1909)




Clip #19660: La Battaglia di Legnano (Cines, 1910)




Clip #21894: La Mort de Mozart (di. Louis Feuillade, Gaumont, 1909)




Clip #21890: La Mort de Mozart (di. Louis Feuillade, Gaumont, 1909)




Clip #21907: La Mort de Mozart (di. Louis Feuillade, Gaumont, 1909)