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Mary Pickford Theater

Archive of past screenings: July - December 2004


Monday, July 12 (7:00 pm)

National Film Registry: Tennessee Williams

The Night of the Iguana (MGM, 1964) Dir John Huston. With Richard Burton, Ava Gardner, Deborah Kerr. (125 min, 35mm)
We unofficially tag along with the Kennedy Center's Tennessee Williams series this summer by offering four films based on works by the master playwright. Williams was a particularly cinematic author, and an abundance of his plays and shorts stories were adapted for the screen, sometimes by Williams himself. We open with The Night of the Iguana, in which a discredited American minister, serving as a tour guide in Mexico, struggles to understand himself. Other films in include Boom (July 13), The Roman Spring of Mrs. Stone (July 29), and Baby Doll (August 6).


Tuesday, July 13 (7:00 pm)

National Film Registry: Tennessee Williams

Boom (Universal, 1968) Dir Joseph Losey. With Noel Coward, Joanna Shimkus. (110 min, 35mm)
Wealthy and eccentric writer Flora "Sissy" Goforth (Elizabeth Taylor) retreats to her island estate, where she spends most of her days swilling booze, popping pills, swearing at her odd array of servants, and writing her autobiography. She must also confront poet Chris Flanders (Richard Burton), the "Angel of Death." Utterly bizarre in its sheer extravagance, but any pairing of Burton and Taylor is worth watching. Based on the Tennessee Williams play, "The Milk Train Doesn't Stop Here Anymore" and short story, "Man, Bring This Up Road."


Wednesday, July 14 (7:00 pm)

Brown v. Board at Fifty

Eyewitness: Breakthrough At Birmingham (CBS, 1963)
4 Little Girls (HBO, 1997) Dir Spike Lee. (102 min, 35mm)
We open a fourteen night series accompanying the Library exhibition With an Even Hand: Brown v. Board at Fifty with Spike Lee's powerful documentary about the September 1963 bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church that took the lives of four young girls but galvanized the civil rights movement. The events leading to that terrorist act are chronicled in a CBS documentary broadcast in May 1963, in which the confrontation between civil rights marchers and Police Comissioner "Bull" Connor leads to Dr. Martin Luther King's "Letter from Birmingham Jail."


Thursday, July 15 (7:00 pm)

National Film Registry

The Fixer (MGM, 1968) Dir John Frankenheimer. With Dirk Bogarde, Ian Holm, David Warner, Carol White. (132 min, 35mm).
The late, beloved Alan Bates won a Best Actor Oscar nomination for his portrayal of Yakov, a Jewish handyman in Czarist Russia, who is unjustly imprisoned for murder. Adapted by Dalton Trumbo from Bernard Malamud's novel, Frankenheimer's film is a powerful statement on political scapegoating and social injustice.


Friday, July 16 (7:00 pm)

National Film Registry: Mod World

Up the Junction (BHE-Collinson/Crasto, 1968). Dir Peter Collinson. With Suzy Kendall, Dennis Waterman, Adrienne Posta, Maureen Lipman. (119 min, 35mm).
From a late 1950s fashion statement to an enduring youth cult, the Mod movement inevitably found its way onto the big screen, especially after it became a mass commercial phenomenon in the mid-1960s. In this short series we will highlight several iconic, although largely forgotten films from that unique era. In Up the Junction, one of the most controversial British films of the time, an upper-class girl, bored with her comfortable life in Chelsea, moves to the drab working-class district of Battersea in London's Clapham Junction section. Based on the 1963 novel by Nell Dunn, which was also adapted in 1965 by Ken Loach for the BBC. Other films in the series include Smashing Time (September 14), Privilege (October 15), and The Touchables (December 3).


Monday, July 19 (7:00 pm)

Brown v. Board at Fifty

The Big Issue: Segregation in the Public Schools (Dumont, 1953)
American Forum of the Air: the Supreme Courtís Desegregation Decision (NBC, 1954)
The Road to Brown (PBS, 1991)
School desegregation and the Brown v. Board decision is debated in two contemporaneous television programs, while its history is traced in a PBS special.


Tuesday, July 20 (7:00 pm)

National Film Registry

The Court Jester (Paramount, 1956) Dir Norman Jewison. (ca 30 min, video)
An Hour with Danny Kaye [excerpt] (NBC, 1961) Dir Norman Panama and Melvin Frank. With Glynnis Johns, Mildred Natwick, Angela Lansbury. (101 min, 35mm).
A tribute to versatile comedian/humanitarian Danny Kaye. The Court Jester is a fast paced swashbuckling musical comedy, contains epic sized medieval England sets, and sports a handful of songs written by Sylvia Fine (Kaye's wife) and Sammy Cahn. The complete cast for this family film is well suited, particularly Basil Rathbone playing the heavy. And can you say three times rapidly, "I've put a pellet of poison in the vessel with the pestle"? Preceded by an excerpt from a live comedy variety program, with Kaye presenting songs, dances, and comedy routines from his movie, night club, and stage appearances.


Wednesday, July 21 (7:00 pm)

National Film Registry

99 44/100% Dead (20th Century-Fox, 1974)


Thursday, July 22 (7:00 pm)

Brown v. Board at Fifty

Eyewitness: the US V. Mississippi (CBS, 1962)
Meet the Press: James Meredith (NBC, 1963)
Eyewitness: Color Line on Campus (CBS, 1963)
The September 1962 enrollment of James Meredith at the University of Mississippi touched off days of rioting, but it was a crucial step in the history of the civil rights movement. The two Eyewitness programs illustrate the difficulties African-Americans experienced in attempting to pursue higher education, while the Meet the Press interview with Meredith from May 1963 reveals a young man with an acute clarity of purpose.


Friday, July 23 (7:00 pm)

National Film Registry

They Shoot Horses, Donít They? (ABC, 1969)


Monday, July 26 (7:00 pm)

National Film Registry

Car Wash (Universal, 1976) Dir Michael Schultz. With Sully Boyar, Garrett Morris, George Carlin. (97 min, 35mm)
A host of unusual people and situations make their way into the ten hours of screen time afforded to the Dee-Luxe car wash. Owned by Mr. B, the Dee-Luxe is a home to showbiz dreamers, a vain cashier, an ex-con, a drag queen, and Mr. B's Mao-revering son, Irwin. The clientele includes a possible mad bomber, a demanding housewife, and Richard Pryor as Daddy Rich, spiritual leader of the Church of Divine Economic Spirituality. Joel Schumacher wrote the screenplay, but Norman Whitfield's original score was the driving force of the film, providing rhythm and unity to the fragmented storyline


Tuesday, July 27 (7:00 pm)

National Film Registry: Big Bands

The Glenn Miller Story (Universal, 1953) Dir Anthony Mann. With Henry Morgan, Barney Bigard, Gene Krupa. (116 min, 35mm)
In honor of the 100 anniversary of Glenn Miller's birth, we present this lavish Technicolor biopic that -- amazingly -- does not jettison all facts about its subject's life for typical Hollywood fiction (but never fear, plenty of fiction to go around!) The music is first rate, Louis Armstrong is electrifying, and June Allyson is warm and affectionate. While star James Stewart gives the impression that he is actually playing the trombone (and even looks a bit like Miller), his portrayal makes one wonder how such a mild guy could ever make it in the music business.


Thursday, July 29 (7:00 pm)

National Film Registry: Tennessee Williams

The Roman Spring of Mrs. Stone (Warner Bros., 1961) Dir José Quintero, With Vivien Leigh, Warren Beatty. (104 min, 35mm)
After the death of her wealthy husband, middle-aged actress Karen Stone retreats to Rome and becomes enamored of an unscrupulous young gigolo. Based on Tennessee Williams' only novel.


Friday, July 30 (7:00 pm)

National Film Registry: Femme Fatales

The Last Seduction (ITC, 1994) Dir John Dahl. With Bill Pullman, Peter Berg. (109 min, 35mm)
A cinematic figure since the silent era, the femme fatale has been a spicy ingredient in many a melodrama and film noir. Combining brains, beauty, and a take-no-prisoners attitude, this character is nominally a villainess, but manages to snag our sympathy and admiration while wreaking havoc on the screen. Linda Fiorentino's witty incarnation of the archetype is the sublime example of a dangerous female in modern American films, proving that there's still plenty of life left in moviedom's femmes fatales. Other films in this series include Two of a Kind (September 16), Human Desire (November 4), and Beyond the Forest (December 17).


Tuesday, August 3 (7:00 pm)

National Film Registry

Surprise Night 1
The return of an experiment we tried a few years back, in which we choose the program based on the DC Lottery Pick 4 number from one month before the screening. Could be trash, could be treasure, but you won't know if you don't take the chance. It's cheaper than playing the lottery, you know. Repeated on November 23 and December 7.


Thursday, August 5 (7:00 pm)

Brown v. Board at Fifty

The Big Issue: Civil Rights (NBC, 1957)
Eyewitness: the Rights Bill: A Battle Joined (CBS, 1963) (30 min, 16mm)
Senators Paul Douglas and Jacob Javits debate the 1957 Civil Rights Act with John McClellan and Richard Russell on The Big Issue, while the Civil Rights Bill of 1963 is examined on Eyewitness.


Friday, August 6 (7:00 pm)

National Film Registry: Tennessee Williams

Baby Doll (Warner Bros., 1956) Dir Elia Kazan. With Karl Malden, Carroll Baker, Eli Wallach. (114 min, 35mm)
A mill owner and his rival compete for the attention of the mill owner's simpering child bride. At the time of its release, this controversial film was condemned by the Legion of Decency for its "carnal suggestiveness" and regarded by Time as the "dirtiest" American-made motion picture ever exhibited. Tennessee Williams' screenplay incorporates two of his one-act plays, "Twenty-Seven Wagons Full of Cotton" and "The Long Stay Cut Short."


Tuesday, August 10 (7:00 pm)

Brown v. Board at Fifty

The Long Walk Home (Miramax, 1990) Dir Richard Pearce. With Ving Rhames, Dylan Baker. (97 min, 35mm)
Sissy Spacek and Whoopi Goldberg are mistress and maid during the Birmingham bus boycott of 1955-1956. Although a bit self-satisfied in places, the relationship between the two strong-willed women is quite believable, and the script is careful not to portray either in the kind of broad cariacture that plagues these sorts of social issue films.


Thursday, August 12 (7:00 pm)

National Film Registry: Charlotte Zwerin

Strokes of Genius: De Kooning on Dekooning (Cort Productions, 1981)
Music for the Movies, Toru Takemitsu (Alternate Currents, 1994) .


Friday, August 13 (7:00 pm)

National Film Registry

Goiní Coconuts (Interplanetary Pictures, 1978) Dir Howard Morris. With Kenneth Mars. (96 min, 35mm)
Director Morris was perhaps best known as the lunatic Ernest on The Andy Griffith Show. And it was a progressive delerium indeed that this first feature film vehicle for Donny and Marie Osmond. How they shine. In promotional ads for this film, an anthropomorphic coconut is flanked by the toothsome brother and sister, suggesting some kind of saccharine Frankenstein. Should Man play God? Are we but beasts ourselves? Let's ask the Osmonds.


Tuesday, August 17 (7:00 pm)

National Film Registry: The Body

The Body (Kestrel, 1970) Dir Roy Battersby. With Narration by Vanessa Redgrave and Frank Finlay. (120min, 35mm).
Part experimental film and part documentary, this film addresses the human body in all its different forms. Birth, death, sex, consumption of food, trauma and more are covered in a frank and graphic way as well as discussions with various members of the public, sharing their opinions and insecurities. This rarely seen film has stunning cinematography by Tony Imi and music by Roger Waters of Pink Floyd fame.


Thursday, August 19 (7:00 pm)

National Film Registry: Raquel Welch

One Million Years B.C. (20th Century-Fox, 1966) Dir Don Chaffey. With Percy Herbert, Robert Brown. (100 min, 35mm)
It may seem too cute to celebrate the body by showcasing the talents of one of filmdom's sexiest sirens, Raquel Welch, but the notoreity of her ample pulchritude has tended to disguise a solid versatility as an actor. Tonight's film is a case in point, a pre-historic love story from a town called Bedrock, or is it the hills of the Rock People? The heavy handed and dull witted Neanderthal leader of the Rock People (John Richardson) falls in love with the smarter, gentler girl of the Shell people (Raquel Welch), and the union of these two lovers helps to advance the development of man.


Friday, August 20 (7:00 pm)

National Film Registry: The Body

Fantastic Voyage (20th Century-Fox, 1966) Dir Richard Fleischer. With Stephen Boyd, Edmond O'Brien, Donald Pleasance, Arthur O'Connell. (100min, 35mm).
Forget InnerSpace and Honey, I Shrunk the Kids, here comes the original shrinking of humans into microscopic size. Much more sci-fi, this film harks much closer to space exploration but is a exploration of the human body instead. A scientist must rush this experiment to save the life of a friend, meanwhile testing brand new technology. The lovely Raquel Welch plays the tough over-achieving researcher whose body all the male scientists want to explore.


Tuesday, August 24 (7:00 pm)

National Film Registry: The Body

Smile (United Artists, 1975)


Thursday, August 26 (7:00 pm)

National Film Registry: The Body

The Naked Ape (Universal, 1973) Dir Donald Driver. With Johnny Crawford, Victoria Principal. (85min, 35mm).
This fictional version of the non-fictional Desmond Morris novel is prime example of mainstream experimental film-making, using a series of live action and animated vignettes to incorporate Morris's straightforward text into scenes of the early 1970s.


Friday, August 27 (7:00 pm)

National Film Registry: The Body

Unashamed (Cine-Grand Films, 1938). Dir Allen Stuart. With Rae Kidd, Bob Stanley (68 min, 16mm).
The Raw Ones (Pacifica, 1965). Dir John Lamb. (71 min, 35mm).
The "nudist camp" film was once a genial staple of the exploitation tradition, but rapidly fell into disfavor once supplanted by more hardcore fare. The appeal was pretty simple: show lots of breasts and buttocks (and no more), typically under the guise of health education. Unashamed is striking, however, in that it has an actual plot. A secretary convinces her hypochondriac boss to try nudism, they start a romance, but the arrival of a female bank robber looking for a hideout causes unusual complications. By the 1950s, filmmakers like Doris Wishman were using nudist retreats as backdrops for similar fictional narratives like Nude on the Moon and Gentlemen Prefer Nature Girls, but The Raw Ones is something of a throwback: 71 minutes of naked people cavorting to the accompaniment of a sonorous soundtrack extolling the virtues of being clothed by the sun. The Raw Ones also has the distinction of being the first nudist film to openly show genitalia, courtesy of a 1963 legal decision that ruled such displays were not obscene.


Tuesday, August 31 (7:00 pm)

Brown v. Board at Fifty

Heart of Dixie (Orion, 1989)


Thursday, September 2 (7:00 pm)

Brown v. Board at Fifty

CBS Reports: Mississippi and the 15th Amendment (CBS, 1962)
Eyewitness: the President Faces the Racial Crisis (CBS, 1963)
Never Turn Back: the Life of Fannie Lou Hamer (Rediscovery, 1980)


Friday, September 3 (7:00 pm)

Brown v. Board at Fifty

Mississippi Burning (Columbia, 1988)


Tuesday, September 7 (6:30 pm)

National Film Registry

A Woman In Grey, Chapters 1-7 (Serico, 1920) Dir James Vincent. With Arline Pretty, Henry G. Sell, James A. Heenan, Margaret Fielding. (3 hours, 16mm)
This is one of the few silent film serials to survive in its complete form, and as we have done with two previous such serials in the Library's collection, we present them in their entirety over two evenings. A disinherited girl turns detective, battling her adopted mother and searching for her lost father. Beautifully photographed and edited, it was produced in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania.


Wednesday, September 8 (6:30 pm)

National Film Registry

A Woman In Grey, Chapters 8-15 (Serico, 1920) (3 hours, 16mm).
See September 7 description


Thursday, September 9 (7:00 pm)

National Film Registry

North Dallas Forty (Paramount, 1979) Dir Ted Kotcheff. With Charles Durning, Dayle Haddon, Steve Forrest. (119 min, 35mm)
Are you ready for some football? North Dallas Forty may be the best sports movie ever, a pitch black comedy based on the roman-a-clef by former Dallas Cowboy Peter Gent. Nick Nolte is the aging wide receiver getting by on increasing doses of medication, Mac Davis is superb as a very thinly disguised Don Meredith (iron-willed quarterback by day, playboy by night), but GD Spradlin steals the film as the head coach whose public sanctimony is exceeded only by his private sadism.


Friday, September 10 (7:00 pm)

National Film Registry: Raquel Welch

Myra Breckinridge (20th Century-Fox, 1970) Dir Michael Sarne. With John Huston, Jim Backus, Roger Carmel. (94 min, 35mm)
Rex Reed becomes Raquel Welch in a sex change operation, resulting in one angry man in a woman's body. This notorious and wicked film parody (written by the great Gore Vidal) is loaded with a great deal of political and social satire. Mae West's part as the evil casting couch film producer is a crazy twist on male chauvinism and her musical number can't be missed. This is also the film debut for Farah Fawcett and Tom Selleck.


Monday, September 13 (7:00 pm)

Haven to Home

The Simpsons: Like Father, Like Clown (Fox, 1991). Dir Jeffrey Lynch. (22 min, video).
The Jazz Singer (Warner Bros., 1927). Dir Alan Crosland. With Al Jolson, May McAvoy, Warner Oland, Eugenie Besserer. (88 min, 16mm).


Tuesday, September 14 (7:00 pm)

National Film Registry: Mod World

Smashing Time (Partisan, 1967) Dir Desmond Davis. With Michael York, Anna Quayle. (96 min, 35mm).
A quintessential paean to mid-60s London, in which Rita Tushingham and Lynne Redgrave play two Northern girls heading for the Mod scene on Carnaby Street to find fame and fortune.


Wednesday, September 15 (6:30 pm)

Movies and the Moral Life

To Kill a Mockingbird (Universal, 1962) Dir Robert Mulligan. With Gregory Peck, Mary Badham, Philip Alford, Robert Duvall. (129 min, 35mm). Reading to accompany film: Harper Lee’s novel on which the film is based.
Jean Bethke Elshtain, noted philosopher and moral theologian, will both provide an introduction to and lead a discussion of the moral and ethical themes portrayed in a number of classic American movies prior to their screening in a five night series titled "Movies and the Moral Life." According to Elshtain,"movies are the great American popular art form. Films are available to all. In the 1950s, 90 million Americans a week attended the movies. This figure fell to 43 million by the end of the decade, then began to rise again in the late 60s and early 70s. At the height of American movie going, fully one-third of our population, every single week, sat in a darkened theater dreaming dreams of romance or derring do or good besting evil. The source of the hold of movies on our imaginations has to do with the power of images. Films are a kind of dream life—yet one is awake. Films are a way of seeing and seeing is not a passive activity. We do more than replicate what is out there. We actively enhance perceptions. In the 1950s we heard, even as we now hear, many voices expressing alarm about films and what they may be doing to us. The voices of critics need to be heard, of course, and debated. But films also stretch our sensibilities; force us to confront issues or themes that might otherwise have lain, quite literally, outside our field of vision; help us to imagine worlds different from the one we are in."
An unabashedly moral film, To Kill a Mockingbird evokes the manners and morals of a sleepy southern town in the 1930s. A rape accusation against a black man pulls back the scrim and the town’s deepest divisions and detestations are on full view—not only of race but of class and education. Through it all, however, the film is a story about childhood and fatherhood. Other films in the series include A Place in the Sun (October 7), Viva Zapata (November 10), The Searchers (December 9), and The Man Who Shot Liberty Valence (December 10).


Thursday, September 16 (7:00 pm)

National Film Registry: Femme Fatales

Sirens, Symbols And Glamour Girls, Part 2 (Wolper, 1963) Narrated by Joseph Cotten. (26 min, 16mm)
Two of a Kind (Columbia, 1951) Dir Henry Levin. With Edmond O'Brien, Alexander Knox. (75 min, 35mm)
With her croaky voice, flaxen hair, and an aura that radiates equal parts warmth and reserve, Lizabeth Scott is a beguiling, if underappreciated, member of film noir's rogues' gallery. Here she's in top form as a shady lady who's after the good things in life: money and men, in that order. An added pleasure is a sprightly, off-center performance by a young Terry Moore, who makes a lively femme fatale in waiting. Also included is a survey of feminine pulchritude from the television series Hollywood and the Stars.


Friday, September 17 (7:00 pm)

National Film Registry

Pretty Baby (Paramount, 1977)


Monday, September 20 (7:00 pm)

Haven to Home

Hester Street (Midwest Films, 1975). Dir Joan Micklin Silver. With Carol Kane, Steven Keats, Mel Howard. (90 min, 35mm).


Tuesday, September 21 (7:00 pm)

Brown v. Board at Fifty

Close Up: The Children Are Watching (ABC, 1961)
Crisis: Behind A Presidential Commitment (ABC, 1963)


Wednesday, September 22 (7:00 pm)

Haven to Home

Marjorie Morningstar (Warner Bros., 1958). Dir Irving Rapper. With Gene Kelly, Natalie Wood, Claire Trevor, Everett Sloane, Martin Milner. (128 min, 35mm).


Thursday, September 23 (7:00 pm)

Brown v. Board at Fifty

Crisis at Central High (CBS, 1981)


Friday, September 24 (7:00 pm)

Brown v. Board at Fifty

Ghosts of Mississippi (Castle Rock, 1996).


Monday, September 27 (7:00 pm)

Haven to Home

Mary Tyler Moore: Some of My Best Friends are Rhoda (CBS, 1972).
The Younger Generation (Columbia, 1929). Director Frank Capra. With Jean Hersholt, Lina Basquette, Ricardo Cortez. (75 min, 35mm).


 

Tuesday, September 28 (7:00 pm)

National Film Registry

Pop Gear (AIP, 1965) Dir Frederick Goode. With Jimmy Saville, Honey Landry, Peter Noone. (70 min, 35mm)
American International Pictures (AIP) is best known for their horror films of the 50s and 60s, serving as training ground for directors like Roger Corman, Francis Ford Coppola, and Peter Bogdanovich. AIP's focus on the teenage market was relentless, and fabulously successful. In the mid-1960s, AIP released a series of concert films, which we present this week. Pop Gear is the ultimate tribute to the British Invasion, a Techniscope, Technicolor, British rock n' roll musical show featuring 16 of England's top recording artists of 1965. The list includes the Beatles, the Animals, Herman's Hermits, Peter and Gordon, the Honeycombs and Matt Monroe. Little Stevie Winwood becomes a man with the Spencer Davis Group. Go-Go dancing at its best!


Wednesday, September 29 (7:00 pm)

Haven to Home

Sons of Liberty (Warner Bros., 1939). Dir Michael Curtiz. With Claude Rains, Gale Sondergaard, Donald Crisp.
Green Fields (Collective Film Producers, 1937). Dir Edgar G Ulmer. With Michael Goldstein, Izidor Cashier, Anna Appel. (in Yiddish with English subtitles, 35mm, 102 min).


Thursday, September 30 (7:00 pm)

National Film Registry

The Big TNT Show (AIP, 1966) Dir Larry Peerce. With Donovan, The Byrds, Ray Charles, Lovin' Spoonful, Roger Miller, The Ronettes. (93 min, 35mm).
A jaw-dropping extravaganza featuring many top acts of the mid-60s, produced by Phil Spector, live at the Hollywood Palace. The bountiful highlights include a goose-bump inducing performance of "You've Lost That Lovin' Feeling" by Joan Baez, and a stunning closer in which Ike and Tina Turner blow the roof off the joint. Hosted and "conducted" by Ilya Kuryakin himself, David McCallum.


Friday, October 1 (7:00 pm)

National Film Registry

The TAMI Show (AIP, 1965) Dir Steven Binder. With The Beach Boys, Chuck Berry, Glen Cambell, Gerry and the Pacemakers. (123 min, 35mm)
Legends are made of this! The TAMI Show is a legendary contribution to the early madness that was the British Invasion and the legendary Soul movement led by James Brown and the Motown stars The Supremes, Marvin Gaye, and Smokey Robinson and the Miracles. James Brown's upstaging of the Rolling Stones in this film is the stuff of legends (indeed, no man could take him off that stage alive), not to mention Marvin Gaye bringing down the house. See if you can spot Teri Garr as a go-go dancer in this Supreme time-capsule of the 1960s.


Monday, October 4 (7:00 pm)

Haven to Home

Bridget Loves Bernie: Pilot (CBS, 1972).
American Matchmaker (Fame-Pictures, 1940). Dir Edgar G Ulmer. With Leo Fuchs, Judith Abarbanel, Judel Dubinsky. (in Yiddish with English subtitles, 16mm, 87 min).


Tuesday, October 5 (7:00 pm)

National Film Registry

Hair (United Artists, 1979) Dir Milos Forman. With John Savage, Treat Williams, Beverly D'Angelo. (118 min, 35mm)
Released 12 years after its first off-Broadway production, and falling victim to producers' interest in maintaining a PG rating, Forman's re-telling of this anti-war, flower power musical is decidedly less anti-establishment and controversial than the original version. The talented cast's energy and enthusiasm, evident in songs such as "Age of Aquarius" and "Let the Sunshine In," combined with Twyla Tharp's choreography, makes for a significant story, nonetheless. Director Nicholas Ray makes an appearance as the General, and Nell Carter can be seen in the ensemble cast.


Wednesday, October 6 (7:00 pm)

Haven to Home

Liberty Heights (Warner Bros., 1999). Dir Barry Levinson. With Adrien Brody, Ben Foster, Orlando Jones, Bebe Neuwirth. (127 min, 35mm).


Thursday, October 7 (6:30 pm)

Movies and the Moral Life (see September 15 listing)

A Place in the Sun (Paramount, 1951) Dir George Stevens. With Elizabeth Taylor, Montgomery Clift, Shelley Winters. (122 min, 35mm). Reading: Theodore Dreiser, An American Tragedy.
In stunning black and white cinematography, the dream of the protagonist is in bold, bright American technicolor—a dream of vivacious women, gorgeous boats, brilliant sun and sand. His reality is drab and gray. The story unfolds the dark underbelly of a life torn between dreamy yearnings and seamy realities.


Friday, October 8 (7:00 pm)

National Film Registry

Thelonious Monk: Straight, No Chaser (Monk Film Project, 1989)


Tuesday, October 12 (7:00 pm)

Brown v. Board at Fifty

CBS Reports: the Harlem Temper (CBS, 1963)
The American Experience: Race Relations In Crisis [excerpt] (WNEW, 1963)


Wednesday, October 13 (7:00 pm)

Haven to Home

Screening introduced by director Aviva Kempner
The Life and Times of Hank Greenberg (Ciesla Foundation, 1998). Director Aviva Kempner. (90 min, 35mm).


Thursday, October 14 (7:00 pm)

National Film Registry: Big Bands

Hollywood Hotel (Warner Bros., 1938) Dir Busby Berkeley. With Rosemary Lane, Lola Lane, Edgar Kennedy. (115 min, 35mm)
Dick Powell goes from saxophonist in the Benny Goodman band to overnight star-to-be, only to get caught in the fury of a diva's ego, whose temper tantrums gives cause for "the old switcheroo." A fine edition of Benny Goodman's band (with Harry James, Ziggy Elman and Gene Krupa) and trio (with Teddy Wilson) is featured.


Friday, October 15 (7:00 pm)

National Film Registry: Mod World

Privilege (World-Memorial, 1967) Dir Peter Watkins. With Mark London. (103 min, 35mm)
Set in the near future (1970), the film portrays a celebrated pop singer who is manipulated by the coalition government of Church and State to become an inspirational leader of a world-wide evangelical crusade. Stars former Manfred Mann singer Paul Jones and 60s supermodel Jean Shrimpton in her only major film role.


Monday, October 18 (7:00 pm)

Jazz and Soul Television

Remembering Elvin Jones and Steve Lacy
This evening will be devoted to the innovative and influential drummer-bandleader Elvin Jones and the creative soprano saxophonist, MacArthur Award winning composer and bandleader Steve Lacy, who both passed away in the Spring of 2004. Tonight’s screening will include Peter Bull’s 1989 documentary portrait Steve Lacy-Lift The Bandstand, and clips of Jones with John Coltrane, his own group The Elvin Jones Jazz Machine, and Edward Gray’s 1979 documentary film, Different Drummer: Elvin Jones.


Tuesday, October 19 (7:00 pm)

National Film Registry

H.R. Pufnstuf (NBC, 1969) Dir Hollingsworth Morse. (30 min, video)
Pufnstuf (Universal, 1970) Dir Hollingsworth Morse. With Martha Raye, "Mama" Cass Elliott. (98 min, 35mm).
Long before there was a purple dinosaur named Barney, NBC had an yellow dragon called Pufnstuf created by the team of Sid and Marty Krofft. We start with the first episode of the Saturday morning series which introduced the main characters, including Jimmy (Jack Wilde straight from playing the Artful Dodger in Oliver!), Witchiepoo (Billie Hayes, remember her in Li'l Abner?), and various overgrown puppets who sound like assorted movie/TV personalities: H.R. Pufnstuf (Huckleberry Hound); Dr. Blinkie (Ed Wynn); Judy (Garland) the Frog; the West Wind (John Wayne). The low budget film version (TV sponsor Kellogg's split the $1 millon cost with Universal) is rich in one liners, puns, and comedy for any age level of movie goers. The TV plot and cast are used, with special guests lending their silliness.


Wednesday, October 20 (7:00 pm)

Fernando de Fuentes

Prisoner Number 13 (Prisionero 13, 1933).


Thursday, October 21 (7:00 pm)

Brown v. Board at Fifty

Eyes on the Prize [excerpts] (Blackside, 1987)


Friday, October 22 (7:00 pm)

National Film Registry

Six Degrees of Separation (MGM, 1993) Dir Fred Schepisi. With Stockard Channing, Will Smith, Donald Sutherland. (111 min, 35mm)
John Guare's screen adaptation of his play about clueless upper-middle-class New Yorkers who embrace a resourceful male hustler.


Monday, October 25 (7:00 pm)

Jazz and Soul Television

The Subject is Jazz: Jazz and the Other Arts (NBC, 1958)
The Subject is Jazz: Blues (NBC, 1958)
The Subject Is Jazz: Jazz Today (NBC, 1958)


Three shows from the landmark 1958 television series: Jazz and the Other Arts, Blues, and Jazz Today, hosted by critic Gilbert Seldes and featuring pianist Billy Taylor helping to place jazz in an educational context. Taylor leads the house band with appearances by poet Langston Hughes, trombonists Vic Dickenson and Jimmy Cleveland, trumpeters Buck Clayton and Doc Severinson, vocalist Jimmy Rushing, clarinetist Tony Scott, drummers Ed Thigpen and Osie Johnson, guitarist Mundell Lowe, and others.


Tuesday, October 26 (7:00 pm)

National Film Registry: Television Suspense

The Tell Tale Heart (UPA, 1953) Narrator James Mason. (8 min., 35mm)
Suspense: TV Murder (CBS, 1951) Dir Bob Stevens. (30 min., 16mm)
The Whistler: No. 1, a Friendly Case of Blackmail (Lindsley Parsons Prods., 1954) Narrator, Bill Forman. (30 min., 16mm)
The Whistler: Incident at Scullys Key (Lindsley Parsons Prods., 1956) Narrator, Bill Forman. (30 min., 16mm)
Fu Manchu: the Zayat Kiss (Herles Enterprises, 1952) Dir William Cameron Menzies. With Cedric Hardwicke, John Carradine, Rita Gam. (30 min., 16mm)
An evening of suspense begins with an Oscar-nominated animated version of the Edgar Allan Poe classic, followed by four episodes of early television thriller shows, two of them adapted from radio anthologies, Suspense and The Whistler, concluding with an unsold pilot for a series based on Sax Rohmer's classic villain.


Wednesday, October 27 (7:00 pm)

National Film Registry

The Last Detail (Columbia, 1973)


Thursday, October 28 (7:00 pm)

National Film Registry

Trilogy of Terror: Amelia (ABC, 1975). Dir Dan Curtis. (27 min, 35mm)
Legend of Hell House
(20th Century-Fox, 1973) Dir John Hough. With Pamela Franklin, Clive Revill, Gayle Hunnicut, Roland Culver, Peter Bowles. (95 min. 35mm). FGC 8612-8616.
Classic early 70s horror written by Richard Matheson (The Shrinking Man). A legendary house of hell is the star of Matheson's adaptation of his novel Hell House. What could be better? Roddy McDowall (King of the Ghoul investigators) tries to disprove the rash of deaths and madness associated with the Hell House by occupying the house for one week to investigate its mysteries. You may be able to guess what might happen. Happy Hell-oween! Preceded by Trilogy of Terror: Amelia, the final chapter in a trio of stories by Matheson. Amelia caused a sensation when it aired on ABC in 1975, terrifying even network executives. In a tour de force, Karen Black portrays a woman battling a demonic Zuni fetish doll.


Friday, October 29 (7:00 pm)

National Film Registry

Bluebeard (Cinerama, 1972) Dir Edward Dmytryk, Luciano Sacripanti. With Virna Lisi, Edward Meeks, Nathalie Delon. (125 min, 35mm)
Off with their heads! Who better to overplay the part of Bluebeard than the man who put the Act in the word actor, Sir Richard Burton. See how the man mentally and verbally abuses his woman and then ....you know! See classic beauties Raquel Welch, Sybil Danning and Joey Heatherton fall into Bluebeard's trap!


Monday, November 1 (7:00 pm)

Jazz and Soul Television

Soul: Rahsaan Roland Kirk, Horace Silver, Lee Morgan (NET, 1967-1973)
The remaining nights of our Jazz and Soul Festival will be devoted to episodes from a series titled Soul, which aired between 1967-73 on NET (National Educational Television). Tonight's first hour focused on a rare television appearance by the blind multi-instrumentalist Rahsaan Roland Kirk and his Vibration Society. The second hour presents pianist-composer Horace Silver and his group United States of Mind, with Andy and Salome Bey, and finally trumpeter Lee Morgan's Quintet with saxophonist Billy Harper, pianist Harold Mabern, bassist Jymie Merritt, drummer Freddie Waits and one number with guest flutist Bobbi Humphrey. Kirk and Silver are both interviewed by series producer-host Ellis B. Haizlip.


Tuesday, November 2 (7:00 pm)

Brown v. Board at Fifty

The Search for America: the Southern Negro (NET, 1959)
CBS Reports: Who Speaks for the South? (CBS, 1960)


Wednesday, November 3 (7:00 pm)

Fernando de Fuentes

Prisoner Number 13 (Prisionero 13, 1933, 74 min.)
Fernando de Fuentes is widely considered the most important director from the Mexican cinema’s “Golden Age” of the 1930s and 1940s. From November 3 to December 21, the Library of Congress Hispanic Division and Motion Picture, Broadcasting and Recorded Sound Division, in conjunction with the Institute of Mexico in Washington, DC, present subtitled 35mm prints of six of de Fuentes’s rarely seen classics from the Filmoteca de la UNAM in Mexico City.

A skilled visual storyteller with a mobile camera style influenced by Murnau, de Fuentes (1894-1958) was a key figure in the Mexican cinema’s maturation and international recognition. These six films represent only a fraction of the thirty-five films that de Fuentes directed, but they highlight his two most important contributions, which together embody a major shift in Mexican film history.

After the coming of sound, Mexican cinema developed rapidly though erratically during a period of social activism and unrest presided over by the progressive Cárdenas government. The quintessential cinematic expression of this turbulent period is de Fuentes’s trilogy of the Mexican revolution – Prisoner Number 13 (1933, November 2), My Buddy Mendoza (1933, November 23), and Let's Go With Pancho Villa (1935, November 17) -- three loosely connected films that viewed the still inflammatory legacy of the 1910-1917 upheaval with remarkable candor and complexity. As Jon Strickland noted recently in L.A. Weekly, “All three toy with the standard iconography of the revolution -- Zapatistas in sombreros and bullet belts, singing corridos or perched en masse on the roofs of trains -- then twist into darker meditations on legend versus reality, ideology versus human weakness.”

De Fuentes then moved from a questioning of political mythologies to the formulation of a new mythology. Over on the Big Ranch (1936, December 1) popularized a new genre known as the comedia ranchera -- an entertaining mixture of music, comedy, and pastoral which superficially resembles the American western but which affirms traditionalist, even feudalistic values, in contrast to the spectacle of progress implicit in the western’s frontier myth. The enormous success of Over on the Big Ranch and other films in a similarly folkloric vein led to Mexico becoming the world’s leading producer of Spanish-language films, while the country itself moved in a rightward direction capped by the election of President Miguel Avila Camacho in 1940. In addition to Over on the Big Ranch, the series includes two later variations on this lively genre: La Zandunga (1938, December 8), featuring the pioneer Hollywood Latina star Lupe Vélez, and Jalisco Sings in Seville (1948, December 21), featuring the quintessential ranchero star of the 1940s, Jorge Negrete.

The first film in de Fuentes’s trilogy of the revolution (and only his second film as director), Prisoner Number 13 sets the tone of tough-minded revisionism that would characterize all three films. Critic Fernando Serrano notes, “As opposed to most of the Mexican or foreign directors who have dealt with this theme, from Emilio Fernandez to Elia Kazan, de Fuentes does not give his films an epic or grandiloquent air.” Using the revolution as the backdrop for a bracing morality tale, the film centers on a corrupt army officer who attempts to profit from a prisoner’s execution, with ironic and tragic results.

Notes for this series by Marty Rubin, Gene Siskel Film Center.


Thursday, November 4 (7:00 pm)

National Film Registry: Femme Fatales

Human Desire (Columbia, 1954) Dir Fritz Lang. With Glenn Ford, Broderick Crawford. (90 min, 35mm)
Fifties icon Gloria Grahame has the figure of a pin-up and the melancholy temperament of someone who's seen it all. This unusual combination of qualities makes her an ideal actress for Fritz Lang's moody tale of love, betrayal, and murder. A retelling of Émile Zola's La bête humaine, set in the United States after the Korean War, Lang transforms the naturalistic source material into an acerbic critique of the American dream.


Friday, November 5 (7:00 pm)

National Film Registry

Zabriskie Point (MGM, 1970) Dir Michelangelo Antonioni. With Mark Frechette, Daria Halprin, Rod Taylor. (110min, 35mm).
Michelangelo Antonioni's portrait of late Sixties America, as seen through the portrayal of anthropology student Daria (who's helping a property developer build a village in the Los Angeles desert) and college dropout Mark (who's wanted by the authorities for allegedly killing a policeman during a student riot). This very controversial film has stunning cinematography by Alfio Contini and original music by Pink Floyd, Jerry Garcia and Roy Orbison.


Monday, November 8 (7:00 pm)

Jazz and Soul Television

Soul: Carmen McRae, M'Boom, Bobby Hebb, the Persuasions (NET, 1967-1973)
Vocalist Carmen McRae gets a full hour singing standards, arrangements of pop songs and the hip, hilarious Ballad of Thelonious Monk, backed by pianist Roland Hanna, bassist Paul West and drummer Freddie Waits. The second hour is more eclectic, with drummer Max Roach leading his percussion ensemble M'Boom, singer Bobby Hebb doing his big hit Sunny, backed by ultra cool Ron Carter on bass guitar, and the distinctive and irresistible a cappella vocal harmonies of The Persuasions. Added bonus for this second hour are the perfect afros and funky fashions. Very 70s.


Tuesday, November 9 (7:00 pm)

Opera on Film with Paul Fryer

Der Rosenkavalier (Pan-Film, 1926) Dir Robert Weine. With Jaque Catelin, Carmen Cartellieri. (75 min, video).
This rarely seen masterpiece was one of the last of the great opera films from the silent era. Director Robert Wiene was already internationally known for his ground-breaking 1919 movie, The Cabinet of Dr Caligari – an early and visually startling example of the German Expressionist school, and still widely considered to be one of the most influential films ever made – when he turned his attention to Strauss’ and Von Hofmannstahl’s operatic masterpiece. The opera had premiered in Dresden in 1911, and rapidly became established as one of the most important works in the 20th century repertoire, being staged in Berlin, Vienna, Milan, London and New York within two years.

Wiene’s film version presents us with a most unusual collaboration between composer, librettist, director and star actor: Richard Strauss became composer of the film "soundtrack", arranging an orchestral reduction of the score to be played as a live accompaniment to the film’s screening – Hugo Von Hofmannsthal became screenwriter and scenarist, providing additional scenes for the film. Wiene tacked the not inconsiderable difficulties of transferring the operatic theatre to the screen with his now accustomed originality and flair, and the distinguished German bass, Michael Bohnen, brought his already acclaimed stage portrayal of Baron Ochs to a new screen audience. Strauss overcame his original reservations about the film, and conducted the premiere at the Dresden Opera House in January 1926 and the London premiere three months later.

Filmed at the Schonbrunner studios in Vienna over a two-month period, the film boasted an impressive cast. In addition to Bohnen, Paul Hartmann, a distinguished member of Max Reinhardt’s company appeared as the Feldmarschall (a character created specially for the screen version). The French actress, Hugette Duflos, a star of the Comedie Francaise, played the Marschallin. The designer Alfred Roller, who had been responsible for the original stage production returned to re-create some of his ideas on screen. Sadly, the version of the film which has survived, is incomplete: more than 2000 feet of the original footage is missing, representing more than 20 minutes of playing time.

Paul Fryer, who has presented several past screenings at the Pickford Theatre will introduce this restored version of the film (the most completre print now in existence), with a newly recorded soundtrack arranged by Armin Brunner.


Wednesday, November 10 (6:30 pm)

Movies and the Moral Life (see September 15 listing)

Viva Zapata (20th Century-Fox, 1952). Dir Elia Kazan. With Marlon Brando, Jean Peters, Anthony Quinn. (113 min, 35mm). Reading: Albert Camus, The Rebel.
Viva Zapata is a moral parable of revolution and limits using the life of the Mexican agrarian revolutionary, Emiliano Zapata, as an object lesson. Zapata is a good man driven to revolt and subsequently compelled to acknowledge, with sadness, that no one is exempt from the corruption of too much unchecked power. When Zapata realizes he is set to commit abuses for which he o


nce condemned Mexican leader, Porfirio Diaz, he stands down. His assassination creates a revolutionary legend.

Friday, November 12 (7:00 pm)

National Film Registry

All Quiet on the Western Front [sync silent version] (Universal, 1930) Dir Lewis Milestone. With Lew Ayers, Slim Summerville, Louis Wolheim, John Wray. (137 min, 35mm)
For Veteran's Day, we present the Motion Picture Conservation Center's recent restoration of the "silent" version of All Quiet on the Western Front. The sound version (restored by the MPCC in 1997) is certainly more well known, but this one (with a music score by David Broekman) has a power of its own. Why two versions? Silent films were easily exportable to other countries -- a studio would simply translate the intertitles for insertion in new prints -- and All Quiet was released to theaters around the globe through aggressive marketing by Universal. There was also the issue of theaters not yet wired for sound, although by the film's release in 1930, this was less of an issue. Picture-wise, the sound and silent versions are nearly identical, although several shots that establish the characters and depict the horrors of war were cut from the sound version.


Monday, November 15 (7:00 pm)

Jazz and Soul Television

Soul: Mongo Santamaria, Titi Puente, Willie Colon (NET, 1967-1973)
Cuban conguero-bandleader Mongo Santamaria came to the U.S. in 1950, worked with Perez Prado, Tito Puente and Cal Tjader, wrote the jazz standard Afro-Blue, and had a big hit in 1963 with his arrangement of Watermelon Man. In this Soul excerpt, he demonstrates his style of power percussion with a sextet including Columbian saxophonist Justo Almario. In our second program, Bronx-born dj, poet and activist Felipe Luciano interviews and introduces performances by two of the most important salsa bandleaders of the day: timbalero/vibraphonist Tito Puente, and trombonist Willie Colon, with vocalist Hector Lavoe.


Tuesday, November 16 (7:00 pm)

National Film Registry: Raquel Welch

Fathom (20th Century-Fox, 1967) Dir Leslie H. Martinson. With Ronald Frazier, Richard Briers, Greta Chi, Clive Revill. (100 min, 35mm)
Raquel Welch makes like a female James Bond in this hippy trippy spy thriller from 1967. She plays a female sky diving specialist who is taken into the secret service and hired by NATO to help get back an electronic device that triggers an H-bomb. See how our heroine goes about saving the world in this jet setting, psychedelic romp through Europe.


Wednesday, November 17 (7:00 pm)

Fernando de Fuentes

Let's Go with Pancho Villa (Vámonos con Pancho Villa, 1935, 92 min.)

The final film of de Fuentes’s trilogy of the revolution was the most ambitious Mexican production up to that time, benefiting from the government’s provision of a new state-of-the-art studio, army troops, military equipment, and a train. However, this dark tale of the disillusionment of six young revolutionaries met with government censorship, public rejection, and critical neglect until a 1960s revival. De Fuentes considered it his greatest film, and he was ultimately vindicated. In a 1994 Somos magazine poll to pick the 100 best Mexican films, Let's Go With Pancho Villa ranked number one, edging out Buñuel’s Los Olvidados. (Marty Rubin)


Thursday, November 18 (7:00 pm)

National Film Registry

Godspell (Columbia, 1973) Dir David Greene. With Victor Garber, David Haskell. (103 min, 35mm)
In 1973, two musicals were released portraying Jesus as a member of the ‘60s/'70s counterculture, both screenplays derived from already successful theater productions (Jesus Christ Superstar will be shown on December 18). Here the Christ-like character is a tap-dancing, skipping figure in clown makeup, leading his ragged apostles through New York City. This liberal telling of the Gospel According to St. Matthew features catchy songs, bouncy performers, and Jesus and Judas dancing together on a Times Square billboard. The music and choreography, as well as many of the actors, came directly from John-Michael Tebelak's off-Broadway production.


Friday, November 19 (7:00 pm)

National Film Registry

I Walk the Line (Columbia, 1970)


Monday, November 22 (7:00 pm)

Jazz and Soul Television: The Depths of Soul

Soul: Cissy Houston, Ronny Dyson, Al Green, and the Isaac Douglas Singers (NET, 1967-1973)
In one of her rare solo performances at the time, former Sweet Inspirations lead singer Cissy Houston struts her stuff in "The Long and Winding Road," "Be My Baby," and "Yesterday." Washington, DC, native the late Ronnie Dyson shows why he is still missed with "I Love You More Today Than Yesterday," and "When You Get Right Down To It." The December 1974 episode hosted by Gerry Bledsoe also includes poetry readings by Quincy Troupe ("A Day In the Life Of a Poet") and China Clark ("Longing") The second episode features twenty-five year old Al Green who offers up a superb, blues rendition of the Temptations' "I Can't Get Next To You" in addition to his own hits "I'm So Tired of Being Alone" and "Let's Stay Together." The late Reverend Isaac Douglas leads his Singers in "I'm Gonna Live for the Lord," "Don't Forget About Me," and "Bridge Over Troubled Water." Poets Alice Childress, Vertamae Grosvenor, and Camile Yarborough tell it like it is with various readings, songs, and hollers.


Tuesday, November 23 (7:00 pm)

Fernando de Fuentes

My Buddy Mendoza (El Compadre Mendoza, 1933, 85 min.)
The second film in de Fuentes’s trilogy of the revolution is widely considered his masterpiece. In a 1994 Somos magazine poll of film critics, historians, and professionals to determine the 100 best Mexican films, My Buddy Mendoza ranked number three. The plot concerns a landowner who plays both sides during the revolution, switching portraits of Huerta and Zapata to fit the current situation. The film’s sharp satiric tone takes a darker turn when economic misfortune tempts Mendoza to betray the Zapatista general who saved his life. (Marty Rubin)


Friday, November 26 (7:00 pm)

National Film Registry

The Loneliest Runner (NBC, 1976) Dir Michael Landon. With Brian Keith, Melissa Sue Anderson. (75 min, 16mm)
Writer-director-producer Landon shows us his dirty laundry in this painfully autobiographical teledrama. Lance Kerwin (James at 15) plays the young eneuretic track star whose mother's corrective regimen involves hanging stained sheets out his bedroom window. Shown with an encore presentation of How to Drownproof Your Child.


Monday, November 29 (7:00 pm)

Jazz and Soul Television: Funk and Fuqua

Soul: Mandrill, Mrs. Georgia Jackson, New Birth, the Nitelighters, the Moonglows (NET, 1967-1973)
Funksters extraordinaires Mandrill and Labelle -- the latter in their pre-"Lady Marmalade" days -- make a soulful appearance in an episode aired in May 1972 and hosted by Ellis Haizlip. Mandrill spins a "Symphonic Revolution" and turn it out with "Get It On" and "Shake Some Booty," while Labelle performs "Brand New Day" and "You've Got a Friend." Also included is a poignant interview by Ellis Haizlip with Mrs. Georgia Jackson, mother of slain Black revolutionaries George and Jonathan Jackson. From his early days as a founding member of the Moonglows, in the 1950s to his seductive work on Marvin Gaye's Sexual Healing"from 1982, legendary producer Harvey Fuqua has set standards in the music business for over fifty years. The second epsiode features Harvey's "children," New Birth, the Nitelighters, and the Moonglows. (Absent from his onstage position in the group, Harvey conducts the orchestra from the sidelines.)


Tuesday, November 30 (7:00 pm)

National Film Registry: Big Bands

Ben Pollack and His Park Central Orchestra (Warner Bros, 1929) (8 min, 35mm)
United Artists Music Promotional Film (United Artists, 1950) (44 min, 35mm)
Jammin' the Blues (Warner Bros., 1944). Dir Gjon Mili. (10 min, 35mm)
Big band night at the Pickford opens with a Ben Pollack Vitaphone short featuring a 20 year old Benny Goodman and a 24 year old Jack Teagarden. The United Artists Promotional Film is a cavalcade of big bands culled from various short subjects from the 1930s and 40s, none of which, oddly enough, were produced by United Artists, Featured artists include Artie Shaw (with Helen Forrest), Bobby Hackett, Jimmy Dorsey, Leith Stevens, Don Redman, Stan Kenton ( with June Christy), Woody Herman and Louis Prima. We conclude with the 1944 masterpiece Jammin' the Blues, with Lester Young, Harry "Sweets" Edison, Joe Jones and the late Barney Kessel.


Wednesday, December 1 (7:00 pm)

Fernando de Fuentes

Over on the Big Ranch (Allá en el Rancho Grande, 1935, 100 min)
This landmark film established a new genre -- the comedia ranchera -- that turned the Mexican cinema in a more popular and internationally successful direction (in effect, the film turned “Mexican-ness” into an exportable commodity). Enhanced by mariachi music, scenery, and cinematography by the great Gabriel Figueroa, Over on the Big Ranch effects a reconciliation of class differences through a love triangle involving a ranch owner and an orphan who become rivals for the same girl. (Marty Rubin)

Thursday, December 2 (7:00 pm)

National Film Registry

Fourteen Hours (20th Century-Fox, 1951) Dir Henry Hathaway. With Paul Douglas, Richard Basehart, Barbara Bel Geddes. (92 min, 35mm)
Crowds gather and tension builds as a young man contemplates leaping to his death from a New York City hotel ledge. Look for Grace Kelly among the diverse group of onlookers who form a chattering chorus awaiting the outcome.


Friday, December 3 (7:00 pm)

National Film Registry: Mod World

The Touchables (Film Designs, 1968) Dir Robert Freeman. With Judy Huxtable, Esther Anderson, Marilyn Rickard, Kathy Simmonds. (97 min, 35mm)
Brothers Donald and David Cammell (of Performance fame) wrote the script for this film about a singer kidnapped by four wealthy London girls who live in a huge plastic dome! Directed by Beatles photographer Robert Freeman (who shot the cover for With the Beatles and Rubber Soul), and featuring the music by the British flower-pop group Nirvana.


Monday, December 6 (7:00 pm)

Jazz and Soul Television: Philadelphia Meets Johannesburg

Soul: Queen Esther Marrow, Harold Melvin & the Bluenotes, Miriam Makeba, the Delphonics, Muhammad Ali (NET, 1967-1973)
Gospel artist Queen Esther Marrow does a secular turn on this episode with "Mama," "Things Ain't Right," and "Tradewinds." Host Ellis Haizlip interviews Ida Lewis on her new magazine Encore: American & Worldwide News. The show coninues with Philadelphia favorites Harold Melvin and the Bluenotes. With Teddy Pendergrass on lead, the group does its hits "If You Don't Know Me By Now" and "I Miss You." Harold Melvin steps into rare lead appearances with Teddy on "Ebony Woman" and "Let Me Into Your World." Poet Nikki Giovanni -- who reads from her book Gemini -- also hosts the second episode featuring beloved South African singer Miriam Makeba, and "Philly Soul" artists the Delphonics who croon "Trying to Make a Fool of Me." Giovanni interviews Makeba on her (then) marriage to Stokley Carmichael and their political activities and tribulations. Makeba renders several Afro-pop numbers, "Brand New Day," and also performs with dancer Judy Deering. Nikki chats up Muhammed Ali on his current activities, then the Delphonics return to the stage with "Didn't I Blow Your Mind This Time," "The Love That I Gave to You."


Tuesday, December 7 (7:00 pm)

National Film Registry

Surprise Night 2
see August 3 description


Wednesday, December 8 (7:00 pm)

Fernando de Fuentes

La Zandunga (1938, 100 min)
Mexican-born Lupe Vélez became one of Hollywood’s first Latina movie stars, but she had never starred in a Mexican film before making this romantic comedy-drama. Set in the isthmus of Tehuantepec, La Zandunga (the title refers to a famous regional dance) stars Vélez as a beauty caught between the sailor she yearns for, the older man who tries to pressure her into marriage, and the hotheaded young admirer whose intervention earns her gratitude. Vélez’s fiery, flamboyant persona earned her the nickname “Mexican Spitfire,” but the New York Times praised de Fuentes for reining in the actress and making the film more than a star vehicle: “The result is a delightful, well-proportioned picture.” (Marty Rubin)


Thursday, December 9 (6:30 pm)

Movies and the Moral Life (see September 15 listing)

The Searchers (Warner Bros., 1956) The Searchers (Warner Bros., 1956). Dir John Ford. With Jeffrey Hunter, Vera Miles, Natalie Wood. (119 min, 35mm). Reading: Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America.
Honored as one of Hollywood’s great films, The Searchers stands the test of time in large part because of the complexity of Ethan Edwards, the film’s central protagonist (John Wayne in one of his finest performances.) Edwards fascinates in part because of his hatred toward, and nearness to, the Comanches. The film unearths fear of mixing of blood, a quest for revenge, and a final moment of breath-taking reconciliation.


Friday, December 10 (6:30 pm)

Movies and the Moral Life (see September 15 listing)

The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (Paramount, 1962) Dir John Ford. With John Wayne, James Stewart, Lee Marvin, Vera Miles. (123 min, 35mm). Reading: Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America.
A rich mixture of themes are at work in this marvelous John Ford film, including law versus violence or, perhaps, violence making law possible? A tacit critique of liberty-as-license (the villain is, after all, named ‘liberty’), the film is also a meditation on the preconditions for social order and the strengths and weaknesses of what might best be called "male stoicism."


Monday, December 13 (7:00 pm)

Jazz and Soul Television: Nick, Nina, and Val

Soul: Ashford and Simpson, Nina Simone (NET, 1967-1973)
This episode features songwriters/singers Nick Ashford and Valerie Simpson who offer hits "Ooh Child," "I Wanna Be Where You Are," "Remember Me," and "Silly Wasn't I?", and "Reach Out (And Touch Somebody's Hand)." Accompanying the duo are guitarist Yoshiaki Masuo, bass player Francisco Centeno, drummer Charles Collins, percussionist Ralph McDonald, keyboardist Nat Adderley Jr., the horn section of the Soul Orchestra with conductor William Eaton and background singers Mildred Lewis, Shirley Reid, and Raymond Simpson (Val's brother). The dynamic duo also perform gospel numbers "The Fool (God is a Spirit)," "Steal Away," and "Just to Know Salvation is Free." The second film is rare footage of a concert by Ms. Simone that features her brother Sam Waymon on organ, guitarist Henry Young, bassist Gene Taylor, and Bucky Clark on drums. Songs included are "Ain't got No Love," "Mister Blacklash," "In the Morning," "Mississippi Goddam," "Four Women," and "I Put a Spell On You."


Tuesday, December 14 (7:00 pm)

National Film Registry

The Fleetís in (Paramount, 1942) Dir Victor Schertzinger. With Dorothy Lamour, William Holden, Eddie Bracken. (93 min, 35mm)
A relic of the Second World War, The Fleet's In springs a "new face" onto America's movie screens: a dynamo named Betty Hutton. A "skipping little heifer," in James Agee's words, Ms. Hutton bounces through "Arthur Murray Taught Me Dancing," one of the Johnny Mercer-Victor Schertzinger songs that recalls happy memories of an era of great movie songs.


Wednesday, December 15 (7:00 pm)

Haven to Home

Gentleman’s Agreement (Fox, 1947). Dir Elia Kazan. With Gregory Peck, Dorothy McGuire, John Garfield, Celeste Holm. (118 min, 16mm).

Thursday, December 16 (7:00 pm)

National Film Registry: Femme Fatales

Beyond the Forest (Warner Bros., 1949) Dir King Vidor. With Joseph Cotten, David Brian. (95 min, 35mm).
The unstoppable Bette Davis creates one of her boldest characterizations in a Midwestern gothic version of Madame Bovary. Her full-throttle portrayal of a scheming wife stuck in a small town scandalized critics of the day, who had little appreciation for high melodrama or for the exertions of a movie diva supposedly past her prime. But in today's pop culture-dominated climate, where "over the top" presentation can be a virtue, Davis' once-maligned performance and King Vidor's expressionistic direction have become more fashionable. For those who crave the outrageous in their classic movies, Beyond the Forest is required viewing.


Friday, December 17 (7:00 pm)

National Film Registry

Jesus Christ Superstar (Universal, 1973) Dir Norman Jewison. With Ted Neeley, Yvonne Elliman, Barry Dennen. (108 min, 35mm)
Norman Jewison committed to directing this film while he was working on Fiddler on the Roof (1971). The rock opera, by Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber, was first a successful record album, and then touring concert production. Shot in Israel, Jewison's work features biblical stories merged with anti-war messages that dominated the politics of that era. Carl Anderson, in particular, was hailed for his powerful portrayal of Judas -- in many ways the film's true lead character.


Monday, December 20 (7:00 pm)

Jazz and Soul Television: Motown

Soul: Gladys Knight & the Pips, Steve Wonder & Wonderlove (NET, 1967-1973)
The perennial favorites were still at Motown when they visited the Soul set. They offer hits "Nitty Gritty," "Make Me the Woman That You Go Home To," "Friendship Train," "If I Were Your Woman," and "I Heard It Through the Grapevine." Host Gerry Bledsoe and Associate Producer Roslyn Woods interview Gladys Knight about the group's history; Ms. Knight indicates that she and the Pips recorded two sacred albums for Motown (they were never released.) A solo turn by Ms. Knight -- "Help Me Make It Through the Night" -- is followed by a return of the Pips for the final number, "I Don't Want To Do Wrong." This episode also includes poets Carolyn Rogers and Norman Jordan, and features a studio band directed by longtime Motown Music Director Maurice King. The second epsiode is a rousing performance by Stevie Wonder and his band Wonderlove. Hot on the heels of his recently released (Nov. 1972) album Talking Book, Wonder brings the hits "For Once in My Life," "If You Really Love Me," "Superwoman" among others. The all-star band Wonderlove then included bassist Scott Edwards Jr, guitarists Ralph E. Hamme, and Ray Parker, Jr.; trumpeter Steven P. Madaio; horns Denny Morouse; congas Keith Stevens; and drummer Ollie Eugene Brown. Background singers were Shirley Brewer, Lani Groves, and Delores Harvin. Wonder also includes his early Motown hits "My Cherie Amour," "Blowin' in the Wind," "With a Child's Heart," and "Uptight."


Tuesday, December 21 (7:00 pm)

Fernando de Fuentes

Jalisco Sings in Seville (Jalisco Canta en Sevilla, 1949, 113 min)
Jorge Negrete, the operatically trained baritone who rose to stardom in ranchero films of the 1940s, plays a proud charro who goes to settle an inheritance in Spain, where his roughhewn ways collide with European gentility but attract the interest of a beautiful señorita. By transplanting the trappings of the comedia ranchero to the Old Country, Jalisco Sings in Seville was designed both to rejuvenate the genre that de Fuentes had pioneered and to open up the Spanish market to Mexican films. (Marty Rubin)

 

The Mary Pickford Theater is programmed by Amy Gallick, Wilbur King, David March, Mike Mashon, Madeline Matz, David Novack, Jennifer Ormson, Pat Padua, David Sager, Sam Serafy, Zoran Sinobad, John Snelson, Chris Spehr, and Brian Taves.

 

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