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New York's Museum of Modern Art celebrates the 100th anniversary of Technicolor
The Wizard of Oz. 1939. USA. Directed by Victor Fleming. Image courtesy Deutsche Kinemathek.

NEW YORK, NY.- On the occasion of the 100th-anniversary celebration of Technicolor, The Museum of Modern Art presents Glorious Technicolor: From George Eastman House and Beyond, a summer-long series of American films made between 1922 and 1955 (the year that Hollywood studios stopped using Technicolor three-strip cameras), with a delirious range of musicals, melodramas, swashbuckling and seafaring adventures, Biblical epics, Orientalist fantasies, Westerns, literary adaptations, homespun Americana, and even rare instances of film noir and 3-D. Running June 5 through August 5, 2015, the series comprises more than 60 feature films, along with a rich selection of cartoons, short subjects, industrials, trailers, and screen tests. Tracing the development of Technicolor as both a technology and an art form—and aspiring to remain faithful to the look of these films at the time they were made—all films are shown on celluloid, with many of the original dyetransfer prints and modern reprints drawn from the extensive collection of George Eastman House, the unique repository of the Technicolor Corporate Archive. Glorious Technicolor was initiated by George Eastman House and is presented as an ongoing collaboration with the Deutsche Kinemathek – Museum für Film und Fernsehen and the Berlin International Film Festival, together with the Austrian Film Museum. MoMA’s uniquely American-focused iteration of Glorious Technicolor was organized by Joshua Siegel, Curator, Department of Film.

Glorious Technicolor honors Technicolor’s most immortal achievements, presenting rare 35mm dye-transfer prints of The Wizard of Oz, Gone with the Wind, and Singin’ in the Rain. It also deepens and complicates our appreciation of Technicolor’s history—and our nostalgic memories of movie-palace dreams—by revisiting some of the more muted and delicate uses of Technicolor in earlier films like The Toll of the Sea and The Garden of Allah.

As curator Joshua Siegel observes, “Even as period advertisements for Technicolor heralded the process as uniquely ‘natural,’ and ‘truer to life’—a reflection of the painstaking efforts of the company’s technicians and color supervisors to achieve greater verisimilitude—filmmakers like Vincente Minnelli and Rouben Mamoulian were working closely with their cinematographers, production designers, costumers, and makeup artists to explore the expressive, fanciful, and even psychological uses of color by experimenting with light and shadow, chiaroscuro and sfumato, in emulation of Old Masters like El Greco, Titian, and Zurburán, or with the brash, electric colors and bold contours of Fauvists like Raoul Dufy.”

Glorious Technicolor features a number of appearances and lectures by experts in the field. On July 29, archivist Cassie Blake presents The Technicolor Trailer Show, drawing upon The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the world’s foremost repository of movie trailers, for a diverse selection of American movie trailers from the 1930s-1950s.

Glorious Technicolor culminates in a week of Technicolor cartoon classics spanning three decades, including Walt Disney’s Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Bambi, Fantasia, and Melody Time, as well as masterworks from the Fleischer Studios; Warner Bros. Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies; and United Productions of America (UPA). The selection was made, in part, by Academy Award–winning Pixar animator Ralph Eggleston, who presents several screenings, as does Theo Gluck, Walt Disney Studio Director of Library Restoration and Preservation. On August 1, John Canemaker, an Academy Award–winning filmmaker and animation historian, presents a screening of Fantasia and a lecture on his most recent history of The Walt Disney Studio, The Lost Notebook: Herman Schultheis and the Secrets of Walt Disney's Movie Magic (Weldon Owen, 2014).

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