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Archive of past screenings: 2002 Schedule

Thursday, January 3, 2002

World Treasures

The Last Days of Pompeii (Cineproduzioni, 1959). Dir Mario Bonnard. With Steve Reeves, Fernando Rey. (103 min, 35mm).

Well before making history by casting Clint Eastwood in A Fistful of Dollars, Sergio Leone–born on this day in 1929–had made a name for himself as one of the most experienced assistant directors in the Italian film industry, a reputation which landed him jobs on several Hollywood productions filmed in and around Rome during the 1950s. In 1959, after his long-time friend and mentor, Mario Bonnard, fell ill following the pre-production of The Last Days of Pompeii, Leone took over and directed the main unit throughout the shoot. We celebrate the late director's early career the next three nights.

Friday, January 4, 2002

World Treasures

The Colossus of Rhodes (Cineproduzioni, 1961). Dir Sergio Leone. With Lea Massari, Georges Marchal. (121 min, 35mm).

Leone's first solo directorial effort was the story of one of the wonders of the Ancient World as told by the director and his team of seven (!) writers. The film was shot on location in the Spanish Bay of Biscay and stars Rory Calhoun as a visitor to the island of Rhodes who gets involved with a group of Greek freedom fighters.

Tuesday, January 8, 2002

National Film Registry

Sodom and Gomorrah (Titanus, 1961). Dir Robert Aldrich. With Stewart Granger, Stanley Baker. (154 min, 35mm).

Following the success of The Colossus of Rhodes, Leone agreed once again to become a second unit director in order to be able to work with Robert Aldrich, one of his favorite filmmakers. In Sodom and Gomorrah, the story of the two Biblical cities of sin, he was responsible for the large-scale action sequences filmed in Morocco, including the spectacular Helamite cavalry attack on the Hebrews in the Valley of the Jordan.

Thursday, January 10, 2002

World Treasures

High Wind in Jamaica (20th Century Fox,1965) Dir Alexander MacKendrick. With Anthony Quinn, James Coburn, Martin Amis. (104 min., 35mm).

In this adaptation of Richard Hughes' classic novel, a group of children run wild after being captured by clueless pirates. Unlike the novel, the resulting tragedy is more the product of misunderstanding, rather than the fault of anyone in particular. The late Anthony Quinn gives a bravura performance as the captain.

Friday, January 11, 2002

National Film Registry

Skidoo (Paramount, 1968). Dir Otto Preminger. With Jackie Gleason, Carol Channing. (97 min., 35mm).

Teutonic meets psychotronic when Otto Preminger takes on 1968 San Francisco and proves almost equal to the task. An all-star cast cavorts in this warped counterculture comedy.

Tuesday, January 15, 2002

National Film Registry

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (Thanhouser, 1911). Dir Lucius Henderson.
Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (Famous Players-Lasky, 1920). Dir John S. Robertson. With John Barrymore, Nita Naldi. (ca. 85 min., silent, 16mm).

The two best-known silent versions of the Robert Louis Stevenson classic, including screen idol Barrymore in truly terrifying makeup.

Thursday, January 17, 2002


Kuroneko (Kaneto Shindo, 1968)

Friday, January 18, 2002

World Treasures

Tokyo Raiders (Jingle Ma, 2000)

Tuesday, January 22, 2002

National Film Registry

Renaldo and Clara, Part 1 (Bob Dylan, 1978)

Thursday, January 24, 2002

National Film Registry

Renaldo and Clara, Part 2 (Bob Dylan, 1978)

Friday, January 25, 2002

World Treasures

Alphaville (Chaumiane France, Filmstudio Italy, 1965). Dir Jean-Luc Godard. With Eddie Constantine, Anna Karina. (100 min, 16 mm).

Intergalactic agent Lemmy Caution infiltrates Alphaville, "a nation of logics," ruled by the computer Alpha 60. A synthesis of pulp characters, sci-fi alienation, absurdist comedy, and romantic melodrama photographed in stark, wintry Parisian light by the great Raoul Coutard.

Tuesday, February 26, 2002

Carmen (Famous Players-Lasky, 1915). Dir Cecil B. DeMille. With Wallace Reid, Pedro de Cordoba. (59 min, silent, video).

When America's home-grown diva, Geraldine Farrar, was persuaded to make her screen debut in 1915, she helped create an image of stardom that others would soon seek to emulate. But "Our Jerry," as she was affectionately known, also proved to be one of the most effective film actresses of her day, causing an international sensation by transferring her portrayal of Bizet's Carmen to the screen, under the careful direction of Cecil B. DeMille. Paul Fryer (whose previous programs at the Pickford have included the films of Caruso and Chaliapin), returns to present the story of one of the most significant debuts in early cinema history.

Thursday, February 28, 2002

Burn! (Europee, 1969). Dir Gillo Pontecorvo. With Evaristo Márquez, Norman Hill. (112 min, 35mm).

After Battle of Algiers (showing March 7), Gillo Pontecorvo extended his analysis of colonialism in this deeply political film. In the 1830s, British agent William Walker (Marlon Brando) is sent to the Caribbean island of Queimada. He helps foment a revolution among the sugar-cane workers against the Portuguese colonialists, but not with the workers' interests in mind. Powered by Brando's performance and Ennio Morricone's acclaimed score, Burn! is a complex and thought provoking work.

Friday, March 1, 2002

Isadora (BBC, 1966). Dir Ken Russell. With Peter Bowles, Alexei Jawdokimov. (67 min,16mm.)
Song of Summer (BBC, 1968). Dir Ken Russell. With Max Adrian, Christopher Gable. (76 min, 16mm).

A program of the two most acclaimed films Ken Russell made in his series of artist-biographies for the BBC. San Francisco-born Isadora Duncan (1878-1927), propagated ideas of dance that were so ancient (taking inspiration directly from nature), they appeared revolutionary. For Isadora, Russell borrowed Citizen Kane's format in his take on Duncan, an artist he regards as probably a terrible dancer but a great person, warts and all. Vivian Pickles' jaw-dropping performance in the lead role is unforgettable. Many regard Song of Summer, about the last years of composer Frederick Delius(1863-1934), as a television masterpiece. Based on the memoirs of student composer Eric Fenby, Song displays Russell at his transcendent best.

Tuesday, March 5, 2002

The Uninvited (Paramount, 1944). Dir Lewis Allen. With Ray Milland, Ruth Hussey. (98 min, 35 mm).

This beautifully shot haunted house/whodunit features a superb cast, crafty plot and subtle atmospherics. A brother and sister are certain that they have found the perfect retreat in an old house on the Cornish coast. But the more a strange but friendly (and beautiful) neighbor visits the more supernatural disturbances occur. A mystery is revealed, a romance evolves and a life hangs in the balance.

Thursday, March 7, 2002

The Battle of Algiers (Igor Film and Casbah Films, 1965) Dir Gillo Pontecorvo. With Yacef Saadi, Jean Martin. (123 min, 35mm, in French and Arabic with English subtitles).

Banned in France and not screened there until 1971, Pontecorvo's landmark film (in its American release version) chronicles the war for Algerian independence.

Friday, March 8, 2002

The Lord of the Rings (United Artists, 1978). Dir Ralph Bakshi. With Christopher Guard, William Squire, John Hurt. (133 min, 35mm).

Ralph Bakshi's animated adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien's classic fantasy was a commercial and critical failure when it was released late in 1978. The primary complaint was that the film didn't have a conclusion, abruptly ending about halfway into the second book of the series (The Two Towers); in addition, many characters and events were dropped or only touched upon briefly, which angered many Tolkien fans, and the enormous complexity of the story was confusing to those unfamiliar with the books. Needless to say, the film's box office failure prevented Bakshi from completing his adaptation, and it would take more than 20 years for Tolkien to reach the screen again, with much greater success.

Tuesday, March 12, 2002

The Devil's Rain (Bryanston, 1975). Dir Robert Feust. With Tom Skeritt, Anton LaVey. (85 min, 35mm).

The cast of this film alone makes it worth a second look. Any film which stars Ernest Borgnine and WIlliam Shatner is a must see even if it is about a bunch of Satanists. Also starring Eddie Albert, Ida Lupino and–in one of his first film appearances–John Travolta.

Wednesday, March 13, 2002

The Fantasticks (United Artists, 2000). Dir Michael Ritchie. With Jean Louisa Kelly, Joe McIntyre, Joel Grey, Teller. (86 min, 35mm).

Our beloved colleague Bill Barry died suddenly last October, but tonight we celebrate his birthday with a screening of The Fantasticks. Bill repeatedly scheduled this version of the enduring (although recently closed) off-Broadway musical, but it always seemed to get bumped in favor of some other brilliant suggestion of his. He is deeply missed by those privileged to call him a friend, but his joyous spirit endures.

Thursday, March 14, 2002

All Star Movies!

The Story of Mankind (Warner Bros., 1957). Dir Irwin Allen. With Ronald Colman, Vincent Price. (99 min, 35mm).

Dennis Hopper as Napoleon? Hedy Lamarr as Joan of Arc? Harpo Marx as Sir Isaac Newton?! Irwin Allen's Hollywoodcentric interpretation of world history displays a mind-boggling array of celebrities in cameo roles. This earnest yet absurd epic is a particularly exotic instance of that gaudy cinematic concoction known as the all-star movie. Other titles in this series of all-star films are The List of Adrian Messenger (May 28), Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid (July 23), and The Player (August 16).

Friday, March 15, 2002

1950s Westerns

Rancho Notorious (RKO, 1952). Dir Fritz Lang. With Arthur Kennedy, Mel Ferrer. (89 min, 35mm).

By the early 1950s, as Hollywood adopted a more bleaker and cynical view of the world, the Western witnessed an influx of themes, ideas and stylistic influences which had previously been absent or even considered taboo. Politics, sex, racial and social issues, all made their way into the genre producing a string of high quality films and box office hits. On the other hand, the move of the serial Western to television and the slow demise of the B Western, took away the genre's strong economic foundation and signaled its uncertain future. We begin our series of Fifties westerns with one of the great films of the era, Fritz Lang's Rancho Notorious, an expressionistic tour de force starring Marlene Dietrich as the manager of an outlaws' hideout who falls in love with a man on a mission to avenge the murder of his bride-to-be.

Monday, March 18, 2002

Environmental Film Festival

Yellow Sky (Twentieth Century-Fox, 1948). Dir William Wellman. With Richard Widmark, Henry Morgan, John Barton. (99 min, 16mm).

From the beginning of cinema, the concept of the stark beauty of Death Valley has intrigued filmmakers as both a setting and a location, and in conjunction with the Environmental Film Festival, the Library of Congress salutes it with a number of films and television programs revealing both its natural splendor as well as humankind's intervention. Based on an unpublished novel by WR Burnett (author of High Sierra, Scarface, and many others), Yellow Sky stars Gregory Peck as an outlaw whose gang is stranded in a ghost town occupied only by a grizzled prospector and his daughter (Anne Baxter). According to William Wellman biographer Frank Thompson, the film is a "grim, two-fisted variation on 'The Tempest,' precisely the kind of scenario that Shakespeare might have come up with had he had access to the powerful vistas of Lone Pine, California and Death Valley. Crafted by Wellman as a companion to his relentlessly depressing The Ox-Bow Incident, Yellow Sky is slightly more upbeat, with humor, action-and touch of romance."

Thursday, March 21, 2002

Environmental Film Festival

Hot Sands (Warner Bros., 1931). Dir Alf Goulding. With Billy Wayne and Thelma White. (10 min, 35mm).
Death Valley Days: How Death Valley Got Its Name (Borax Consolidated, 1952). Dir Stuart McGowan. With Brad Johnson, Phyllis Coates. (30 min, 16mm).
Fair Warning (Twentieth Century-Fox, 1937). Dir Norman Foster. With J Edward Bromburg, Betty Furness, Billy Burrud. (70 min, 16mm).

A boy chemist helps a sheriff track down a murderer in Death Valley in this fast-paced adventure. We will round out the evening with Hot Sands, a 1931 Vitaphone travelogue set in Death Valley, as well as an episode of television's Death Valley Days, hosted by "The Old Ranger" Stanley Andrews.

Friday, March 22, 2002

The Time Machine (MGM, 1960). Dir George Pal. With Alan Young, Yvette Mimieux. (102 min, 35mm).

Oft-told HG Wells tale of a Victorian who travels into the future to discover that mankind has definitely not found enlightenment. Fine, Oscar winning special effects from the master George Pal, but it's the solid performance from Rod Taylor that makes the film interesting.

Tuesday, March 26, 2002

Veterans History Project

Johanna Enlists (Pickford Film Corp., 1918). Dir William D. Taylor. With Wallace Beery, Monte Blue. (62 min, silent, 16mm).

In conjunction with the Veterans History Project, the Mary Pickford Theater presents a series of five films commemorating America's fighting forces, starting with our namesake (and in celebration of Women's History Month) in Johanna Enlists. Pickford stars as a backwoods girl who is invigorated by the arrival of an Army regiment on nearby training maneuvers; we will also show some World War I morale films intended to both justify America's involvement in the conflict and promote the purchase of war bonds. Musical accompaniment by Ray Brubacher. For more veteran's films, see The Thin Red Line (April 19), Cease Fire! (May 14), The Longest Day (June 6), and Platoon (July 26).

Thursday, March 28, 2002

Satyajit Ray

Two(New Mark International, 1964). Dir Satyajit Ray. With Rabi Kiron. (13 min, 16mm).)
Pratidwandi (The Adversary) (Priya Films, 1970). Dir: Satyajit Ray. With Dhritiman Chatterjee, Indira Devi. (110 min, 35mm, print courtesy National Film Development Corp.)

The first film in what was to become Satyajit Ray's trilogy about contemporary life in Calcutta, The Adversary was made in an era when frequent outbursts of revolutionary violence and government repression turned the city into an urban guerrilla battleground. The three main characters, Siddhartha, twenty-five year old, educated and jobless, his younger brother Tunu, a student who models himself on Che Guevara, and their sister Sutapa, a firm believer in the merits of capitalism, mirror not only the political and economic turmoil in the state of Bengal in the late 1960s, but also Ray's own love/hate relationship with his home city. The Adversary is preceded by Two, in which Ray provokes the kind of reflection typical of his unsentimental and humanistic outlook on such issues as class difference, and war and peace. Commissioned in 1964 by the US public television service under the banner Esso World Theater, Two was described by Ray as a film that "packs quite a punch in its ten minutes."

Friday, March 29, 2002

The High and the Mighty (Warner Bros., 1954) Dir William Wellman. With Claire Trevor, Jan Sterling, Robert Stack. (147 min, 35mm).

Leonard Maltin said it best: "[the] granddaddy of airborne disaster films and more fun than most of them put together." The High and the Mighty is about character, not pyrotechnics. In one of his better performances, John Wayne plays a washed-up pilot trying to safely land a troubled airliner. Unavailable on video for years and seldom shown on television. Features Oscar-winning score by Dimitri Tiomkin.

Tuesday, April 2, 2002

Manson (American International, 1972). Dir Robert Hendrickson, Laurence Merrick. (83 min, 35mm).

Surprisingly non-exploitative documentary about Charles Manson and his "family." Features many interviews with participants in the Tate-La Bianca murder trial, most notably prosecutor Vincent Bugliosi and Lynette "Squeaky" Fromme, who later tried to assassinate Gerald Ford.

Thursday, April 4, 2002

Unknown Russian Cinema

A Nameless Star (Sverdlovsk Film Studio, 1978). Dir Mikhail Kozakov. With Anastasia Vertinskaya, Igor Kostolevsky. (130 min, video, Russian with English subtitles).

In conjunction with Leah Hertz of Portable Foreign Film Festivals, we are pleased to present four nights of "Unknown Russian Cinema." In A Nameless Star, the smug provincialism of a 1930s Romanian town and the life of a young astronomer are turned upside down by the unexpected arrival of a glamorous courtesan from Bucharest. Temporarily stranded in the scientist's house–in a world totally unlike her own–the girl gradually reveals under her hard beauty a long-buried sweetness and ingenuousness, a kind of bruised integrity. Under her influence, the astronomer himself comes to reveal his own great secret, and to hope that at least once in the universe the laws of physics turn out to be wrong.

Friday, April 5, 2002

The Black Stallion (United Artists, 1979). Dir Carroll Ballard. With Kelly Reno, Teri Garr, Mickey Rooney (117 min, 35mm).

This is a movie that appears to reinvent the art of visual story telling. A boy and a magnificent Arabian stallion survive a shipwreck; a love story for all ages. Photographed by Caleb Deschanel. Music by Carmine Coppola.

Tuesday, April 9, 2002

Satyajit Ray

Chiriakhanahe (The Zoo) (Star Productions, 1967). Dir Satyajit Ray. With Uttam Kumar, Sailen Mukherjee. (ca. 125 min, 35mm, print courtesy National Film Development Corp.)

NOTE: The screening of Chiriakhana (The Zoo) has been cancelled, due to the inability to secure a print. Instead we will offer an encore presentation of Pratidwandi (The Adversary) and Two; see March 28 for details. We regret any inconvenience.

Thursday, April 11, 2002

Unknown Russian Cinema

The Town of Rosi (Belarusfilm, 1983). Dir Igor Dobrolyubov. With Vsevolod Sanayev, Boris Novikov. (89 min, video, Russian with English subtitles).

Old Man Fedos, a widower, has watched from his traditional-style cottage while all around him the village of Rosi has turned into monolithic apartment blocks and wide windswept boulevards. Knowing that he, too, will have to move into a high-rise apartment with all the modern conveniences that he does not want, he decides to arrange things so that he can "move on" peacefully. He decides to call together his three adult sons and put their personal lives in order. This he proceeds to do in a methodical, irresistible and hilarious manner, achieving his most gratifying results when the middle son marries the local mail delivery girl.

Friday, April 12, 2002

Poor Cow (Anglo-Amalgamated, 1967). Dir Ken Loach. With Carol White, John Bindon. (101 min, 35mm).

Set in London's seamy underworld, Loach's early feature focuses on Joy, an impoverished young woman married to an abusive criminal. After the husband lands in prison, she enters into a happy but ill-fated relationship with his best friend (Terence Stamp). In 1999 Steven Soderbergh made a sort of sequel, The Limey, which follows the Stamp character's exploits in Los Angeles some 30 years later.

Tuesday, April 16, 2002

Darby O'Gill and the Little People (Disney, 1959). Dir Robert Stevenson. With Albert Sharpe, Janet Munro, Sean Connery. (93 min, 35mm).

A fanciful tale of romance and leprechauns set in Ireland at the turn of the century. This delightful Disney fantasy is based on the Darby O'Gill stories by H.T. Kavanagh.

Thursday, April 18, 2002

Unknown Russian Cinema

A Small Favor (Moldova-Film, 1984). Dir Boris Konunov. With Nikolai Karachentsov, Tatyana Dogilyeva. (80 min, video, Russian with English subtitles).

A disillusioned pop star on a concert tour gradually reveals the secrets of his past as he attempts to deliver a package entrusted to him by a stranger on a train. Spurred on by a guilty conscience, he makes his way through a provincial city and through incidents of mistaken identity to a woman whose life strangely mirrors his own. A miniature masterpiece of humor and wit, A Small Favor overturns stereotypes of ponderous Russian films.

Friday, April 19, 2002

Veterans History Project

The Thin Red Line (Fox, 1998). Dir Terence Malick. With Sean Penn, John Cusack, George Clooney. (170 min, 35mm).

Fierce adaptation of the James Jones' novel of Marines fighting on Guadalcanal, which had the misfortune to be released around the time of Saving Private Ryan, and thus was neglected-or worse-dismissed. One can quibble with the Terence Malick's reliance on voiceover narration or his adaptation which cherrypicks from the book, but his portrayal of war as a sometimes less-than-noble endeavor is visually stunning and emotionally engrossing.

Tuesday, April 23, 2002

1950s Westerns

The Bounty Hunter (Warner Bros., 1954). Dir Andre De Toth. With Marie Windsor, Ernest Borgnine. (79 min, 35mm).
Riding Shotgun (Warner Bros., 1954). Dir Andre De Toth. With Wayne Morris, Joan Weldon. (75 min, 35mm).

Born and educated in Hungary, Andre De Toth followed his fellow countryman Alexander Korda to Hollywood in 1940. During the 1950s, De Toth, an underrated director who consistently displayed a fine sense of tight pacing in his genre pieces, made a string of excellent Westerns with Randolph Scott. In The Bounty Hunter, Scott is in pursuit of three train robbers masquerading as respectable citizens, while in Riding Shotgun he plays a stagecoach guard who tries to clear his name after being accused of complicity in a hold-up.

Thursday, April 25, 2002

Unknown Russian Cinema

The Soloist (Sverdlovsk Film Studio, 1988). Dir Oleg Nikolayevsky. With Natalya Yegorova, Alexander Pankratov-Chorny. (82 min, video, Russian with English subtitles).

An amateur folk singer, divorced and approaching middle age, is increasingly drawn away from her 9-to-5 job towards life on stage. Inundated by discouraging advice from friends, family, and a prospective new husband, she leaves the city to seek her fortune as a professional singer with a variety show that travels the Russian hinterland.

Friday, April 26, 2002

The Touch (ABC, 1971). Dir Ingmar Bergman. With Sheila Reid. (112 min, 35mm).

Ingmar Bergman's first English-language film stars (of all people) Elliott Gould as a volatile, impossible, immature and yet somehow endearing American archaeologist who is having an affair with the sensual but staid wife (Bibi Andersson) of a prosperous, unemotional surgeon (Max von Sydow). Although it received a good share of negative reviews (many dismissing it as sentimental and banal), others found it a convincing and absorbing portrayal of tortured love, lust, and obsession.

Tuesday, April 30, 2002

Tribute to Victor Nunez

Ruby in Paradise (FullCrew/Say Yea Production, 1993). Dir Victor Nunez. With Ashley Judd, Todd Field. (115 minutes, 35mm).

"Ruby, a young woman, arrives in a Florida resort town during the off season to make a fresh start. She gets work as a sales clerk in a souvenir shop. As the seasons change, Ruby's relationships with others and herself go through metamorphoses as she makes choices and discoveries establishing her own identity."

Thursday, May 2, 2002

African Cinema

Clando (Clandestine; Les Films du Raphia, 1996). Dir Jean Marie Teno. With Paulin Fodouop, Caroline Redl. (140 min, 35mm, French with English subtitles).

Sobgui Anatole, a former computer programmer and political activist working against the government of Cameroon becomes a clandestine taxi driver, or "clando" after being tortured and thrown in prison, then released after elections. He travels to Germany to bring back the son of an elder member of his "family," a Cameroonian political clan secretly operating a "transportation business" as a cover to get people out of the country. While in Cologne, he becomes personally involved with a young German woman who is part of a group of activists helping people seek asylum. Now faced with the opportunity to remain a "free," foreigner in Germany, or to return home, Anatole reflects back to his past in Cameroon to arrive at a decision for himself, as well as for the man he is entrusted to bring back.

Friday, May 3, 2002

Eating Raoul (Bartel, 1982). Dir Paul Bartel. With Robert Beltran, Susan Saiger. (90 min, 35mm).

Just plain strange cult film from the peculiar mind of the late lamented Paul Bartel. He co-stars with Mary Woronov as a couple who like to dispatch visiting swingers with a frying pan, but then must dispose of their bodies. Mayhem–and dinner–ensues.

Tuesday, May 7, 2002

A Farewell to Arms (Paramount, 1932). Dir Frank Borzage. With Adolph Menjou, Mary Philips. (90 min, 35mm).

Pickford patrons have an opportunity to view three aspects of Gary Cooper's screen persona this season. On June 25 we'll screen our Preservation Lab's restored version of the Frank Capra masterpiece of whimsy Mr. Deeds Goes to Town, while on August 15 he stars in the western The Hanging Tree, one of his last films. In tonight's film, Gary Cooper portrays his first Hemingway character, opposite the darling of the New York stage, Helen Hayes. Lots of romantic clinches photographed by Charles Lang, who won his only Oscar that year.

Thursday, May 9, 2002

Spider-Man Strikes Back (Charles Fries Productions, 1978). Dir Ron Satlof. With Nicholas Hammond, Robert Simon. (90 min, 35mm).

Oh sure, you can go see the big special effects Tobey Maguire extravaganza, but why deny yourself the simpler pleasure of this made-for-TV version, cheap effects, poorly developed villains and all?

Friday, May 10, 2002

Les Amants du Pont-Neuf (Lovers on the Bridge) (Gaumont, 1991). Dir Leos Carax. With Juliette Binoche, Denis Lavant. (125 min, 35mm).

Three years in the making, the legendarily controversial Les Amants was one of the most expensive French productions ever, due to the cost of its set: a re-creation of the Pont Neuf, the Seine, and their environs. Emotionally extravagant, Carax's visionary tale of homeless lovers is one of obsessive passion, burning itself out before the end, full of ecstatic moments along the way.

Tuesday, May 14, 2002

Veterans History Project

Cease Fire! (Paramount, 1953). Dir Owen Crump. With Cheong Yul Bak, Capt. Roy Thompson. (75 min, 35mm).

Unusual semi-documentary chronicling a tension-filled Army reconnaissance mission in the last hours of the Korean War, filmed on location and using combat personnel.

Thursday, May 16, 2002

Japanese Animation, 1939-1945

Dobutsu Bogyosen aka The Preventive War Against Spies by Animals (1945)
Osaru Sankichi Tatakau aka A Monkey Sankichi's Fighting Submarine (1939)
Ai No Tanukibayashi Bandanemon aka Bager Band in Shojoji Temple (1940)
Tatakau Shokokumin aka Fighting Children (1940)

Back by popular demand! More astonishing gems from the Library's collection of seized "enemy" films.

Friday, May 17, 2002

On Dangerous Ground (RKO, 1951). Dir Nicholas Ray. With Ward Bond, Charles Kemper. (82 min, 35mm).
Mr Adams and Eve: Taken for Granted (CBS, 1957). With Olive Carey, Lawrence Dobkin. (30 min, 16mm).

Tough cop Robert Ryan is on a manhunt to bring in a murderer. In a small town, he meets blind girl Ida Lupino who may hold the key. With stunning cinematography, terrific acting, an interesting plot, and one of the best scores Bernard Herrmann ever wrote, why is this film nearly impossible to see? For a different view of Ida Lupino, check out Mr. Adams and Eve, a sitcom with her then real-life husband, Howard Duff.

Tuesday, May 21, 2002

The Magician (Svensk Filmindustri, 1958). Dir Ingmar Bergman. With Max von Sydow, Ingrid Thulin. (102 min, 16 mm).

Espousing a dubious spirituality, Mr. Vogler's Magnetic Theater arrives in town. He and his entourage are confronted by a skeptical welcoming committee bent on exposing him as a fraud. Charlatan or visionary? Part comedy, melodrama, and gothic thriller - Bergman reveals how strongly we want to believe.

Thursday, May 23, 2002

1950s Westerns

Johnny Guitar (Republic, 1954). Dir Nicholas Ray. With Joan Crawford, Sterling Hayden. (110 min, 35mm).

The hostess of a gambling saloon and a cattle baroness fight it out over land and men. A clichéd plot transformed into a baroque, almost surreal drama by Nicholas Ray's forceful direction. In the words of Francois Truffaut: "Never trust appearances. Beauty and profundity are not always found in the ‘obvious' traditional places; a Trucolor Western from humble Republic can throb with the passion of l'amour fou or whisper with an evening delicacy." A masterpiece!

Friday, May 24, 2002

Play Misty for Me (Universal, 1971). Dir Clint Eastwood. With Donna Mills, Don Siegel. (102 min, 35mm).

Clint Eastwood's directorial debut is a taut thriller of a jazz DJ (Eastwood) stalked by homicidal fan Jessica Walter.

Tuesday, May 28, 2002

All Star Movies!

The List of Adrian Messenger (Universal, 1963). Dir John Huston. With Dana Wynter, Jacques Roux. (98 min, 35mm).

In the annals of films featuring odd gimmicks, this offbeat effort holds a high place. George C. Scott plays the lead, sharing the screen with five superstars whose brief appearances punctuate the plot. The twist is that the superstars wear make-up designed by Bud Westmore, which makes their familiar faces difficult to recognize. Viewers will be eager to find out not only whodunit but who's who in John Huston's beguiling murder mystery.

Thursday, May 30, 2002

The Young Girls of Rochefort (Warner Bros., 1968) Dir Jacques Demy. With Catherine Deneuve, Francoise Dorleac. (124min, 35mm).

Demy's homage to the American movie musical of the 40s and 50s pays tribute to its Hollywood predecessors with naive romance, decadent art direction and even an appearance by the legendary Gene Kelly.

Friday, May 31, 2002

Tribute to Victor Nunez

A Flash of Green (American Playhouse, 1984.) Dir Victor Nunez. With Blair Brown, Richard Jordan. (121 minutes, 35mm).

"A Flash of Green is set in rural Florida and populated with ordinary people in recognizable situations. The story unfolds slowly, allowing us to catch the rhythms of the character's lives. When the Ed Harris character is forced to confront an ethical choice, we are concerned for him because, by that point in the film, we know him as if we, too, are residents in that small town."

Tuesday, June 4, 2002

Roger Stevens Presents

Mary, Mary (Warner Bros., 1963) Dir Mervyn LeRoy. With Diane McBain, Michael Rennie. (126 min, 35mm).

Roger Stevens (1910-1998) was not only a phenomenally successful Broadway producer (bringing talents like Harold Pinter and Tom Stoppard to greater recognition), but he also helped found both the National Endowment for the Arts and the Kennedy Center here in Washington. His life is celebrated in a new exhibition in the Jefferson Building beginning in May, and we will honor him with five film versions of his many theatrical triumphs, beginning with Mary, Mary. Debbie Reynolds and Barry Nelson star in this adaptation of the Jean Kerr farce about a soon-to-be-divorced couple out to sabotage each other's new romantic interests. Look also for Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (June 28), The Madwoman of Chaillot (July 9), West Side Story (August 2), and Bus Stop (August 6).

Thursday, June 6, 2002

Veterans History Project

The Longest Day (20th Century-Fox, 1962). Dir Andrew Marton, Ken Annakin, Bernhard Wicki. With John Wayne, Henry Fonda, Robert Mitchum. (180 min, 35mm).

All-star cast (including Richard Burton, Sean Connery, and many many others) depict the events leading up to and including the Normandy invasion, told from both the Allied and German perspectives.

Friday, June 7, 2002

African Cinema

Hyenas (Senegal, 1992). Dir Djibril Diop Mambety. (113 min, 35mm, Wolof with English subtitles).

Based on Durrenmalt's celebrated play, The Visit of the Old Woman, in which a rich Grande Dame returns to the Swiss village where she had once been dishonored and seeks revenge by offering the impoverished inhabitants money if they will kill the man who wronged her. Mamberty enriches this theme as the rich woman corrupts an innocent African village with western values. Hyenas, a symbol of corruption and decay, prowl around the village coming ever closer in this provocative parable of human greed in contemporary Africa.

Tuesday, June 11, 2002

Drive the Difference (General Motors, 1957). (15 min, video)
Keep a Beautiful Head on Your Shoulders (Trans World Airlines, 1960). (20 min, 16mm)
How to Drown Proof Your Child (Little Folks Swim School, 1970). (15 min, 16mm)
How to Decorate with Light (Superior Electric Company, 1962). (20 min, 16mm)
How to Dance the Shag (Arthur Murray, 1937). (10 min, 16mm)
How to Have an Accident at Work (Walt Disney, 1960). ( 8 min, 16mm)
How to Kill (Para Communications Group, 1971). (11 min, 16mm)
How to Look at a City (National Educational Television, 1964). (29 min, 16mm)

In anxious times, the Mary Pickford Theater gives succor through edutainment. Learn tips for selling Buicks, cutting a rug, and maintaining that perfect stewardess coiffure. Donald Duck is among the experts who show you how in this didactic program, which climaxes with Eugene Raskin's word portrait of New York City, How To Look at a City.

Thursday, June 13, 2002

Secret People (Ealing, 1952). Dir Thorald Dickinson. With Valentina Cortesa, Serge Reggiani, Audrey Hepburn. (87 min, 35 mm).

Film critic Pauline Kael wrote this summary of Secret People: "The use of violence for idealistic purposes is the theme of this English suspense film. Valentina Cortesa plays a refugee from totalitarianism who becomes involved in an underground movement in London; her revulsion and guilt when she employs violent methods are contrasted with the attitude of her lover, a hardened revolutionary. With the very young Audrey Hepburn in a sizable role (it's like seeing Cinderella before the transformation)."

Friday, June 14, 2002

The Producers (Embassy, 1968) Dir Mel Brooks. With Zero Mostel, Gene Wilder. (88 min, 35mm).

Max Bialystock, a rapacious but lovable Broadway producer, hasn't had a hit in years. But when he meets accountant Leo Bloom, a neurotic loser, the unlikely pair devise a scheme to oversell shares in a "surefire flop" musical—Springtime for Hitler—and run off to Rio with the profits. Since you can't get tickets to the Broadway musical, you might as well come enjoy it on the big screen.

Tuesday, June 18, 2002

1950s Westerns

Wichita (Allied Artists, 1955). Dir Jacques Tourneur. With Vera Miles, Lloyd Bridges. (81 min, 35mm).

Director Jacques Tourneur's reputation is largely based on his horror films and the noir classic Out of the Past, while his Westerns are undeservedly ignored. In Wichita, Joel McCrea as Wyatt Earp is given the task of cleaning up a booming cowtown. Simple, stylish and action-packed, this is a superior Western focusing on the emerging conflict between business and law. Earp's biographer, Stuart N. Lake, was the film's technical advisor, Sam Peckinpah worked as dialogue director, and Tex Ritter provided the hit song.

Thursday, June 20, 2002

Leading Ladies: Irene Dunne

Ann Vickers (RKO, 1933). Dir John Cromwell. With Walter Houston, End May Olivier. (72 min, 35mm).
The Silver Cord (RKO, 1933). Dir John Cromwell. With Joel McCrea, Laura Hope Crews. (74 min, 35mm).

We kick off the first evening of a five-night tribute to Leading Ladies from Hollywood's Golden Era with a two-film tribute to Irene Dunne. Dunne, one of the most popular leading ladies of the 1930s and 40s, starred in women's pictures, musicals, and screwball comedy. Today she is mostly remembered for the latter. Tonight we screen her work in melodrama with two pre-Code features that take a strikingly progress view of women's role in the work and domestic front.

Friday, June 21, 2002

Safety Counsel (MFA Mutual Insurance Co., 1958). (10 min, 16mm)
Safety in the Home (Encyclopedia Brittania Films, 1951). (13 min, 16mm)
Diabolik (Paramount, 1968). Dir Mario Bava. With John Philip Law, Marisa Mell. (99 min, 35mm).

Ennio Morricone's psychedelic score + super-criminal anti-hero + swinging 60s style + summer solstice = one superior entertainment. Shown with the animated short Safety Counsel and Safety in the House, which "illustrates how a little girl's negligence in putting away her toys causes an accident which temporarily cripples her mother." Please turn off all the lights in your home before attending tonight's program.

Tuesday, June 25, 2002

Leading Ladies: Jean Arthur

Mr Deeds Goes to Town (Columbia, 1936). Dir Frank Capra. With George Bancroft, Lionel Stander. (115 min, 35mm).

Gary Cooper stars as a small town tuba player who inherits a fortune and is intent on giving it away to the needy; Jean Arthur is the city slicker reporter determined to figure out the scam. A delicious slice of Capracorn, full of pixilated delight, updated–if that's the word for it–with Adam Sandler (!) and Winona Ryder for summer release.

Thursday, June 27, 2002

Leading Ladies: Jean Arthur

Drug Store Cowboy (Independent Pictures, 1925). Dir Park Frame. With Franklyn Farnum, Malcome Denny. (49 min, 35mm).
Diamond Jim (Universal, 1935). Dir Edward Sutherland. With Edward Arnold, Binnie Barnes. (88 min, 35mm).

Jean Arthur, an actress adept at both comedy and drama, starred in many classic films from the 1930s and 1940s. She had memorable performances in Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, Mr. Deeds Goes to Town, and The More the Merrier, but sadly her name isn't as recognizable today as other popular leading ladies from her era. We hope to garner Arthur more attention by focusing the spotlight on her during this series. Tonight, she stars in two rarely screened features, Diamond Jim, the story of gambler Diamond Jim and his relationship with singer Lillian Russell, and a silent comedy Drug Store Cowboy, about a drugstore clerk who gets his chance at Hollywood fame and fortune when a film crew making a western comes to town.

Friday, June 28, 2002

Roger Stevens Presents

Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (MGM, 1958). Dir Richard Brooks. With Jack Carson, Judith Anderson. (108 min, 35mm).

Steamy adaptation of the Tennessee Williams play, vividly brought to life by Paul Newman as the hapless Brick and his shrewish wife Maggie (Elizabeth Taylor, never more sexy). However, the film is utterly stolen by Burl Ives as Big Daddy, patriarch to his misbegotten family.

Tuesday, July 2, 2002

1776 (Columbia, 1972). Dir Peter Hunt. With William Daniels, Howard Da Silva. (180 min, video).

1776 is based on the hit play that combined the old Broadway musical-comedy stage format with a strikingly accurate portrayal of the motivations, personalities, and events of the Continental Congress. The film version did not find the appreciative audiences who had seen it on stage, but moviegoers saw a truncated version; the restoration of 1776 presented here runs more than a half-hour longer than the theatrical release.

Friday, July 5, 2002

Tribute to George Harrison

The Rutles: All You Need is Cash (Broadway Video, 1978). Dir Eric Idle, Gary Weis. With Neil Innes, Ricky Fataar, John Halsey. (76 min, video).

Delightful blend of Monty Python's Flying Circus (Eric Idle, Michael Palin) and Saturday Night Live (Dan Aykroyd, John Belushi) follows the rise and fall of the Pre-Fab Four, the Rutles. Financed in large measure by George Harrison–who also stars–we think this a lovely tribute to the Quiet Beatle, but one with perhaps the driest sense of humor. We'll also show other George-related items as well.

Tuesday, July 9, 2002

Roger Stevens Presents

The Madwoman of Chaillot (Commonwealth, 1969). Dir Bryan Forbes. With Paul Henreid, Yul Bynner. (132 min, 35mm).

Katharine Hepburn stars in the title role as a woman who joins with other dotty eccentrics to beautify Paris. Based on the play by Jean Giraudoux.

Thursday, July 11, 2002

Leading Ladies: Jean Arthur

Party Wire (Columbia, 1935). Dir Erie Kenton. With Victor Jory, Helen Lowell. (70 min, video).
Adventures in Manhattan (Columbia, 1936). Dir Edward Ludwig. With Joel McCrea, Reginald Owen. (73 min, 35mm).

Another night of film starring actress Jean Arthur highlights her talent for comedy. We start with a comedy-melodrama about small town gossips, and follow with an amusing newspaper mystery.

Friday, July 12, 2002

1950s Westerns

The Magnificent Seven (United Artists, 1960). Dir John Sturges. With Yul Brynner, Steve McQueen. (126 min, 35mm).

The story of a motley crew of outcasts hired to defend a Mexican village from a vicious bandit and his cutthroat gunmen, this adaptation of Akira Kurosawa's classic film Seven Samurai was both a major commercial success and a highly influential trendsetter. Its characters, locales and plot elements became increasingly popular as the 1960s progressed, especially in the context of the genre's unexpected economic and artistic renaissance in Europe.

Tuesday, July 16, 2002

70s Semi-Thrillers

Willard (Cinerama, 1971). Dir Daniel Mann. With Ernest Borgnine, Sondra Locke. (95 min, 35mm).

We begin a mid-summer week of early 70s thrillers with the story of an introverted young man who befriends a bunch of rats, then trains them to kill. Actually, the bare bones plot description doesn't do justice to Bruce Davison's sensitive portrayal of a rodent-obsessed loner, and the supporting cast–especially Elsa Lanchester as his dotty mother–is excellent.

Thursday, July 18, 2002

70s Semi-Thrillers

The Towering Inferno (20th Century-Fox, 1974). Dir Irwin Allen, John Guillermin. With Faye Dunaway, Fred Astaire, OJ Simpson. (165 min, 35mm).

Producer Irwin Allen was known as The King of Disaster in the 1970s, churning out one star-laden thriller after another. The Towering Inferno was his grandest. A fire breaks out on the 85th floor of a poorly constructed skyscraper, trapping partygoing guests on the top floor. Just plain dumb in spots, but any film with Steve McQueen, William Holden, and Paul Newman can't be all that bad.

Friday, July 19, 2002

70s Semi-Thrillers

The Poseidon Adventure (20th Century-Fox, 1972). Dir Ronald Neame. With Ernest Borgnine, Shelley Winters, Red Buttons. (117 min, 35mm).

Irwin Allen's first big disaster triumph–and the film that catalyzed the whole disaster genre–about an capsized luxury liner has aged surprisingly well. Gene Hackman stars as a preacher who must take his small band up to the promised land (aka the hull of the overturned ship). The special effects are great, the ensemble cast is terrific, and the suspense–who will survive, who won't–is genuine.

Tuesday, July 23, 2002

All Star Movies!

Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid (Universal, 1982). Dir Carl Reiner. With Rachel Ward, Reni Santoni. (89 min, 35mm).

Humphrey Bogart and Steve Martin finally work together in Carl Reiner's homage to Chandler, Cain, et al. Excerpts from seventeen classic movies are spliced into the action, giving Martin screen time with numerous 40s icons. Michael Chapman's black and white cinematography, Miklos Rozsa's evocative music, and Edith Head's period costumes add to the flavor of an amusing pastiche of classic film noir.

Thursday, July 25, 2002

Leading Ladies: Loretta Young

Life Begins (First National, 1932). Dir Elliot Nugent. With Glenda Farrell, Aline MacMahon. (71 min, 35mm). NEW PRINT FROM THE MOTION PICTURE CONSERVATION CENTER
Grand Slam (First National, 1933). Dir William Dieterle. With Paul Lukas, Frank McHugh. (67 min, video).

Loretta Young, the versatile actress who had a prolific career in both film and television, is the focus of the evening. First, she stars in a drama about maternity ward about the varied feelings women have about having and raising children. Then we show Young in a comedy about a married couple who gets involved in professional bridge tournaments.

Friday, July 26, 2002

Veterans History Project

Platoon (Orion, 1986). Dir Oliver Stone. With Charlie Sheen, Tom Berenger, Willem Dafoe. (120 min, 35mm).

Gripping roman-a-clef from Vietnam vet Oliver Stone, with raw recruit Charlie Sheen caught between two sergeants with very different approaches to combat. Winner of the Best Picture Oscar.

Tuesday, July 30, 2002

Tribute to Victor Nunez

Gal Young'Un (American Playhouse, 1979). Dir Victor Nunez. With Dana Preu, David Peck, Gene Densmore. (105 minutes, 16mm).

"The original story, by Marjorie Rawlings, centers on a older woman who lives alone in the woods of north Florida until she is swept off her feet by an opportunistic bootlegger. He marries her for her place and her daddy's money and her cooking and cleaning, which she freely shares."

Thursday, August 1, 2002

Leading Ladies: Irene Dunne

If I Were Free (RKO, 1933). Dir Elliott Nugent. With Clive Brook, Nils Asther. (66 min, 35mm). NEW PRINT FROM THE MOTION PICTURE CONSERVATION CENTER
The Joy of Living (RKO, 1938). Dir Tay Garnett. With Douglas Fairbanks Jr., Alice Brady, Guy Kibbee. (90 min, 35mm).

We end our five night series on Leading Ladies the way we began with an evening of film starring Irene Dunne. Tonight we'll see diverse talents that made her a big star. Dunne shows off her singing voice and comedic prowess playing a Broadway musical star with a family who leeches off her fame in The Joy of Living. This screwball comedy set to the music of Jerome Kern is proceeded by If I Were Free, a melodrama of a couple's extramarital affair.

Friday, August 2, 2002

Roger Stevens Presents

West Side Story (United Artists, 1961). Dir Jerome Robbins, Robert Wise. With Russ Tambyln, Rita Moreno. (151 min, 35mm).

Justifiably acclaimed film version of the Broadway smash, with Natalie Wood and Richard Beymer as the star-crossed lovers. Hard to know where to begin the praise: Robbins' choreography, the Leonard Bernstein/Stephen Sondheim score, the strong performances, and so on. A must see on the big screen.

Tuesday , August 6, 2002

Roger Stevens Presents

Bus Stop (20th Century-Fox, 1956). Dir Joshua Logan. With Don Murray, Arthur O'Connell. (96 min, 35mm).
Bus Stop: The Covering Darkness (ABC, 1961). Dir Robert Altman. With Marilyn Maxwell, Barbara Baxley. (52 min, 35mm).

Excellent star turn by Marilyn Monroe as a saloon singer "kidnaped" by paramour Don Murray. Also featured is an episode of the short lived ABC-TV series, directed by Robert Altman and starring Robert Redford.

Thursday, August 8, 2002

Sondheim Celebration

Passione d'Amore (Massfilms, 1981). Dir Ettore Scola. With Bernard Giraudeau, Valeria D'Obici. (117 min, 16mm, French with English subtitles).

The Ettore Scola film Passione d'Amore was inspired by a nineteenth-century, semi-autobiographical and epistolary Italian novel by Ignio Ugo Tarchetti, Fosca. The film, in turn, inspired the Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine musical Passion (part of the Sondheim Celebration at the Kennedy Center July 19-August 23). The novel, which was originally published as a serial for a Milanese periodical, had languished in obscurity until 1971 when a paperback edition was published in Italy. The rediscoved novel prompted the Scolla film which Sondheim saw when it was released in 1981. He "immediately wanted to adapt it as a musical"-a rarity for Sondheim, who usually has projects brought to him-but it took until 1994 before the musical was completed and produced on Broadway. Each version of the story-the novel, the film, and the musical-have proved shocking to audiences, unprepared for this reversal of the "Beauty and the Beast" story, where it is the man who is handsome and the woman unattractive. Sondheim said, on first viewing the film: "This woman is appalling looking, I mean, science-fiction horrifying, but she fixes her eye on this guy and in an instant I knew he was going to end up falling for her. And in that instant I knew I wanted to musicalize it."

Friday, August 9, 2002

Sondheim Celebration

Smiles of a Summer Night (Svensk Filmindustri, 1955). Dir Ingmar Bergman. With Ulla Jacobsson, Eva Dahlbeck, Harriet Andersson. (108 min, 16mm, Swedish with English subtitles).

As early as 1957, Stephen Sondheim and Hal Prince were interested in doing a romantic musical, reminiscent of a masque. At the time they attempted to get the rights to the Jean Anouilh play Ring Round the Moon, but were turned down. Years later, after the shows Company and Follies, the idea resurfaced, but this time, when they were again unable to get the rights to Ring Round the Moon, they began looking at other options. It was Sondheim who remembered the 1956 Ingmar Bergman film Smiles of a Summer Night and arranged a screening. This rare Bergman romantic comedy, reminiscent of A Midsummer Night's Dream, became the basis of A Little Night Music (at the Kennedy Center August 2-25). Though the libretto for the musical was written by Hugh Wheeler, it was comparatively faithful to the Bergman, and even some of Sondheim's lyrics seem directly taken from the source. Compare Bergman's dialogue:
Men are beastly! They are silly and vain...He smiles at me, he kisses me, he comes to me at night, he makes me lose my reason, he caresses me, talks kindly to me...talks about his horses, his women, his duels...Love is a disgusting business!
with Sondheim's lyric for the song "Every Day a Little Death":
He smiles sweetly, strokes my hair,/...He talks softly of his wars,/And his horses/And his whores,/I think love's a dirty business!/...Men are stupid, men are vain,/Love's disgusting, love's insane,/A humiliating business!

Tuesday, August 13, 2002

African Cinema

Quartier Mozart (Cameroon, 1992). Dir Jean-Pierre Bekolo. (80 min, 35mm, French with English subtitles).

Winner of the Prix Afrique en Creation award and influenced by Spike Lee's work, Quartier Mozart uses figures and motifs from traditional Cameroonian folklore to address the theme of sexual politics. In this story about the education of a young schoolgirl from the working class district of Yaounde, a local sorceress uses witchcraft to help a girl enter the body of a young man called My Guy, then assumes the shape of a comic figure called Panka to perform magic on the physical anatomy of the local males rendering them impotent. Women's witchcraft and wisdom help the men regain power in a sexist world.

Thursday, August 15, 2002

1950s Westerns

The Hanging Tree (Warner Bros, 1959). Dir Delmer Daves. With Maria Schell, Karl Malden. (106 min, 35mm).

Gary Cooper, in one of his superb incarnations of silent righteousness, plays an embittered physician holed up in a Montana mining town who befriends a Swiss woman blinded during an Indian attack on a stagecoach. A lesser known film by Daves, who directed ten Westerns during the 1950s, including the groundbreaking Broken Arrow, one of the genre's first anti-racist pictures, and the impressively formalistic 3:10 to Yuma. The Hanging Tree was his last and Cooper's next to last Western. George C. Scott made his screen debut as the zealous Dr. Grubb.

Friday, August 16, 2002

All Star Movies!

The Player (Fine Line, 1992). Dir Robert Altman. With Tim Robbins, Greta Scacchi. (123 min, 35mm).

Critics and audiences considered Robert Altman's comeback film an instant classic when it was released ten years ago. A tasty Tinseltown satire about a beleaguered studio executive and his tangle with a screenwriter, the movie takes merciless aim at a deserving target: commercial filmmaking. The enormous cast of Hollywood denizens makes The Player a dazzling exemplar of the all-star film.

Tuesday, August 20, 2002

Devil's Doorway (MGM, 1950). Dir Anthony Mann. With Robert Taylor, Louis Calhern, Paula Raymond. (84 min, 35mm).

Don't be put off by the notion of Robert Taylor portraying a Shoshoni Indian. He's more than adequate in a character role that requires a stoic demeanor. Taylor portrays a Civil War veteran who returns home in time to defend his ranch and protect his family. Great atmospheric photography by John Alton.

Thursday, August 22, 2002

Mr. Lucky (RKO, 1943). Dir H.C. Potter. With Charles Bickford, Gladys Cooper. (100 min, 35mm).
Mr. Lucky: Aces Back to Back (Spartan Productions, 1959) With John Vivyan, Ross Martin. (30 min, 16mm).

Gambler Cary Grant is tempted to change his shady ways by lovely Laraine Day. While Mr. Lucky may not rise to the level of a classic, it's worth seeing for the beautiful black & white cinematography and a fine performance by Grant as an ingratiating heel. The television series ran only one season (1959-60) and was very much in the style of Peter Gunn. Blake Edwards produced Mr. Lucky and directed some episodes. Today, the series is probably best known for its terrific music by Henry Mancini.

Friday, August 23, 2002

Macbeth ( Columbia, 1971) Dir Roman Polanski. With Jon Finch, Francesca Annis. (140 min, 35mm).

Fevered version of Shakespeare's tragedy is imbued with Polanski's own fatalistic sensibility.

Tuesday, August 27, 2002

Avanti! (United Artists, 1972). Dir Billy Wilder. With Jack Lemmon, Juliet Mills. (140 min, 35mm).

Love and language bridge the generation gap in this unjustly neglected I.A.L. Diamond-Billy Wilder romance.

Thursday, August 29, 2002

Zulu Dawn (Lamitas,1979). Dir Douglas Hickox. With Peter O'Toole, Burt Lancaster, Bob Hoskins. (117min, 35mm).

This prequel to Zulu depicts the events leading up to the 1879 Battle of Isandlwana, a disaster for the British. Her Majesty's Colony of Natal, surrounded by the Zulu Nation, seeks to ensure its safety from the perceived threat. While the British government attempts a negotiated settlement with the Zulu leaders, the high commissioner (John Mills), seeks a more "permanent solution."

Friday, August 30, 2002

The Adventures of Gerard (Sir Nigel, 1970). Dir Jerzy Skolimowski. With Mark Burns, Claudia Cardinale. (91 min, 35mm).

A rarely shown film, one of only two adapted from Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's amusing stories of swashbuckling in the Napoleonic era.

Tuesday, September 17, 2002

Gaslight (MGM, 1944). Dir George Cukor. With Joseph Cotton, Angela Lansbury. (114 min, 35 mm).

Ingrid Bergman won her first Oscar for portraying the vulnerable, haunted Paula Alquist. Her beloved aunt and only living family member has been murdered. Paula seeks refuge in Italy by pursuing her aunt's vocation, operatic singing. She then falls for and marries her piano accompanyist. The world is lovely until her new husband insists that they return to London and to the house that is the scene of the crime. Charles Boyer is marvelous as the attentive lover turned diabolical. Mood, madness, homocide and all around great performances. Gorgeous set decoration and cinematography. Lansbury is saucy and seventeen.

Friday, September 20, 2002

The Collector (Columbia,1965) Dir William Wyler. With Terrence Stamp, Samantha Eggar. (119 min, 35mm).

Strong film version of John Fowles disturbing tale of spider and butterfly. Stamp is chilling as the emotionally challenged lepidopterist and Eggar radiant as the unfortunate specimen pinned to the board.

Tuesday, September 24, 2002

The Incident (Moned Associated, 1967). Dir Larry Peerce. With Tony Musante, Martin Sheen. (107 min, 35mm).

Musante and Sheen star as two New York ruffians who terrorize 16 people late one night on a subway train. The passengers are too wrapped up in their own problems–alcoholism, unhappy marriages, money worries–to help the others, and their weaknesses provide seed to the drunken pair. Controversial for 1967, the script still proves to be a biting social commentary. The cast of hapless victims include Beau Bridges, Ed McMahon, Ruby Dee, Brock Peters and Donna Mills.

Thursday, September 26, 2002


Friday, September 27, 2002


Tuesday, October 1, 2002

Matt Helm

The Silencers (Columbia, 1966). Dir Phil Karlson. With Stella Stevens, Victor Buono. (105 min, 35mm).

Legendary Rat Packer Dean Martin brings to life author Donald Hamilton's super secret agent Matt Helm in the first of a series of four swinging sixties adventures. Dino thwarts the plans of an evil Chinese agent's attempt to take over the world. Lots of scantily clad starlets, round rotating beds, and a station wagon equipped with a fully stocked bar make this film a retro-hipsters favorite!

Thursday, October 3, 2002

A Damsel in Distress (RKO, 1937). Dir George Stevens. With Fred Astaire, George Burns, Gracie Allen, Joan Fontaine. (100 min, 35mm).

An American song-and-dance man falls in love with the daughter of English royalty. A musical with Gershwin tunes, Astaire's dancing, and the comic shenanigans of Burns and Allen: who could ask for anything more?

Friday, October 4, 2002

50s Bad Girls

I Want to Live! (United Artists, 1958). Dir Robert Wise. With Simon Oakland, Virginia Vincent. (120 min, 35mm).

Convicted during her short lifetime of forgery, prostitution, perjury, and murder, Barbara Graham was a rule-breaker of epic proportions. The film version of her life story, instead of being a judgmental tale of a woman gone bad, is a harrowing critique of the justice system and its frequent handmaidens, the mass media. It is also a compassionate depiction of an underdog, thanks to Susan Hayward's feisty, empathetic portrayal of Graham. Other titles in this series of ‘50's bad girls films are Niagara (November 21), Bonjour Tristesse (December 17), Girls Town (January 14).

Tuesday, October 8, 2002

No Way to Treat a Lady (Paramount, 1968). Dir Jack Smight. With Lee Remick, George Segal. (108 min, 35 mm).

Romantic black comedy? Yep, in this wacky thriller Rod Steiger is a predator on the streets of New York, stalking lonely middle-aged women (his relationship with Mom is a bit troubled.) His theater background comes in handy when donning over-the-top disguises for his evil deeds. Part of the fun for him is toying with the detective, leaving him cryptic clues. But then he ups the ante and goes after the poor gumshoe's girlfriend. Toss a dwarf and an archetypal Jewish mother into the plot for utter zaniness.

Thursday, October 10, 2002

The Captain Hates the Sea (Columbia, 1934). Dir Lewis Milestone. With Victor McLaglen, Wynne Gibson, Alison Skipworth. (80 min, 35mm).

Perhaps this could have been titled "Grand Hotel at Sea" since this 1934 rarity focuses on the diverse and sordid lives of passengers aboard a luxury liner. Walter Connolly is the captain who detests passengers. John Gilbert, in his last film appearance portrays a failed Hollywood screenwriter who is never far from the bar. Apparently director Milestone had a difficult time keeping the other cast members (including Gilbert) away from the bar. Stolen bonds and romance abound!

Friday, October 11, 2002

Re-Animator (Empire, 1985). Dir Stuart Gordon. With Jeffrey Combs, Bruce Abbott, Barbara Crampton. (86 min, 35mm).

So you think you want to bring the dead back to life? So you think you can handle the consequences? This loose, irreverent adaptation of an HP Lovecraft tale demonstrates the black humor and bloodletting that derives from a pseudo-scientific attempt to deal with loss. Shown with Blond Gorilla, a condensation of the feature White Pongo, which gives us a post-Nazi world where the missing link turns out to be an Aryan ape.

Tuesday, October 15, 2002

Scarlet Street (Universal, 1945) Dir Fritz Lang. With Edward G. Robinson, Joan Bennett, Dan Duryea. (102 min, 35 mm).

This is Lang's remake of Renoir's La Chienne. He takes a bleak, noirish melodrama and turns it into a profound study on the subjectivity of perception. The stagy studio sets and under-stated performances are used to brilliant effect. Robinson is an amateur artist stuck in a dead end job. He is soon manipulated into embezzling funds to maintain his new mistress in style. But when he finds out what her game is, passions explode in a fevered and violent climax. A marvelously subversive film with knockout performances.

Thursday, October 17, 2002

Theremin: An Electronic Odyssey (Orion, 1993). Dir. Steven M. Martin. With Leon Theremin, Clara Rockmore, Robert Moog. (78 min, 35mm).

This film documents the career of Leon Theremin and his most famous invention: the theremin. Perhaps best known as the ethereal background sound on the Beach Boys recording of "Good Vibrations," the theremin has been featured in a surprising number of twentieth century musical compositions. Classical musicians, pop musicians, easy listening musicians, and musicians recording 1950s science fiction film soundtracks have all used the Theremin. It is also one of the first purely electronic musical instruments and a direct ancestor of the Moog synthesizer. The film's depiction of Theremin's life is consistently fascinating, tracing his movements from his basement science experiments, to recitals with New York's musical avant-garde and including his later kidnapping and possible employment by the KGB.

Friday, October 18, 2002

Veterans History Project: Homecoming

The Best Years of Our Lives (Goldwyn, 1946). Dir William Wyler. With Frederic March, Dana Andrews, Myrna Loy, Virginia Mayo, Teresa Wright, and Hoagy Carmichel.

The Best Years of Our Lives (1946) is producer Samuel Goldwyn's classic, significant American film about the difficult adjustments (unemployment, adultery, alcoholism, and ostracism) that three returning veteran servicemen experienced in the aftermath of World War II. Major stars (Fredric March, Dana Andrews, and WWII vet Russell), each giving the performances of their lives, are involved in three romances (with Myrna Loy, Virginia Mayo and Teresa Wright, and Cathy O'Donnell).

Tuesday, October 22, 2002

Matt Helm

Murderer's Row (Columbia, 1967). Dir Henry Levin. With Ann-Margret, Karl Malden. (106 min, 35mm).

Move over James Bond! Dean Martin is back as boozing secret agent Matt Helm. Dino must stop the international espionage group "Big O" (snicker) from using a secret heat ray weapon to take over the world (plot seem familiar?). Vivacious Ann-Margret and mod rock group Dino, Desi, and Billy make this second entry in the Matt Helm series one of the grooviest.

Wednesday, October 23, 2002

Filmakers Respond to 9/11

Please join us for a special of evening of films made in response to September 11. Included will be several independent productions plus excerpts from raw footage shot that day and other documentaries. On October 24, the Library will host a panel discussion exploring filmmakers' reactions to 9/11 from 1-3 p.m. in the Mumford Room on the sixth floor of the James Madison Building. Independent filmmakers will include Pola Rapaport (September Eleventh: Eyewitnesses), Kerry Reardon (9.11), and Monica Sharf (Tribute 9.11). Also joining will be Magnum photographer Evan Fairbanks, whose dramatic video of the attack was widely seen on television, and Patricia Aufderheide, a professor at American University who has written about the film community's reactions to the event.

Thursday, October 24, 2002

Detective Novels: Dashiell Hammett

The Thin Man Goes Home (1944) Dir Richard Thorpe. With William Powell, Myrna Loy, Gloria De Haven, Harry Davenport (100 min)

Nick and Nora, the Dashiell Hammett husband-and-wife detective team, are out to solve a murder in their own backyard. A man drops dead on the front porch of Nick's parents' home while Nick and Nora are visiting.

The Thin Man: Pack My Gat, Beulah (TV Series, 1958) With Peter Lawford as Nick Charles and Phyllis Kirk as Nora Charles. Guest appearance by Nita Talbot as Beatrice Dane

Friday, October 25, 2002

The Bad and the Beautiful (MGM, 1952). Dir Vincent Minnelli. With Lana Turner, Kirk Douglas, Dick Powell (118 min, 35mm).

How David Raksin found the inspiration to write his glorious score for this picture will remain a mystery–until he publishes his forthcoming memoirs. We want to honor this film composer, who turned 90 on Aug. 4, with two examples of his work. We precede the feature with the 1953 animated James Thurber fable, The Unicorn in the Garden.

Tuesday, October 29, 2002

The Fearless Vampire Killers or: Pardon Me, But Your Teeth Are in My Neck (MGM, 1967). Dir Roman Polanski. With Jack Macgowran, Roman Polanski, Sharon Tate. (93 min, 35mm).

Professor Abronsius and his assistant Alfred travel to Transylvania to rid a village of its resident vampires. Needless to say, a movie that really sucks…

Thursday, October 31, 2002

Detective Novels: Ross McDonald

Harper (1966). Dir Paul Smight. With Paul Newman, Lauren Bacall and Julie Harris (121 min)

Private-eye mystery based on af Ross MacDonald "Lew Archer" novel. When a millionaire businessman turns up missing, his estranged, invalid wife Bacall hires a private detective (Newman) to find him. The P.I. quickly discovers that the victim has been kidnapped by some of those nearest and dearest to him, and uncovers a tangled web of smuggling, greed, drugs and petty family jealousies.

Friday, November 1, 2002

Sam Fuller

The Typewriter, the Rifle, and the Movie Camera (BFI/IFC, 1996). Dir. Adam Simon. With Samuel Fuller, Tim Robbins, Jim Jarmusch, Martin Scorsese, Quentin Tarantino. (55 min, video).

Power of the Press (Columbia, 1943). Dir. Lew Landers. Story: Sam Fuller. With Guy Kibbee, Gloria Dickson, Lee Tracy. (64 min, 35mm).

He is championed as the greatest filmmaker of his generation by his fans, and dismissed as a chauvinist and even a fascist by his opponents. His films, although made within the framework of Hollywood's mainstream cinema, have consistently laid claim to total authorship: "Written, Produced and Directed by Samuel Fuller". We begin our series with a documentary co-produced by the British Film Institute and the Independent Film Channel, followed by one of Fuller's early writing credits inspired by his ten-year experience as a copy-boy and crime reporter in New York City.

Tuesday, November 5, 2002

Veterans History Project: Homecoming

The Manchurian Candidate (United Artists, 1962). Dir John Frankenheimer. With Frank Sinatra, Janet Leigh, Angela Lansbury. (126 min, 35mm).

The most famous and revered film of the late John Frankenheimer(1930-2002), Manchurian Candidate is a one of a kind, brilliant political satire/suspense horror thriller. After Korean war vet Raymond Shaw (a mesmerizing Laurence Harvey) is awarded the Medal of Honor, members of his platoon, including Sinatra, start having nightmares about him. Both Harvey and Sinatra were never better, but Lansbury, playing Harvey's mother, must be seen to be believed. Cited by many as an American masterpiece, tonight's presentation is of a restored print from the National Film Registry.

Wednesday, November 6, 2002

The Vitagraph Girl: A Tribute to Florence Turner

The New Stenographer (1911)
Tin Type Romance (1910)
Jean Rescues (1911)
Everybody's Doin' It (1913)
East is East (1916)
Piano accompaniment by Ray Brubacher.

Thursday, November 7, 2002

Female Detectives

A Midnight Adventure
Katchem Kate
Mary Ryan, Detective

Friday, November 8, 2002

Sam Fuller

White Dog (Paramount, 1981). Dir. Samuel Fuller. With Kristy McNichol, Paul Winfield, Burl Ives. (90 min, 35mm).

The story of an animal instructor who tries to recondition a stray white dog trained to attack blacks, Fuller's first Hollywood picture in 18 years was labeled as controversial even before anybody had seen it. The film's production history goes back to 1976 when Curtis Hanson wrote a draft loosely based on a short story by Romain Gary which had originally appeared in Life magazine. During the late 1970s, producer Robert Evans and directors Arthur Penn, Roman Polanski and Tony Scott were at various times involved with the project. Despite positive reviews (Variety called it "resolutely anti-racist in its attitudes"), White Dog was shelved and held back from U.S. theatrical release until 1991. The fiasco prompted Fuller to move to France where he lived for the next fifteen years, eventually returning to Hollywood shortly before his death in 1997.

Tuesday, November 12, 2002

Veterans History Project: Homecoming

The Deer Hunter (Universal, 1978). Dir Michael Cimino. With Meryl Streep, John Cazale. (183 min, 35mm).

Three lifelong friends (Robert De Niro, Christopher Walken and John Savage), leave their small Pennsylvania town to fight in Vietnam, where they fall prey to torture, abuse, and emotional devastation. Cimino's searing drama was highly controversial at the time of its release, not least for its fictional use of Russian Roulette as a metaphor for the Vietnam war. Winner of 5 Academy awards, including Best Picture; hauntingly scored by Stanley Myers.

Wednesday, November 13, 2002

The Silent Civil War

The Informer (AM&B, 1912). Dir D.W. Griffith. With Mary Pickford, Lillian Gish. (20 min, 35mm).
The Chronicles of America: Dixie (Yale, 1924). With Arthur Dewey, Florence Johnstone. (30 min, 35mm).
The Field of Honor (Universal, 1917). Dir Allen Holubar. With Frank MacQuarrie, Louise Lovely. (72 min, 35mm).

The Civil War was a very popular subject from the very beginnings of cinema, but no silent era director visited the era quite as much as D.W. Griffith. Griffith's idealistic vision of a genteel Old South found its apogee in his groundbreaking--if ideologically indefensible--The Birth of a Nation (1915), but tonight we'll start an evening of the "silent" Civil War with his earlier The Informer, which serves as something of a precursor to the more influential feature. Dixie is from The Chronicles of America series, and focuses on the role women played in the Confederacy, while The Field of Honor is a stirring drama of cowardice and redemption set during the conflict. Tonight's program will be accompanied by pianist Ray Brubacher.

Thursday, November 14, 2002

The Silent Civil War

Confederate Veterans Reunion (Fox, 1930). (9 min, 35mm).
Dixieland (Warner Bros., 1935). (10 min, 35mm).
The Red Badge of Courage (MGM, 1951). Dir John Huston. With Bill Mauldin, Andy Devine. (69 min, 35mm).

John Huston's brilliant, concise adaptation of the Stephen Crane novel anchors this night of Civil War films. Audie Murphy stars as a tender youth who discovers that war requires all manner of courage. We open with Dixieland, from the Vitaphone series See America First, and some raw, unedited footage of a Confederate reunion. If you've ever wondered what the Rebel Yell really sounded like, here's your chance.

Friday, November 15, 2002

Sam Fuller

Verboten (Globe Enterprises, 1958). Dir. Samuel Fuller. With James Best, Susan Cummings, Tom Pittman. (87 min, 35mm).

Fuller's first film set in Europe, the scene of his own war experiences, Verboten! tells the story of an American soldier who marries a German girl in occupied Berlin after WW2 and confronts the remnants of Nazism in the form of a gang of former Hitler Youth members. A high-pitched melodrama framed with a dizzying mix of long takes, German and Allied newsreel footage, material from the Nuremberg trials, and a soundtrack ranging from Paul Anka to Beethoven and Wagner.

Monday, November 18, 2002

None But the Lonely Heart (RKO, 1944). Dir Clifford Odets. With Cary Grant, Ethel Barrymore, June Duprez. (113 min, 35mm).

There are scenes with Grant and Barrymore that stick in the long-time memories of older filmgoers. And they remember the character played by June Duprez, " a curiously rich, pitiful, fascinating person, blended of Cockney and the Bronx," according to James Agee. Adapted by Odets from the novel by Richard Llewellyn. Photography by George Barnes; music by Hanns Eisler.

Tuesday, November 19, 2002

The Chase (Columbia, 1966). Dir. Arthur Penn. With Marlon Brando, Jane Fonda, Robert Redford. (132 min, 35mm).

The behind-the-screen shenanigans drew more notice than the film itself. The author of the screenplay, Lillian Hellman, sought absolution in the New York Times for the botched script. Sam Spiegel, the film's producer, proclaimed his film's theme as "the consequences of affluence." Hanky-panky on the range would be more accurate.

Thursday, November 21, 2002

50s Bad Girls

Niagara (20th Century-Fox, 1953). Dir Henry Hathaway. With Joseph Cotten, Jean Peters. (89 min, 35mm).

This Technicolor melodrama showcases two photogenic forces of nature: Niagara Falls and Marilyn Monroe. Those who associate MM with gentle, comic roles had better beware, however. Here she heats up the screen as a scheming villainess. The steely, charismatic cruelty in her performance is a welcome change from the much-heralded vulnerability that later defined (and confined) her movie image.

Friday, November 22, 2002

Sam Fuller

Merrill's Marauders (United States Productions, 1961). Dir. Samuel Fuller. With Jeff Chandler, Ty Hardin, Peter Brown, Andrew Duggan. (98 min, 35mm).

A gritty combat film which follows a group of GIs fighting in the Burmese jungle deep behind Japanese lines. Shot on a tight budget on location in the Philippines, Merrill's Marauders includes some of the most stunning battle sequences ever filmed and is a prime example of Fuller's exciting visual style. Variety called the railroad yard attack "one of the best visual impressions of carnage since the Atlanta sequence in Gone with the Wind." Jeff Chandler, in the role of Brigadier General Frank Merrill, died prior to the film's release at the age of 42.

Tuesday, December 3, 2002

Veterans History Project: Homecoming

Apartment for Peggy (20th Century Fox, 1948). Dir George Seaton. With Jeanne Crain, Edmund Gwenn, William Holden, Gene Lockhart, Randy Stuart, and Griff Barnett. (98 min).

Professor Henry Barnes decides he's lived long enough and contemplates suicide. His attitude is changed by Peggy Taylor, a chipper young mother-to-be who charms him into renting out his attic as an apartment for her and her husband Jason, a former GI struggling to finish college.

Thursday, December 5, 2002

Home in Oklahoma (Republic, 1946) Dir William Witney. With Roy Rogers, Dale Evans. (72 min., 16mm).
Border Saddlemates (Republic, 1952) Dir William Witney. With Rex Allen, Slim Pickens. (67 min., 16mm).

The late William Witney was one of the foremost exponents of the western, particularly in the decade after World War II at the Republic studio. Despite modest budgets, Witney has won steadily more recognition over the years, and is today recognized as the man who did for the "B" western what John Ford did for the genre's more expensive "A" counterpart, bringing freshness, verve, and realism to the genre.

Friday, December 6, 2002

Pee-wee's Big Adventure (Warner Bros., 1985). Dir Tim Burton. With Paul Reubens, Elizabeth Daily. (90 min, 35mm).

Tim Burton's first feature-length film, which he directed when he was only 26, follows the peculiar Pee-wee Herman as he desperately searches for his lost bicycle. Along the way he encounters an escaped convict, a waitress longing to move to Paris and a lovable but spooky truck driver named Large Marge. Nothing says 1985 like "I know you are, but what am I?", Mr. T cereal, and cameos by James Brolin, Morgan Fairchild and Twisted Sister. Preceded by two Tim Burton animated shorts: Stalk of the Celery Monster and Vincent, and by an episode of the television program Pee-Wee's Playhouse, featuring a young Laurence Fishburne as Cowboy Curtis.

Tuesday, December 10, 2002

Johnny Eager (MGM, 1941). Dir Mervyn Leroy. With Robert Taylor, Lana Turner, Van Heflin. (105 min, 35 mm).

Robert Taylor lost his pretty boy image after shocking audiences with his ruthless portrayal of hood Johnny Eager. Taylor and Turner sizzle in a highly stylized mode of tragic glamour that is definitive Hollywood passion. Eager is a hard-nosed gangster leading a double life. To fulfill his parole, he works as a cabbie, but secretly continues as an underworld gambling kingpin. When the DA's daughter falls for him, he's quick to exploit the situation. Van Heflin is brilliant as the alcoholic, literary sidekick and the voice of Johnny's conscience. He won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor in this role.

Thursday, December 12, 2002

Matt Helm

The Ambushers (Columbia, 1968). Dir. Henry Levin. With Janice Rule, James Gregory. (100 min, 35mm).

Director Levin, screenwriter Herbert Baker, and star Dean Martin throw caution to the wind in this third installment of the Matt Helm spy series. Political incorrectness runs amok as Dino drinks, chain smokes, and chases a slew of semi-dressed cheesecake cuties. The plot is incidental but has something to do with an evil mastermind's plot to takeover the world. The entire cast performs tongue-in-cheek in what amounts to a feature length exercise in double entendre. Bring your sense of humor and don't miss Dino's jab at pallie and fellow rat packer Frank Sinatra in the final scene.

Friday, December 13, 2002

Reflections in a Golden Eye (Warner Bros., 1967). Dir John Huston. With Marlon Brando, Julie Harris, Brian Keith. (108 min, 35mm).

Repressed passions explode on a Southern army base in this adaptation of the Carson McCullers novel. Brando plays a conflicted homosexual major who develops a mad crush on private Robert Forster, who in turn likes to watch Brando's wife, Liz Taylor, as she sleeps (and this is just the beginning). Huston treats McCuller's troubled characters and their bizarre goings-on with humor and compassion. Brando's performance in this film is one of his most brilliant: dangerous, funny and deeply felt.

Tuesday, December 17, 2002

50s Bad Girls

Bonjour Tristesse (Columbia, 1958). Dir Otto Preminger. With Deborah Kerr, David Niven. (94 min, 35mm).

Pixieish teenager Jean Seberg is not as innocent as she looks in this perverse love story set on the French Riviera. Veteran director of photography Georges Perinal contributes both Technicolor and black and white cinematography in a translation of Françoise Sagan's once-scandalous novel to the screen. Although American audiences were indifferent to this film when it was released, Bonjour Tristesse has since attained classic status, particularly in France, where New Wave directors enthusiastically embraced it. Jean-Luc Godard was so smitten with Seberg's persona that he fashioned a similar role for her in his epochal film Breathless.

Thursday, December 19, 2002

Candy Mountain (1987). Dir Robert Frank and Rudy Wurlitzer. With Kevin J. O'Connor, Harris Yulin, Tom Waits, Bulle Ogier, David Johansen, Leon Redbone, Joe Strummer, Roberts Blossom; CAMEO(S): Rita MacNeil, Laurie Metcalf. (90 min)

A mediocre musician goes in search of the world's greatest guitar maker, encountering a series of bizarre people along the way. Celebrity cameos enliven the journey, including one by Buster Poindexter (Johansen).

Friday, December 20, 2002

Hallelujah, I'm a Bum (UA, 1934). Dir Lewis Milestone. With Al Jolson, Madge Evans, Frank Morgan. (82 min, 35 mm).

In the course of this Great Depression musical drama, the heroine switches her affections from a New York City mayor (modelled on Jimmy Walker), to a hobo who hangs out in Central Park with his cronies. We're fortunate this evening to have David Parker on hand to explain this woman's behavior, and a great deal more about the circumstances surrounding this wonderfully strange movie. Songs by Richard Rodgers (whose centennial we celebrate) and Lorenz Hart.

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