One Shocking Moment (1965)
by Peter Conheim
Reading time 5 Minutes
The second in Volume 8’s trio of noir-tinged pictures is, like its companions, a film which only exists in print form, as all negative and other pre-print elements on it are nowhere to be found, and likely discarded by a film lab. While a number of the other significant films by director Ted V. Mikels were kept safe over time, One Shocking Momentappeared to slip away. Were it not for the discovery of one used 35mm rental print by Something Weird in the 1990s, it would likely have been a total goner.
But The Restorationists faced a dilemma in this particular case, which is that the existing print has a handful of cuts – which are short – and, as opposed to what we were able to do with Maidens of Fetish Street, Shanty Tramp and Olga’s House of Shame, which also had bits and pieces missing from the flow, we had no material to fall back on here. And because the source print for One Shocking Moment was in reasonably good physical shape, indicating it hadn’t been “run to death” over and over again, it stands to reason that the cuts in the print were made by an unscrupulous projectionist, or collector, since they occur during the film’s steamier scenes.
There remains the distant possibility that this particular print of the film underwent some cuts when shown in a particularly censorious state, but given that all the nudity in the film is intact as intended, that seems extremely unlikely. Additionally, while there’s no “passed by x. state board” title card spliced onto the head of the film, there’s no way to know if there had been such a title there, and someone then chopped it off.
Because byNWR sees the film as important enough to screen, tiny cuts included, the decision was made to present this as a “remastering” – as opposed to a “restoration” – for the first time in the site’s history. It would be disingenuous to claim that the Cinema Preservation Alliance team had carried out a full “restoration” of the title, given its missing bits (which, it should be noted, could always turn up in the future if a second source print of One Shocking Moment is located under a rock). Indeed, the team wrestled with this very problem for nearly a year when working on Maidens of Fetish Street, and it was only at the eleventh hour that an additional (incomplete) print suddenly emerged from a private collector, and we were happily able to entirely restore the film’s running time.
Recent decades have seen terms like “restoration” and “preservation” tossed around constantly, especially in the home video world, sometimes making archivists wince when they’re used as a marketing tool to describe a release of a film that simply doesn’t meet that standard. Rather, our new remastering of One Shocking Moment underwent the same rigorous color grading as all of our restored projects, and most of its damage repair and cleanup – as well as being shown in the proper 1.66 aspect ratio for the first time – and, aside, from these small excisions, it is undoubtedly the best representation of this tawdry melodrama since it first churned its way through the grindhouse.
Peter Conheim is the lead Restorationist and Archivist at byNWR.com, and the founder of Cinema Preservation Alliance, a non-profit dedicated to the rescue and rehabilitation of endangered films of all stripes, in partnership with archives, private collectors and laboratories. As a performer from the San Francisco Bay Area, he is the co-founder of Wet Gate: The All-Projectionist Ensemble and Mono Pause, and a long-time member of culture jammers Negativland. He also performs with Malcolm Mooney (from CAN) and the Mutants. His music remastering and restoration projects have included works by DEVO, MX-80 Sound, Tuxedomoon, Noh Mercy, Factrix, Yoshi Wada, John Bender, the Screamers and many others.