Press Release
Press Release · Friday, February 20, 1998

Press Release
February 20, 1998
April Films at the National Archives and Records Administration

Washington, DC . . . The National Archives and Records Administration presents a free film series "America by Design," in conjunction with the exhibit "Designs For Democracy." Daytime showings will feature archival film, documentaries, and short subjects relating to architecture, design, and inventions. Evening screenings will present American feature films that represent outstanding examples of costume, set, and lighting design.

The screenings will be held in the theater of the National Archives Building, Pennsylvania Avenue between 7th and 9th Streets, NW and in the auditorium the National Archives at College Park, which is located at 8601 Adelphi Road, College Park, MD. All programs are free and open to the public. The times and dates may be verified by calling the National Archives public events line at (202) 501-5000.


Friday, April 3- America by Design
*Mary Jane Colter: House Made of Dawn, 1997. Focusing on the Native American and Spanish heritage of the Southwest, Mary Jane Coulter’s buildings provide a historical, cultural, and natural understanding of their environment. The filmmaker, Karen Bartlett, will introduce the screenings. Presented in participation with the Environmental Film Festival in the Nation’s Capital. (90 minutes.) Noon and 7 P.M. Theater.

Friday, April 10- America by Design
*Archival Film: Henry Ford and His Times. In the early 1900s the Ford Motor Company produced a series of educational short subjects that document the many innovations and technological advances of that time. The Ford Historical Film Collection was later donated to the National Archives. Today we present a selection of these films along with Mirror of America, a 1964 compilation film produced by the National Archives from the Ford Collection. (60 minutes.) Noon. Theater.

Thursday, April 16- America by Design
*Intolerance, 1916. D. W. Griffith’s epic silent film is a landmark in the history of cinema, not only for its innovations in editing and story structure but for its meticulously researched and detailed set and costume designs. Weaving four stories from different historical eras (ancient Babylon, the life of Christ, 16th-century France, and a "modern story"), the film traces the theme of man’s inhumanity to man. The sets for "The Babylonian Story," although criticized by contemporary film historians for their inaccuracies, were the largest and most expensive built up to that time. (178 minutes.) 6:30 P.M. Theater.

Friday, April 17- America by Design
*The Shakers: Hands to Work, Hearts to God, 1985, is filmmaker Ken Burns’s bittersweet portrait of 200 years of a truly original way of life. The film uses archival material to describe every aspect of the strange and noble sect that produced some of America’s greatest original furniture and architecture. (58 minutes.) Noon. Theater.

Friday, April 24- America by Design
*Better Housing News Flashes. In 1935 the Federal Housing Administration produced a newsreel-style series of short subjects on improvements and innovations in housing, architecture, and design. Today we present a selection of episodes. (30 minutes.) *The City, 1939, directed by Ralph Steiner and Willard Van Dyke, is a call to rebuild America’s cities in the form of planned communities. Musical score by Aaron Copland. Area residents will note that much of the film was shot locally in Greenbelt, MD. (33 minutes.) Noon. Theater.

Thursday, April 30- America by Design
*The Crowd, 1928. One of the last great films of the silent era, this King Vidor film was a triumph of the art of cinematography and lighting design. Influenced by the German Expressionist films of the time, The Crowd presents the tragic story of an idealistic American Everyman whose dreams and ambitions are threatened by the harsh realities of city life. (104 minutes.) 7 P.M. Theater.


APRIL 15-FILM *Archives Film: Henry Ford and His Times (60 minutes.) Noon.
*Intolerance (178 minutes.) 6:30 P.M.

APRIL 22-FILM *The Shakers: Hands to Work, Hearts to God (58 minutes.) Noon.

APRIL 29-FILM *Better Housing News Flashes & The City (63 minutes.) Noon.
*The Crowd (104 minutes.) 7 P.M.

For additional PRESS information, please contact the National Archives Public Affairs staff at (301) 837-1700 or by e-mail.


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