(aka "The Magical Worlds of Joseph Cornell" )


directed by Joseph Cornell


How to write about the movies of Joseph Cornell? Where can I find such lightness and grace and unpretentiousness and directness? My typewriter is here, in front of me, very real. The paper, the keys. I'm searching for words, letter by letter. To pay a tribute to a unique artist.
Cornell's images are all very real. Even when they are taken from other movies, as in Rose Hobart, they seem to gain the quality of reality. The Hollywood unreality is transported into Cornellian unreality, which is very, very real. Here is an evidence of the power of the artist to transform reality by choosing, by picking out only those details which correspond to some subtle inner movement or vision, or dream. No matter what he takes, be it a totally "artificial" reality, or bits of "actual" reality, he transforms them, bit by bit, into new unities, new things, boxes, collages, movies, with no other thing on earth resembling them.
So where was I? I was talking about the movies of Joseph Cornell. Or at least I thought I was talking about them. I will be talking about them for a long time. There aren't many such sublime things left around us to talk about. Yes, we are talking about cathedrals, civilization. What's his name? Professor Clark? The cathedrals of today, wherever they are, are very unimposing, very unnoticeable. The boxes, the collages, the home movies of Joseph Cornell are the invisible cathedrals of our age. That is, they are almost invisible, as are all the best things that man can still find today: They are almost invisible, unless you look for them.

Excerpts from Jonas Mekas' Appreciation in Movie Journal HERE

Theatrical Release: 1938-1965

DVD Reviews

DVD Review: Voyager Foundation - Region 0 - NTSC

DVD Box Cover

CLICK to order from:

also available from the Voyager Foundation HERE




Voyager Foundation

Region 0 - NTSC

Runtime 106 min

4:3 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 3.95 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.


Audio Music (LPCM 2.0)
Subtitles none
Features Release Information:
Studio: Voyager Foundation

Aspect Ratio:
Fullscreen - 4:3

Edition Details:
• Interactive bonus disc: The Magical Worlds of Joseph Cornell

DVD Release Date:
Custom case

Chapters 10



This is the Voyager Foundation's 2 disc set called "The Magical Worlds of Joseph Cornell", which includes the disc "The Magical Films of Joseph Cornell". You won't find this at amazon.com, but will have to order from the foundation itself.

What we have here are ten films in total, nine by Joseph Cornell. The titles in this set are Nymphlight, Angel, Jack's Dream, Centuries of June, Cotillion and The Midnight Party, The Aviary, Bookstalls, Rose Hobart and A Legend for Fountains as well as Larry Jordan's 1965 film Cornell, a tribute to the great artist.

With an independently produced DVD like this, one shouldn't expect flawless transfers and state-of-the-art design. Rather than that, we get a lovingly assembled package consisting of a DVD with the films and an additional DVD-ROM. The transfers of the films are all as good as it can yet, considering age and film material. The look of these films is very celluloid-like and the foundation has obviously been faithful to Cornell's intentions.

Most of the films here are silent, only Rose Hobart and Jack's Dream feature music, while Jordan's film features narration by the director. For these purposes, the LPCM 2.0 soundtrack is sufficient and satisfying.

If you pop in the disc "The Magical Worlds of Joseph Cornell" you get an interactive gallery of Cornell's famous boxes. In these galleries you can access a couple of Cornell's most astounding creations and explore them 3-dimensionally with your mouse. The disc also features commentary by Cornell experts as well as background information on the individual works. This is excellent supplementary material to the films, as you can explore the similarities between Cornell's boxes and movies and delve into a world of wonder and beauty.

This is the only way to get Cornell's films for home viewing and I think we should thank the Voyager Foundation for that. These films are visual poems, created by a man with a unique vision. Few films remain as extraordinary and rich as Rose Hobart, a work that not only amazes in its own right, but teaches one to look at films in an altogether different way. This is clearly an essential DVD in my opinion.

 - Stan Czarnecki


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DVD Box Cover

CLICK to order from:

also available from the Voyager Foundation HERE




Voyager Foundation

Region 0 - NTSC


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