The Indian Picture Opera - Edward S. Curtis (photographer)





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Published on Apr 1, 2007

Edward S. Curtis wrote and photographed this segment on Canyon De Chelly, home of the Navajo Indians. Curtis describes the history of the canyon and it's inhabitants. This is part of a larger film entitled, The Indian Picture Opera.

On DVD, All-Region, Incomparable Historical Documentary

The Indian Picture Opera - A Vanishing Race

This film is a journey through history, where famed photographer Edward S. Curtis explains Native American cultures in his own words, and photographs. This motion picture reconstruction of his 1911-1912 magic lantern slide show illuminates a time when Native Americans were forced from their land and cultures. Curtis's documentation of Indian cultures serve as a unique footprint in time.

The Indian Picture Opera contains hundreds of photos and re-created music composed for the original 1911 slide show. Its a throw back to a time nearly 100 years ago, and a magical tour through history. This production is brought to life with the use of computer graphics, and modern day animations. This effort required the recreation of 19 original musical compositions composed for the original Curtis slide show in 1911. The composer was Henry Gilbert, and most of this music had been shelved for nearly 100 years.


In the early 1900's, famed photographer Edward S. Curtis published the renowned 20-volume book subscription entitled "The North American Indian". He compiled about 2400 photographs with detailed ethnological and language studies of tribes of the American West.

This DVD reconstructs "The Indian Picture Opera - A Vanishing Race", which was a slide show and lecture that played in theaters from 1911 through 1912. Curtis used the show as a pitch to sell his book subscriptions to the wealthy Americans.

Stereo-Opticon projectors put Curtis's stunning images on screens in America's largest cities.... one scene dissolving into another. A small orchestra played music derived from Indian chants and rhythms, and Edward Curtis lectured on the intimate stories of tribal life.

This Magic Lantern show played to breathless audiences, stunned by the humanity, fascinated by the imagery, and shamed by the destruction of Indian cultures. The shows received standing ovations, and generous reviews.

Separate from The Indian Picture Opera, Curtis went on to create a feature film in 1914, titled "In The Land of The Head Hunters". Curtis was a pioneer in the early use of film and multi-media.

This is a Widescreen, All-Region DVD, Dolby 2.0 amd 5.1 surround sound, and Subtitles in English, French and Spanish.

Mark Middler as Edward S. Curtis, and David Chanar as The Native American Voice.

Film Festivals:
The Indian Picture Opera was selected for exhibition in the Heard Museum's Film Festival in Phoenix, Arizona in October 2006.

It has also been included in the December 2006 Anchorage AK. International Film Festival.

Title #218654
Running time: 50 minutes


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