Anthology Film Archives

THE QUEEN OF SHEBA MEETS THE ATOM MAN (AFA restoration!)

March 24 – April 30


THE QUEEN OF SHEBA MEETS THE ATOM MAN
STREAMING FOR FREE!

In 2018, after years of work, Anthology completed the restoration of Ron Rice’s longest film, THE QUEEN OF SHEBA MEETS THE ATOM MAN (1963/81). Rice completed only three films during his short lifetime (THE FLOWER THIEF, SENSELESS, and CHUMLUM), and at his untimely death in 1964, at the age of 29, he left behind a rough cut of his magnum opus, THE QUEEN OF SHEBA. In 1981 Anthology commissioned Rice’s collaborator and star, Taylor Mead, to complete the film. Mead compiled a score and edited the 16mm footage into its final form, and his version was the basis for Anthology’s 2018 16mm-to-35mm restoration. This spring, as we continue to offer online programming, we’re pleased to make the restoration available to stream, in High Definition.

“The small body of work that Ron left will have to be compared now with the work that Jean Vigo left at his own untimely, young, and wasteful death. […] Each film is a new departure, each like no other, each breathing the poetry, unexpectedness, and imagination that marked him as one of our most original artists.” –Jonas Mekas, MOVIE JOURNAL

Ron Rice
THE QUEEN OF SHEBA MEETS THE ATOM MAN
1963/81, 109 min, 16mm-to-digital. Starring Winifred Bryan and Taylor Mead. Photographed and directed by Ron Rice. Edited and musical score by Taylor Mead, 1981. Restored by Anthology Film Archives and The Film Foundation with funding provided by the Hobson/Lucas Family Foundation. Special thanks to Tommy Aschenbach & Ivy Donnell (Video & Film Solutions), Chris Hughes & Laura Major (Colorlab), and John Polito & Clay Dean (Audio Mechanics).

“New York plays itself, as Taylor Mead and Winifred Bryan regale in pas de deux among the trashcans and the towers. The Studiedly Goofy and the Monumentally Grand are joined in masterly pas de don’t by a scenery-gnashing Jack Smith, and, in turn, by the likes of Ron Rice, Julian Beck, Judith Malina, Jonas Mekas, and Ed Sanders (and Marlon Brando and Lawrence Olivier, sort of). The awed couple do battle with the status quo and teach the world to dance on the head of a bin. Rice detects real dignity in Bryan and amazing grace in Mead as they essay solitary promenades through the parks, subways and streets of a wintery New York landscape. Photographed and directed by Ron Rice, edited and scored by Taylor Mead. Said to be unfinished. It’s not.” –Edward Leffingwell

“An essential document of bohemian New York City in 1963 as it was lived and thrashed in cheap apartments and on the streets. […] The film’s black-and-white images demonstrate what the camp/avant-garde nexus meant in the Manhattan of Andy Warhol, Jill Johnston, and Frank O’Hara. The film was shot a year before Sontag’s “Notes on Camp” was published, but Rice’s movie is a living, breathing, leg-humping enactment more amusing, friendly, and connected to daily life than Jack Smith’s FLAMING CREATURES. Smith, one of Sontag’s inspirations, appears in the movie and almost takes over its second half from the coy, shier Mead and from Winifred Bryan, the implacable, overweight black woman who is the Queen of Sheba to Mead’s Atom Man. The film, having established the bizarre relationship between these two mismatched oddballs, can’t stray too far from them no matter who piles on. THE QUEEN OF SHEBA MEETS THE ATOM MAN should be projected twenty-four hours a day somewhere in Manhattan, so that before we’re all pushed into the sea off Rockaway Beach people can be reminded of the strange form of life that once lived here.” –A. S. Hamrah, n+1


Upcoming Screenings

  • Ron Rice
    THE QUEEN OF SHEBA MEETS THE ATOM MAN
    April 20 at 7:00 PM
    April 21 at 7:00 PM
    April 22 at 7:00 PM
    April 23 at 7:00 PM
    April 24 at 7:00 PM
    April 25 at 7:00 PM
    April 26 at 7:00 PM
    April 27 at 7:00 PM
    April 28 at 7:00 PM
    April 29 at 7:00 PM
    April 30 at 7:00 PM

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