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Karl Malkames

May 6, 1926 - March 8, 2010

It is with great sadness we announce the passing of one of the true giants in film preservation.


An American Treasure...

He may look like an old movie star but Karl Malkames has spent his life behind the camera as a distinguished cinematographer, advancing the preservation and restoration of early film through his technical innovations.


Karl inherited the love of film from his father, (cinematographer Don Malkames) who was for a time the head of the camera department at New York’s Astoria Studios.  Senior Malkames also invented a lenticular motion picture process and designed a newsreel camera.  


Karl Malkames, one of the last Pathe News Staff Cameramen in the years before the final theatrical newsreel was released in 1967,  owns the largest individual collection of historically significant early motion picture cameras in the world.  They were given to him by various colleagues in the industry who recognized him as the custodian to whom these priceless early motion picture machines could be entrusted.


Mr. Malkames also has the distinction of being the owner and operator of the oldest continually running (since the 1890s) Biograph printer.  He has reproduced over 1 million feet of film (which would otherwise have been lost) for archives around the world and educational institutions like UCLA and the Museum of Modern Art.  In order to keep this technology up to date Mr. Malkames has continuously created new inventions to prolong and improve the life of this equipment.


His technical knowledge is still sought after by members of many professional photographic organizations and he has published abstracts and papers for such diverse organizations as the Society of Motion Picture Technical Engineers (SMPTE) and the American Society of Cinematographers (ASC) of which is is still a member.

In addition to working with Kevin Brownlow and David Gill on their definitive Hollywood series on silent films, Karl Malkames is responsible for helping to restore



  2. 2.•THE IRON HORSE (1924)

  3. 3.•DR. JEKYLL & MR. HYDE (1920)

  4. 4.•THE EAGLE (1925)

  5. 5.•BROKEN BLOSSOMS (1919)

  6. 6.•SPARROWS (1926)

  7. 7.•SUNRISE (1927)

  8. 8.•IT (1927)

  9. 9.•STEAMBOAT BILL, JR. (1928)

  10. 10.•THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA (1925)

  11. 11.•THE BELOVED ROGUE (1927)


among literally hundreds of others.

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Karl’s Top 5 Recommended Films:

  1. 1.Way Down East - (1920, directed by D. W. Griffith)

  2. 2.Don Juan - (1926, directed by Alan Crosland)

  3. 3.Sunrise - (1927 - directed by F.W. Murnau

  4. 4.Way Out West - (1937, directed by James W. Horne)

  5. 5.Hobson’s Choice - (1954 - directed by David Lean