Feb 15, 2014

Academy Film Archive and outtakes from Aloha Wanderwell Baker

There's a person called Aloha Wanderwell?  Excellent!

Thanks to the Academy Film Archive's presence at the 9th Orphan Film Symposium, we'll get to see some unseen footage of and by this imminently rediscoverable filmmaker.

As presenter May Haduong reports: Aloha Wanderwell Baker (1906-1996) was an adventurer and filmmaker who visited dozens of countries on the road in a Model Ford T. During the 1920s and 30s, movies of her team’s expeditions served as fundraising tools for their further travels. Later in her long life Baker placed elements from her films in several repositories. The Academy Film Archive holds outtakes to one of her later films. Produced over the span of 1935-1937 with her husband Walter Baker, To See the World by Car chronicles their travels to remote (and not so remote) areas of the globe.

Aloha (if I may) has some people actively looking after her legacy, and they know about film preservation.  At the foot of the home page www.alohawanderwell.com is this:

    We are looking to preserve the Wanderwell Expedition's Nitrate Films. Please contact us. All the films are in nitrate with a couple in 16mm. All films need to be transferred to HD immediately. Please help us to save these historical films.
Contact: AlohaWanderwell@cox.net (888) 921-4242

There's a swell new e-book version of Aloha Baker's 1939 memoir Call to Adventure! 

The Nile Baker Estate has a documentary in progress: Aloha Wanderwell's Driving Passion,  with the notice "This video, utilizing the surviving nitrate films from Aloha's collection, was directed and edited by Alan Boyd for the Boyd Production Group, narrated by Tracy Landecker, with music by Maria Newman."


As May says, Aloha's films are in more than one place, including the Library of Congress and the Smithsonian. The Detroit Public Library has her papers though 1932. The University of Wyoming has those of her second husband Walter Nicholas Baker. The university's American Heritage Cener digitized the film they made together, Explorers of the Purple Sage (1945).  Silent, color, 16mm, 2 reels, 34 mins.

Curiously, the filmography on the official AW website says nothing about her film River of Death. But here's a notice from Film Daily, March 28, 1934.

page downloaded from the great Lantern