Library discovers film gems in PBS collection, turns over copies to British Film Institute

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The Library of Congress is turning over to the British Film Institute more than 68 rare recordings from 1957 to 1969 that were discovered in the Library’s National Educational Television Collection, reports the Government Video website. NET was the forerunner to PBS. PBS had donated its film and video holdings, some 20,000 reels, to the library through WNET/Thirteen in New York. For many years, NET imported a host of British teleplays and comedies — still popular on PBS today. One gem that is typical of the collection: Maggie Smith and Robert Stephens in “Much Ado About Nothing,” stage-directed by Franco Zeffirelli, from 1967. “In the archival world, television repatriations are exceedingly rare,” said Mike Mashon, head of the library’s Moving Image Section. He said the library is “delighted” to make high-quality preservation copies of those programs and share them with the BFI and the British public. “In the meantime, we’ll keep looking for more lost shows.”

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