Projection Booth Tours

A gift of the Century Projector Company, the Century Model C projectors have been installed in the Dryden Theatre since it opened in 1951. These MacHines are "closed head" projectors, so called because the entire film path from feed magazine to takeup magazine is enclosed. This makes them safer for running nitrate print film. Other safety features on the projectors include fire rollers or fire valves located between the body of the projector and the film magazines and a fire shutter. The fire rollers help prevent a fire from spreading to the roll of film in either magazine. The fire shutter cuts off the hot beam of light when the projector is either slowed down or stopped, helping to keep the film from catching fire. The projectors were originally set up with carbon arc lamphouses, replaced in 1979 with xenon light sources as carbons were being gradually phased out. The Century projectors' sound reproducers have also been upgraded over the years to ensure the best possible sound from vintage sound tracks. The projection booth of the Dryden Theatre also includes two Kinoton FP38E projectors for modern prints on 35mm and 16mm stock, as well as a Barco digital projector.

[source: Nitrate Picture Show program, 2017-May-5]

Anchors Aweigh screening

The Dryden will screen Anchors Aweigh (George Sidney, U.S. 1945, 143 min.) as part of the Nitrate Picture Show.

"Anchors Aweigh mixes music, uniforms and Hollywood cut-ups in such a show as only Hollywood could concoct. Gene Kelly is in there dancing superbly in more than one sequence. Frank Sinatra tags along with his largo vocalizing; Jose Iturbi knocks out some fancy boogie-woogie on the piano and Kathryn Grayson alternates between singing mock operatic arias and being cute. Since Isobel Lenart has written some amusing lines for the continuity and Joe Pasternak has produced the show with Technicolor extravagance, the film is satisfactory summer fare." — Howard Barnes, New York Herald Tribune, July 20, 1945

[source: George Eastman Museum calendar, 2017-May-5]

Siréna (The Strike), Žhavý jícen (Hot Throat) screenings

The Dryden will screen Siréna (The Strike, Karel Steklý, Czechoslovakia 1947, 77 min.) as part of the Nitrate Picture Show. The feature will be preceded by Žhavý jícen (Hot Throat, Jiří Lehovec, Czechoslovakia 1939, 12 min.): "An industrial short produced by Pražská železáÅ™ská společnost (Prague Ironworks Company) in 1939, the film contains footage from the shorts Výroba oceli (Steel Production, 1939)—today presumed lost—and Poklady zemÄ› (Treasures of the Earth, 1939), both directed by Karel Kohout."

"We greatly admired this picture, which resembles Carol Reed's film about the lives of Welsh miners, The Stars Look Down. This is that film's Czech counterpart, so to speak—a dignified and an even more brilliant counterpart, with its proletarian story about the working-class Hudcový family. It is an intense, extensively detailed, and often riveting picture about the bitter cycle of existence for the poor, a picture of misery and grief, warmed only by the rays of human love and hardened by the hate that compels one to clench their fists and come to blows—perhaps even wrongly." — Jan Žalman, Kino, May 9, 1947

[source: George Eastman Museum calendar, 2017-May-5]

Phanton of the Opera screening

The Dryden will screen Phanton of the Opera (Arthur Lubin, U.S. 1943, 92 min.) as part of the Nitrate Picture Show.

"Phantom of the Opera is far more of a musical than a chiller, though this element is not to be altogether discounted, and holds novelty appeal. Story is about the mad musician who haunts the opera house and kills off all those who are in his protege's way towards becoming the headliner. Tuneful operatic numbers and the splendor of the scenic settings in these sequences, combined with excellent group and solo vocalists, count heavily. Nelson Eddy, Susanna Foster and Jane Farrar (niece of operatic star Geraldine Farrar) score individually in singing roles and provide marquee dressing. Third act from [Friedrich von Flotow's opera] Martha and two original opera sketches based on themes from Chopin and Tchaikovsky have been skillfully interwoven. Outstanding performance is turned in by Claude Rains as the musician who, from a fixation seeking to establish the heroine as a leading opera star, grows into a homicidal maniac. Eddy, Foster, and Edgar Barrier, as the Parisian detective, are awkward in movement and speech, though much like opera performers restricted by their medium." — Variety, December 31, 1942

[source: George Eastman Museum calendar, 2017-May-5]

Alexander Nevsky (Alexander Nevsky), Le Sang des Bêtes (Blood of the Beasts) screenings

The Dryden will screen Alexander Nevsky (Alexander Nevsky, Sergei M. Eisenstein and Dmitriy Vasilev, Soviet Union 1938, 108 min.) as part of the Nitrate Picture Show. The feature will be followed by the short Le Sang des Bêtes (Blood of the Beasts, Georges Franju, France 1949, 22 min.): "a haunting documentary classic that details the daily operations of Paris slaughterhouses."

"In Nevsky, the white robes of the Teuton Ritter were associated with the themes of cruelty, oppression and death, while the color of black, attached to the Russian warriors, conveyed the positive themes of heroism and patriotism. This deviation from the generally accepted image for these colors would have been less surprising to the critics and press abroad (whose objections were very interesting in themselves) if they had recalled an astonishing and powerful passage of literature which I have since found for myself—the chapter called 'the Whiteness of the Whale,' in Melville's Moby Dick." — Sergei Eisenstein, The Film Sense, 1942

[source: George Eastman Museum calendar, 2017-May-5]

Night and the City screening

The Dryden will screen Night and the City (Jules Dassin, U.K./U.S. 1950, 111 min., format) as part of the Nitrate Picture Show.

"An exciting, suspenseful melodrama, . . . the story of a double-crossing heel who finally gets his just desserts. In this role, Richard Widmark scores a definite hit. And he has excellent support right down the line. Gene Tierney was cast for name value only. Jules Dassin, in his direction, manages extraordinarily interesting backgrounds, realistically filmed to create a feeling both of suspense and mounting menace." — Variety, December 31, 1949

[source: George Eastman Museum calendar, 2017-May-5]

Spellbound screening (2017-May-7 @ 1:30 p.m.)

The Dryden will screen Spellbound (Alfred Hitchcock, U.K. 1945, 111 min.)

"This writer has had little traffic with practitioners of psychiatry or with the twilight abstractions of their science, so we are not in a position to say whether Ingrid Bergman, who plays one in her latest film, Spellbound, is typical of such professionals or whether the methods she employs would yield results. But this we can say with due authority: if all psychiatrists are as charming as she—and if their attentions to all their patients are as fruitful as hers are to Gregory Peck, who plays a victim of amnesia in this fine film which came to the Astor yesterday—then psychiatry deserves such popularity as this picture most certainly will enjoy. For Miss Bergman and her brand of treatment, so beautifully demonstrated here, is a guaranteed cure for what ails you, just as much as it is for Mr. Peck. It consists of her winning personality softly but insistently suffused through a story of deep emotional content; of her ardent sincerity her lustrous looks and her easy ability to toss off glibly a line of talk upon which most girls would choke." — Bosley Crowther, New York Times, November 2, 1945

[source: George Eastman Museum calendar, 2017-May-5]

My Life with Nitrate lecture, Hisashi Okajima

In the Dryden Theatre, Hisashi Okajima will present a lecture titled My Life with Nitrate.

One of the most eminent personalities in the field of film preservation and curatorship, Hisashi Okajima (b. 1956, Aichi, Japan) is a prominent advocate of the cinematic experience in its original medium and formats. A key contributor to the activities of the International Federation of Film Archives (FIAF), he has championed film conservation through groundbreaking initiatives such as the Don't Throw Film Away! project. Thanks to his longtime efforts, the history of Japanese cinema is recognized in both academic and museum worlds. Okajima has been chief curator of the National Film Center (NFC) in Tokyo since 2005, after a 26-year involvement in NFC's undertakings in film restoration, exhibition, and collection development. Okajima contributed to the resurrection and public appreciation of many important Japanese films long considered lost. These titles are now preserved at NFC's film conservation facility in Sagamihara, one of the most advanced venues of its kind and a remarkable example of architectural design applied to the conservation of cinema artifacts. In the early 1990s, Okajima brought attention to a major collection of international silent films from Tomijiro Komiya (1897–1975), now celebrated worldwide for stunning nitrate prints of masterpieces such as Sylvester (Lupu-Pick, 1924), Gardiens de phare (Jean Grémillon, 1929), and L'Atlantide (Jacques Feyder, 1921). In his eloquent and inspired speeches, Okajima often draws imaginative parallels between the materiality of film stock and other aesthetic forms of human expression (his beautiful comparison between film and sushi is now legendary in the archival community). In this presentation, Okajima will draw upon his many years of professional involvement with the art of cinema to describe the unique and often dramatic story of nitrate film in Japan and to explain how many flammable prints miraculously survived the ravages of chemistry and history.

[source: Nitrate Picture Show program, 2017-May-5]

Blind Date with Nitrate

Language is the primary tool we use to communicate about cinema, but it is not cinema itself. We use language to contextualize the cinematic experience, to talk about the themes and content of film, to relate the emotional journey we've undergone through cinema. We use language to entice others to interact with particular pieces of cinematic art, to make it as exciting as possible before they have seen a frame of the film itself. But language is not cinema; it is a poor substitute. Cinema is expression through images, and the purest cinematic experiences retain certain indelible qualities that language is unable to adequately capture. Cinema is immersive, both visually and aurally; cinema is immediate in that it cannot be interrupted, nor encountered in the same way at another time; cinema is communal, shared among like-minded individuals. It is a unique experience in and of itself, a moment in time remembered but never recaptured. So what if we pared away the language about cinema and left only the language of cinema? Throughout this catalogue we have taken great pains to let the condition and provenance of the films speak for themselves, knowing that a print's background and care have a profound effect on its exhibition. In addition, we have added contemporaneous commentary, trading present-day interpretation in favor of immediate reactions at the time of the film's release. The Blind Date with Nitrate is our ultimate achievement in this endeavor. We offer no context other than a solitary image, a frame enlargement from the print itself. There is no language of enticement, no words to stand between you and the complete mystery of cinema. We offer instead an invitation—an invitation to communicate with cinema in your own way, free of context and expectation. We invite you to a singular immediate, immersive, and communal exhibition, with the hope of creating for you a cinematic moment that you will never forget.

[source: George Eastman Museum calendar, 2017-May-5]

Demonstration: Motion Picture Show on a 1905 Projector

For the first time, the Nitrate Picture Show presents this exceptional event, the exhibition of a 35mm print on a 1905 Lubin projector from the George Eastman Museum's extraordinary collection of motion picture apparatus. Todd Gustavson, curator of the technology collection, will operate the projector.

[source: Nitrate Picture Show program, 2017-May-5]