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High presents 'Archival Gotham: NYC on Film'

Series kicks off Saturday as film enthusiasts will enjoy several popular favorites and historic films featuring New York City.

The Big Apple takes the big screen during summer 2012 as the presents “Archival Gotham: NYC on Film” on Saturdays during June and August.

Film enthusiasts will enjoy popular favorites and historic films featuring the capital of the world. Robert De Niro, Jodie Foster, Cybill Shepherd and Harvey Keitel appear in Martin Scorsese’s “Taxi Driver” and Marlon Brando commands the screen in “On The Waterfront,” winner of eight Academy Awards.

The series begins Saturday, June 9 with an 8 p.m. presentation from special guest Anne Morra, MoMA associate curator of film and curator of “Archival Gotham,” followed by a collection of six “Gotham Shorts” featuring Orson Welles directing and starring in “The Hearts of Age.”

The schedule includes:

-          June 9 at 7 p.m. at Rich Theatre – “Gotham Shorts” featuring six films (see details below)

-          June 16 at sunset at Sifly Piazza – “East Side, West Side” presented with piano accompaniment

-          June 23 at 7 p.m. at Rich Theatre – “Little Fugitive”

-          Aug. 11 at sunset at Sifly Piazza – “Taxi Driver”

-          Aug. 18 at 7 p.m. at Rich Theatre – “On The Waterfront”

-          Aug. 25 at 7 p.m. at Rich Theatre – “The Projectionist”

“This series focuses on classic films set in and around the streets of New York City, including iconic destinations such as Times Square, Coney Island and Manhattan’s vast subway system,” Virginia Shearer, associate director of education for public programs, said in a news release. “Our partnership with the Museum of Modern Art’s renowned film department made it possible to present these archival films in conjunction with the photograph exhibition Picturing New York.”

Tickets may be purchased in advance by visiting the Woodruff Arts Center Box Office, calling 404-733-5000 or going online to www.High.org. Admission prices for Rich Theatre films are $7 for the public and $6 for Museum members, students and seniors. Patron-level members enter free. Tickets may also be purchased at the door on the night of the screening. The outdoor films on the Sifly Piazza are free ticketed events. For reservationd please visit High.org or call the Woodruff Arts Center Box Office at 404-733-5000.

The Richard H. Rich Theatre is located in the Memorial Arts Building of the Woodruff Arts Center, adjacent to the High Museum of Art at 1280 Peachtree Street in Midtown Atlanta. Sifly Piazza is located between the Memorial Arts Building and High Museum of Art entrance.

Gotham Shorts:

“Interior N.Y. Subway, 14th Street to 42nd Street”

1905; U.S.A. Four minutes; silent. Produced by the American Mutoscope and Biograph Company

This silent actuality – an early non-fiction film that recorded real events, places, and things, similar to a documentary film, but the footage is not part of a larger narrative – is perhaps the earliest known motion picture footage of the New York City subway system.

“Interior N.Y. Subway, 14th Street to 42nd Street” was made by mounting a camera on the front of a subway car, with another car immediately following. Lighting in the darkened tunnels was provided by a work train running on a parallel track. The first subway car ran on Oct. 27, 1904; the oldest structure that is still in use was built in 1865 and is located in Brooklyn. MoMA holds an original 35mm four-hold nitrate negative, made at the time of the film’s release.

“The Hearts of Age”

1934; U.S.A. Eight minutes; silent. Directed by Orson Welles and William Vance, with Orson Welles and Virginia Nicholson.

While “The Hearts of Age” has little to do with New York, it is a wonder of a short film. Once thought to have been made in Woodstock, N.Y., it turns out that Welles and Vance made the film at The Todd Boys School in Woodstock, Ill. At age 19, Welles and his classmate William Vance created a story strongly influenced by the Surrealist art movement. Welles heads up the cast as Death, with Virginia Nicholson (who later became his first wife) portraying an old woman and a Keystone Kop. The 16mm reversal original was donated to MoMA in 1990 and preserved in 35mm in 2002.

Preserved by The Museum of Modern Art with support from the National Endowment for the Arts.

“The Tender Game”

1958; U.S.A. Six minutes. Produced by Faith Elliott and John Hubley. Directed by John Hubley.

“The Tender Game” is a lovely, lush valentine set to a beautiful rendition of the standard sung by Ella Fitzgerald. John Hubley and Faith Elliott were married in 1955 and moved to New York to open their animation studio, Storyboard Studio. Hubley was known for his previous work for the WPA and Screen Gems; he was the creator of the iconic character Mr. Magoo, whom he based on a quirky uncle. Faith Elliott, later known as Faith Hubley, was an important animator in her own right. From 1955 until John’s death in 1977, the pair made one new film every year. The preservation was carried out in 2008, when the Hubley family lent the original 1957 negative to MoMA.

“Architectural Millinery”

1952; U.S.A. Seven minutes. Produced by The Museum of Modern Art. Directed by Sydney Peterson.

A whimsical nonfiction short that looks at the roofline of buildings in New York City and compares them to hats, “Architectural Millinery” begins on the loggia of the MoMA building at 11 West 53rd Street. Narrated with a joyous yet sardonic tone by Henry Morgan and part of the early television series “Point of View,” after seeing this film audiences will understand why everyone is looking up in New York.

“Manhole Covers”

1954; U.S.A. Nine minutes. Produced by The Museum of Modern Art. Directed by Ruth Cade.

After looking skyward in “Architectural Millinery” it’s time to look down in “Manhole Covers.” Some may have noticed that the manhole covers lining the city streets each possess an individual and interesting design?  Some are geometric while others are more organic. “Manhole Covers” inspires audiences to consider what is going on under foot while walking city streets.

“Flushing Meadows”

1965; U.S.A. Nine minutes; silent. Directed by Joseph Cornell. Cinematography by Larry Jordan.

“Flushing Meadows” is a film about mourning. Artist Joseph Cornell befriended a young runaway named Joyce Hunter, who was later murdered by an ex-boyfriend. Cornell lived on Utopia Parkway in Flushing, Queens, for the entirety of his adult life, and this film was shot in the Flushing Cemetery in Queens, N.Y.

From November 1980 to January 1981, MoMA presented a retrospective of Cornell’s work. In P. Adams Sitney’s exhibition catalogue essay The Cinematic Gaze of Joseph Cornell, the film “Flushing Meadows” is mentioned in the filmography, but also noted is “present whereabouts unknown.” At the time of the catalogue’s publication, scholars such as Sitney were unable to confirm the existence of what was thought to be Cornell’s last film. In 1995 the Joseph and Robert Cornell Memorial Foundation donated to MoMA a vast collection of films made and collected by Joseph Cornell. It wasn’t until 2003 that MoMA discovered that the 16mm reversal original of “Flushing Meadows” was part of the collection donated by the Cornell Foundation.

Preserved by The Museum of Modern Art with support from the National Endowment for the Arts.

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