>> Stay informed about: Help with my 35mm silent movie film
>I am a novice at this. I have a 10 inch metal reel of B & W 35mm silent
>movie film from the late 1930'3 or early 1940's. It appears to be a home
>movie or a news clip. . . . . . One email I received is from someone
>who identified the little horizontal line every 4 sprockets as indicating
He is wrong. He is confusing the frame line marker on the raw stock with the
Kodak nitrate marker.
I saw your ad on eBay last night and thought your film looked like home movies.
If that were the case, the film PROBABLY is safety. Kodak safety film PRIOR
to 1949 often carried the same frameline marker as the nitrate did. Dupont
safety carried it through the 1960s.
However, to be sure, look at the words safety which you did not photograph. If
the letters are clear on the grey-to-black edge OUTSIDE of the sprocket holes,
then that writing is printed from the negative and the film probably is
nitrate. If the words "safety" is in dark letters, then the film is probably
>I called Kodak but got little
>help, except to suggest that I cut off some of the film, soak it in water,
>scratch off the emulsion, and if the film backing is yellowish, it is
>nitrate film. They said if it is more clear, it is safety film. Can anyone
>suggest another way to test, or do you know of a more appropriate newsgroup
>for this question?
That test is completely useless. Someone there must have found it using a
keyword search and did not understand the question.
One possibe test:
Open a splice in the film and cut a portion of each frame two perforations wide
across the width of the film. Remove these two clips a safe distance from the
rest of the film. Hold one with tweezers over a sink. Take a deep breath and
hold your breath. (You do not want to gasp and breathe in the fumes if it is
nitrate.) Touch a flame to the far end and see how it burns. If it rapidly
burns, it is nitrate. If not, it is safety. The official test is to stand the
clip vertically and light it from the top, and if it burns within 15 seconds,
it is nitrate. However, most silent era safety film will fail that more
>Can I safely and legally mail this film to a prospective buyer?
If it is nitrate, no. A private individual will have a difficult time
complying with the Federal regulations required to ship nitrate film. Special
containers, with special labels and special paperwork is required.
If you ID it as nitrate, most shippers will not accept it.
It is not uncommon to see both nitrate and safety film spliced together in
1930s home movies.