Margaret Tallichet Screen TestsThe museum is providing free digital access to a selection of preserved films

Rochester, N.Y., July 28, 2020—The George Eastman Museum recently launched an online project that provides access to a selection of digitized films from its moving image collection. To date, the museum has released 23 digitized films, including groundbreaking documentaries by Leo Hurwitz, a group of 13 rare screen tests from the David O. Selznick Collection (among them a screen test of the recently deceased Hollywood legend Olivia de Havilland for her signature role of Melanie in Gone with the Wind), and a Rochester-based film about Eastman Kodak Company. Most of the digitized films are accompanied by an introduction. Free access is available at

“As a museum our goal is not only to provide access to our collections, but also to exhibit works of art in their original formats. Yet, as a result of pervasive isolation, online resources have become particularly valuable and appreciated,” said Peter Bagrov, PhD, curator in charge, Moving Image Department of the Eastman Museum. “We know that viewing these films on a computer or handheld device is not the way they were intended to be seen, but for now, in an effort to provide some special cinematic experiences during this pandemic, we hope that you all enjoy the shows!”

The museum’s Leo Hurwitz collection comprises 35 film titles, as well as 61 cubic feet of corresponding documentation, covering the sixty-year career of one of the most influential documentary filmmakers of the twentieth century. Emergency Ward (US 1952) and The Young Fighter (US 1953) are groundbreaking documentaries, predecessors to direct cinema. Dancing James Berry (1958) is a record of one of the finest examples of African American social jazz dancing. Here at the Water’s Edge (1962) is a visual poem that grows more relevant today, in the context of climate change. All four were preserved with funding from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Rohauer Collection Foundation and are the first of Hurwitz’s films the museum is making available to view online.

The Eastman Museum owns more than 300 screen tests for motion pictures made by producer and studio executive David O. Selznick. Among the online digitized films are some of Selznick’s screen tests, featuring a host of Hollywood stars as well as some unfamiliar faces, from his preparations for The Young in Heart (1938) and Gone with the Wind (1939). Technicolor tests of Vivien Leigh, Clark Gable, Olivia de Havilland (who died on July 26 at age 104), Hattie McDaniel, and other stars of Gone with the Wind were filmed to try out different hairstyles, makeup, and costumes. Screen tests of Susan Hayward and Margaret Tallichet (both of whom auditioned for Scarlett O’Hara but did not get the part) and of Georgette Harvey (considered for the role of Mammy) provide a unique opportunity to peek into an alternative history of cinema, to witness some of the “what ifs.” Two of the most remarkable items in the collection feature American theatre legends Maude Adams and Laurette Taylor, who were both tested for the same role in The Young in Heart. These tests remain the only record of their acting in sound films.

Other digitized preserved films now available online include Highlights and Shadows (1937), made for Kodak by James Sibley Watson Jr. and Ken Edwards, utilizing Watson’s distinctive avant-garde multiple exposure technique to dramatize the industrial giant’s production of film and cameras; Motion Picture Industry Red Cross War Fund Week Trailer (US 1945), directed by Jacques Tourneur and featuring Ingrid Bergman; Das Ornament des verliebten Herzens (The Ornament of the Enamored Heart, Germany 1919), the first of Lotte Reiniger’s acclaimed silhouette films; and a group of culturally historic actuality films preserved through the Saving America’s Treasures initiative: A Connecticut Skunk Farm (US 1914), The Key to Beauty (US 1917), and The Latest Kinks in Canning (US 1917).

The digitized films online project is generously sponsored by Nocon & Associates, a private wealth advisory practice of Ameriprise Financial Services Inc.

Support the George Eastman Museum

This is a critical time for museums across the globe. The George Eastman Museum encourages individuals to visit, if you are able to contribute to the museum’s Annual Fund at this time. Donations of all amounts are appreciated. The unrestricted dollars that membership and annual fund gifts provide are essential to the museum's operations, and the exhibitions and public programs that bring our collections to life for our audiences. As with all of our community's cultural organizations, these dollars have never been more critical.

About the George Eastman Museum
Founded in 1947, the George Eastman Museum is the world’s oldest photography museum and one of the largest film archives in the United States, located on the historic Rochester estate of entrepreneur and philanthropist George Eastman, the pioneer of popular photography. Its holdings comprise more than 400,000 photographs, 28,000 motion picture films and three million archival objects related to cinema, the world’s preeminent collection of photographic and cinematographic technology, one of the leading libraries of books related to photography and cinema, and extensive holdings of documents and other objects related to George Eastman. As a research and teaching institution, the Eastman Museum has an active book publishing program, and its L. Jeffrey Selznick School of Film Preservation’s graduate program (in collaboration with the University of Rochester) makes critical contributions to film preservation. For more information, visit

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 Photo: Margaret Tallichet Screen Tests

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Media Contact: Kellie Fraver

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