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Canisters of film at Hamon Arts Library

The G. William Jones Film and Video Collection at Hamon Arts Library recently acquired a collection of 35mm prints and film elements related to the career of local film producer Clyde Knudson.

The collection, donated by film enthusiast Ron Dillard, includes materials from the films Strawberries Need Rain, Black Hooker and High Yellow.

“The centerpiece of this collection is the original camera negatives and sound elements from Larry Buchanan’s feature film High Yellow,” says Jeremy Spracklen, Moving Image Curator for the Jones Collection. “All of these materials are in excellent condition and will give us the opportunity to create new prints, Blu-rays, and digital cinema packages so that people can see this film as it was originally intended.”

It has been said that anyone with a movie connection to Dallas in the 1960s had probably worked with Buchanan, who directed 29 films. Among the actors he “discovered” was Morgan Fairchild, who had her first film role in his A Bullet for Pretty Boy, which starred 1950s teen idol Fabian as gangster Pretty Boy Floyd. “Larry Buchanan invented feature filmmaking in Dallas,” says Kevin Heffernan, professor of film and media for the Meadows School of the Arts at SMU. “High Yellow tells the story of a young African-American maid to a decadent wealthy Hollywood family, who tries to pass herself off as white. The film portrays a misogynistic, barely literate, drunken, lecherous, and dissipated clan clearly modeled on the Texas oil billionaires that Buchanan had observed and despised since his childhood in a Dallas orphanage.”

The Jones Collection’s moving image holdings include feature films, news film and video, animation classics, documentaries, television series and student films.

“The acquisition is another significant addition to the Jones Collection’s holdings from Texas-based filmmakers and institutions,” said Derek Kompare, chair of the Film and Media Arts program. “These films represent and document important moments and perspectives in the region's history, and we look forward to studying and using them in our curriculum. A graduate course on film restoration and digital migration has already been designed around High Yellow and is scheduled for spring 2018.”