Beginning with a prologue directed by German film pioneer Ewald André Dupont (Varieté) in which Vincent Price talks to art students, this 80-minute film gave audiences a taste of art history and art appreciation, and won a Special Award at the Golden Globes in 1952 following its release on 21 December 1951.
Vincent Price also narrated the first of the film’s six segments. It was entitled The Lost Paradise and explored the work of Hieronymous Bosch (1450-1516). The segment, directed by documentary filmmaker Luciano Emmer, was also released as an 11-minute short in 1954.
Gregory Peck narrated the second part, The Legend of St Ursula by Vittore Carpaccio (1460-1526), also directed by Emmer, and featuring special camerawork and effects from legendary Italian filmmaker Mario Bava.
Francisco Goya (1746-1828) was the subject of the third part, directed by Lauro Venturi and narrated by Harry Marble, while Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec (1863-1901) followed, directed by Robert Hessens and Olga Lipska, and narrated by Lilli Palmer.
Part five, which explored the work of Paul Gauguin (1848-1903), was directed by renowned French filmmaker Alain Resnais (Last Year at Marienbad) and narrated by Martin Gabel, while the final segment, directed by Russian film editor Marc Sorkin, found Henry Fonda in fine voice discussing the life of American Gothic artist Grant Wood (1892-1942).
This film is presently unavailable, and is top of my must-find list. If you have any idea how to track this down, do email me.