Alright, if you haven't seen INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS yet; 1. Stop reading now. There are mild spoilers ahead and 2. Why haven't you?! It's incredible!inglourious-basterds_pic2_mBefore we get going, let me explain about the title of this blog post a little. I'm not great at history, but I've heard stories of WW2 vets cutting off Nazi ears and keeping them as souvenirs, so I suppose that it might be possible that what the Basterds were doing wasn't that much of a stretch. Whether or not the ear trophy thing is true, I'm pretty sure we didn't kill Hitler. Someone correct me if I'm wrong. Some things in the movie were definitely fictionalized, but burning down a theater with 350 Nitrate film? TOTALLY legit! Many theaters got torched because of projectors malfunctioning and igniting the film. One of the most notable was the Charity Bazaar fire in Paris in 1897 where over 120 people were killed, mostly women, by a combination of burns and people trampling each other trying to get out!nitrate-filmAbout 5 years ago, I started to collect 35mm films. While other people my age were dating and socializing, I was digging through copies of TEEN WOLF 2 in grocery store basements. There are several different things you learn immediately when you catch the collecting bug. Some of the basics include the difference between flat and scope, the sad reality that every time a movie 20 years ago was printed in Eastman color that it would inevitably turn red and last but not least... DON'T FUCK WITH NITRATE FILM! One of my first large collections of prints contained LOTS of nitrate film prints (which we actually sold on eBay and mailed to the buyers in regular old cardboard boxes. OOOPS!) After clearing out what we thought was all of the nitrate film, we chose a few films to watch. One was BLOODSUCKING FREAKS, which was on safety film and the other was a Flash Gordon film from 1936 called ROCKETSHIP. We researched online and found that it had been re-released in the 50's and because of the immaculate condition it was in, we decided that it couldn't possibly be a nitrate print and had to be the print from the 50's. We threaded it up and as we were projecting it, realized that it was the most stunning black and white film I had ever seen. Everything was so crisp. Then, after it was over, on the tail end of the last reel it said NITRATE in big bold letters. We were so lucky that the house didn't burn to the ground as we were projecting out of a small room on a portable 35mm projector in my friends basement. TO YOUTH!If you remember in BASTERDS, there is the little history lesson on how nitrate films burn 3 times faster than paper. This is totally true and here's a real video to prove it: Not only does it burn super fast, it also does so under water. This stuff doesn't need oxygen to burn!LIQUID NITRATE!Remember the Universal Studios fire last year and how it messed up a ton of 35mm prints, particularly 50's movies that will never be restruck due to lack of interest in the repertory market? Well, imagine how terrible that would be if home video hadn't been invented yet and the only known copies were stored in studio film vaults such as the Fox Film vault in Little Ferry, NJ: Silent film actress Theda Bara has another claim to fame besides being in 44 films of the silent era; she has one of the lowest film survival rates as only about 6 of the 44 films exist today. The rest were lost in fires like the one in New Jersey. Nitrate films were common place until about 1951 when they started printing on acetate. If you want to read more about film stocks and the scientific explanation on why Nitrate film can burn under water, click HERE.-Justin

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