Mary Ellen Bute 1906-1983
Tarantella – 1940
Duration: 4 min

Tarantella seems Mary Ellen's best film. Using an eccentric modern composition by Edwin Gershefski, Mary Ellen herself animated most of the imagery, using jagged lines to choreograph dissonant scales. Even the sensuous McLaren interlude is not totally out of character. Another of her finest films, Pastorale (1953), reverts to the technique of the early black-and-white films, creating continuous flows of colored light, swirling in various directions to mime the multiple voices of J.S.Bach's Sheep May Safely Graze. The music's conductor/arranger, Leopold Stokowski, appears at the end superimposed over the abstract images--reminiscent of Fantasia!