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16mm Film Collection

16mm film projector reels in motion

The Best & Next Department maintains a collection of approximately 2,100 16mm film titles, including many hard-to-find titles not available in other media formats. While this collection reflects the general scope of the SLRC collections and most film genres, there is a concentration in the areas of independently produced films (including many Baltimore Film Festival entries), student films, short films, film history, children's films, animation, experimental and avant-garde shorts, and documentary films. This is an historic archive, the Best & Next Department is not actively adding to this collection.

You may check out up to 10 films, at no charge, for seven days per film. All of our 16mm films have public performance rights, meaning they can be shown at free public screenings without having to get clearance from the copyright owners. Browse all of the availble 16mm films in the Pratt Library catalog.

16mm Film Collection Highlights

De Duva (The Dove) (1968)

dir. George Coe & Anthony Lover | Check this item in our catalog

Nominated for an Oscar (Best Short Subject - Live Action) in 1969, this short parodies three of Ingmar Bergman's films - Wild Strawberries, The Seventh Seal, and The Silence. It also marked the first film role of Madeline Kahn. Speaking in mock Swedish, with English subtitles, a retired physicist with a hernia recalls, while sitting in an outhouse, a garden party he attended as a youth. In a game of badminton rather than chess, Death loses his intended victim because of a hilarious obstacle - a dirty pigeon. Director George Coe was one of the original cast members on the first three episodes of Saturday Night Live. And script writer Sid Davis, who also plays the role of Death, is perhaps best known as a director/producer of educational safety films. (George Coe and Anthony Lover, 1968, 15 minutes, b&w, 16mm)

Deafula (1975)

dir. Peter Weschberg | Check this item in our catalog

Long out of print, Deafula was the world's only movie filmed entirely in "Sign-Scope." Director Peter Weschberg stars as Count Dracula in this film made for the deaf and hearing-impaired that is told entirely through sign-language. Long out-of-print, it is available for rental in 16mm film format through Enoch Pratt Free Library's Audio-Visual Department. (Peter Weschberg, 1975, 95 minutes, b&w, 16mm)

Precious Images (1986)

dir. Chuck Workman | Check this item in our catalog

In this Academy Award-winning film (Best Short Film, Live Action, 1986), director Chuck Workman presents the greatest scenes from 50 years of film - from Citizen Kane to Star Wars – in six breakneck minutes of skillful editing. The incredible short cuts of roughly a second each push the audience into a kind of trance and take them on a journey into their individual memories of great films of half a century. Workman's annual montages are often the visual highlight of each year's Academy Awards telecast. Precious Images went on to become the most widely-viewed short appearing in schools, museums, film festivals and movie theaters worldwide. Precious Images is one of five Workman films in the collection of The Museum of Modern Art in New York. (Chuck Workman, 1986, 6 minutes, b&w and color, 16mm)

Super Artist, Andy Warhol (1967)

dir. Bruce Torbet | Check this item in our catalog

This short documentary - filmed at The Factory at the height of Warhol's popularity - is virtually unknown and rarely seen, though footage from it appears in Ric Burns' 2006 documentary feature film Andy Warhol. Director Bruce Torbet follow a surprisingly relaxed and open Andy Warhol, at the peak of his powers in 1965 and 1966, around his bustling original "Factory" in midtown Manhattan. Warhol experiments with an early videotape machine, recording Edie Sedgwick - his "superstar" of the moment - for the video portion of Outer and Inner Space, his filmed record of the "live" Sedgwick juxtaposed against her video image on an adjacent monitor. Also captured is a Warhol show at the Leo Castelli gallery, including the famous Mylar "Clouds," as various unnamed art dealers and critics muse in voiceover about the meaning and significance of Warhol's work. Also known as Superartist. (Bruce Torbet, 1965, 22 minutes, 16mm)

The Hour of the Furnaces (La Hora de los Hornos) (1968)

dir. Fernando Solanas and Octavio Getino | Check these items in our catalog: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3

This monumental three-part documentary comes on separate three reels totally 260 minutes and is in Spanish with English subtitles. It uses Argentina as a model to describe the anti-colonialist struggles in Latin America. Part I: Neo-Colonialism and Violence (95 minutes) contains historic, geographic, and economic background presented in a prologue and in thirteen separate film essays. Part II: An Act for Liberation (120 minutes) includes two presentations: Chronicle of Peronism, which uses newsreel and historical footage to study the political career of Juan Peron from 1945 to 1955, and Chronicle of Resistance, which follows the Peronist movement after Peron's fall from power. Part III: Violence and Liberation (45 minutes) contains an analysis of violence in mass revolutionary movements in Argentina and presents a call for participation in the national liberation effort there. According to reviewer Brian Whitener, "Long withheld from American audiences, this biting Argentine documentary and founding text of the New Latin American Cinema movement examines and attacks the neo-colonialism of Europe and the United States from a Latin American perspective. It is one of the single most important films from the 1960s and the tradition of critical cinema." Awards: Interfilm Award, Mannheim-Heidelberg International Filmfestival, 1968. (Fernando Solanas and Octavio Getino, Argentina, 1968, 260 minutes, 16mm).

Time Piece (1965)

dir. Jim Henson | Check this item in our catalog

Not available in any other format (VHS, DVD) but this 16mm print. This early live-action film produced by and starring Jim Hensen (of Muppets fame) documents a day in the live of one man in the urban rat race. While he is in a hospital bed, the typical day of a young executive flashes before his eyes. Realistic scenes cut to wild dream sequences that comment on the reality they interpret. Muppets fans will notice appearances by regular Henson collaborators Jerry Juhl, Don Sahlin, Diana Birkenfield, and Frank Oz (then Frank Oznowicz). Nominated for an Oscar (Best Short Subject – Live Action) in 1966. Produced by Jim Henson, photographed by Ted Nemeth with music by Don Sebesky. (Jim Hensen, 1965, 9 minutes, color, 16mm)

Watch the Henson Company's "Time Piece" trailer, or a a behind-the-scenes video about "Time Piece":

Experimental 16mm Film Collection Highlights

Actua-Tilt (1960)

dir. Jean Herman | Check this item in our catalog

This experimental short combines live action and animation to capture the emptiness, violence, and depersonalized sexuality of much of modern life by focusing on a group of men in a Parisian bistro. As they wander aimlessly from one pinball machine to another - yawning, drinking, never speaking or looking at each other - the men reveal their boredom, callousness and desire for something – anything - to relieve the tedium of their lives. The director intercuts footage of women in cheesecake poses, violence, and war indicate the men's longings, their fantasies, their idea of "something to do." In French with English subtitles. " Jean Herman " is the pseudonym of French writer Jean Vautrin. (Jean Herman, France, 1960, b&w, 12 minutes, 16mm).

Daybreak Express (1953)

dir. D. A. Pennebaker | Check this item in our catalog

This is the first film made by cinema verite documentarian D. A. Pennebaker (Don't Look Back). Set to the music of Duke Ellington's "Daybreak Express," it records a ride on New York City's 3rd Avenue elevated railway. Pennebaker described the experience of making his first film as follows:

"I wanted to make a film about this filthy, noisy train and it’s packed-in passengers that would look beautiful, like the New York City paintings of John Sloan, and I wanted it to go with one of my Duke Ellington records, “Daybreak Express.” I didn’t know much about film editing, or in fact about shooting, so I bought a couple of rolls of Kodachrome at the drugstore, and figured that since the record was about three minutes long, by shooting carefully I could fit the whole thing onto one roll of film. Of course that didn’t work since I couldn’t start and stop my hand-wound camera that easily so I ended up shooting both rolls and even a few more before I was through. It took about three days to film, and then sat in a closet for several years until I figured out how to edit it and make a print that I could show on a projector."

This short played prior to the British comedy film The Horse's Mouth (1958) during its theatrical run and is included on the Criterion Collection DVD of that film. (D.A. Pennebaker, USA, 1953, 5 minutes, 16mm)

OffOn (1968)

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An experimental film made by feeding film loops into a color television channel. Interesting both for its technique and the implication "of the reality behind the reality we normally perceive." Reviewer Gene Youngblood comments "The language of OFFON is evocation. We gaze at these iconic forms hypnotically, much the same as we are drawn to fire or water, because they make us aware of fundamental realities below the surface of normal perception." Sheldon Renan, Curator of the Pacific Film Archive, adds "OFFON is so striking a work, so obviously a landmark, that it has been acquired by virtually every major film art collection in America, from the Museum of Modern Art to the Smithsonian Institute." Amos Vogel, in Film As a Subversive Art, described OFFON as "a perfect, magical fusion of non-verbal communication and advanced technological filmmaking... Indeterminacy, the union of opposites, the cosmic, the expansion of consciousness, the going beyond rationalism; all these are intimated purely visually, almost subliminally, to those willing to see." In his study of 1960s American experimental cinema The Exploding Eye, Wheeler Winston Dixon wrote "[Scott Bartlett's films] exemplified San Francisco's preferred form of cinematic discourse for a later generation of artists, poets, writers and videomakers...The visual structures of Bartlett's films influenced the images we see on MTV today, as well as the digital special effects employed in many contemporary feature films." During his life, Bartlett was sponsored by such filmmakers as Francis Ford Coppola. Yet today, despite their undiminished impact and undeniable influence, Bartlett's films are seldom shown.

Report, 1964-1965 (1967)

dir. Bruce Conner | Check this item in our catalog

In a work of memory, affection, and grief, filmmaker Bruce Conner uses experimental techniques, such as stop-action newsreel footage, numbered leader, television commercials, and a scene from Frankenstein, to record the assassination of President Kennedy, and to protest the exploitation of his death and the violence of the times in which he lived. Between 1963 and 1967, this film went through seven transformations (Pratt's print is a version from 1967), and in 2005 Conner transferred the film to digital for yet another version.(Bruce Conner, 1965, 13 minutes, b&w, 16mm)

Study in Wet (1964)

dir. Homer Groening | Check this item in our catalog

This is a film by Homer Groening , father of Simpsons creator Matt Groening. Unlike the dim-witted Homer depicted in The Simpsons, Matt Groening's real father was a multifaceted artist and filmmaker who specialized in surfing movies. Everything in this film is literally wet, as Groening captures the sounds and pictures of water at rare moments, including views of gigantic waves, Monet-like reflections, a crying girl's tears, goldfish trapped in a diving mask, and of divers and surfers flying into the water. The music, by Maurice Engleman, is made entirely of water sounds from a dripping faucet. Like his famous son, Homer Groening was also a cartoonist, as well as an advertising pioneer, museum founder, filmmaker and war hero. He passed away in March 1995. (Homer Groening, 1964, 7 minutes, color, 16mm)

Classic Movie Serials 16mm Film Collection Highlights

Flash Gordon Conquers the Universe (1940)

Check for this item in our catalog

Buster Crabbe stars as the titular hero in this, the last of the three Flash Gordon serials made between 1936 and 1940. Also stars Carol Hughes as Dale Arden, Charles B. Middleton as Ming the Merciless, and Frank Shannon as Dr. Alexis Zarkov.

Gang Busters (1942)

Check for this item in our catalog

Gang Busters was one of Universal's most elaborate serials, with many chase and thrill scenes expertly staged in outdoor locations. Police Detective Bill Bannister (Kent Taylor) pursues mad scientist Professor Mortist (Ralph Morgan), who simulates death in doomed criminals and snatches them from the gallows to join his "League of Murdered Men" crime mob.

Zorro's Black Whip (Republic, 1944, 12 chapters)

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In this twist on the classic Zorro tale, Linda Sterling stars as Barbara Meredith, a strong-willed woman who dons the famous black outfit to become The Black Whip and avenge her newspaper editor father's death at the hands of Don Hammond's ruthless gang.

Classic Feature Film 16mm Collection Highlights

Antonio Das Mortes (1969)

dir. Glauber Rocha | Check this item in our catalog

This example of Brazil's Cinema Novo is a folk-epic period piece about a Brazil that no longer exists. And this 16mm copy is one of the few prints that exist of a film that is domestically unavailable on video or DVD. The movie, also known as O Dragão da Maldade contra o Santo Guerreiro, is the sequel to God and the Devil in the Land of the Sun (Deus e o diabo na terra do sol), and takes place 29 years after Antonio das Mortes (Mauricio do Valle) killed Corisco (the "Blond Devil"), last of the Cangaceiros. In "the old days", Antonio's function in life was exterminate these bandits, on account of his personal grudges against them. His life had been meaningless for the last 29 years, but now, a new challenge awaits him. When a Cangaceiro appears in Jardim Das Piranhas, the local Land Baron (Jofre Soares), an old man, does what seems obvious to him: he calls Antonio das Mortes, killer of Cangaceiros. At first, Antonio is ecstatic. His life has gained new meaning. But soon it becomes obvious that this new Cangaceiro (named Coirana) is no Corisco, but an idealist. An idealist of the sixties in the garb of the forties. A leader to the hopeless and the hungry. Antonio das Mortes begins to reconsider his feelings towards Coirana and his followers. Music by Marlos Nobre and the Folk Group of Minas. In Portuguese with English subtitles. Awards: Glauber Rocha won Best Director at the 1969 Cannes Film Festival and Antonio Das Mortes was nominated for the Golden Palm at Cannes the same year. (Brazil, 1969, 100 minutes, color, in Portuguese with English subtitles)

The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman (1974)

dir. John Korty | Check this item in our catalog

Presents the story of the long life of Miss Jane Pittman, who began her life as a slave in the South and who marched for her civil rights in the 20th century at the age of 110. Based on the book of the same title by Ernest J. Gaines. With Cicely Tyson as Miss Pittman. Director, John Korty; writer, Tracy Keenan Wynn. (USA, 120 minutes, color)

City Lights (1931)

dir. Charles Chaplin | Check this item in our catalog

In this bittersweet tragi-comedy, Charlie Chaplin as an umemployed man falls in love with a blind flower girl who mistakes him for a millionaire. Charlie becomes involved with an eccentric millionaire, who is generous when drunk but mean when sober. After trying to earn money first as a street sweeper and then as a boxer, Charlie takes a large sum of money to enable the blind girl to have an operation to regain her sight. He is arrested and, upon his release from prison, finds the blind girl has been cured. Director, writer, and music, Charles Chaplin. Cast: Charlie Chaplin, Virginia Cherrill and Harry Myers. (USA, 1931, 81 minutes, b&w)

The Trial (1962)

dir. Orson Welles | Check this item in our catalog

Based on a Kafka allegory about a man who is arrested in a totalitarian society for a crime that is never explained to him, this adaptation is set largely in a cavernous deserted railway station resembling a kind of antechamber to Hell. Director, screenwriter, editor, Orson Welles. Cast: Orson Welles, Jeanne Moreau, Anthony Perkins, Akim Tamiroff, Romy Schneider. Dubbed into English. (1962, 119 minutes, b&w)

Yojimbo (1961)

dir. Akira Kurosawa | Check this item in our catalog

With the fall in the 19th century of Japan's feudal lords, samurai suddenly find that their services are no longer in demand. One of their number, Sanjuro, arrives at a village and finds it split into two warring camps. Taking sides, he does not rest until he has killed all his enemies. (Japan, 1961, 110 minutes, b&w, in Japanese with English subtitles )

Baltimore Film Festival 16mm Highlights

Love Letter To Edie (1975)

dir. Robert Maier | Check this item in our catalog

"I like being a star," says Edith Massey, in this tongue-in-cheek film "biography" which traces her life from a foster home, to a career as a B girl on the Block, a barmaid at Pete's Hotel in Fells Point, owner of the "Miss Edith's Shopping Bag" thrift shop and to the career which has made her famous across the U.S.--as the "glamorous" star of John Waters' underground films. Winner of the Baltimore Film Festival award, 1975. (Robert Maier, USA, 1975, 14 minutes, color, 16mm)

A Political Cartoon (1974)

dir. Joseph Adamson and Jim Morrow | Check this item in our catalog

Two young men--one a cartoonist and the other, a political entrepreneur--combine their talents to create the "Ideal Presidential Candidate," a cartoon character who moves in animation and speaks a form double-talk. Before this political adventure is concluded, the largest corporation in the world, some 1930's style gangsters and Bugs Bunny all become involved in the Ideal Presidential Candidate's schemes. An award winner, Baltimore Film Festival, 1974. (Joseph Adamson and Jim Morrow, USA, 1974, 22 minutes, color., 16mm)

Silverpoint (1974)

dir. Barbara Linkevitch | Check this item in our catalog

A psychological study of an estranged young woman dancer who experiences internal struggle over her dancing and her jealousy in relationship with other women. Uses a variety of avant garde film techniques to convey confusion and intensity of the woman's emotional conflict. Winner of Baltimore Film Festival Award, 1975. (Barbara Linkevitch, USA, 25 minutes, color, 16mm)

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