Cornell’s first and most impressive film ROSE HOBART is essentially a new version of East of Borneo, a jungle drama by Universal Pictures from 1931 with Rose Hobart and Charles Bickford. ROSE HOBART transforms the banal plot of East of Borneo intentionally into a maze.
“Joseph Cornell appropriated a print of the Hollywood film East of Borneo that he had found on a flea market.He re-cut it, shortened it and added images, giving it a new soundtrack so as to create a completely new and self-contained piece.Moreover, Cornell also tinted the film blue, which was originally black and white, by screening it through a tinted glass at the first screening. He played sentimental dance music on a record player. For the print that he made decades later with Jonas Mekasfor the Anthology Film Archives in New York he decided upon a reddish-purple color and this provisional or perhapsnow final version is also in the Arsenal archive. In this version the soundtrack is an audio cassette or mp3/CDwith mambo music from the 1960s that is played parallel to the film when it is screened (but not in sync).” (Martin Ebner)
Ernie Gehr created SIGNAL – GERMANY ON THE AIR during his DAAD artist grant residency in West-Berlin in 1985.
The title SIGNAL – GERMANY ON THE AIR refers to the audio track of the film, which was mainly composed of radio recordings by Gehr.