William Fox Presents: Restorations and Rediscoveries from the Fox Film Corporation

Founded in 1915 by the self-educated entrepreneur William Fox, the Fox Film Corporation became home to the most dazzling lineup of directorial talent in the studio era. As silent film transitioned into sound, Fox’s roster of directors included Frank Borzage, Allan Dwan, John Ford, Howard Hawks, William K. Howard, Henry King, William Cameron Menzies, F. W. Murnau, Alfred Santell, Raoul Walsh, and many others. Yet this legacy was almost lost when a 1937 vault fire at Fox’s New Jersey storage facility destroyed all of the Fox Film negatives and most of the positive prints. That any of the Fox Film inventory survives today is largely thanks to Eileen Bowser, the former head of MoMA’s Department of Film, who worked with the producer Alex Gordon to rescue the nitrate work prints and reference copies stored at the Fox studio in Los Angeles.

Focusing on that pivotal era, this series (presented here in the first of two parts) features recent restorations from the Fox Film collection by MoMA and the UCLA Film and Television Archive, including exceedingly rare films by Ford, King, and Walsh; a pair of unseen early Spencer Tracy gangster films; and a new digital transfer of Frank Borzage’s 1927 masterpiece 7th Heaven.

Organized by Dave Kehr, Curator, Department of Film. Special thanks to Todd Wiener, Steven K. Hill, Paul Malcolm, UCLA Film and Television Archive; Schwan Belston and Caitlin Robertson, Twentieth Century Fox.