Rare Archive of John Huston Material Presented to NUI Galway

Monday, 22 November 2010

NUI Galway will be presented with a rare collection of director, writer and actor John Huston's papers and recordings at a special ceremony in the University this evening. The Huston Archive will be launched in the presence of John's son, Tony (who was nominated for an Academy Award for his screenplay of The Dead) and daughter, Allegra. The Archive contains extensive material relating to a number of his films and centres on the making of The Dead, as well as draft scripts, recordings, publicity materials, interviews and legal documentation. The Huston Archive offers a unique view of the prolific intersection of Irish literature and American cinema. The multiple draft scripts included offer insights not just about the film, but also about the director's wide-ranging oeuvre, as nearly all of his 37 features are, similarly, literary adaptations. The material will contribute to the rich vein of debate already developed by scholars including NUI Galway Professor Kevin Barry in his book, The Dead, published in the 'Ireland into Film series' and a new book from the Centenary Conference held at the Huston School of Film & Digital Media in 2006, edited by Tony Tracy from the Huston School and Roddy Flynn, entitled John Huston: Essays on a Restless Director. The Archive includes an early version of a script written by Jean-Paul Sartre for the film Freud: the Secret Passion; Sartre visited Huston in St Clerans, his home near Craughwell, in 1958. It is rich in ancillary documentation which supplements that held by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in Los Angeles; and it includes Huston's personal copies of various books that he adapted and their screenplays. There are also recordings of music used in his films, publicity materials, photos and magazines, press cuttings and legal documentation. Other rare material includes a Scottish television interview with Huston conducted by film scholar, Charles Barr, at the Edinburgh Film Festival in 1975. The Archive has been enriched by significant items donated by Teresa Grimes, Paul Balbirnie and Joe Dillon. Academy Award winner and daughter of John Huston, Anjelica Huston says she is delighted that the Archive will be based at NUI Galway, "I regret that due to my current filming schedule I will miss the launch of the Huston Archive at NUI Galway. It gives me great satisfaction to see that these extensive archives, including remarkable materials relating to THE DEAD, have found a permanent place in their rightful home in Galway and will be made widely available to scholars, including those who enter the Huston School s doors for future generations to come." The Huston Archive will be held in the James Hardiman Library at NUI Galway, home to a range of theatre, literary, historical and political archives. Collections include the archives of the Druid and Lyric Theatres and of Taibhdhearc na Gaillimhe; the literary papers of John McGahern and Tom Kilroy; and original documents relating to the foundation of the Gaelic Athletic Association and the Northern Ireland 'Troubles'. A new Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences Research Building, adjoining the Library, is currently under construction. This will include excellent facilities for access to, digitisation and storage of, archives and special collections. Scholars will enjoy state-of-the-art reading and seminar rooms, as well as collaborative spaces and exhibition areas, all supported by expert staff. According to Rod Stoneman, Director of the Huston School of Film & Digital Media, "Bringing this material into the public domain through its availability online and in the library at NUI Galway, is an exciting development for those interested in John Huston's work. It is at the intersection of American cinema and Irish culture." The establishment of the Archive has been made possible by the University Foundation and Tony Huston, who will present NUI Galway with the Huston Archive at a special ceremony at the Bailey Allen Hall, NUI Galway, this evening at 5.30pm.
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