Support Us

Parabola - Mary Ellen Bute


Rental Format(s): Digital File

Co-makers: Mary Ellen Bute, Theodore Nemeth, Rutherford Boyd
Sculptures by Rutherford Boyd
Original format: 35mm sound film 1.37:1
Music Darius Milhaud
Courtesy Mary Ellen Bute, Theodore Nemeth

Sculptor Rutherford Boyd worked in collaboration with Nemeth and Bute, whose NYC production facilities were placed at his disposal. Filmed, frame by frame, in a sequence of stills that varied the arrangement of sculptural pieces under controlled illumination, Parabola introduced the potential of a new design technique. -Douglas Dreishpoon

"Rutherford Boyd (1884-1951) began to experiment with the characteristics of the parabola with Parabolas Descending (1934) and culminated his research in the large Slanted Parabola (1939). Boyd embraced the medium of cinematography as a means of giving his sculptural work another dimension through controlled illumination, montage, and synchronized sound." -Douglas Dreishpoon

Infatuated with the new non-objective paintings of Kandinsky and others, Texas debutante Mary Ellen Bute (1906-1983) devoted twenty years (1932-1952) to creating thirteen abstract motion pictures in black-and-white and color, with familiar classical music accompaniments. Many were shown at New York's Radio City Music Hall. In 1966, she made a feature based upon James Joyce, Passages from Finnegan's Wake. -Cecile Starr

Before filming Mary Ellen Bute's short abstract films (1931-1953), Theodore "Ted" J. Nemeth (1911-1986) learned his craft creating special effects for feature film "trailers." As head of his own New York studio, founded in 1940 the year Bute and he were married, he made documentaries, commercials, and short subjects, two of which were Academy Award nominees. -Aram Boyajian

Rental Fees

  Fee  
Digital File $38.00  

Rent this Film