Lincoln film found in barn cleanup; revived

MUMBAI: A contractor cleaning an old New Hampshire barn destined for demolition came across seven reels of nitrate film inside, including a solitary copy of a 1913 silent film on Abraham Lincoln.

When Lincoln Paid, a 30-minute film about the mother of a dead Union soldier asking Lincoln to pardon a confederate soldier whom she had initially turned in, stars the brother of John Ford who directed The Quiet Man, The Grapes of Wrath and other classics.

"I was up in the attic space, and shoved away over in a corner was the film and a silent movie projector, as well," Peter Massie, a movie buff, said of his discovery in the western New Hampshire town of Nelson. "I thought it was really cool."

It was the summer of 2006, and the film canisters sat in his basement for a while before Massie thought of contacting nearby Keene State College, where film professor Larry Benaquist thought it was a rare find.

In fact, it was one of eight silent films starring Ford as Lincoln.

After working with the George Eastman House film preservation museum in Rochester, New York the college determined that the film, directed by and starring Francis Ford, did not exist in film archives.

The college, which plans to screen the film on 20 April, received a grant from the National Film Preservation Foundation to restore it. It took a Colorado lab a year to complete the task.

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