Mary Ellen Bute
177 pages
English

Découvre YouScribe en t'inscrivant gratuitement

Je m'inscris

Découvre YouScribe en t'inscrivant gratuitement

Je m'inscris
Obtenez un accès à la bibliothèque pour le consulter en ligne
En savoir plus
177 pages
English
Obtenez un accès à la bibliothèque pour le consulter en ligne
En savoir plus

Description

Mary Ellen Bute: Pioneer Animator captures the personal and professional life of Mary Ellen Bute (1906–1983) one of the first American filmmakers to create abstract animated films in 1934, also one of the first Americans to use the electronic image of the oscilloscope in films starting in 1949, and the first filmmaker to interpret James Joyce's literature for the screen, Passages from James Joyce's Finnegans Wake, a live-action film for which she won a Cannes Film Festival Prize in 1965.

Bute had an eye for talent and selected many creative people who would go on to be famous. She hired Norman McLaren to hand paint on film for the animation of her Spook Sport, 1939, before he left to head the animation department of the Canadian Film Board. She cast the now famous character actor Christopher Walken at age fourteen as the star of her short live-action film, The Boy Who Saw Through, 1958. Also, Bute enlisted Elliot Kaplan to compose the film score of her Finnegans Wake before he moved on to compose music for TV's Fantasy Island and Ironside.

This biography drawn from interviews with Bute's family, friends, and colleagues, presents the personal and professional life of the filmmaker and her behind-the-scenes process of making animated and live action films.


Prologue: My Art Mother Chapter 1 Early Education: The Lavender in the Shadows Chapter 2 Yale University 1925–1926,Floating University 1926–1927, Houston Debut 1927–1928, and New York 1929–1930 Chapter 3 Abstract Animation (1934–1953) Chapter 4 The Boy Who Saw Through Chapter 5 Passages from James Joyce's Finnegans Wake, 1965 Directed by Mary Ellen Bute: The Inner Essential Picture Chapter 6 Thornton Wilder's Skin of Our Teeth Chapter 7 Out of the Cradle Endlessly Rocking: The Odyssey of Walt Whitman, A Builder of the American Vision and Final Days Chapter 8 Cecile Starr: Champion of Women Filmmakers Acknowledgements Chronology Mary Ellen Bute and Theodore J. Nemeth, Jr. Filmography Bibliography Colour Plates

Sujets

Informations

Publié par
Date de parution 23 juin 2020
Nombre de lectures 1
EAN13 9780861969715
Langue English
Poids de l'ouvrage 12 Mo

Informations légales : prix de location à la page 0,0850€. Cette information est donnée uniquement à titre indicatif conformément à la législation en vigueur.

Extrait

Mary Ellen Bute:
PIONEER AnimatorIn memory of Cecile Starr
Cover photograph:
Mary Ellen Bute working on animated film ca. 1937, photo by Ted Nemeth Sr.,
courtesy KSB Collection of MEB, Yale Collection of American Literature, Beinecke Rare Book
and Manuscript Library.Mary Ellen Bute:
PIONEER Animator
Kit Smyth Basquin, PhDMARY ELLEN BUTE : PIONEER ANIMATOR
British Library Cataloguing in Publication Data
Mary Ellen Bute:
Pioneer Animator
A catalogue entry for this book is available from the British Library
ISBN: 0 86196 744 5 (Paperback)
ISBN: 0 86196 969 2 (ebook-MOBI)
ISBN: 0 86196 970 8 (ebook-EPUB)
ISBN: 0 86196 971 5 (ebook-EPDF)
Published by
John Libbey Publishing Ltd, 205 Crescent Road, New Barnet, Herts EN4 8SB,
United Kingdom e-mail: john.libbey@orange.fr; web site: www.johnlibbey.com
Distributed Worldwide by
Indiana University Press, Herman B Wells Library—350, 1320 E. 10th St.,
Bloomington, IN 47405, USA. www.iupress.indiana.edu
© 2020 Copyright John Libbey Publishing Ltd. All rights reserved.
Unauthorised duplication contravenes applicable laws.
Printed and bound in China by 1010 Printing.
ivContents
Prologue: My Art Mother 1
Chapter 1 Early Education: The Lavender in the Shadows 3
Chapter 2 Yale University 1925–1926,
Floating University 1926–1927,
Houston Debut 1927–1928, and
New York 1929–1930 15
Chapter 3 Abstract Animation (1934–1953) 27
Chapter 4 The Boy Who Saw Through 77
Chapter 5 Passages from James Joyce’s Finnegans Wake, 1965
Directed by Mary Ellen Bute:
The Inner Essential Picture 83
Chapter 6 Thornton Wilder’s Skin of Our Teeth 111
Chapter 7 Out of the Cradle Endlessly Rocking:
The Odyssey of Walt Whitman,
A Builder of the American Vision and Final Days 119
Chapter 8 Cecile Starr: Champion of Women Filmmakers 135
Colour Plates 139
Acknowledgements 147
Chronology 153
Mary Ellen Bute and Theodore J. Nemeth, Sr.
Filmography 159
Bibliography 167
vPrologue
My Art Mother
ary Ellen Bute, just over five feet tall, wearing a brocaded cocktail
dress with large red and gold flowers, slit to her knee, blasted
through the reception door at the York Club in Manhattan,MNovember, 1973. Her chin length red hair fluffed, teased, and
colored disguised her sixty-seven years, as did her energetic march in
spike heels. “Darling!” She hugged me and then shook hands with others
in the receiving line, including my sister, who was being honored
belatedly for her wedding in England. Mary Ellen Bute reserved a kiss for my
mother, Virginia Gibbs Smyth, whom she had known since childhood.
They had grown up a few blocks apart in Houston, Texas. Coincidentally,
Bute had been born two days before my mother in 1906. They celebrated
birthdays together.
Although Bute and my mother lived in different New York worlds, they
visited on the telephone. I always knew Bute was on the line because my
mother would laugh loudly, talk for a long time, and revert back to her
Texas accent. In the receiving line Bute gushed, “Virginia, Darling!”
Later, across the room, I could hear Bute’s musical laugh, her response
to anyone’s jokes, even if they weren’t particularly funny. She made her
listener feel special. Perhaps she hoped to connect with someone who
would invest in her current film, Thornton Wilder’s Skin of Our Teeth.
She had met Thornton Wilder years before through his sister, the actress
and writer Isabel Wilder, a classmate of Bute’s in the Department of
Drama at Yale University in 1925. In 1965 Bute became friends with
Thornton Wilder at the Cannes Film Festival, where she was awarded a
prize for her direction of a first feature film, Passages from James Joyce’s
Finnegans Wake. After seeing Bute’s creative interpretation of James
Joyce’s distilled time, from the cave dwellers to the present, incorporated
into a story of death and rebirth, Wilder believed that Bute was the only
person who could translate his Pulitzer Prize winning play Skin of Our
Teeth into film. Like Joyce’s book, Wilder’s play employed archetypical
characters throughout time. He gave Mary Ellen Bute the film rights.
1MARY ELLEN BUTE : PIONEER ANIMATOR
Mary Ellen Bute was my “Art Mother”. She believed in my creativity. In
1971, when I was writing press releases at the Indianapolis Museum of
Art, having just acquired an MA in art history from Indiana University,
and thinking of applying for the assistant director’s job, which had opened
up, Bute called me long distance to say, “Don’t do it”. This was before
cell phones, when long distance calls were expensive, especially for an
economically strapped filmmaker trying to raise money for a film. No
doubt she had been talking to my mother. Bute felt that writing was
creative, but that administration was a cop out, a squander of creative
talent. I opened an art gallery instead. She approved.
In 1980, Bute called me in Milwaukee, where my husband and I were
living with our three young children. She expressed great interest in my
life and in what I was doing. Her film Passages from James Joyce’s Finnegans
Wake was going to be screened in the area. She asked me if I would write
a press release for it and mail it out the next day to the local art critic to
help with attendance. Showings of Finnegans Wake raised money for her
current film on Walt Whitman, Out of the Cradle Endlessly Rocking. She had
abandoned Skin of Our Teeth in 1975 after Thornton Wilder, her major
donor, died. Of course I agreed to write the publicity, but I had to get up
at 4 am the next day to do it, before my youngest son demanded breakfast
at 6 am.
In Bute’s last few years, when she was trying to raise money for her film
on Whitman, she became so desperate for funds that she pushed hard and
could come across as artificial. Her son Ted Jr. noted:
Mary Ellen’s optimism was not a mask. She grew up when women were
supposed to be jolly and warm, positive … She found it useful. She found that
she could charm people … gradually she turned the volume up and up and got
more and more … she sustained it until it did seem like a mask toward the end.
Perhaps it was a mask. When she put it on, it worked less well than when it was
1a logical extension.
I visited Bute at Cabrini Hospital when I was in New York in early
October, 1983. My mother had told me that Bute would like to see me.
I brought her two pieces of cake, thinking we could have a party in her
room, but she was too sick to eat. Later that day she called me at my
mother’s apartment and said she and her nurse “loved the cake, laced with
rum!”. She probably ate one bite. She died there October 17, 1983, a few
thweeks before her 77 birthday.
Reference
1. Theodore J. Nemeth Jr. transcript of taped responses for author 11/8/1988, KSB Collection
of MEB, YCAL.
2the
Lavender
The
Education:
Early
Shadows
1
Chapter
in
Chapter 1
Early Education:
The Lavender in the Shadows

Importance of Filmmaker
short, bubbly red-haired debutante from Texas, steel magnolia
Mary Ellen Bute (1906–1983), a painter, escaped to the male world
of filmmaking in New York in the early 1930s. With her futureAhusband, a talented camera man, Ted Nemeth, she was one of the
first people in the USA to create abstract animated shorts, a new art form;
one of the first filmmakers in the USA to incorporate electronic imagery
into her films, forerunner of digital cinema; and one of few pioneer
animators to screen her shorts at movie palaces, educating a large audience
to the possibilities of film as art. Her film Tarantella was selected in 2010
to be in the National Film Registry of the Library of Congress.
With her keen eye and ear for talent, Bute cast Christopher Walken, at
age fourteen, as the boy in her film The Boy Who saw Through. He later
became a famous character actor in Hollywood. Norman McLaren, who
animated Bute’s Spook Sport, later became the head of animation for the
Canadian Film Board and won an Academy Award, among many honors.
Bute employed McLaren’s partner, Guy Glover, as script writer for The
Boy Who Saw Through. Glover became a producer for the Canadian Film
Board and was nominated for four Academy Awards. Ted Nemeth,
Bute’s cinematographer, was nominated for two Academy Awards.
Composer Elliot Kaplan created original music for Bute’s Finnegans Wake. A
young man in his thirties, he had already earned two degrees from Yale
and a Fulbright Scholarship. He would go on to an illustrious career
composing scores for film, ballet, and television, including The Twilight
Zone, Fantasy Island, and Ironside.
Bute was the first person to interpret a work by James Joyce for the screen,
enabling a broad public to visualize the excitement of Joyce’s words. She
won a Cannes Film Festival Prize for her live action feature, Passages from
James Joyce’s Finnegans Wake in 1965. MOMA honored her with a
Cineprobe in 1983, their series presenting the work of independent and
experimental filmmakers.
3MARY ELLEN BUTE : PIONEER ANIMATOR
Fig. 1. Clare Robinson as Q

  • Univers Univers
  • Ebooks Ebooks
  • Livres audio Livres audio
  • Presse Presse
  • Podcasts Podcasts
  • BD BD
  • Documents Documents