DOCUMENTING WORLD WAR II: HOLLYWOOD SUPPORTS THE WAR EFFORT

As America plunged into World War II following the bombing of Pearl Harbor, members of the motion picture community rushed to assist in the war effort. Many of these highly-skilled film industry professionals lent their talents to the Army Pictorial Service (APS), a division of the U.S. Army Signal Corps. Established in 1942 by George C. Marshall, the APS counted among its most important tasks the visual documentation of the war.

In January 1943, director George Stevens joined the Army and was later selected to head the Special Motion Picture Coverage Unit (SPECOU) of the Allied Expeditionary Force. Working...
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DRAWING ON THE WATERFRONT

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You can almost hear Leonard Bernstein’s jazz score in this conceptual illustration by Richard Day for the 1954 classic, On the Waterfront, which will screen at the Academy on June 6 with special guest Eva Marie Saint. Working from the script, Day’s exploration of the film’s scenic design is a road map to its overall mood and look....
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PIECING TOGETHER JACQUES KAPRALIK

Using an assortment of materials including satin roses, yarn, buttons, fabric, paper, balsa wood and an array of small trinkets, Jacques Kapralik fashioned an immediately identifiable graphic style.

A commercial artist whose career began in Romania creating caricatures of European celebrities and events, Kapralik immigrated to the US in 1936 where he began rendering editorial caricatures focusing on movie personalities. This led to his best known and loved work, the trade ads he created for the movie studios...
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HAPPY BIRTHDAY, SAUL BASS

In honor of what would have been Saul Bass’ 94th birthday this week, we highlight some previously unseen photographs from the Academy’s Saul Bass Collection. In arguably his best known and most acclaimed film, “Why Man Creates” (1968, Academy Award® winner for Documentary Short Subject), the section entitled “The Process” features photographs and voices of influential figures. The sequence, which includes Thomas Edison, Ernes...
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DRESSING "THE TEN COMMANDMENTS"

In the Spring of 1952, Cecil B. DeMille announced that he would direct a remake of his 1923 biblical epic The Ten Commandments. As was typical of a DeMille film, the production involved hundreds of crew members and months of research and preparation, leaving not even the smallest detail unattended. For the period costuming required, DeMille relied on Paramount’s chief costume designer, Edith Head, to lead a team that included four other credited designers: Arnold Friberg, Dorothy Jeakins, Ralph Jester and John Jensen. In this image from the ...
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THE OPENING OF UNION STATION

In honor of Union Station's 75th Anniversary, Metro and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, in cooperation with the family of Ward Kimball, have restored the only known footage of the historic opening. Documented in the home movie, the parade drew half a million spectators to downtown Los Angeles.

The silent 6-minute color film clip features train engines, vintage automobiles, and spectators from the parade, which took place on May 3, 1939. The home movie was shot by legendary Disney animator Ward Kimball, creator of numerous classic Disney characters, including Jiminy Cricket in Pinocchio, Tweedledee and Tweedledum in Alice in Wonderland, and Lucifer the Cat in Cinderella. In 1970, Kimball received an Academy Award® for Best Short Subject (Cartoon) for “It’s Tough to be a Bird.”

Kimball was an avid railway enthusiast and collector of old railroad memorabilia. His personal film collection at the Academy Film Archive includes footage of Kimball’s own Grizzly Flats Railroad and documentation of a range of transportation technologies.

Help us build the world’s premier motion picture museum.


…And Now for Some Puppies

This vintage theater snipe comes from the Packard Humanities Institute Collection, the largest known acquisition of theatrical trailers on film, at the Academy Film Archive. The collection, which includes an array of theater advertisements such as this, was deposited at the Archive by David Packard in 2009. This historically significant collection contains over 60,000 moving images and has transformed the Academy Film Archive into the world’s foremost repository of motion picture trailers.

Join us for “Trailers in Love” a rare screening of vintage trailers at The Cinefamily on April 24th at 7:30, presented in partnership with the Academy Film Archive!




PRACTICALLY PERFECT IN EVERY WAY

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Illustrator Jim Schaeffing rendered this charming drawing for production designer Tony Walton for the Walt Disney movie Mary Poppins. After making his name in commercial illustration on the East Coast, Schaeffing moved his family west, where he landed a job at the Disney Studio. His first assignment was Darby O’Gill and the Little People (1959) before he was put to work on the studio’s adaptation of P.L. Travers’ novels.

Disney’s f...
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HIDDEN STORIES IN "THE COLOR PURPLE"

As Women’s History Month draws to a close, this week we take a look at the 1985 film adaptation of Alice Walker’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel The Color Purple. The story centers on Celie Harris Johnson as she struggles to find her voice and self-confidence while coming of age in the American South during the first half of the twentieth century.

While the narrative of The Color Purple is told from Celie’s point of view, there are two other female character...
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TWO FACES OF EVE

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The Lady Eve (1941) was written and directed by Preston Sturges and began a string of hits for him, including Sullivan’s Travels(1942) and The Palm Beach Story (1942). Sturges’ witty dialogue and use of slapstick comedy p...
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