Bad news, Sedona movie fans. The Russian film archive Gosfilmofond’s much-heralded gift to the U.S. of a digital copy of The Call of the Canyon has proven a bust. The long-lost silent film, shot in Oak Creek Canyon in 1923, had its first viewing on June 24 at the Library of Congress Packard Campus for Audio-Visual Conservation in Culpeper, Va.; unfortunately, the copy yielded just four minutes and 10 seconds of footage. Image quality is reportedly good, but scenes are so brief, and interspersed with Russian intertitles, that archivists found it difficult to even tell how they fit into the story.
Quite a disappointment. The Russian archive always promised the best chance that a copy of The Call of the Canyon still existed somewhere. But at least we can see a few short fragments of it now.––Joe McNeill
Having played host to more than 60 Hollywood productions—from the early years of cinema through the 1970s—Sedona, Arizona’s unsung role in American film is the topic of this blog. Here, once and for all Sedona gets her due as a key location in movie history, a silent but stunning backdrop to all genres of movies including silent films, B westerns, World War II propaganda, and film noir.