The Marriage Circle. 1924. USA. Directed by Ernst Lubitsch

This month, Modern Matinees continues celebrating the Department of Film’s 80th anniversary by focusing on the collecting efforts of its founding curator, Iris Barry, and founding library director, John Abbott, who maintained an informal list of directors whose work they felt was essential for the study of film—and for building the Film Library’s holdings. This “wish list,” which included René Clair, G. W. Pabst, D. W. Griffith, Vsevolod Pudovkin, and others, inspired Barry to declare that “the films which these and other men have made have had an immeasurably great influence on the life and thought of the present generation.” The films Barry and Abbott targeted for the Film Library began to trickle in during the 1930s and 1940s, and the 35mm prints now in the MoMA collection were made from those early nitrate materials, many of which were donated by the filmmakers themselves.

Organized by Anne Morra, Associate Curator, Department of Film.

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