Close Up

5 March 2017: Robert Frost: A Lover's Quarrel with the World


Shirley Clarke
1959 | 20 min | B/W & Colour | Digital

In collaboration with Willard Van Dyke, Irving Jacoby, Wheaton Galentine, and D.A. Pennebaker. Clarke joined Irving Jacoby and Willard Van Dyke on a short film about 666 Fifth Avenue (known as the Tishman Building), then a year under construction. Clarke later called it "a musical comedy about the building of a skyscraper." The film received an Academy Award nomination for Best Short Live Action.

Robert Frost: A Lover’s Quarrel with the World
Shirley Clarke
1963 | 52 min | B/W | Digital

"And were an epitaph to be my story I'd have a short one ready for my own. I would have written of me on my stone: I had a lover's quarrel with the world." – Robert Frost

"By the time Clarke made a biopic on Robert Frost for public television, he was a long-celebrated American institution. Though featuring him accepting the Congressional Gold Medal from President Kennedy at the White House, Clarke lingers on the 88-year-old poet busily ambling about his house and property in Vermont and intersperses this with relaxed talks to students at Sarah Lawrence and Amherst Colleges. Jokingly acknowledging his film crew at times, Frost appears comfortable and amused with his place in the sun. Relatively conventional with a verité cognizance, Clarke’s stroll "above ground" earned her the Academy Award for Best Feature Documentary in 1963." – Harvard Film Archive

Long unavailable in its original 52-minute long version, Robert Frost: A Lover’s Quarrel with the World has now been jointly restored by the UCLA Film & Television Archive and the Academy Film Archive and mastered to the best possible video standards by Milestone Film & Video.

Part of our retrospective on Shirley Clarke, generously supported by Milestone Films: