Closed Captions Available
ABOUT THE FILM
Few amateur films with sound were produced in the 1930s and fewer remain extant. A charming artifact that demonstrates the expressive possibilities and technical limitations of amateur talkies, THE SPIDER AND THE FLY (1938) includes a backyard Labor Day gathering, a trip to the Riverview Amusement Park, and a homemade Halloween parade of witches and ghouls.
The 16mm reversal original copy of THE SPIDER AND THE FLY was acquired by the Chicago Film Society as part of a large collection purchased in 2016. It was first screened publicly at the 2016 edition of Home Movie Day, presented by CFS and Chicago Film Archives at the Chicago History Museum. It was subsequently identified as the work of Harry and Lillian Fulscher, a couple who lived on Chicago’s Northwest Side. Little is known about their lives beyond this film, but it is among the most vivid illustrations of everyday joys in the 1930s.
THE SPIDER AND THE FLY was preserved by Chicago Film Society at Colorlab in 2018 with the support of the National Film Preservation Foundation. Due to extreme shrinkage that made traditional photochemical duplication dangerous, the reversal original was scanned and stabilized in 2K before being returned to a 16mm duplicate negative. Some minor digital sound restoration work was performed to amplify a weak signal in the original track. New 16mm prints were created from the new preservation elements.
For more information on this film and its preservation, visit our website: chicagofilmsociety.org/preservation/spider-and-the-fly/
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