eames films: 1950s


Traveling Boy. 1950. Color. A journey through the world of toys, with a mechanical boy as tour guide.

Parade, or Here They Come Down the Street. 1952. 6 minutes. Color. Filmed entirely with mechanical toys as actors moving against a background of children's drawing of a city street. Band music, Sousa's Stars and Stripes Forever, accompanies the toy elephants and tigers and horses while brilliant Jananese paper flowers and balloons burst in the air over tehir heads. Drawings by Sansi Giraard at age 5. Winner of Edinburgh Film Festival Award, 1954.

Blacktop. 1952. 11 minutes. Color. An exercisie in musical and visual Variations on a theme, Blacktop is the image of water and foam floating in the washing of a blacktopped school yard viewed against the music of Landowska playing Bach's Goldberg Variations. Winner of Edinburgh International Film Festival Award, 1954.

Bread.1953. 22 minutes, 30 seconds. Color. Study of bread made for Eames's "A Rough Sketch for a Sample Lesson for a Hypothetical Course."

Calligraphy. 1953. Study of Calligraphy for "A Rough Sketch."


A Communications Primer. 1953. 22 minutes, 30 seconds. Color. An early attempt to make a popular presentation of communications theory--while a few of the techniques and words seem dated, most of it holds up quite well. The original motivation was to encourage such disciplines in the worlds of architecture and planning.

S-73 (Sofa Compact).1954. 11 minutes. Color. Traces the design and development of a product and its uses.

Two Baroque Churches in Germany.1955. 10 minutes, 30 seconds. These two churches, Viersehneiligen and Ottobeuren, are rich examples of mid-18th Century German Baroque, a time when music, literature, architecture and philosophy were unified. The film, rather than explaining the structure, attempts to give in one reel with 296 stills, the feeling of what German Baroque was and what gave it such great style. Music by George Muffat played by Walter Korner on the organ at Vierezehneiligen.

House.1955. 11 minutes. Color. Largely because of Elmer Bernstein's fine score this becomes a rather poetic view of the Eames house in Pacific Palisades, California. It is full of details of everything, but is now a bit dated except for those with an historical interest. Winner of Festival International du Film Montreal Award, 1961.

Textiles and Ornamental Arts of India.1955. 11 minutes, 30 seconds. Color. Film record of an exhibition, designed and installed by Alexander Girard of material selected by Alexander Girard and Edgar Kaufman.

Eames Lounge Chair. 1956. 2 minutes, 15 seconds. B&W. A stylized and sped-up scene of the assembling of the Eames leather lounge chair and ottoman, with music improvised by Elmer Bernstein.

Film Montage: The Spirit of St. Louis.1956. Color. St. Louis was directed for Warner Brothers by Billy Wilder, a life-long friend of the Eameses.

Day of the Dead.1957. Color. A portrayal of the Mexican Day of the Dead consisting of still shots and narration. Winner of San Francisco International Film Festival Award, 1958.

Toccata for Toy Trains.1957. 10 minutes. Color. Toy trains in toccata form is a nostalgic and historical record of great old toys from the world of trains. The characters, the architecture, the objects with whihc the scenes were built, were all somewhere, at sometime, manufactured and sold. Music score by Elmer Berstein. Winner of Edinburgh International Film Festival Award, 1957. Seventh Melbourne Film Festival Award, 1958. American Film Festival Award, 1959. Scholastic Teachers' 11th Annual Film Award, 1960.

The Information Machine. 1957. 10 minutes. Color. An animated film made in 1957 for use in the IBM Pavilion at the Brussels World's Fair. Because it deals mostly in the general principles surrounding man's problems and the electronic computer, the points made in the film do not yet seem too dated. Music by Elmer Bernstein. Drawings by Dolores Cannata. Winner of the Edinburgh International Film Festival Award, 1958, Melbourne Film Festival Award, 1963.

The Expanding Airport. 1958. 10 minutes. Color. Presents Eero Saarinen's concept for Dulles Airport.

Herman Miller at the Brussels Fair. 1958. 4 minutes, 30 seconds. Color. A film for the American Pavilion at the 1958 Brussels World's Fair.

De Gaulle Sketch. 1959. 1 minutes, 30 seconds. B&W. An at-the-moment attempt to put together all the images that appeared in the press on the de Gaulle crisis in a one-and-one-half-minute resume. Later in January of 1960, Eric Severeid used it on CBS in his recapping of events of the fifties.

Glimpses of USA. 1959. 12 minutes. Color. Glimpses of USA was commissioned by the State Department to introduce the United States Exhibit at the Moscow World's Fair. A rapid succession of still photos depicting various aspects of American life were projected on seven 32-foot screens inclosed within a geodesic dome designed by Buckminster Fuller. Glimpses of USA was never shown in its original form outside of the Moscow Fair presentations.

Kaleidoscope Shop. (nl) 1959. 4 minutes. Color. A tour around the Eames Workshop through a Kaleidoscope. Charles produced this film for a lecture at the Royal College of Art in London. He was uncomfortable with being asked to show pictures of the Eames Office, so he used the fractured images from a special camera that produces kaleidoscopic effects.


Time & Life Building International Lobby 1959. Eames, commissioned to redesign theTime & Life Building International Lobby, presented his proposal in the form of this film. This was the 3rd "study film" made by the Eames Office presenting the basic concept and design of a project. The film was shown in conjunction with presentation of a model of the lobby made by the Eames Office. The International Lobby project did not go beyond the proposal stage but the Eames Office completed other lobbies for Time Inc. in its New York offices, The film has no narration or music and is not in general circulation.

continue on to eames films of the 1960s