Film Archives Released

31st July 2007

According to the Washington Post the American National Archives and Records Administration has entered into a non-exclusive agreement with Amazon.com, and its subsidiary CustomFlix, to reproduce and sell to the public copies of thousands of historic films and videotapes in the Archives’ holdings.

Stacey Hurwitz, a spokeswoman for CustomFlix, said the first six DVDs became available on Amazon July 16 and are already selling. She said they were newsreels from the late 1950s and early 1960s.

They include scenes of the famous 1959 “Kitchen Debate” between then-Vice President Richard Nixon and Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev in a model American kitchen on display in Moscow. Other footage shows a youthful Fidel Castro after the communist revolution in Cuba, along with reports about Hawaii becoming a state, and the Soviet space program.

Hurwitz said the DVDs will sell for $19.99 and will be manufactured on customer demand at the company’s facility in Scotts Valley, Calif. The Archives said they are part of its “Universal Newsreels,” which date from 1920 to 1967.

Thousands of other public domain and government films will become available in this fashion in the future. In a separate pilot program about 100 Archives films have also been made available free via Google.

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