Before Netfilx, 16mil Rentals
June 18, 2011 10:23 AM   Subscribe

Budget Films is a small, privately owned film archive in Los Angeles. Layne Murphy writes about working with her father, in the all-but-lost world of 16mil prints. One regular customer was obsessed with Paulette Goddard, and snipped out all of her scenes from the films he rented.
posted by Ideefixe (13 comments total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
Way more important to me than the moonwalk was that for the first time, girl students at L.A. Schools would be permitted to wear pants. My dad took me to a shop in North Hollywood and the lady brought out a whole bunch of pants and they weren't bad and it was amazing that they all fit. The shop was one of the first Lane Bryant's and it wasn't until several months later that I actually realized what the specialty was.

And they talk about "culture wars" today, but it's all just aftershocks.
posted by three blind mice at 11:48 AM on June 18, 2011 [1 favorite]

>> One regular customer was obsessed with Paulette Goddard, and snipped out all of her scenes from the films he rented.

The description would have been better without that major spoiler.

It's a nice piece though.
posted by w0mbat at 12:32 PM on June 18, 2011

That's a wonderful essay. I really enjoyed how she wove the different story threads together, having them tie together unexpectedly and finishing with a great ending.
posted by Kraftmatic Adjustable Cheese at 12:45 PM on June 18, 2011

My freshman year dorm was named for Paulette Goddard. That is all.
posted by Navelgazer at 12:48 PM on June 18, 2011

I used to rent from Budget during the 1980's when I ran a college film series. I remember talking to the owner on the phone about what we were choosing. He always had an opinion and was never shy about sharing it. I distinctly remember him talking me out of renting The Late Show because he said it was too corny for a college audience.

By the late 1980's, VHS pretty much killed 16mm as a distribution medium, even though it was another decade before video projectors became affordable outside of institutions.

Back in the late 60's and early 70's many larger city libraries had sizable film collections in 16mm. I used to check out Lon Chaney's Phantom of the Opera and use Pink Floyd's Atom Heart Mother for the sound track. It synchs pretty well at a few random spots. That and Dream Of The Wild Horses(YT mashup with dubbed soundtrack), a French short, were popular at the film parties I'd put on in our living room for my high school friends. That's a lost film nowadays.
posted by warbaby at 1:04 PM on June 18, 2011 [1 favorite]

My freshman year dorm was named for Paulette Goddard.

Birth name or screen name?
posted by telstar at 1:49 PM on June 18, 2011

Screen Name. Paulette Goddard Hall at NYU, southwest corner of Washington Square.
posted by Navelgazer at 2:41 PM on June 18, 2011

Why are more people not favouriting this awesome post?
During the last Democratic Convention there was a tribute to the recently deceased Eugene McCarthy. The footage that accompanied the homage was apparently pulled by an inexperienced researcher. Instead of Gene McCarthy, the footage was of Joseph McCarthy, Gene’s polar opposite. Most of our research staff has been with us for over twenty years. We won’t make you look stupid and we know that Khrushchev never actually banged his shoe on the table at the United Nations so you don’t have to bother looking for it.
I have no need for archival footage but I love these people and want to give them my money.
posted by DarlingBri at 4:11 PM on June 18, 2011 [2 favorites]

The Toronto Reference Library just got rid of its 16mm collection and is now in some collectors apartment, because York or the U of T wouldn't take it. Glad they are still around.
posted by PinkMoose at 5:37 PM on June 18, 2011

That Budget does something like the guys in the TRL collection.
posted by PinkMoose at 7:23 PM on June 18, 2011

This is very cool. I'm looking forward to browsing through the collection!
posted by OolooKitty at 7:38 PM on June 18, 2011

The point is 16mm is a bit different than some punk with a DV and a YouTube account. This is valuable shit and when it's gone, it's gone. So anybody holding the line on it doing some heavy lifting.

Stock footage can lead to things like this.
posted by warbaby at 9:01 PM on June 18, 2011 [2 favorites]

They were film buffs and in exchange for being big, black and uniformed my dad would give them prints.

Guess being black made them extra scary. That kind of casual racism drives me nuts.
posted by Ad hominem at 4:00 AM on June 19, 2011

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