Television Movies

Big Pictures on the Small Screen

Feb 19–28, 2020


Tosca, from NBC Television Opera Theatre. January 23, 1955. USA. Directed by Kirk Browning. Courtesy NBC/Photofest
  • MoMA, Floor T2/T1 The Debra and Leon Black Family Film Center

In 1963, on the eve of the Museum’s first retrospective of works made for television, Richard Griffith, curator of MoMA’s Film Library, wondered, “Should an archive of filmed programs and kinescopes be set up in emulation of the Film Library?” That series, titled Television U.S.A.: Thirteen Seasons, reviewed the short history of the medium through American network broadcasts, including a number of live feature-length plays that were the precursors of the made-for-TV movie. Though a television archive was ultimately decided against, the Department of Film has acquired numerous television programs in the ensuing 56 years that reflect the ever-changing nature of the medium. This series seeks to bring the Department of Film’s collection of TV movies back to the public eye by re-examining titles shown in the 1963 retrospective, alongside more contemporary works that have helped establish television as an artistic force to be taken seriously.

Organized by Theo Harrison, Film Traffic Coordinator, Department of Film, with Emily Rago, Guest Assistant, Film, Department of Visitor Engagement.

Support for the exhibition is provided by the Annual Film Fund. Leadership support for the Annual Film Fund is provided by Steven Tisch, with major contributions from Jo Carole and Ronald S. Lauder, Association of Independent Commercial Producers (AICP), The Brown Foundation, Inc., of Houston, Marlene Hess and James D. Zirin, Karen and Gary Winnick, and The Junior Associates of The Museum of Modern Art.


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All requests to license audio or video footage produced by MoMA should be addressed to Scala Archives at [email protected]. Motion picture film stills or motion picture footage from films in MoMA’s Film Collection cannot be licensed by MoMA/Scala. For licensing motion picture film footage it is advised to apply directly to the copyright holders. For access to motion picture film stills please contact the Film Study Center. More information is also available about the film collection and the Circulating Film and Video Library.

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This record is a work in progress. If you have additional information or spotted an error, please send feedback to [email protected].