Mr. Harvey died of AIDS-related complications, said Mary Lea Bandy, the director of the department of film at the museum.
A film curator at the Museum of Modern Art since 1972, Mr. Harvey had organized major retrospectives and programs on such film figures as Vincente Minnelli, Vittorio de Sica and Joseph Mankiewicz.
His book, "Directed by Vincente Minnelli," published in 1990 by HarperCollins, is widely considered the definitive study of Mr. Minnelli and the MGM studio system of his time.
Mr. Harvey's retrospective on the film director Michael Curtiz was on exhibit at the museum, and at the time of his death he was preparing a retrospective of films based on works by Henry James to coincide with the James sesquicentennial in 1993.
Mr. Harvey also wrote essays and critical commentary for newspapers, Film Comment and other publications on films. He was a film critic for Inquiry magazine and a theater critic for The Nation.
At the museum his exhibitions included: "Get Out Your Handkerchiefs: Women's Pictures at Warner Bros., 1932-1950," which he organized last year, and "Hard, Fast, and Beautiful -- Ida Lupino, Filmmaker and Actress," which he organized in 1991.
Mr. Harvey earned a bachelor's degree from Stanford University in 1971 and pursued graduate studies in the Department of Cinema Studies at New York University from 1971 to 1972. He was a member of the National Society of Film Critics. In 1985 the Government of France named him a chevalier in the Order of Arts and Letters.
He was survived by his companion, Karl Philip Karlock of Jersey City.
Directed by Vincente Minnelli by Stephen Harvey
Hardcover: 315 pages
Publisher: Harper & Row; First Edition edition (1989)
Amazon: Directed by Vincente Minnelli
Harvey argues that Minnelli deserves a place in the pantheon of American feature directors alongside Ford, Hitchcock, Welles, et al. Film history, according to Harvey, associate curator of the Museum of Modern Art's Department of Film, has slighted Minnelli because of his long career under MGM contract (1940-66). Scholars usually cast the restraints of the studio system as the major antagonist of the serious director. Therefore the cogency of Minnelli's personal style has either been missed altogether or (wrongly) surmised to be simply more of the stylish extravagance endemic to the "majors." Destined to reign as the definitive study of Minnelli's work because of its ebullient engrossment in detail and historical gestalt, this is also the first major monograph devoted to the topic. On a scale rivaling an erotic reverie in dance by Minnelli, Harvey's mellifluous tribute has great appeal. Essential for all film collections. - Robert Rayher, Sch. of the Art Inst. of Chicago
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