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From vision to visual style

November 06, 2002|Susan King | Times Staff Writer

In conjunction with its "Drawing Dreams" exhibition of the work of production designer Dante Ferretti, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is presenting a program of film clips and speakers titled "Arresting Images" on Thursday at its Samuel Goldwyn Theater. The academy developed the event in cooperation with the Art Directors Guild.

A committee of art directors worked for many months "to come up with a way of looking at the challenges production designers have faced over time," says Ellen Harrington, exhibition curator and special events programmer at the academy.

"The designer's job is really to create a world in which all of the emotional impact of the film can take place. Much of that comes from the designer's vision, and yet over time they have faced so many different physical production challenges. The show starts out at the silent era and comes all the way to the present," she says, and illustrates "how art directors respond to controlled lightning or sound stage versus shooting on the back lot."

Film clips range from Georges Melies "A Trip to the Moon" (1902) to last year's "The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring." Speakers include designers Robert Boyle, Terence Marsh, John Mansbridge, Ida Random and producer Polly Platt, who is hosting the evening.

The Art Directors Guild says it is thrilled with the attention because designers feel their contributions to films play second fiddle to directors and cinematographers.

"If we don't do our job, they have nothing to expose the negative on," says designer Tom Walsh. "We are the first invited to the party and often the first to be forgotten on the day of the party. I think with 'Arresting Images,' it's a great opportunity for us to toot our own horn."

In collaboration with the academy, the UCLA Film & Television Archive has put together a film festival paying tribute to production design. The three-week celebration, "The Art of Hollywood," kicks off Saturday evening with "The Godfather, Part II," which was designed by Dean Tavoularis.

Other movies in the festival are the offbeat 1930 sci-fi musical "Just Imagine" and the 1966 sci-fi thriller "Fantastic Voyage" (Nov. 10 matinee), the 1928 silent classics "The Crowd" and "The Wind" (Nov. 10 evening); Stanley Kubrick's "Barry Lyndon" (Nov. 21); and Alfred Hitchcock's "Vertigo" (Nov. 24). Henry Bumstead, the 87-year-old production designer on "Vertigo," is scheduled to speak.

"They have a good assortment of films," Walsh says. "Obviously, some of them are very recognizable like 'Barry Lyndon' and some of them are not. Hopefully, we'll have good speakers."

The festival, says UCLA programmer Mimi Broder, "was a wonderful excuse for us to program some of our favorite films -- films that moved us in some ways and left sort of a lasting visual impression." She says, "We aimed for diversity in terms of genre and subject matter, time periods and visual style."


`The Art of Hollywood'

Where: James Bridges Theater on the northeast corner of UCLA


Nov. 9 at 7:30 p.m.: "The Godfather, Part II"

Nov. 10 at 2 p.m.: "Just Imagine" and "Fantastic Voyage"

Nov. 10 at 7 p.m.: "The Crowd" and "The Wind"

Nov. 16 at 7:30 p.m.: "All That Heaven Allows" and "Leave Her to Heaven"

Nov. 17 at 2 p.m.: "The Shanghai Gesture" and "Cleopatra"

Nov. 21 at 7:30 p.m.: "Barry Lyndon"

Nov. 24 at 7 p.m.: "Vertigo"

Price: $7 for general; $5 for students and seniors and UCLA Alumni Assn. members with I.D. Kids' Flicks admission is $5 for all ages.

Contact: (310) 206-FILM or go to


`Arresting Images'

Where: Samuel Goldwyn Theater, Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, 8949 Wilshire Blvd.

When: Nov. 7 at 8 p.m.

Price: $5 for adults; $3 for academy members

Contact: (310) 247-3600

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