View Kit Davidson's
films 3rd AVE. EL,
Help, My Snowman's Burning Down,
Railway with a Heart of Gold,
Note: Carson "Kit" Davidson passed away on September 29, 2016. Born on June 24, 1924 in Washington DC, Davidson was an extraordinary filmmaker with a dry wit and self-effacing manner who, well into his late 80s, was living life well in idyllic southwestern Vermont, at his Taconic Peaks Ramble hiking preserve. Kit composed the following autobiography, and we've used his words verbatim...
Additional note from Geoff Alexander: We've elected to keep
Kit's autobiography in the present tense. Kit mentioned that he'd been rejected
from participating in the D-Day landing force because of his small stature, a
fact which he figured had saved his life. n a recent conversation. In terms of
his camera work, he also mentioned that he'd filmed
"twenty or thirty" episodes of Candid Camera for Alan Funt,
"plus Adlai Stevenson's Western campaign tour for the Democratic National
Committee, endless numbers of Indianapolis and stock car races for ABC "Wide
World of Sports," endless surgical procedures for various drug companies, and
assorted documentaries all across the States, as well as Europe, Israel, Hong
Kong, and Japan." Kit's wife Margaret (Mickie) passed away in 2012.
Three Hymns Played on the Carillon at Riverside Church (1952)
3rd Ave. El (1954), Academy Award Nomination in 1955, Golden Reel (highest award) American Film Assembly, Diploma of Merit (highest award) Edinburgh Intl Festival, Chris Award Columbus Film Festival. Music was Haydn’s Concerto in D, played by harpsichordist Wanda Landowska. Davidson was a great fan of Landowska, and the rights to the music were held by HMV, who told the filmmaker that he could use the music, provided Landowska gave her approval. Through her secretary, Davidson discovered that Landowska distrusted filmmakers, had only seen one film in her life (which she disliked), but nevertheless "snapped up an offer of $200, all the money I had at the time," says Davidson.
Ink and Rice Paper (1954) Follows the step - by - step execution of a woodblock print by artist Lowell Naeve from initial sketch to completed edition. (The same film as 'Woodblock Printer')
Variations on an Italian Theme (1961) A tour of Italy, made for
Alitalia Airlines. This was done as a reaction to the airline travelogues so
usual at the time --- characterized by lots of pretty pictures, all entirely
unrelated to one another, and by lots of tourists eating intricate goodies at
pricey restaurants. No real feeling involved in any way. The intention
here was to create a few small incidents, with a few perhaps memorable
characters, so that the pretty pictures might involve us on a different and
rather more emotional level, thus perhaps sticking in the mind somewhat longer.
The film was later blown up to 35 mm and sent out to theaters nationally by a
short subject distributor.
First Prize Story (1963?) About meat packing, filmed at the First Prize packing plant in Albany, NY. (Not the same film as 'Inspector's Badge')
Help! My Snowman’s Burning Down (1964) Fourteen international awards,
including an Academy Award nomination, and the Special Prize of the Jury, Cannes
Intl Festival. An absurdist farce, with music by Gerry Mulligan and Bob Brookmeyer.
Poppycock! (1966) A wonderful farce, in which two men vie for the
attentions of a woman. The eventual winner triumphs through a combination of wit
and slapstick. The rotund lead actor was the late Arnold F.T. Kotis, who was
Davidson's assistant cameraman while he filmed for Candid Camera. Additional
roles were played by actors Don Chastain and Ann Willis. The musical score was
by Judd Woldin.
Brake Free (1970) A film staged on the Mount Washington (NH) cog railway. Silver Medal Venice Intl Festival, Golden Eagle CINE Washington.
The Wrong Damn Film (1975)
Sigmoidoscopy in the Physician's Office (1975?) A medical training film made
for the American Cancer Society.
The Light Bulb Re-invented (1980?) Made for the Duro-Test company, showing the process of making the Mi-T-Wattsaver lightbulb.
Granite (1980) Shows a 25 ton block of granite being burned, drilled, and blasted from the heart of a Vermont mountain, focusing on the machinery used.
40,000 Acres, with View (1984) This film follows a bicyclist on a tour through New York City's immense park system. Made for the NYC Audubon Society. Music was the Oboe Concerto of Mozart.