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Silent Film to be the Topic of July 25 Lecture at the Clark

For Immediate Release

July 14, 2000

WILLIAMSTOWN, MA (July 14, 2000) - Jeanine Basinger, the Corwin-Fuller professor of film studies and American studies at Wesleyan University, will discuss the films of Rudolph Valentino on Tuesday, July 25, at 4:00 p.m. at the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute. Basinger's talk, entitled "Sheiks and Harems: Valentino and Escapism in the 1920s," is offered in connection with the exhibition Noble Dreams, Wicked Pleasures: Orientalism in America, 1870-1930, which features clips from The Sheik (starring Valentino) and other silent films. Admission to the lecture is free.

Basinger is the author of many books on film, including The "It's a Wonderful Life" Book, American Cinema: 100 Years of Filmmaking, and A Woman's View: How Hollywood Spoke to Women, 1930-1960. Her most recent book Silent Stars garnered praise from The New York Times Book Review, which hailed Basinger's "hard-won knowledge, charming persistence and critical acuity."

Noble Dreams, Wicked Pleasures traces America's fascination with an imagined, exotic Middle East. Beginning with paintings by Frederic Edwin Church and John Singer Sargent and extending to its widespread dissemination in popular culture, including films such as Rudolph Valentino's The Sheik, over one hundred objects illustrate the associations conjured up by the Holy Land, Egypt, and North Africa in the popular imagination of turn of the century America. Noble Dreams, Wicked Pleasures will be on view at the Clark through September 4.

The Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute is located at 225 South Street in Williamstown, Massachusetts.  The galleries are open Tuesday through Sunday, 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Admission is free through May.  For more information call 413-458-2303 or visit www.clarkart.edu.

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