Arts & Culture

Au naturel

Alberto Gout/Constelaci

Alberto Gout/Constelaci

Collection of Rev. Michael Morris, O.P. View full image

The 1956 low-budget Mexican film Adán y Eva may have followed the story of Adam and Eve too closely. The actors playing Adam (Carlos Baena, a relative unknown) and Eve (Christiane Martel, Miss Universe 1953) spend most of the movie nude and mute in Paradise. Despite the tasteful placement of shrubbery, the film was controversial. Even the vibrantly colored poster caused a stir, says Michael Morris, curator of an Institute of Sacred Music exhibit of more than 50 religious film posters from his personal collection. (The exhibit is on display through November 19.)

Morris, a professor of religion and the arts at the Dominican School of Philosophy and Theology in Berkeley, California, says posters for twentieth-century religious films drew viewers in by being either “aesthetically beautiful or super-kitschy.” But as was the case with Adán y Eva, Morris says, “sometimes the poster is more beautiful or wondrous than the movie.”

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