France / India / US: Oriental Productions, Ltd. / United Artists, 1951. An archive of material for the 1951 film, including a vintage reference photograph of Renoir directing the film in Bengal, with his smiling 30-year-old assistant Satyajit Ray to his right. Also included in the archive are the film's first cutting and continuity script, and the original color program for the US release, and a program produced specifically for the film's debut in San Francisco at the Stage Door Theatre. It is a point of interest that the film was distributed in the US via the Theatre Guild, resulting in many screenings in playhouses rather than traditional movie theaters.
Renoir played a major role in defining what became known in the 1960s as an "auteur," and Ray was in the first generation of directors to inhabit that established definition. He is today considered one of the greatest directors of the twentieth century, and his involvement with Renoir's sole film to be made in India was critical to his career, which would begin properly 4 years later with "Pather Panchali" (1955). We have never before encountered a photograph of the two men together.
The international program includes original essays by Renoir, Godden, and producer Kenneth McEldowney.
"The River," an international co-production distributed by United Artists, concerns three young girls (two British, one Indian) in Bengal who become infatuated with an ex-soldier who comes into their lives.
International program: Full-color, saddle-stitched card wrappers. 16 pages, 12 x 9 inches, saddle-stitched. Near Fine.
Stage Door program: Black-and-white, saddle-stitched self-wrappers. 12 pages, 8.5 x 6 inches. Near Fine.
Cutting and Continuity script: 6 reels, dated June 7, 1951. Mimeograph, unbound, held together with a metal v-clip at the top left corner. Some wear at the clip, else Very Good plus.
Photograph: 8 x 10 inches. Fine.
Criterion Collection 276. [Book #128592]