High Presents "Modern Masters of Film: From Edison to Scorsese," with 11 Films from One of the World's Most Important Film Repositories
ATLANTA, October 5, 2011
– The High Museum of Art will present part one of “Modern Masters of Film: From Edison to Scorsese” from Saturday, October 15, to Saturday, November 5. Held in coordination with the opening of “Picasso to Warhol: Fourteen Modern Masters,” with new specially discounted matinee screenings in addition to evening feature presentations, this series will highlight rare archival prints from The Museum of Modern Art’s (MoMA) film collection, including “The Story of Temple Drake,” “Hell’s Hinges,” “ItalianAmerican” and “Chelsea Girls.” Each screening features a rare 35mm print that has been preserved, and sometimes restored, through MoMA’s extensive conservation efforts. Part two of the series will begin in February 2012 and includes “Never Fear (The Young Lovers),” “Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song,” “Abraham Lincoln,” “It Should Happen to You,” “Bonjour Tristesse” and “Follow the Fleet” as well as a series of short films.
At the time of MoMA’s founding in 1929, there were no dedicated film programs in U.S. cultural institutions. Film societies and festivals were few and far between, and American film culture consisted almost entirely of new studio releases. In 1932 Alfred Barr, MoMA’s founding director, stressed the importance of introducing “the only great art form peculiar to the 20th century to American public, which should appreciate good films and support them.” By the mid-1930s MoMA had already begun to experiment with film screenings and had established the MoMA Film Library—what is today the Department of Film. MoMA’s film collections have since grown to include more than 25,000 films and four million film stills, all of which span the history of the art of the moving image since its modern inception. Among the holdings are original negatives of the Biograph and Edison companies, the world’s largest collection of D. W. Griffith films, the films of Andy Warhol and those of contemporary auteurs such as Martin Scorsese.
“The High is pleased to screen this stellar lineup of historically important, thought-provoking and wildly entertaining films carefully selected by Anne Morra, Associate Curator in MoMA’s Department of Film,” said Virginia Shearer, Associate Director of Education at the High. “This showcase is a great chance for our audiences to rediscover or to experience for the very first time a range of stunningly beautiful archival films from silent movies to pre-Code Hollywood material to Hollywood classics. Highlights of this series include Warhol’s experimental film ‘Chelsea Girls,’ in addition to the only Hollywood feature film directed by a woman that has been preserved by MoMA—Ida Lupino’s ‘Never Fear (The Young Lovers).’ We are very proud to offer the ‘Modern Masters of Film’ series this year and hope it will draw Atlanta’s cinephiles and movie lovers alike.”
The series opens on Saturday, October 15, with “The Story of Temple Drake,” a film directed by Stephen Roberts and based on William Faulkner’s controversial 1931 novel “Sanctuary.” This sultry Paramount Pictures adaptation triggered church boycotts and stricter enforcement of the Motion Picture Production Code, due to its risqué tale of Temple Drake, a society girl (played by Miriam Hopkins) from a prominent family who is violated by a gangster. Due to the perceived unsuitable behavior of the main character, the film was immediately removed from theaters after its initial release and has largely been unavailable for many decades. “The Story of Temple Drake” was preserved by MoMA in 2010, with partial funding by Turner Classic Movies, using the original camera cellulose nitrate film materials donated by 20th Century Fox. More commonly called nitrate film, this is the highly flammable and quick to deteriorate film stock used in the manufacture of most 35mm film until 1950. The High’s screening of “The Story of Temple Drake” will feature an introduction and post-film discussion with noted Faulkner scholar Dr. Thomas McHaney, Kenneth M. England Professor of Southern Literature Emeritus at Georgia State University.
On Saturday, October 22, director Charles Swickard’s “Hell’s Hinges” follows the Reverend Henley and his sister Faith, who arrive in the mining town of Hell’s Hinges. When the reverend begins preaching, saloon owner Silk Miller and his regular clients grow angry and storm the church, interrupting the Sunday service. Gunslinger Blaze Tracy—played by the iconic cowboy actor William S. Hart—arrives just in time and clears the churchgoers from the scene. Blaze agrees to travel to a neighboring town to locate an organ for the church, but instead is distracted by a dancehall girl, who entices him into the saloon, where he becomes intoxicated. After sobering up Blaze finds that the reverend has been murdered and the church burned to cinders. In an unbridled fury, Blaze shoots the saloon owner and sets fire to the bar. Soon the entire town is engulfed in flames, and Faith leaves Hell’s Hinges under the protection of Blaze Tracy. Actor/director William S. Hart was born in New York in 1865. Due to a peripatetic childhood spent living across the United States, Hart developed a deep attachment to the magnificence of the American West. In 1941 he donated his own color-tinted 35mm nitrate print of “Hell’s Hinges” to MoMA. Physical markings on the print indicate that it was most likely manufactured in 1923 or 1924 and may be a reissue copy. MoMA, the fortunate recipient of multiple donations from Hart including “Branding Broadway” and “Selfish Yates” (both 1918), has dedicated numerous resources to the preservation of Hart’s work via an in-depth focus on the artist. The High’s screening of “Hell’s Hinges” will feature an introduction and silent-film accompaniment by distinguished composer and scholar Dr. Philip Carli.
The series continues on Saturday, October 29, with the documentary “ItalianAmerican.” Director Martin Scorsese returns to his early roots as a documentarian with this intimate and profoundly personal film. Filmed entirely in his family’s apartment in Manhattan’s Little Italy neighborhood, Scorsese lovingly records the colorful memories of his Sicilian-immigrant parents. Shot on 16mm film, “ItalianAmerican” is the record of a relaxed and often entertaining conversation between Scorsese and his parents. The trio covers diverse subjects such as growing up in New York tenements during the Great Depression. When the scene shifts from the living room to the dining room, Catherine Scorsese becomes the dominant voice. The meal she has expertly prepared for her family and the camera crew manages to alter the mood; everyone is relaxed and casual. The kitchen and the dining room are Mrs. Scorsese’s domain and not even her famous son is able to upstage her. “ItalianAmerican” was preserved by MoMA in 2002 using Scorsese’s original 16mm color negative. The 16mm film was blown up to 35mm in conservation, as the larger frame allows for clearer, more improved visual information. The soundtrack was re-recorded from the original track negative in order to improve but not alter the characteristics of the on-location recording. “ItalianAmerican” was shown in The New York Film Festival in October 1974. A shortened version that runs only 26 minutes was released as “Storm of Strangers.” In 1990 Martin Scorsese established The Film Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to protecting and preserving motion picture history by providing financial support for the preservation and restoration of film projects at film archives around the world.
The first part of this two-part series concludes on Saturday, November 5, with “Chelsea Girls,” by Paul Morrissey and Andy Warhol. Perpetual voyeur Andy Warhol takes a look at the glamorous but tarnished lives of 1960s New York underground celebrities. This unique double-projection, split-screen film is a look at the garish happenings in eight different rooms at the infamous Chelsea Hotel. It reveals the desperation of drug addiction and the cold terror of fame without preparation. The preservation of Warhol’s films began in the late 1980s as a joint undertaking between MoMA, the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts and the Whitney Museum of American Art. MoMA would catalogue, store and preserve the films, while the Whitney undertook the scholarly research and produced a catalogue raisonné. The Warhol Foundation provided support for the project and in 1997 donated all of the original film materials to MoMA. A long-overdue reassessment of Warhol’s films was the result of this unique partnership. The circulation and conservation of the films and the hundreds of “Screen Tests” now provide a secure place for Warhol’s contribution to cinema history and allow a new generation to discover a true avant-garde voice. Thomas Kiedrowski, Warhol aficionado and author of “Andy Warhol’s New York City,” will introduce “Chelsea Girls” and lead a discussion following the film. Film Series Schedule
Films will be shown at 2 and 8 p.m. and are screened in the Richard H. Rich Theatre, located in the Memorial Arts Building, adjacent to the High at Peachtree and 15th Streets in midtown Atlanta (MARTA stop N5.). Part One:
“The Story of Temple Drake”
Saturday, October 15
(1933, U.S., 72 minutes.)
Directed by Stephen Roberts; with Miriam Hopkins, William Gargan and Jack La Rue.
Saturday, October 22
(1916, U.S., approximately 60 minutes; silent.)
Directed by William S. Hart and Charles Swickard.
Saturday, October 29
(1974, U.S., 49 minutes.)
Directed by Martin Scorsese.
Saturday, November 5
(1966, U.S., 195 minutes.)
Directed by Andy Warhol; with Ondine, Gerard Malanga, Ingrid Superstar, Nico, Brigid Berlin, Mario Montez, Mary Woronov, International Velvet and music by The Velvet Underground.Part Two:
February 4, 2012
(1950, U.S., 81 minutes.)
Directed by Ida Lupino; with Sally Forrest, Keefe Brasselle and Hugh O’Brien.
A MoMA Treasury of Short Films with Introduction
February 11, 2012
Commentary by Rajendra Roy, Celeste Bartos Chief Curator of Film, and Anne Morra, Associate Curator, Department of Film, The Museum of Modern Art (47 minutes).
“The Great Train Robbery”
(1903, U.S., approximately 11 minutes.)
Directed by Edwin S. Porter.
(1921, U.S., 3 minutes; silent.)
Directed by Walt Disney.
“Popeye the Sailor Meets Sinbad the Sailor”
(1936, U.S., 17 minutes.)
Directed by Dave Fleischer.
“New Sensations in Sound”
(1949, U.S., 2 minutes.)
Directed by Mary Ellen Bute.
(1955, U.S., 13 minutes.)
Directed by Ken Jacobs.
(1912, U.S.; silent.)
Directed by Mack Sennett; with Mabel Normand, Charles H. West and William J. Butler.
“Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song”
February 18, 2012
(1971, U.S., 98 minutes.)
Directed by Melvin Van Peeples; with Melvin Van Peebles, Simon Chuckster and Hubert Scales.
February 25, 2012
(1930, U.S., 93 minutes.)
Directed by D. W. Griffith; with Walter Huston.
“It Should Happen to You”
March 3, 2012
(1954, U.S., 87 minutes.)
Directed by George Cukor; with Judy Holliday and Jack Lemmon.
March 10, 2012
(1957, U.S., 94 minutes.)
Directed by Otto Preminger; with David Niven, Deborah Kerr and Jean Seberg.
“Follow the Fleet”
March 17, 2011
(1936, U.S., 110 minutes.)
Directed by Mark Sandrich; with Fred Astaire, Ginger Rogers and Lucille Ball.Support
35mm projection facilities in the Rich Auditorium were provided by a gift from George Lefont. Preserved by The Museum of Modern Art with support from the Celeste Bartos Film Preservation Fund and Turner Classic Movies. Tickets
To purchase tickets in advance go to www.High.org, visit the Woodruff Arts Center Box Office or call 404-733-5000. Discount matinee at 2 p.m., $5; combo ticket (includes and film and Museum admission), $18; Museum members, free. Evening screening at 8 p.m., $7; Museum members, students with ID and seniors, $6; Patron-level members, free. Tickets may also be purchased at the door on the night of the screening. The High Museum of Art
The High Museum of Art, founded in 1905 as the Atlanta Art Association, is the leading art museum in the southeastern United States. With more than 12,000 works of art in its permanent collection, the High Museum of Art has an extensive anthology of 19th- and 20th-century American and decorative art; significant holdings of European paintings; a growing collection of African American art; and burgeoning collections of modern and contemporary art, photography and African art. The High is also dedicated to supporting and collecting works by Southern artists and is distinguished as the only major museum in North America to have a curatorial department specifically devoted to the field of folk and self-taught art. The High’s media arts department produces acclaimed annual film series and festivals of foreign, independent and classic cinema. In November 2005 the High opened three new buildings by architect Renzo Piano that more than doubled the Museum’s size, creating a vibrant “village for the arts” at the Woodruff Arts Center in midtown Atlanta. For more information about the High, please visit www.High.org
. The Woodruff Arts Center
The Woodruff Arts Center is ranked among the top four arts centers in the nation. The Woodruff is unique in that it combines four visual and performing arts divisions on one campus as one not-for-profit organization. Opened in 1968, the Woodruff Arts Center is home to the Alliance Theatre, the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, the High Museum of Art and Young Audiences. To learn more about the Woodruff Arts Center, please visit www.woodruffcenter.org
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