Reprinted from yesterday's late editions.
Outside, thunder pounded and lightning flashed. But inside, at the National Gallery of Art Tuesday night, all was calm, and to the tinkle of 18th-century music a group of 100 previewed "The Eye of Jefferson," a film based on the maseum's Eicentennial exhibition of the same name.
J. Carter Brown, director of the Gallery, introduced the half-hour film, produced with funds from Exon Corp. as part of the "cult of Thomas Jefferson." Visually, the film was beautiful enought to freeze frames and sell them as picture postcards.
Produced by Charles Guggenhelm under the supervision of W. Howard Adams, who organized the museum's exhibition, the film presented the intellectual environment that influenced Jefferson's esthetic values and, hence, some of American's earliest public buildings.
Jefferson the man, however, is barely touched on in the film, something Brown jokingly chided the producers about when he mentioned that he would have like to know more about Maria Cosway, the married singer who played a romantic part in by then-widower Jefferson's life while he was in Europe, and who is only mentioned in passing.
The majority of the audience, which included White House curator Clement E. Conger and his wife, the National Trust's James Biddle and Virginius Shackleford and his wife, Carroll (who is a descendent of Jefferson), were enthusiastic about the film.
Biddle, at the reception after the showing noted that, "Since most people don't read about those things, it's the only way for them to find out about all of Jefferson's contributions. I'm afraid the world is visually oriented."
And John Bedenkapp, the architect of the Jefferson exhibit, thought the film was "fantastic" lamenting only that both the exhibit and the film could not have been available at the same time.
While other guests discussed the movie, sipped their drinks and nibbled on pate, stuffed cucumbers and various finger foods in the Gallery's East Garden Court, Exxon's Connie Stone remarked on the weather. "I'm a Californian and I'm not used to this," she said as the thunder rolled and shock the skylight in the room. "Is it normal?" she asked another guest.
The film is scheduled to have it's European premiere in Paris in the fall.
The film will be shown to the public in the Galle auditorium Saturday at 7:30 p.m. The film will have its European premiere in Paris in the fall and French and Spanish versions will be distributed worldwide.