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Cinema 16: Documents toward a History of the Film Society

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Overview

As the most successful and influential film society in American history, Cinema 16 was a crucial organization for the creation of a public space for the full range of cinema achievement in the years following World War II. A precursor of the New York Film Festival, Cinema 16 screenings became a gathering place for New Yorkers interested not only in cinema, but in the use of media in the development of a more complete, effective democracy. For seventeen years, many of the leading intellectuals and artists of the time came together as part of a membership society of thousands to experience the creative programming of Cinema 16 director, Amos Vogel. What audiences saw at Cinema 16 changed their lives and had an enduring impact not only on the New York City cultural scene, but nationwide. Vogel's distribution of landmark documentary and avant-garde films helped make a place for many films that could never have had commercial release, given the pressures of commercialism and censorship during the postwar era.

Vogel's commitment to the broadest range of cinema practice led him to develop a programming strategy, inherited from the European cine-club movement, that involved confronting audiences with such a wide range of cinematic forms that viewers left the theater considering not only the often remarkable films Vogel showed, but the place of Cinema itself in modern life.

Cinema 16: Documents Toward a History of the Film Society is the first book on Cinema 16. Scott MacDonald provides a sense of the life and work of the society, using the complete Cinema 16 program announcements, selected letters between Vogel and the filmmakers whose films he showed; selections from the program notes that accompanied Cinema 16 screenings, theoretical essays by Vogel on curating independent cinema; conversations between MacDonald and Cinema 16 members; photographs and stills; and a variety of other documents.

Author Biography: Scott MacDonald is Professor of Emeritus of English and Film at Utica College of Syracuse University. He is the author of seven previous books, including the acclaimed, multi-volume A Critical Cinema.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781566399234
  • Publisher: Temple University Press
  • Publication date: 2/28/2005
  • Series: Wide Angle Books Series
  • Format: Library Binding
  • Pages: 488
  • Product dimensions: 7.22 (w) x 10.20 (h) x 1.08 (d)

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
Acknowledgments
Introduction 1
An Interview with Amos Vogel 37
An Interview with Marcia Vogel 63
An Interview with Jack Goelman 71
The Documents
Letter to Frank Stauffacher from Amos Vogel (Vogelbaum), 9/1/47 77
Letter to Amos Vogel (Vogelbaum) from Frank Stauffacher, 9/20/47 79
Conversation with Cecile Starr, 12/19/00 81
Letter to Frank Stauffacher from Amos Vogel, 10/2/47 84
Letter to Frank Stauffacher from Amos Vogel, 10/16/47 85
Program Notes by Amos Vogel for Cinema 16's First Program, November 1947 86
Archer Winsten, "Cinema 16's Project Starts Auspiciously," New York Post, November 6, 1947 89
Letter to Amos Vogel from Kenneth Anger, 11/20/47 90
Letter to Sidney Peterson from Amos Vogel, 11/28/47 91
Archer Winsten, "Cinema 16's Fast Start Continues for 2nd Bill," New York Post, 12/4/47 92
Letter to Amos Vogel from Gregory Markopoulos, 12/6/47 93
Letter to Amos Vogel from Sidney Peterson, 12/12/47 95
Letter to Robert Flaherty from Amos Vogel, 12/17/47 97
Letter to Kenneth Anger from Amos Vogel, 12/17/47 98
Letter to Amos Vogel from Joseph Cornell, 1/19/48 99
Letter to Robert Flaherty from John Grierson, 1/27/48 100
Letter to Amos Vogel from Kenneth Anger, 2/13/48 102
Program Announcement: Spring 1948 102
Letter to Amos Vogel from Joseph Cornell, 6/22/48 104
Letter to Amos Vogel from Sidney Peterson, 6/25/48 105
James Agee, Review in The Nation, 7/3/48 107
Letter to Amos Vogel from Gregory Markopoulos, 7/8/48 108
Letter to Robert Flaherty from Amos Vogel, 11/8/48 110
Program Announcement, Fall 1948 111
Program Announcement, Spring 1949 112
Program Notes by James Broughton for Mother's Day, Shown on March 9, 1948 115
Letter to Amos Vogel from Jordan Belson, 3/18/49 116
Letter to Amos Vogel from James Broughton, 3/25/49 118
Letter to Amos Vogel from Joseph Cornell, 4/9/49 119
Letter to James Broughton from Amos Vogel, 4/12/49 120
Letter to Amos Vogel from Frank Stauffacher, Circa 4/49 122
Letter to Amos Vogel from Sidney Peterson, 5/23/49 124
Letter to Amos Vogel from Gregory Markopoulos, 5/31/49 125
Letter to Gregory Markopoulos from Amos Vogel, 6/8/49 126
Letter to Amos Vogel from Frank Stauffacher, 7/15/49 127
Mr. Harper, "The Only Path," Harper's, 7/49 128
Amos Vogel, "Film Do's and Don'ts," Saturday Review, 8/20/49 130
Program Announcement, Fall 1949 133
Archer Winsten, "Cinema 16 Begins Its Third Season," New York Post, 9/14/49 135
Letter to Amos Vogel from Frank Stauffacher, 10/17/49 137
Letter to Frank Stauffacher from Amos Vogel, 11/15/49 138
Letter to Gregory Markopoulos from Amos Vogel, 12/15/49 140
Program Announcement, Spring 1950 141
Program Notes by Arthur Knight for Arne Sucksdorff's Valley of Dreams and A Divided World, Shown in March 1950 143
Program Notes by Parker Tyler for Sidney Peterson's The Lead Shoes, Shown in May 1950 145
Letter to Amos Vogel from Parker Tyler, 5/11/50 147
Letter to Amos Vogel from Joseph Cornell, 6/3/50 148
Letter to Amos Vogel from Gregory Markopoulos, 6/13/50 148
Letter to Gregory Markopoulos from Amos Vogel, 9/18/50 149
Letter to Amos Vogel from Gregory Markopoulos, Circa 9/50 150
Program Announcement, Fall 1950 151
Letter to Amos Vogel from Sidney Peterson, 10/21/50 154
Letter to Amos Vogel from Frank Stauffacher, 1/6/51 156
Program Announcement, Spring 1951 158
Letter to Amos Vogel from Frank Stauffacher, 5/4 and 5/29, 1951 160
Letter to Amos Vogel from Kenneth Anger, 6/23/51 163
Letter to Amos Vogel from Hans Richter, ?/?/51 164
Program Announcement, Fall 1951 165
Program Announcement, Spring 1952 168
Program Notes Compiled from Various Authors for Georges Franju's The Blood of the Beasts and Kenneth Anger's Fireworks, Shown in May 1952 171
Parker Tyler, "Rashomon as Modern Art," Cinema 16 Pamphlet (1952) 175
Letter to Amos Vogel from Jean Renoir, 8/11/52 182
Program Announcement, Fall 1952/Spring 1953 183
Letter to Amos Vogel from Kenneth Anger, 12/8/52 187
Letter to Amos Vogel from Kenneth Anger, 1/31/53 190
Letter to Scott MacDonald from George Stoney, 3/22/01 192
Program Announcement, Spring 1953 193
Letter to Kenneth Anger from Amos Vogel, 4/23/53 195
Program Announcement, Fall 1953/Spring 1954 196
"Poetry and the Film: A Symposium" (with Maya Deren, Willard Maas, Arthur Miller, Dylan Thomas, Parker Tyler), 10/28/53 202
Program Notes by Amos Vogel in Response to Survey of Cinema 16 Membership, Fall 1953 213
Conversation with Robert Kelly, 12/19/00 218
Program Notes by Dr. Rene A. Spitz for Grief, Shown in January 1954 220
Letter to Amos Vogel from Willard Maas, 1/6/54 222
Letter to Amos Vogel from Kenneth Anger, 2/23/54 223
Program Announcement, Spring 1954 225
Letter to Cinema 16 from T. S. and Response by Amos Vogel, from May 1954 Program Notes 226
Letter to Amos Vogel from Gerd Stern, 5/9/54 227
Letter to Amos Vogel from Kenneth Anger, 5/19/54 228
Letter to Amos Vogel from Gerd Stern, 5/24/54 230
Letter to Kenneth Anger from Amos Vogel, 5/24/54 231
Letter to Gerd Stern from Amos Vogel, 6/1/54 232
Letter to Amos Vogel from Harry Partch, 6/3/54 233
Letter to Amos Vogel from Kenneth Anger, 7/9/54 234
Letter to Kenneth Anger from Amos Vogel, 8/19/54 236
Letter to Amos Vogel from Kenneth Anger, 8/28/54 237
Letter to Amos Vogel from Luis Bunuel, 9/17/54 239
Letter to Kenneth Anger from Amos Vogel, 9/21/54 240
Program Announcement, Fall 1954/Spring 1955 241
Letter to Amos Vogel from Kenneth Anger, 11/26/54 246
Letter to Madeline Tourtelot from Amos Vogel, 1/11/55 248
Transcript of Tape Recording Made by King Vidor and Played at Cinema 16 on 2/1/55 at screening of Hallelujah 249
Letter to Amos Vogel from Kenneth Anger, 2/11/55 252
Letter to Kenneth Anger from Amos Vogel, 2/18/55 253
Letter to Amos Vogel from Kenneth Anger, 3/1/55 254
Program Announcement, Spring 1955 255
Letter to Amos Vogel from Kenneth Anger, 4/27/55 257
Letter to Kenneth Anger from Amos Vogel, 5/3/55 258
Amos Vogel, "Cinema 16 and the Question of Programming," Film Culture, no. 3 (1955) 259
Letter to Barbara Stauffacher [Solomon] from Amos Vogel, 8/22/55 262
Program Announcement, Fall 1955/Spring 1956 263
Letter to Amos Vogel from Samson de Brier, 9/1/55 267
Letter to Samson de Brier from Amos Vogel, 9/12/55 270
Letter to Amos Vogel from Kenneth Anger, 10/15/55 271
Letter to Madeline Tourtelot from Amos Vogel, 11/8/55 271
Letter to Amos Vogel from Madeline Tourtelot, 11/11/55 272
Letter to Amos Vogel from Willard Maas, 1/9/56 273
Program Announcement, Spring 1956 275
Conversation with Carmen D'Avino, 2/16/85 276
Letter to Amos Vogel from Stan Brakhage, 3/27/56 278
Program Notes by Stan Brakhage for Reflections on Black, Shown in April 1956 280
Letter to Kenneth Anger from Amos Vogel, 4/23/56 282
Letter to Amos Vogel from Fred Zinnemann, 6/6/56 283
Program Announcement, Fall 1956/Spring 1957 287
Letter to Amos Vogel from Kenneth Anger, 2/19/57 288
Program Announcement, Spring 1957 290
Program Notes by Amos Vogel for Roberto Rossellini's The Flowers of St. Francis, Shown in February 1957 290
Letter to Amos Vogel from Stan Brakhage, 3/25/57 293
Letter to Kenneth Anger from Amos Vogel, 4/27/57 294
Letter to Amos Vogel from Stan Brakhage, 5/13/57 295
Letter to Amos Vogel from Stan Brakhage, 7/28/57 297
Conversation with Stan Brakhage, 11/30/96 298
Program Announcement, Fall 1957/Spring 1958 300
Letter to Stan Brakhage from Amos Vogel, 10/11/57 306
Letter to Amos Vogel from Stan Brakhage, 10/21/57 307
Letter to Amos Vogel from Kenneth Anger, 10/29/57 311
Letter to Amos Vogel from Stan Brakhage, 11/1/57 312
Letter to Stan Brakhage from Amos Vogel, 11/4/57 314
Letter to Amos Vogel from Stan Brakhage, 11/8/57 316
Letter to Kenneth Anger from Amos Vogel, 11/27/57 317
Letter to Amos Vogel from Stan Brakhage, 12/2/57 318
Letter to Amos Vogel from Lindsay Anderson, 12/14/57 320
Letter to Amos Vogel from Kenneth Anger, 1/8/58 323
Letter to Lindsay Anderson from Amos Vogel, 2/3/58 324
Program Notes by Gideon Bachmann for Benjamin Christensen's Witchcraft Through the Ages, Shown in February 1958 327
Program Announcement, Spring 1958 332
Letter to Amos Vogel from Agnes Varda, 6/30/58 334
Amos Vogel, "The Angry Young Film Makers," Evergreen Review, November/December 1958 336
Program Announcement, Fall 1958/Spring 1959 345
Program Notes by Siegfried Kracauer for Fritz Hippler's The Eternal Jew, Shown in November 1958 351
Conversation with Melvin Van Peebles, 1/18/01 354
Program Announcement, Spring 1959 356
Archer Winsten, "Rages and Outrages," New York Post, 3/2/59 357
Jonas Mekas, "Movie Journal," Village Voice, 9/16/59 359
Program Announcement, Fall 1959/Spring 1960 360
Conversation with Ed Emshwiller, 1/4/85 367
Letter to John Cassavetes from Amos Vogel, 11/17/59 369
Letter to John Cassavetes from Amos Vogel, 11/20/59 372
Letter to Amos Vogel from John Cassavetes, 1/19/60 373
Program Announcement, Spring 1960 374
Program Announcement, Fall 1960/Spring 1961 376
Program Notes Compiled by Amos Vogel for the 1960 Creative Film Awards Presentation in January 1961 382
Conversation with Robert Breer, 12/19/00 386
Letter to Amos Vogel from Joseph Campbell, 10/10/61 388
Program Announcement, Spring 1961 389
Program Announcement, Fall 1961/Spring 1962 390
Dwight Macdonald, "Some Animadversions on the Art Film," Esquire, 4/62 395
Amos Vogel, "Riposte from Cinema 16," Esquire, 9/62 401
Conversation with P. Adams Sitney, 5/20/00 403
Program Announcement, Fall 1962/Spring 1963 405
Letter to Friends of Cinema 16 from Amos Vogel, 2/63 411
Nat Hentoff, "Last Call for Cinema 16," Village Voice, 2/21/63 413
Conversation with Jonas Mekas, 5/24/85 416
Archer Winsten, "Rages and Outrages," New York Post, 3/11/63 418
Final Cinema 16 Distribution Catalog Film Listings, 1963 419
Letter to Amos Vogel from Stan Brakhage, 11/66 427
Amos Vogel, "Thirteen Confusions," Evergreen Review, 7/67 428
Amos Vogel, "The Eternal Subversion," from Film As a Subversive Art (New York: Random House, 1974) 435
Amos Vogel, "Foreword" to the New German Edition of Film As a Subversive Art (Vienna: Hannibal Verlag, 1997) 437
Index 439
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