The Dartmouth College Library has been awarded a grant of $6,350 from the National Film Preservation Foundation (NFPF) to preserve and make accessible “The Orozco Mural Quetzalcoatl,” a 23-minute, color film written, produced, and directed in 1961 by Robert Canton,’58. The film’s purpose is to tell the myth of Quetzalcoatl as depicted in “The Epic of American Civilization” frescos painted by José Clemente Orozco in Baker Library. Using camera techniques such as pans, close-ups and long shots, and aided by Theodore Newman’s dramatic score and a minimal narration, Canton makes the murals come alive. The score was conducted by former “Tonight Show” conductor Skitch Henderson.
At its release in 1962 the film received three citations for Specific Excellence from the Boston International Film Festival. These citations were: outstanding use of the film medium for educational purposes; realization of inherent potential; and original musical score.
The NFPF grant will support the creation of a new preservation master copy and DVD. When the work is completed the film will be available on the Dartmouth College YouTube channel along with a silent clip of Orozco painting the test panel in Baker Library. A public screening of the newly preserved “Quetzalcoatl” will also hosted by the Library.
Barb Sagraves, head of Preservation Services, will serve as Project Coordinator.