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Visual Music and Film-As-An-Art Before 1950

1. William Moritz, "Americans and Paris," in Lovers of Cinema: The First American Film Avant-Garde, 1919-1945 , ed. Jan-Christopher Horak (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1995). Clifford Howard, the Hollywood correspondent for the British magazine Close Up (3, no. 1 [July 1928]: 74), reports that the recently opened Filmarte was the third such art film cinema in Hollywood. [BACK]

2. Alexander Walker, Rudolph Valentino (New York: Stein and Day, 1976), 34; Kenneth Anger, Hollywood Babylon (San Francisco: Straight Arrow Books, 1975), 108-13. All information about Nazimova's Salomé was corroborated in my interviews with Samson DeBrier, 1973-75. [BACK]

3. Exact dating of early films can be difficult. Nazimova's Salomé was screened long before its official premiere. Robert E. Sherwood declared the film ( Life 80, no. 2071 [July 13, 1922]: 22.) "exceptional in every noteworthy sense of the word" and observed that "the persons responsible deserve the whole-souled gratitude of everyone who believes in the possibilities of the movies as an art." After the official premiere, Sherwood noted ( Life 81, no. 2099 [January 2.5, 1923]: 24) that the film had been waiting eight months for a distributor. Similarly, Warren Newcombe's Enchanted City played for a week at the Rivoli Theatre in New York as a novelty item on the vaudeville program before the feature; it received extravagant praise, including an editorial (unheard-of for a short) in Motion Picture World 54, no. 5 (February 4, 1922): 492, claiming the film ''has demonstrated that the surface of picture possibilities has only been scratched and that the field of endeavor is limited solely by human imagination." Despite dozens of favorable reviews, it was some eight months before The Enchanted City received official distribution and a formal premiere, at Grauman's Rialto Theatre in Los Angeles October 17, 1922 ( Motion Picture News 26, no. 19 [November 4, 1922]: 2314). Newcombe may have shot The Enchanted City in New York, since he had offices there, but he had also been working on Hollywood features such as the Rudolph Valentino Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse prior to that, and certainly after 1925 lived and worked exclusively in Los Angeles, considering himself a "Los Angeles painter." [BACK]

4. Documents on Warren Newcombe are in the Ferdinand Perret papers, Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution, roll 3861. [BACK]

5. Brian Taves, Robert Florey: The French Expressionist (Metuchen, N.J.: Scarecrow Press, 1987). [BACK]

6. Boris Deutsch, "Autobiographical Sketch," Jewish Community Press , November 18, 1938. The Skirball Museum of Hebrew Union College in Los Angeles has an album of clippings about Deutsch's painting from 1926 to 1947 that contains this article. This and other Deutsch clippings are also in the Ferdinand Perret papers, Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution, roll 3855. [BACK]

7. "Lullaby or Nightmare?" Los Angeles Record 32, no. 10631 (March 7, 1929): 2A. A copy of this article is in the Boris Deutsch papers, Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution. [BACK]

8. Demons from Hell, from Alexander Granovsky's production of Avrom Goldfadn's Tenth Commandment , wore facial makeup similar to that of the demons in Lullaby ; see Nahma Sandrow, Vagabond Stars: A World History of Yiddish Theater (New York: Harper and Row, 1977), 228. Even if Deutsch had not seen the modernist expressionist productions of the Vilna Troupe before he fled Russia, Michael Visaroff would certainly have been familiar with this new trend in Soviet Yiddish theater as well as the New York Yiddish Art Theater (Sandrow, 50). [BACK]

9. "Postsurrealism, the Supermodern: From California Comes an Answer to Old World Innovators," Literary Digest 122, no. 2 (July 11, 1936): 23. [BACK]

10. Stuart Timmons, The Trouble with Harry Hay (Boston: Alyson, 1990), 74-75, 86-87. [BACK]

11. Most relevant documents pertaining to the life and works of Maya Deren were published in a multivolume set: The Legend of Maya Deren (New York: Anthology Film Archive, 1984). [BACK]

12. Lynne Fauley Emery, Black Dance firm 1619 to Today (Princeton, N.J.: Dance Horizons, 1988), 252-55. [BACK]

13. William Moritz, "Towards a Visual Music," Cantrills Filmnotes , nos. 47-48 (August 1985): 35-42. [BACK]

14. Robert Pike, The Genius of Busby Berkeley (Reseda, Calif.: Creative Film Society, 1973). [BACK]

15. William Moritz, "The Films of Oskar Fischinger," Film Culture 58-60 (1974): 37-188. [BACK]

16. William Moritz, "Fischinger at Disney, or Oskar in the Mousetrap," Millimeter 5, no. 2 (February 1977): 25-28, 65-67. [BACK]

17. William Moritz, "You Can't Get Then from Now," Los Angeles Institute of Contemporary Art Journal 29 (Summer 1981): 26-40, 70-72. Joan Lukach, Hilla Rebay: In Search of the Spirit in Art (New York: Braziller, 1983), gives a good picture of Baroness Rebay's achievement in furthering abstract art and creating the Guggenheim Museum; since the book was produced under the auspices of the museum and the Hilla Rebay Foundation, however, the many documents quoted are carefully excerpted to avoid any suggestion of Rebay's sudden mood shifts, petulant and vituperative rants, and outrageous demands. In the section dealing with visual music, pages 211-25, there are numerous factual errors. For example, Viking Eggeling's Diagonal Symphony was made in 1924; Oskar Fischinger's Study No. 7 dates from 1931 and his Composition in Blue from 1935; he hoped to make a film, not for John Ford, but for Henry Ford (that is, the Ford Motors Pavilion at the 1939 New York World's Fair), and his Motion Painting No. 1 is not a silent film. [BACK]

18. Calvin Tomkins, The Bride and the Bachelors (New York: Viking, 1968), 86-87. [BACK]

19. Frank Judson and Jake Zeitlin were among the sponsors of the Southern California Film Society, which held morning screenings of unusual art films and early silents at the Filmarte Theatre during the late 1930s. [BACK]

20. Jack Quigg, "Fantastic Canvases: Lloyd Shows Thirty-five Paintings," Hollywood Citizen News , January 16, 1953, 2. [BACK]

21. Moritz, "You Can't Get Then from Now" (as in note 17), 35-40. [BACK]

22. Moritz, "Towards a Visual Music" (as in note 13), 40-42. The documents quoted here are in the archive of the Dockum Research Laboratory, Altadena, California, Greta Dockum, curator. [BACK]

23. Memo from Jack Donahue to Jean Hersholt, in the Margaret Herrick Library of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences, Beverly Hills, California. [BACK]

24. James Broughton, "Experimental Film in San Francisco," in Rolling Renaissance: San Francisco Underground Art in Celebration, 1945-1968 (San Francisco: Intersection, 1976), 25-26. [BACK]

25. Frank Stauffacher's papers have been acquired by the Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution. His brother, Jack Stauffacher, was interviewed by Paul Karlstrom on February 8, 1993, for the Archives of American Art oral history program. [BACK]

26. James Broughton, Coming Unbuttoned: A Memoir (San Francisco: City Lights, 1993), 85-100. [BACK]

27. Sara Kathryn Arledge, "The Experimental Film: A New Art in Transition," Arizona Quarterly 3, no. 2 (Summer 1947): 101-12. [BACK]

28. Frank Stauffacher, ed., Art in Cinema , exh. cat. (San Francisco Museum of Art, 1947). This also appeared later as an Arno reprint. [BACK]

29. Lewis Jacobs, "Experimental Cinema in America (Part 1: 1921-1941)," Hollywood Quarterly 3, no. 2 (Winter 1947): 111-24; and "Experimental Cinema, Part 2: The Postwar Revival," Hollywood Quarterly 3, no. 3 (Spring 1948): 278-92. The two parts were reprinted in Experiment in the Film , ed. Roger Manvell (London: Grey Walls Press, 1949), 113-52. [BACK]

30. William Moritz, "Abstract Film and Color Music," in The Spiritual in Art: Abstract Painting, 1890-1985 , exh. cat. (Los Angeles County Museum of Art; New York: Abbeville, 1986), 296-311. Key documents on Pollock in California can be found in the Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution, including interviews with Manuel Tolegian, February 12, 1965, and Frederick Schwankovsky, March 1, 1965, both by Betty Hoag. I interviewed Tony Smith in 1977 and Palmer Schoppe (an art student with Pollock in New York who visited Wilfred's studio with him) in 1985. [BACK]

31. A copy of this booklet is in the Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution, Frederick Schwankovsky papers, roll LA7, beginning at frame 754. [BACK]

32. William Moritz, "United Productions of America: Reminiscing 30 Years Later," ASIFA [Association Internationale du Film d'Animation] Canada Bulletin 12 no. 3 (December 1984): 14-22. [BACK]

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