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The Art of Set Design

Fri, Feb 26, 2021

Some of the most memorable films in history have had unforgettable art direction and design: the stylized soundstage recreation of Las Vegas in One From the Heart, the Overlook Hotel in Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining, the glass and steel Paris of Jacques Tati’s Play Time, and a built-to-scale recreation of Pennsylvania Station in Vincente Minnelli’s The Clock to name just a few. In this special online afternoon lecture on Zoom co-presented with New Plaza Cinema, film historian Max Alvarez analyzes the art of classic, non-CGI motion picture set and production design and the dazzling filmed results. Ken Adam, William Cameron Menzies, Cedric Gibbons, Alexander Trauner, and Richard Day will be among the designers whose astonishing achievements will be studied and celebrated. 

Ticket purchasers will receive an email confirmation. Please follow the link under “Important Information” to complete your registration with Zoom.

Films to be discussed (subject to change):

Intolerance (1916; set designers: Frank Wortman, Walter L. Hall, R. Ellis Wales)
Metropolis (1926; art directors: Otto Hunte, Erich Kettelhut, Karl Vollbrecht)
Sunrise (1927; art director: Rochus Giliese)
Dead End (1937; art director: Richard Day)
Gone With the Wind (1939; production designer: Willilam Cameron Menzies)
The Magnificent Ambersons (1942; art director: Mark Lee Kirk)
The Clock (1945; art directors: Cedric Gibbons & William Ferrari)
Beauty and the Beast (1946; Christian Bérard & Lucien Carré)
Cleopatra (1963; production designer: John DeCuir)
Dr. Strangelove …. (1964; production designer: Ken Adam; art director: Peter Murton)
Play Time (1967; production designer: Eugène Roman)
2001: A Space Odyssey (1968; production designers: Ernest Archer, Harry Lange, Tony Masters; art director: John Hoesli)
The Boy Friend (1971; production designer: Tony Walton)
New York, New York (1977; production designer: Boris Leven; art director: Harry Kemm)
The Shining (1980); production designer: Roy Walker; art director: Leslie Tomkins
The Cook, the Thief, His Wife, and Her Lover (production designers: Ben van Os & Jan Roelfs)
One From the Heart (1982; production designer: Dean Tavoularis)
Querelle (1982; production designer: Rolf Zehetbauer; art director: Walter Richarz)
Moon in the Gutter/ La lune dans le caniveau (1983; production designer: Hilton McConnico)
Les amants du Pont-Neuf (1991; production designer: Michel Vandestien; art director: Franck Schwarz)
Eyes Wide Shut (1996; production designer: Roy Walker; art director: Leslie Tomkins)
The Phantom of the Opera (2004; production designer: Anthony Pratt; art directors: John Fenner & Paul Kirby)

About Max Alvarez

Author, film historian, and public speaker Max Alvarez is a former visiting scholar and guest lecturer for the Smithsonian Institution and previously film curator at the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington, D.C. His partnerships have included University of California, Los Angeles and Berkeley; Museum of the Moving Image, New Plaza Cinema, Library of Congress, and the National Gallery of Art in D.C. Alvarez’s lecture topics range from the Cold War and political blacklisting to depictions of elections and the US presidency in Hollywood movies, immigration on film, China during the 20th Century, European women artists, censorship history, 20th century Jewish culture, and the British and American theater. Author of The Crime Films of Anthony Mann  and a major contributor to Thornton Wilder/New Perspectives, his latest book is The Cinéphile’s Guide to the Great Age of Cinema. maxjalvarez.com

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