Archive for the 'Motion Pictures' Category

Hey! You’re in my seat

Posted by on May 14 2013 | Motion Pictures

I decided to take a little stroll through the Dryden Theatre to see if there were any interesting seat labels from our current Take a Seat campaign (more here) – and I was in luck. Take a look at a few of my faves – the rest you’ll have to come in and see for yourself.

See you at the movies!


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More about the Dryden Theatre’s recent renovation here.

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Our tribute to Ray Harryhausen

Posted by on May 10 2013 | History, Motion Pictures

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Ray Harryhausen at the Dryden Theatre in 2004

The great Ray Harryhausen died on Tuesday. The pioneering animator and special effects artist visited us at the Dryden Theatre nine years ago this month to receive the George Eastman Honorary Scholar award. The house was sold out for this very special event. Harryhausen was a major influence on virtually every science fiction and fantasy filmmaker of the last 60 years. It was his imagination that created some of the most memorable and beloved creatures in the history of cinema.

Beginning with THE 7TH VOYAGE OF SINBAD he conceived ideas, drew conceptual artwork, supervised all animation sequences and served as co-producer of all his films. As John Landis pointed out in a Dryden interview only one week earlier, this fact makes Harryhausen that rare non-director to earn the designation of an auteur. It’s the realization of Harryhausen’s vision that you’re witnessing when you watch CLASH OF THE TITANS or JASON AND THE ARGONAUTS. Those are his films.

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Ray Harryhausen at the Dryden Theatre in 2004

Harryhausen was generous when he visited the Dryden. He signed autographs, posed for pictures and answered questions. His sense of humor put the audience at ease when he said
“Some people call me a geek. I don’t know what that means, but I guess it’s a compliment.”

He said that he will always be grateful to Kodak. When he got out of the Army he took with him 1000 feet of outdated Kodachrome stock that was going to be thrown out. He decided to try shooting some fairy tales and the color “still looks beautiful after all these years.”

It was the beginning of a legendary career in the movies.

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Joel Hodgson (MST3K) In Person // Ticket Giveaway

Posted by on Apr 30 2013 | Motion Pictures

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The Joel Hodgson (MST3K) is coming to town this Saturday May 4 at 8 p.m., to entertain with his brand new one-man show (Riffling Myself). We are looking forward to Hodgson diving into the stories of his B-movie insanity (think ventriloquist dummies and how MST3K took off.)

We’re giving a pair of tickets to this evening – one you won’t want to miss. Follow these two steps now, fast as you can!

1. Share this event on Facebook or Twitter. One or the other.

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2. Then, leave us a comment identifying which three episodes are captured in the stills below (you must get all three right!)

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*comment entries will be hidden until winner announced

Contest starts today – we’ll pick a winner and announce Wednesday April 30, at 12:00 p.m. EST.

Or take no chances and buy tickets today.
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Details of the Dryden Theatre’s New Atmosphere

Posted by on Apr 18 2013 | Motion Pictures


There are exactly five hundred seats in the new Dryden Theatre. This now makes it the largest archival film theatre in the United States. In a commercial venue we are consumers; in an art house theatre, we are an audience. But in a place like the Dryden, you and I become the witnesses of something more — something special. We are witnessing the beauty of a performing art, just like in a concert hall.

In a good work of art, the devil is in the details:

The art of cinema requires silence but also darkness, so we have provided the theatre with a new atmospheric color and with anti-reflective glass in the balcony. We want patrons to enjoy the time being spent while waiting for the show to start, so we have given the theatre a palette of ever-changing color light in the coves. We also want patrons to see films in their correct aspect ratio, so we have installed not only a brand new screen, but also an automated masking system that will allow all cinema in its proper format.


The seats are another example. The seats  have a pretty standard look, but — if you stand up, no one will hear the slightest sound, because we didn’t want you to be distracted during the screening if someone leaves. The old seats were beautiful, but boy, they were noisy.

More importantly, we want patrons to be able to discover all of the history of cinema, from its very beginnings to the present time. Did you know that there are only four theatres in the United States where you will be able to see digital cinema, 35mm, 16mm, and nitrate film, all in one place? The Dryden is one of these four theatres.

Behind the back wall of the auditorium there are people who are experts in the art and science of film exhibition: they are the film projectionists who know how to handle very film format ever devised. In the auditorium, there is a theatre manager whose duty is to ensure that you and I can see the film without undue distraction and knows the difference between an “OK” projection and a top class presentation.


Outside the theatre, in another area of the museum, a team of skilled technicians is in charge of preserving and making accessible films that were made twenty, fifty, and over one hundred years ago. Their duty is to make these films permanently accessible in their original form, now and for posterity.

That’s what art museums are about. That’s what makes a museum theatre different from any other venue.

-by Paolo Cherchi Usai, Senior Curator of Motion Pictures at George Eastman House 






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Many thumbs up for Roger Ebert’s Legacy

Posted by on Apr 05 2013 | Motion Pictures


Roger Ebert in 2006 at the Dryden Theatre at George Eastman House

Roger Ebert was such a good writer that he earned a Pulitzer Prize — the first film critic to earn the honor. And because he made major contributions to the art of film, George Eastman House bestowed upon him in 2006 the title of George Eastman Honorary Scholar.

Mr. Ebert passed away on April 4, 2013 at age 70, following a long battle with cancer. He leaves behind a great legacy, which was elevating film criticism to an art form. He influenced our thinking about cinema, from scriptwriting to acting, and motivated us to talk about it, either over coffee with friends or via scholarly discussions online.

When Mr. Ebert visited Eastman House, he was keenly interested in our film preservation efforts and publicly told the Dryden Theatre audience,

“George Eastman House is among the holy places of cinema, where films are loved and preserved.”

He also noted, “I won the Pulitzer Prize in 1975, but I know I’m supposed to sound more noble now that I’m a George Eastman Honorary Scholar.”


Roger Ebert and I in the Dryden Theatre lobby

On a personal note, I thoroughly enjoyed meeting and talking with Roger Ebert, who kindly participated in a press conference with our local news outlets – he was approachable, generous and, for certain, a font of knowledge in regard to film.

Over the last few years, I stayed in contact with Mr. Ebert, who remained a passionate supporter of the museum. When the museum gave an award last year to Richard Gere, I needed a single quote that would sum up the breadth of Gere’s career. I wrote to Mr. Ebert and he came through immediately for us.

When the Eastman House acquired the Merchant Ivory Productions film archive in 2010, I needed the perfect quote for the press release, to reflect the importance of these treasures and the brilliance of the Merchant Ivory team. I asked Roger Ebert for that quote, and he readily shared one:

“Working fruitfully over five decades, the team of Merchant and Ivory held steady with a vision centering on the adaptation of great literature to the screen. Without compromise, observing the highest standards, they made intelligent and worthy films that remain memorable.” And he signed the email, “Cheers, R”.

And the above quote is quite relevant since this past week we lost the writing powerhouse of the Merchant Ivory team, Ruth Prawer Jhabvala.

James Ivory, also a George Eastman Honorary Scholar, is joining us in person at the Dryden Theatre tomorrow evening. With his help, we will salute these legends and be proud of their connections to our film collections as well as their place in film history.



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