With AMC money, the Library of Congress restored the 1930 Oscar-winner "All Quiet on the Western Front," which took three years and cost nearly $80,000.
"We had to work from four or five different copies," Francis says. "What we try to do when we restore is not try to get back to the version the director would have liked, we're trying to get back to the version that was first seen by the public."
More importantly, Francis adds, "is that we're the only archive who has their own restoration lab. We have used some of the money to pay the salary of someone to do restoration because our staff had gotten so small. We had lost so many people from downsizing. It's grants like the one we have received from AMC which have enabled us to keep on people we would have otherwise have lost. It's been incredibly valuable."
Francis says he notices the shift in the public's awareness of film preservation because "the industry itself is actually talking about restoration and using restoration [as a tool] for selling classic films like 'Lawrence of Arabia.' Once I feel the industry takes the work of the film archivist into the commercial arena, it shows that everyone is getting aware of the importance of film preservation."
The majority of the studios now have preservation policies in place. Still, Scorsese acknowledges, "if we start now to try to restore everything, we won't get it. So we will just have to continue going as much as possible title by title in the vaults with the archives and the studios to have a concentrated effort to save everything they can."