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Poster for Harvey (1950), © Universal International. Courtesy of the Margaret Herrick Library, Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Shown in center: James Stewart.

Light & Noir: Exiles and Émigrés in Hollywood, 1933–1950

October 23, 2014–March 1, 2015


ADMISSION

  • Included with Museum admission:
  • $10 General
  • $7 Seniors and Full-Time Students
  • $5 Children 2–12
  • FREE to Members and Children under 2
  • FREE to all on Thursdays


ABOUT THE EXHIBITION

You love their movies. Now discover their stories. The exhibition Light & Noir: Exiles and Émigrés in Hollywood, 1933–1950 explores how the experiences of German-speaking exiles and émigrés who fled Nazi Europe—many of them Jews—influenced the classic films of Hollywood’s Golden Age. Learn how beloved movies such as Sunset Boulevard, Double Indemnity, Casablanca, and Ninotchka were shaped by the light and dark experiences of these pioneering film artists.

The exhibition spotlights acclaimed of actors, directors, writers, and composers, focusing on their impact on American cinema and culture. Film directors—including such luminaries as Fritz Lang, Billy Wilder, and Fred Zinnemann—made their way to California and shaped the look of classic movies. Oscar-winning composers such as Erich Wolfgang Korngold and Franz Waxman created the sound, and acclaimed writers—from Lion Feuchtwanger to Salka Viertel—the stories. Already established émigrés, such as producer Carl Laemmle, director Ernst Lubitsch, actress Marlene Dietrich, and talent agent Paul Kohner, helped the new arrivals find their path in Hollywood.

Through a never-before-assembled selection of film footage, drawings, props, costumes, posters, photographs, and memorabilia, Light & Noir tells the story of Hollywood’s formative era through the lens of the émigré experience, focusing on genres in which the exiles and émigrés were especially productive: the exile film, the anti-Nazi film, film noir, and comedy. On view are costumes worn by Marlene Dietrich, Humphrey Bogart, Ingrid Bergman, Paul Henreid, and Joan Crawford, as well as one of Billy Wilder’s Academy Awards, Ernst Lubitsch’s twenty-five year anniversary album, the Max Factor Scroll of Fame, and original props from the set of Rick’s Café in Casablanca.

The exhibition demonstrates how the experiences of exodus and exile affected the lives and work of émigrés in many different ways. It is a story of immigration, acculturation, and innovation that intersects with the flourishing of Hollywood as an American cultural phenomenon.

Organized by the Skirball Cultural Center and co-presented with the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.


SPONSORS

LIGHT & NOIR: EXILES AND ÉMIGRÉS IN HOLLYWOOD, 1933–1950 AND ITS RELATED EDUCATIONAL PROGRAMS AT THE SKIRBALL CULTURAL CENTER ARE MADE POSSIBLE THROUGH THE GENEROUS SUPPORT OF THE FOLLOWING DONORS:

ArcLight Cinemas
The David Berg Foundation
Carsey Family Foundation 
Max Factor Family Foundation
Consulate General of the Federal Republic of Germany, Los Angeles

Hillside Memorial Park and Mortuary
The Kallick Family in Memory of Sidney S. Kallick
Sharon and Mitchell Litt
Richard Orgell Family Foundation in Memory of Jack Karp
Margaret Black and John Ptak 
Skirball Volunteer Service Council
Sony Pictures Entertainment
Lannette and Scott Turicchi
Ellen and Ken Ziffren

ADDITIONAL SUPPORT PROVIDED BY:

Catherine Glynn Benkaim and Barbara Timmer
Jewish Community Foundation of Los Angeles
Anonymous in memory of Edith Meyer

ALONG WITH SUPPORT FROM:

Austrian Consulate General


MEDIA SPONSORS

MEDIA SUPPORT PROVIDED BY:

KCETLos Angeles Magazine



EXHIBITION HIGHLIGHTS:


RELATED TO THIS EXHIBITION:

Upcoming

Private Guided Tours

Light & Noir: Exiles and Émigrés in Hollywood, 1933–1950
Groups of 10 or more are invited to book a private, docent-led tour.

For Families

Skirball Playdate: Mildred's Purse
Sunday, November 16, 10:30 a.m.–12:00 p.m.

Readings and Talks

Émigré Writers: Salka Viertel and the Power of Conversation
Sunday, November 16, 2:00 p.m.

Comedy

UnCabaret—“Noir-vember”
Friday, November 21, 8:00 p.m.

Readings and Talks

Gabriela Hernandez—Bésame Cosmetics
Sunday, December 7, 2:30 p.m.

Readings and Talks

Kimberly Truhler—The History of Fashion in Film Noir
Sunday, December 7, 1:00 p.m.

Film

Hollywood: The War Years
Thursday, October 30, 7:30 p.m.

For Members

Light & Noir: Exiles and Émigrés in Hollywood, 1933–1950 Member Preview Day
Drop in anytime Wednesday, October 22, 12:00–5:00 p.m.

For Members

Light & Noir: Exiles and Émigrés in Hollywood, 1933–1950 Membership Offer
October 22, 2014–January 4, 2015

Courses

Urban Noir: Night Photography in Los Angeles
Wednesdays, October 29–December 10, except November 26, 7:00–10:00 p.m. (6 sessions)

Gallery Tours

Light & Noir: Exiles and Émigrés in Hollywood, 1933–1950
Tuesday–Sunday, beginning October 30, 1:00 p.m.

Past

For Members

Vincent Brook
Monday, October 6, 1:00 p.m.


PRESS RELEASE:

Light & Noir: Exiles and Émigrés in Hollywood, 1933–1950
September 4, 2014

  1. John L. Seitz So glad you are doing this. My cinematographer father, John F. Seitz, did several noirs including Double Indemnity and Sunset Boulevard with Billy Wilder. June 21, 2014
  2. Skirball Cultural Center Thank you for writing to us, Mr. Seitz. We appreciate your father's work a lot. He had such a good eye and visual sensibility! Both Double Indemnity and Sunset Boulevard will be featured in the exhibition. We do hope that you will come and see it when it opens this fall.

    Best wishes,
    Doris Berger
    Curator
    June 25, 2014
  3. Arianne Ulmer Cipes I am delighted to see that you are doing this series. I am the daughter of the director Edgar G. Ulmer and president of the Edgar G. Ulmer Preservation Corp. Are you including any of his works in your exhibition on émigré directors? August 17, 2014
  4. Skirball Cultural Center Thank you for your nice comment, Ms. Cipes, and for reaching out to us. Yes, your father will be represented in the exhibition with material from his film Detour. We all look very much forward to presenting this amazing legacy at the Skirball! I hope you will come and see it.

    Best wishes,
    Doris Berger
    Curator
    August 19, 2014

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