Project Description


(1970) (RT 1:30:00)
(Produced and Directed by Perry Miller Adato)
Widely recognized as a pioneering work of the biographical documentary genre, the film was highly innovative at the time. To create a vivid, living portrait of Gertrude Stein, it combines vintage photographs, letters, works of art, songs, archival and newsreel footage and radio.  In addition, live musical and dramatic performances are based on Stein’s writings; interviews with surviving witnesses who were part of Gertrude Stein’s legendary charmed circle, contribute intimate recollections.

Artists, writers and a wide variety of fascinating personalities beat a path to 27 rue de Fleurus, for Gertrude Stein’s salon was one of the most sought-after in Paris in the early decades of the Twentieth century. This biography views Stein within the time, the place and the milieu in which she thrived, aided and abetted by her life-long companion Alice B. Toklas. The script is derived mainly from Stein’s cleverly mistitled self-portrait The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas, supplemented by candid on-camera conversations with friends and colleagues, among them Virgil Thompson, Janet Flanner, Jacques Lipschitz, Pierre Balmain, Daniel-Henri Kahnweiler, Bennett Cerf, Mrs. Jenny Bradley and Georges Hugnet. Through images and voice-over quotes by actors, other key players in her life are summoned: William James, Ambroise Vollard, Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse, Juan Gris, Thornton Wilder, Ernest Hemingway, Ezra Pound, James Joyce, T.S. Eliot, and others.  Gertrude Stein: When This You See, Remember Me includes numerous examples of Stein’s poetry and literature such as: Three Lives, Tender Buttons, The Making of Americans, her opera Four Saints in Three Acts and Wars I have Seen which are presented visually or dramatized by leading actors.

Until recently, Gertrude Stein’s role as an early champion of Cubism and a trailblazing patron of Picasso and Modernism was far better known than her obscure writings.

Her art collection at 27 rue de Fleurus has been called “the first museum of modern art.” With the publication of The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas in 1934, Stein’s writing finally reached a broad audience. Many lesser-known works have now achieved wide publication and her powerful literary influence is acknowledged and continues to grow. As always, Gertrude has the last word…”My writing is as clear as mud but mud stays and clear streams flow on.”


“Mrs. Perry Miller Adato, who put the show together, had the patience and skills to match the visual material with the appropriate words from the writing of her subject. Each illuminates the other. Thus she has caught the initial and cordial meeting between Hemingway and Miss Stein and their explosive parting later. The words still crackle.
Aside from its intrinsic attraction as a tribute to its subject, the film is an evocative and memory- stirring pictorial experience….

Virgil Thompson, who set her Four Acts Saints in Three Acts to music, speaks of the liberating influence her words had for him. Jacques Lipchitz, whose sculpture has her looking like a Buddha, speaks fondly of her as a person and remembers over the space of half a century the tea and cookies served at 27 Rue de Fleurus. Janet Flanner recalls her strength of personality; Bennett Cerf, his visit to her in the thirties and her triumphs as a visiting celebrity. It adds up to an enticing 90 minutes on more than one account.”
–Thomas Lask, New York Times

“The TV show, produced by Perry Miller Adato for National Educational Broadcast Television…is a ninety-minute affair still visible occasionally at the Museum of Modern Art, where it turned away long lines for several weeks. Indeed so widely popular has it been, and so generally admired by professionals, that it will probably be made available later for distribution in schools and colleges. For the piece does give information and has charm.”
–Virgil Thompson, The New York Review of Books

“There is never a dull moment in this fast-paced, jam packed guided tour of the emergence of Modern Art, both literary and artistic.”
–Ballast Quarterly



Director: Perry Miller Adato
Producer: Perry Miller Adato
Writer and Associate Producer: Marianna Norris
Editor and Associate Producer: Alan Pesetsky
France: Jean Monsigny,
USA: Jerry Cotts Ray Witlin, Eliot Noyes, Gardner Compton

Photo Animation: Francis Lee
Additional Animation: Bert Gerard
Production Manager: Hal Hutkoff
Assistant Editor: Aviva Slesin
Research and Production Assistance:
Nicki Kaplan, Holly Warner, Judith Wietzman,
Production Secretary: Susan Lester

Virgil Thomson, composer, music critic
Al Carmines, composer
Janet Flanner, writer
Maurice Grosser, painter
Pierre Balmain, designer
Bennett Cerf, publisher
Joseph Barry, writer
Jacques Lipchitz, sculptor
Daniel-Henri Kahnweiler, art dealer
Bobsey Goodspeed Chapman, arts patron

Voice Overs:
Barbara Cason (Gertrude Stein)
Betty Henritze (Alice Toklas)
William Redfield (Male voices)

Performances (Texts by Gertrude Stein)
In Circles music: Al Carmines/ Words by Gertrude Stein
Cast: Theo Barnes, Al Carmines, Lee Guilliatt, Arlene Rothlein, Nancy Zala

Melanctha from Three Lives by Gertrude Stein
Roxie Roker (Melanctha)
Garrett Saunders (Jeff)

Four Saints in Three Acts
Music: Virgil Thomson
Libretto: Gertrude Stein
Singers: Betty Allen, Claudia Lindsey, Edward Pierson

Major sequences based on Photographs by
Therese Bonney or from her Archives

Additional Photographs by:
Carl Van Vechten
George Platt Lynes
Man Ray
Edward Steichen
Ray Lee Jackson

Special Acknowledgement to:
The Estate of Gertrude Stein
Gertrude Stein Collection, Collection of American Literature,
Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library at Yale University
Museum of Modern Art, New York
Baltimore Museum of Art (Cone Collection)
W.G. Rogers
Personal film of Gertrude Stein provided by
Mrs. Bobsy Goodspeed Chapman
Concerto Flamenco by Maurice Amar

Our thanks to:
Sylvia Beach Collection, Princeton U. Library
Cleveland Museum of Art, Leonard C. Hanna, Jr. bequest
Vanity Fair
Metropolitan Museum of Art
Random House
Philadelphia Museum of Art
Mrs. Walter A. Haas
Buhrle Collection Zurich
Minneapolis Institute of Art
Musee National D’Art Moderne
Bancroft Library, U. of California Berkeley
Joseph Solomon
The Phillips Collection, Washington
Staatsgalerie, Stuttgart
Edward Burns
Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum
Mr. And Mrs. N.R. Kandel
The Honorable and Mrs. W. Averell Harriman
Art Institute of Chicago
Mr. And Mrs. David Lloyd Kreeger
National Gallery of Art, Washington

A production of NET
© 1970 Educational Broadcasting Corporation