Due to its unique historical context, Friedrich Wilhelm Murnau’s last feature film TABU (USA 1931) is an especially informative case study for the preservation of audiovisual cultural assets. In addition to the different versions of the film, an inventory exists of approximately 17,500 meters of film: alternative and/or unused film footage; the so-called outtakes.
The KUR Programme for the Conservation of Moveable Cultural Assets – an initiative of Germany’s Kulturstiftung des Bundes and the Kulturstiftung der Länder – has made it possible for the Deutsche Kinemathek, in cooperation with the Friedrich-Wilhelm-Murnau-Stiftung and the Österreichisches Filmmuseum, to make copies to preserve nitrate film materials threatened by long-term disintegration and to publish them in digital form. Additionally, the film script for TABU, as well as the extant daily reports about its filming, have been made accessible for this online edition.
The results of the work published here offer new insights into the process of creating a film. The combined representation of moving images, text and image sources provides users of this website with individually configurable access to the materials, while revealing new means for the preservation, presentation and utilization of audiovisual cultural assets. In parallel, the Friedrich-Wilhelm-Murnau-Stiftung is publishing TABU on DVD.