Our Library Movie Collection/Curt Barclift

When I left St. Mary’s College of Maryland in 1976, diploma in hand, I carried something else with me that was a bit less tangible. Thanks to the efforts of Jim Hayes, who taught film in those bygone days, I left St. Mary’s with an enduring love for the art of film. I had learned a good deal about the great masters of cinema, largely directors, who had in the 20th Century taken a new form of mass entertainment and out of that created a genuine, modern art form. I had always loved movies but I had never regarded them in terms of artistic merit, they were simply one of my favorite ways of passing time.  
In 1976, the great films were not very easy to come by. This was the age before video and cable television. Practically the only way to see the great works of cinema intact and uncut was to frequent the repertory movie houses (The Biograph in DC immediately comes to mind) that exhibited them.  Living in Southern Maryland meant a 1 ½ hour drive to the city, which wasn’t always feasible. For years, so many of the works of Ingmar Bergman, Akira Kurosawa, Satyajit Ray and the other masters of world cinema remained merely rumors, objects of curiosity and desire that I had heard so much about but never had the opportunity to see for myself. The video age changed that and my objects of desire began to surface. My true education in the art of filmmaking had finally commenced.

Today, the St. Mary’s community has a treasure trove at their fingertips. Our library is stocked with a hugely impressive collection of the greatest of all works of cinema. For anyone with a newly discovered love for the cinematic art, our DVD selection is priceless. My intent in writing this blog will be to assist the potential film fanatic (or the already established one) in gaining some awareness of just what is available to them. I’ll write about the great directors and selected works from their filmographies or individual works by less well known directors in hopes that I can inspire an interest in these indispensable contributions to the art.

I would like to express my appreciation to Robin Bates, Mark Rhoda, and Dave Ellsworth for their efforts in helping to build a first-class DVD collection for the SMCM library.  Their knowledge of and love for cinema are a wonderful resource for the entire community.

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