Pre-Code Fox Rarities from the MoMA Archive

May 6–20, 2021

Online

Sherlock Holmes. 1932. USA. Directed by William K. Howard. Courtesy The Museum of Modern Art Film Stills Archive

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Founded in 1915 by the self-educated entrepreneur William Fox, the Fox Film Corporation became home to the most dazzling lineup of directorial talent in the studio era. As silent film transitioned into sound, Fox’s roster of directors included Frank Borzage, Allan Dwan, John Ford, Howard Hawks, William K. Howard, Henry King, William Cameron Menzies, F. W. Murnau, Alfred Santell, Raoul Walsh, and many others. Yet this legacy was almost lost when a 1937 vault fire at Fox’s New Jersey storage facility destroyed all of the Fox Film negatives and most of the positive prints. That any of the Fox Film inventory survives today is largely thanks to Eileen Bowser, then the director of MoMA’s film collection, who worked with the producer Alex Gordon and the author William K. Everson to rescue the nitrate work prints and reference copies stored at the Fox studio in Los Angeles.

The presentations in this series are new 4K digital reproductions of nitrate prints in MoMA’s collection, made possible by the Walt Disney Company.

Organized by Dave Kehr, Curator, Department of Film. Thanks to Schawn Belston and Steve Hawn.

Film at MoMA is made possible by CHANEL.

Additional support is provided by the Annual Film Fund. Leadership support for the Annual Film Fund is provided by Debra and Leon D. Black and by Steven Tisch, with major contributions from The Contemporary Arts Council of The Museum of Modern Art, Jo Carole and Ronald S. Lauder, MoMA’s Wallis Annenberg Fund for Innovation in Contemporary Art through the Annenberg Foundation, the Association of Independent Commercial Producers (AICP), The Junior Associates of The Museum of Modern Art, the Samuel I. Newhouse Foundation, Karen and Gary Winnick, and The Brown Foundation, Inc., of Houston.

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