SUNDAY,MAY 22 -5 pm @ the Egyptian Theatre-William Cameron Menzies & Barrymore’s “Beloved Rogue”
Jim Curtis & I are getting to be bosom buddies, and the LARE is happy continue to bring his excellent book, “William Cameron Menzies: The Shape of Films to Come” to as many screenings as we possibly can .
It will be a pleasure to join him once for again & to see some more John Barrymore too!
ART DIRECTORS GUILD FILM SOCIETY SERIES 2016
THE BELOVED ROGUE Co-presented by the Art Directors Guild Film Society
William Cameron Menzies was likely the most celebrated art director in silent motion pictures for his work on such extraordinary films as THE THIEF OF BAGDAD (1924). He won the first Oscar for Art Direction for THE DOVE (1927), and in 1936 directed the landmark sci-fi epic THINGS TO COME. In 1939 he took a step forward in filmic visualization so profound that an entirely new term had to be coined: production designer. For previsualizing and supervising the entire look of GONE WITH THE WIND, Menzies received the first Academy Award for Production Design.
With live musical accompaniment by Cliff Retallick.
Discussion following with James Curtis, author of William Cameron Menzies: The Shape of Films to Come, who will sign his book in the lobby at 5:00 PM. Program moderated by production designer John Muto.
35 mm! THE BELOVED ROGUE 1927, BFI, 99 min, Dir: Alan Crosland Based on the life of poet François Villon, this silent is set in William Cameron Menzies’ fantastic vision of 15th-century Paris and is packed with adventure and laughs. Star John Barrymore described Villon as a “poet, pickpocket, patriot – loving France earnestly, French women excessively, and French wine exclusively.” With Conrad Veidt as King Louis XI.
About the Book: He was the consummate designer of film architecture on a grand scale, influenced by German expressionism and the work of the great European directors. He was known for his visual flair and timeless innovation, a man who meticulously preplanned the color and design of each film through a series of continuity sketches that made clear camera angles, lighting, and the actors’ positions for each scene, translating dramatic conventions of the stage to the new capabilities of film. Here is the long-awaited book on William Cameron Menzies, Hollywood’s first and greatest production designer, a job title David O. Selznick invented for Menzies’ extraordinary, all-encompassing, Academy Award–winning work on Gone With the Wind (which he effectively co-directed).
It was Menzies—winner of the first-ever Academy Award for Art Direction, jointly for The Dove (1927) and Tempest (1928), and who was as well a director (fourteen pictures) and a producer (twelve pictures)—who changed the way movies were (and still are) made, in a career that spanned four decades, from the 1920s through the 1950s. His more than 120 films include Rosita (1923), Things to Come (1936), Foreign Correspondent (1940), Kings Row (1942), Mr. Lucky (1943), The Pride of the Yankees (1943), For Whom the Bell Tolls (1943), Address Unknown (1944), It’s a Wonderful Life (1947), Invaders from Mars (1953), and Around the World in 80 Days (1956).
Now, James Curtis, acclaimed film historian and biographer, writes of Menzies’ life and work as the most influential designer in the history of film. His artistry encompassed the large, scenic drawings of Douglas Fairbanks’ The Thief of Bagdad (1924), which created a new standard for beauty on the screen and whose exotic fairy-tale sets are still regarded as pure genius. (“I saw The Thief of Bagdad when it first came out,” said Orson Welles—he was, at the time, a nine-year-old boy. “I’ll never forget it.”) Curtis writes of Menzies’ design and supervision of John Barrymore’s Beloved Rogue (1927), a film that remains a masterpiece of craft and synthesis, one of the most distinctive pictures to emerge from Hollywood’s waning days of silent films, and of his extraordinary, opulent appointments for Gone With the Wind (1939). It was Menzies who defined and solidified the role of art director as having overall control of the look of the motion picture, collaborating with producers like David O. Selznick and Samuel Goldwyn; with directors such as D. W. Griffith, Raoul Walsh, Alfred Hitchcock, Lewis Milestone, and Frank Capra. And with actors as varied as Ingrid Bergman, W. C. Fields, Cary Grant, Clark Gable, John Barrymore, Barbara Stanwyck, Ronald Reagan, Gary Cooper, Vivien Leigh, Carole Lombard, Mary Pickford, Gloria Swanson, and David Niven.
Interviewing colleagues, actors, directors, friends, and family, and with full access to the William Cameron Menzies family collection of original artwork, correspondence, scrapbooks, and unpublished writing, Curtis brilliantly gives us the path-finding work of the movies’ most daring and dynamic production designer: his evolution as artist, art director, production designer, and director. Here is a portrait of a man in his time that makes clear how the movies were forever transformed by his startling, visionary work. (With 16 pages of color illustrations, and black-and-white photographs throughout.)
About James Curtis: JAMES CURTIS is the author of Spencer Tracy: A Biography, W. C. Fields: A Biography (winner of the 2004 Theatre Library Association Award, Special Jury Prize), James Whale: A New World of Gods and Monsters, and Between Flops: A Biography of Preston Sturges. Curtis is married and lives in Brea, California.