406 Martha Graham: Dance on Film

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Buttery Jeb
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406 Martha Graham: Dance on Film

#1 Post by Buttery Jeb » Fri Jun 15, 2007 3:04 pm

Martha Graham: Dance on Film

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One of the great artistic forces of the twentieth century, performer, choreographer, and teacher Martha Graham influenced dance worldwide. Criterion presents a sampling of her stunning craft, all collaborations with television arts-programming pioneer Nathan Kroll. A Dancer's World (1957), narrated by Graham herself, is a glimpse into her class work and methodology. Appalachian Spring (1958) and Night Journey (1961) are two complete Graham ballets, the first a celebration of the American pioneer spirit, scored by Aaron Copland, the second a powerfully physical rendering of the Oedipus myth. These are signature Graham works and tributes to the art of the human body.

SPECIAL EDITION DOUBLE-DISC SET FEATURES

• New, restored high-definition digital transfers of three films: A Dancer's World, Appalachian Spring, Night Journey
• Martha Graham: The Dancer Revealed, a 1994 documentaryproduced for PBS's American Masters series
• A comparison of Appalachian Spring with an archival performance, by dance critic and historian Deborah Jowitt
• Excerpts from a television pilot featuring composer Aaron Copland discussing his work on Appalachian Spring
• A visual essay on working with Graham, narrated by Nathan Kroll
• New interview with Museum of Television and Radio curator Ron Simon, discussing Kroll's work and legacy
• Interviews with the films' editors, Eleanor Hamerow and Miriam Arsham
• New interviews with six dancers from the films: Mimi Cole, Mary Hinkson, Linda Hodes, Stuart Hodes, Yuriko Kikuchi, and Ethel Winter
• Excerpts from a 1975 filmed technique demonstration by Graham's company, narrated by Graham
• Footage of Graham's company from a 1954 European tour
• PLUS: A booklet featuring a new essay by dance critic Joan Acocella

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....
Nathan Kroll. Coming in September.

Yeah, that's what I said.

-BJ

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#2 Post by souvenir » Fri Jun 15, 2007 3:07 pm

When I saw this, after picking my jaw up off the floor, I went to IMDB and it doesn't seem to be there. Nathan Kroll has three director's credits and a producer credit for Martha Graham: An American Original in Performance. I'd say this title out-Koko's Koko in the curveball department.

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#3 Post by Jeff » Fri Jun 15, 2007 3:41 pm

Martha Graham: Dance on Film was released on laserdisc by Voyager in 1995. I believe it contains the same three performances as Martha Graham: An American Original in Performance.

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#4 Post by Tribe » Fri Jun 15, 2007 3:48 pm

This is one of those strange releases that Criterion comes out with every now and then. I can only imagine that people were equally perplexed when they released the Beastie Boys collection back in the day.

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#5 Post by jbeall » Fri Jun 15, 2007 5:04 pm

souvenir wrote:I'd say this title out-Koko's Koko in the curveball department.
I'm glad Criterion releases stuff I've never heard of, but damn!!!! It's one thing to release relatively unknown films, but I wonder who'll actually pick up a copy of this.

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#6 Post by Tribe » Fri Jun 15, 2007 5:11 pm

It's not like Martha Graham is an unknown. I don't think I exaggerate if I say that she may very well be one of the most celebrated dancers the USA has ever produced (not that I know anything about dance, mind you). So, I think it will find a market...I just find the release curious because I always expect a film from Criterion, not something like this (or the Beastie Boys). But having said that, I'd buy it...I'm interested in learning something about Martha Graham and this looks like a pretty full package of stuff.

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#7 Post by jbeall » Fri Jun 15, 2007 5:19 pm

Tribe wrote:It's not like Martha Graham is an unknown. I don't think I exaggerate if I say that she may very well be one of the most celebrated dancers the USA has ever produced (not that I know anything about dance, mind you). So, I think it will find a market...I just find the release curious because I always expect a film from Criterion, not something like this (or the Beastie Boys). But having said that, I'd buy it...I'm interested in learning something about Martha Graham and this looks like a pretty full package of stuff.
I didn't mean that she's an unknown, or that nobody would buy it (it's Friday afternoon, so my brain has shut down). It probably helps to have actual spending money, but I get just about every Criterion release on netflix, so I'll watch it at some point. I just meant to suggest that while some of Criterion's releases appeal to a niche market, this one seems to really be a niche release.

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#8 Post by FilmFanSea » Fri Jun 15, 2007 5:21 pm

Any fan of American Dance (and there are many) will want to spring for this set, not to mention schools and libraries. As with the Beastie Boys release, this set has the potential to expose many first-time Criterion buyers to the rest of the collection, and thus increase the fan-base.

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#9 Post by indiannamednobody » Fri Jun 15, 2007 5:24 pm

I'm embarrassed to admit that I discovered the Criterion Collection through their Beastie Boys Anthology release, but am forever thankful for it.

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#10 Post by evillights » Fri Jun 15, 2007 5:42 pm

jbeall wrote:
souvenir wrote:I'd say this title out-Koko's Koko in the curveball department.
I'm glad Criterion releases stuff I've never heard of, but damn!!!! It's one thing to release relatively unknown films, but I wonder who'll actually pick up a copy of this.
Eisenstein = Dance
Cassavetes = Dance
Bresson = Dance
Ferrara = Dance
Brakhage = Dance
Donen = Dance
Monteiro = Dance
Deren = Dance
Straub-Huillet = Dance
Godard = Dance
Welles = Dance
Moullet = Dance
Fellini = Dance
Hou = Dance
Ford = Dance
Martha Graham = Cinema

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#11 Post by CSM126 » Fri Jun 15, 2007 6:12 pm

Tribe wrote:because I always expect a film from Criterion, not something like this
I wish they did more stuff like this, to be honest. I liked it when they did stuff like Television Toys and I Love Lucy back in the laserdisc days. While Criterion are, of course, to be lauded for what they do for classic movies, they also have the chance to explore all sorts of visual arts, but they don't seem to take the chance to do that so much anymore.

As for this particular set...While I had never even heard of Martha Graham before today, I find myself oddly attracted to this set the more I think about it. I'm not a big dancing aficionado or anything, but I can appreciate good dancing when I see it. I'll probably rent this if the video store picks it up (or if I ever get in on teh Netflix).

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#12 Post by zedz » Fri Jun 15, 2007 6:55 pm

This looks llike a fantastic set, and while it might not appeal to the majority of posters to this forum, I think there's a substantial market out there for this material, and it looks like they've pulled out all the stops to make it definitive. I'd much rather see more "left field" releases like this than further Bergman leftovers.

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#13 Post by Close The Door, Raymond » Fri Jun 15, 2007 8:37 pm

Jeff wrote:Martha Graham: Dance on Film was released on laserdisc by Voyager in 1995. I believe it contains the same three performances as Martha Graham: An American Original in Performance.
Yes, the 1993 Criterion/Voyager LD Martha Graham contained the same three works: A Dancer's World, Night Journey and Appalachian Spring. But it did not contain any of the extras, like the documentaries and interviews that are slated to appear on the DVD set. The laserdisc was released as a two-disc LD set and had a retail price of $99.95 back then. Yikes.

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#14 Post by pianocrash » Sat Jun 16, 2007 2:42 am

Ever since they banned me from the library, I've been yearning to see these again for the first time since I was a little kid. I don't think I've ever been this excited about a CC set, ever.

Seeing this, along with the Paul Robeson box in the collection, fares well for the future, it seems. Hooray.

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#15 Post by mmacklem » Sat Jun 16, 2007 2:52 am

Eisenstein = Dance
Cassavetes = Dance
Bresson = Dance
Ferrara = Dance
Brakhage = Dance
Donen = Dance
Monteiro = Dance
Deren = Dance
Straub-Huillet = Dance
Godard = Dance
Welles = Dance
Moullet = Dance
Fellini = Dance
Hou = Dance
Ford = Dance
Martha Graham = Cinema
Ummmm, care to explain what you're talking about?

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#16 Post by domino harvey » Sat Jun 16, 2007 4:25 am

This is by far the most interesting title for September

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#17 Post by Tommaso » Sat Jun 16, 2007 7:09 am

jbeall wrote:
souvenir wrote:I'd say this title out-Koko's Koko in the curveball department.
I'm glad Criterion releases stuff I've never heard of, but damn!!!! It's one thing to release relatively unknown films, but I wonder who'll actually pick up a copy of this.
I will! This is definitely an essential disc for anyone remotely interested in modern arts beyond film, and comparing this to the Beastie Boys or Koko (!??!!!) makes me speechless, really. If it wasn't for the Pabst, it would be indeed by far the most exciting release in September, and I wish they would do more stuff like this. A disc on Merce Cunningham or a disc of the films by Meredith Monk comes to my mind immediately.

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#18 Post by Cinesimilitude » Sat Jun 16, 2007 7:23 am

I think we need to collectively make a documentary about criterion collectors, and then sell it to them, and then bitch about the cover art.

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#19 Post by Tribe » Sat Jun 16, 2007 11:36 am

Tommaso wrote:This is definitely an essential disc for anyone remotely interested in modern arts beyond film, and comparing this to the Beastie Boys or Koko (!??!!!) makes me speechless, really. If it wasn't for the Pabst, it would be indeed by far the most exciting release in September, and I wish they would do more stuff like this. A disc on Merce Cunningham or a disc of the films by Meredith Monk comes to my mind immediately.
No one's compared it to the Beastie Boys release. I mentioned that disc only as an example of something off the wall that isn't necessarily film-related being released by Criterion. I think it's a good thing this is being released...and I agree there should be more things out of left-field like this.

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#20 Post by zedz » Sat Jun 16, 2007 8:29 pm

Tommaso wrote:A disc on Merce Cunningham
Yes please! I don't know if it's available anywhere, but there's a wonderful documentary called Cage / Cunningham (I think) that includes some great archival footage and lots of avuncular interviews. John and Merce both come off as unbelievably sweet.

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#21 Post by Tommaso » Sun Jun 17, 2007 5:30 am

zedz wrote:
Tommaso wrote:A disc on Merce Cunningham
Yes please! I don't know if it's available anywhere, but there's a wonderful documentary called Cage / Cunningham (I think) that includes some great archival footage and lots of avuncular interviews. John and Merce both come off as unbelievably sweet.
Yes, I know this one! It's very funny and informative. I always think that John Cage was the nicest old grandpa you could dream of. I don't think this one is available yet, but Mode Records have announced the release of Henning Lohner's documentary "Revenge of the Dead Indians" (on Cage and Cunningham) this year in their Complete John Cage Edition series. Also a must have, I guess.

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#22 Post by Bazarov » Sun Jun 17, 2007 5:44 am

indiannamednobody wrote:I'm embarrassed to admit that I discovered the Criterion Collection through their Beastie Boys Anthology release, but am forever thankful for it.
That was also my first Criterion :wink: , but I didn't notice it. A couple of years later when I really got into Criterion I realised I already had one :D

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#23 Post by teddyleevin » Sun Jun 17, 2007 1:41 pm

Bazarov wrote:That was also my first Criterion, but I didn't notice it. A couple of years later when I really got into Criterion I realised I already had one
I did the same thing with my Life of Brian. I was a Python fan and knew as a 6th grader to get the more expensive one. And, it was the criterion.

But, I back to the main topic, I would like to see more things like this. Maybe some more music or basically anything culturally significant that criterion can give their golden treatment to.

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#24 Post by TCB » Sun Jun 17, 2007 4:40 pm

I'm beyond excited about this release, especially since it's perfectly timed so I can show it to my theatre students come the fall semester. September is an eccentric month for Criterion...but a pretty cool one, too.

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#25 Post by Soothsayer » Mon Jun 25, 2007 11:05 am

If this is anything like that dvd of dance that came with the "Unseen Cinema" boxset, I'm going to be thrilled with this...

Aaron Copland's involvement only makes this more intriguing...I loved his work w/Dream Syndicate.

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