The Dryden Theatre at the
George Eastman House in
Rochester, New York
A movie buff since his youth,
James Card was the first film curator of Eastman House, the 50-year-old
photography museum established in the mansion of Eastman Kodak Co. founder
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During a nearly 30-year career there, he oversaw the growth of
the museum's film collection.
"The motion picture collection would not exist without James Card,'' said Paolo
Cherchi-Usai, senior film curator at the museum. "He started it all. He gave the
collection a cultural identity of international scope.''
He was also credited with helping revive interest in the career of silent film
star Louise Brooks, a famous beauty of the '20s who made films in both Hollywood
and Germany. Card persuaded her to move to Rochester in the 1950s, when she was
all but forgotten, and encouraged her to write. By the time she died in 1985,
she was a widely published writer and a cult figure for many movie fans.
"Card's effect on her was tonic,'' author Barry Paris wrote in his book
Louise Brooks. "It manifested itself in a sharp upswing in her mood and a
sudden awareness of her past achievements and present capabilities.... In the
next few weeks, she would reveal more of her soul to Jim Card than to any man in
Card wrote about his life in his 1994 book Seductive Cinema: The Art of
Card co-founded the Telluride Film Festival in 1974 and served on the board of
directors of the Montreal World Film Festival, Eastman House said. He also
taught film studies at Syracuse University and the University of Rochester.
"My own hell would be to have a projector and all the films but no one around to
see them with me,'' he once wrote.
Card bought his first movie while studying at the University of Heilderberg in
Germany - a print of "The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari.'' By the late 1940s, he had
amassed 800 films. He worked at Kodak, then switched to curator of Eastman
House's film department in 1948, the year before the museum opened to the
public. He remained in that post until his retirement in 1977.
He died in 2000 at the age of 84.
Copyright 2000 by the
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by Richard D. Squires [email@example.com]; last updated September 19,
All written content and arrangement of materials copyright Richard D. Squires,
2004 - 2007.