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Film Schedule: May - September 2006

Tuesday, May 16 (7:00pm)

Bob Hope and the American Comedy Tradition

Beau James (Paramount/Hope Enterprises/Scribe Productions, 1957). Dir Melville Shavelson. Wrt Jack Rose, Shavelson, based on the book by Gene Fowler. With Bob Hope, Vera Miles, Paul Douglas, Alexis Smith, Darren McGavin, Walter Catlett, George Jessel, Jimmy Durante, Jack Benny, Walter Winchell. (105 min, 35mm)

Politics, Tin-Pan Alley, and scandalous behavior help tell the fictionalized story of New York Mayor James J. “Jimmy” Walker. Bob Hope, at his most urbane, sings and dances his way through campaigning and personal travails. Gorgeous Technicolor print!

Friday, May 19 (7:00pm)

Treasures from the Film Vaults

Vigilante Force (Chateau Productions/United Artists, 1975). Dir & Wrt George Armitage. With Kris Kristofferson, Jan-Michael Vincent, Victoria Principal, Bernadette Peters, Loni Anderson. (89 min, 35mm)

Preceded by:

Sunday in the Country [Trailer] (1974). (1 min, 16mm)
Flic ou Voyou [Trailer] (1979). (2 min, 35mm)
La morte ha fatto l'uovo [Trailer] (1968). (3 min, 35mm)
Chromophobia (1966). Dir Raoul Servais. (10 min, 16mm)

Nameless soldiers invade a town and take from its people all remnants of art, expression and love. Townspeople are imprisoned in a black & white jail until one day when a small girl with a pallet of paints appears. Can a child's vision of beauty stand against an army of conformity and control? Can fear and oppression defeat a spirit that longs to be free? Chromophobia ("fear of color") is Raoul Servais's groundbreaking, anti-military fable of repression, perseverance, and the indomitable human spirit. Based on Servais's childhood experiences during the Nazi occupation of World War II, it was the winner of the "Lion of San Marco" at the Venice Film Festival in 1966.

"They called it God's Country... until all hell broke loose!" Vigilante Force is the story of Aaron Arnold (Kris Kristofferson), newly back from the Vietnam war. All he wants to do is drink Budweiser with his brother Ben (Jan-Michael Vincent) and sweet talk all those clad in hot-pants (mainly Victoria Principal, Bernadette Peters & Loni Anderson as "Peaches"). But his home town has been corrupted by Big Oil and greedy politicians, and it is now up to the Arnold brothers to clean it up. Which they do with great gusto... and fists... and baseball bats... and guns... and things that explode. As they rise to power, do Arnold and Ben themselves fall prey to corruption and madness? Produced by Roger Corman's brother Gene, this film is a drive-in movie lover's dream. Can you not smell the cheese and testosterone dripping off the screen now?

Tuesday, May 23 (7:00pm)

Bob Hope and the American Comedy Tradition

The Lemon Drop Kid (Hope Enterprises/Paramount, 1951). Dir Sidney Lanfield. Wrt Edmund Hartmann, Robert O’Brien, Frank Tashlin, based on the short story by Damon Runyon. With Bob Hope, Marilyn Maxwell, Lloyd Nolan, Jane Darwell, Andrea King, Fred Clark, Jay C. Flippen, William Frawley. (91 min, 35mm)

In 1934 Paramount first made The Lemon Drop Kid as a melodrama, then seventeen years later turned the story completely around and changed it into a musical comedy. When compared to Guys and Dolls (1955), which is another Damon Runyonesque musical, the shady underground New York City setting is retained in both films, but instead of Frank Loesser musical score, The Lemon Drop Kid contains three original songs by Ray Evans and Jay Livingston, including the all familiar Christmas song “Silver Bells.” Bob Hope stars as a fast talking racetrack bookie who gets himself in and out of gambling troubles by stretching Christmas cheer too thin for everyone’s own good. Out of this gangster mobster environment a zany Christmas classic movie emerged. FYI - character actor William Frawley appeared in both the 1934 and 1951 versions.

Friday, May 26 (7:00pm)

Treasures from the Film Vaults

Captain Lightfoot (Universal, 1955). Dir Douglas Sirk. Wrt W.R. Burnett, Oscar Brodney. With Rock Hudson, Barbara Rush, Jeff Morrow, Kathleen Ryan, Finlay Currie. (91 min, 35mm)

Hudson (nee Fitzgerald) plays Irish freedom-fighter Michael Martin in this boggy swashbuckler. Romance, adventure, and a comic duel ensue. Filmed on location in Ireland.

Tuesday, May 30 (7:00pm)

Bob Hope and the American Comedy Tradition

The Palm Beach Story (Paramount, 1942). Dir & Wrt Preston Sturges. With Claudette Colbert, Joel McCrea, Mary Astor, Rudy Vallee. (90 min, 35mm)

Of the eight feature films written and directed by Preston Sturges for Paramount in the early 1940’s, The Palm Beach Story contains perhaps the richest display of this filmmaker’s fondness and generosity toward the character actors and bit players who populate his movies. John D. Hackensacker III; the Wienie King; members of the Ale and Quail Club; and, weirdest of the lot, an absurdist character named Toto, who speaks his own untranslatable language. The actors who embody these oddballs are both familiar and anonymous. You must wait for the end credits to match the names with the performers. They are members of the exalted group of players known as the Sturges Stock Company.

Friday, June 2 (7:00pm)

Treasures from the Film Vaults: Don’t Touch that Vase! The True Desperate Housewives

Harriet Craig (Columbia, 1950). Dir Vincent Sherman. Wrt Anne Froelick, James Gunn, based on the play by George Kelly. With Joan Crawford, Wendell Corey, Lucile Watson, Allyn Joslyn. (93 min, 35mm)

In this remake of the 1936 Rosalind Russell film Craig's Wife, Joan Crawford delivers a tour de force performance as Harriet Craig, a domestic diva who runs her home like a well-oiled machine, where nothing is out of place and everything is neat and spotless, except for her actual marriage, which is spinning out of control. Harriet is a domineering controller, but Crawford's performance exposes that Harriet's obsession with perfection simply masks a scarred woman who longs for some sort of connection to the world surrounding her.

Tuesday, June 6 (7:00pm)

Bob Hope and the American Comedy Tradition

Road to Bali (Bing Crosby Enterprises/Hope Enterprises/Paramount, 1953). Dir Hal Walker. Wrt Frank Butler, Hal Kanter, William Morrow, Harry Tugend. With Bob Hope, Bing Crosby, Dorothy Lamour, Murvyn Vye, Peter Coe. (91 min, 35mm)

Chased out of Singapore, Morocco, Zanzibar, Rio and even Utopia, Bob and Bing are on the road again in this Technicolor South Seas farce, the only one of the seven “Road” pictures in color and the last for ten years. Dorothy Lamour is back too, this time as “Princess Lala.” Look for cameo appearances by Bing’s bandleader brother Bob Crosby, Jane Russell, Humphrey Bogart, Jerry Lewis and Dean Martin. With music by Jimmy Van Heusen, Stan Kenton, and Pete Rugolo.

Friday, June 9 (7:00pm)

Treasures from the Film Vaults: Don’t Touch that Vase! The True Desperate Housewives

Safe(Chemical Films/Sony Pictures Classics, 1995). Dir & Wrt Todd Haynes. With Julianne Moore, Xander Berkeley, Peter Friedman, Susan Norman. (119 min, 35mm)

Todd Haynes' 1995 film Safe has been described as a "horror movie of the soul". The film is an eerily detached study of biological paranoia and seems to be asking how one's social identity is linked to the environment surrounding the individual. Carol White, a suburban housewife who seems to have it all, is stricken with a mysterious illness that may be linked to the environment. Haynes' pace is slow and somewhat detached, mirroring his heroine's growing alienation from those around her. When the action shifts midway to a New Age desert compound that represents Carol's last hope of restoring her health, the filmmaker's distancing techniques begin to pay off in volatile, eccentric satire. Roger Ebert called Safe "the best film of the decade" and whether you agree or not, you will definitely be talking about this film for days to come.

Tuesday, June 13 (7:00pm)

Bob Hope and the American Comedy Tradition

Hula (Paramount, 1927). Dir Victor Fleming. Wrt Ethel Doherty, George Marion, Jr., Doris Anderson, from the novel by Armine von Tempski. With Clara Bow, Clive Brook, Arlette Marchal, Arnold Kent. (64 min, 35mm)
Red Hot Tires (Warner Bros., 1925). Dir Erle C. Kenton. Wrt Edward T. Lowe, Jr., Gregory Rogers. With Patsy Ruth Miller, Monte Blue, Fred Esmelton, Lincoln Stedman. (65 min, 35mm)

Preceded by:

Red Hot Tires [Trailer] (Warner Bros., 1925). (2 min, 35mm)

Clara Bow and Patsy Ruth Miller are the funny ladies who star in our silent comedy double feature. Bow plays Hula, the daughter of a Hawaiian planter. Her father enjoys liquor and card playing while she prefers a “natural existence” that embraces outdoor nude bathing. Life is uncomplicated until an attractive married engineer arrives to supervise the building of a dam and Hula falls in love. Director Victor Flemming, who worked with Bow on another silent comedy, Mantrap, helmed the classics The Wizard of Oz and Gone with the Wind.

Patsy Ruth Miller, remembered today for her role as Esmeralda in the 1923 version of The Hunchback of Notre Dame, was an expert comedienne who was often paired with funny man Edward Everett Horton. In Red Hot Tires, she plays a woman who burns up the road, terrorizing a young man (Monte Blue) who has become “car shy” after an accident with a steamroller. Comedy ensues when the woman’s speeding gets them both thrown in jail by the chief of police who is also her father. The features will be preceded by the trailer for Red Hot Tires.

Friday, June16 (7:00pm)

Treasures from the Film Vaults

Clay Pigeon (Tracom Productions/MGM, 1971). Dir Tom Stern & Lane Slate. Wrt Ronald Buck, Buddy Ruskin, Jack Gross, Jr. With Tom Stern, Telly Savalas, Robert Vaughn, John Marley, Burgess Meredith, Marlene Clark, Peter Lawford, Marilyn Akin. (93 min, 35mm)

Preceded by:

The Driver [Trailer] (1978). (2 min, 16mm)
Le Droit au Soleil [Trailer] (1970). (3 min, 35mm)
Warlords of the 21st Century [Trailer] (1982). (3 min, 35mm)
Closed Mondays (Lighthouse Productions, 1974). Dir Bob Gardiner & Will Vinton. (11 min, 16mm)

Closed Mondays is the story of a drunk trapped in a museum after hours, with works of art that are not content to remain in the frame. Directed by Will Vinton of California Raisins fame, this milestone in animation history won the Oscar for "Best Short Film, Animated" in 1975.

Clay Pigeon is the story of Vietnam Vet/CIA operative Joe Ryan (Tom Stern). Joe packs up his guns to spend the rest of his days in the Hollywood Hills enjoying marijuana, motorcycles, scantily-clad hippie maidens, and spreading suntan lotion all over his leathery skin and hairy chest; all the while attempting to avoid his morality-preaching nude Go-Go Dancing estranged wife (Marilyn Akin). But "The Man" (in the form of Telly Savalas) has other plans for Joe, forcing him to play ball and help bring down international drug czar Robert Vaughn - with the help of “hippie insider” Burgess Meredith. Wait, Burgess Meredith? Yes... Oscar nominee Burgess Meredith as a character named... Freedom Lovelace! Also starring Peter Lawford, John Marley, and the floating cranium of Satan! Not intended as a comedy but an impassioned political commentary on American culture, complete with original music by Kris Kristofferson and Arlo Guthrie. And yet it is so very unintentionally funny. Will Joe go back to his violent ways? The Hollywood Hills are peppered with corpses as he attempts to find out. A message film from 1971, with the message: Make Love ... AND War!

Tuesday, June 20 (7:00pm)

Bob Hope and the American Comedy Tradition

Has Anybody Seen My Gal (Universal, 1952). Dir Douglas Sirk. Wrt Joseph Hoffman, based on a story by Eleanor H. Porter. With Charles Coburn, Piper Laurie, Gigi Perreau, Rock Hudson, Lynn Bari. (89 min, 35mm)

August millionaire Charles Coburn intends to leave his fortune to the family of a woman who spurned him as a younger, poorer man. But first he wants to test the family mettle by anonymously donating $100,000. A Technicolor musical comedy, yes, but with Douglas Sirk at the helm, the prying eyes and beating brows of the American caste system are not far behind. The first of eight films Hudson would make for Sirk - and the first big-screen appearance of James Dean.

Friday, June 23 (7:00pm)

Treasures from the Film Vaults: Television Detectives

The Adventures of Ellery Queen. Backfire (Norvin Productions, 1954). With Hugh Marlowe, Peter Van Eyck, Anne Carroll, Carolyn Jones, Florenz Ames. (30 min, 16mm)
The New Adventures of Martin Kane [Pilot] (Martin Kane Productions/Ziv TV, 1957). Dir David MacDonald. Wrt Art Wallace, Paul Dudley. With William Gargan, McDonald Parke, John Warwick, Martin Benson, Kaye Callard. (30 min, 16mm)
Richard Diamond, Private Detective. The George Dale Case (Four Star Films/CBS, 1959). Wrt Richard Carr, Sidney Michaels. With David Janssen, Jean Willes, John Hoyt. (30 min, 16mm)
Honey West. In the Bag (Four Star TV/ABC, 1965). Dir Seymour Robbie. Wrt Gwen Bagni, Paul Dubov. With Anne Francis, John Ericson, Irene Hervey, Everett Sloane, Maureen McCormick. (30 min, 16mm)

A major American cultural contribution has been in the formula of the private investigator. This evening, we examine four different television examples of this genre, an 11-year period. Beginning with such "classical" detectives as Ellery Queen, through the TV version of Richard Diamond, from the radio show immortalized by Dick Powell, we finish with a twist, leaving behind the traditional hard-boiled male for a woman gumshoe.

Tuesday, June 27 (7:00pm)

Bob Hope and the American Comedy Tradition

Real Life (Molly Limited Partnership/Paramount, 1978). Dir Albert Brooks. Wrt Monica Johnson, Brooks, Harry Shearer. With Brooks, Charles Grodin, Francis Lee McCain, J.A. Preston, Matthew Tobin. (99 min, 35mm)

Decades before “reality television” became a household term, writer/director/actor Albert Brooks produced this bitingly funny satire on the ever-diminishing line that separates entertainment from “real life.” Inspired in large part by the 1973 PBS series An American Family, the film follows the exploits of a Hollywood “celebrity” (Brooks satirizing himself) who, along with his entire production company, invades the lives of an American family in order to create entertainment. The narcissistic director’s initial “fly-on-the-wall” approach meets with little success, however, as he continuously attempts to alter the family’s relatively banal life in order to make the program more interesting. A film that was certainly ahead of its time, Real Life is even more relevant and funny today as the exploits of “real” people become more and more commonplace on our television screens.

Friday, June 30 (7:00pm)

Treasures from the Film Vaults

77th Bengal Lancers. The Regiment (Lancer Productions/Screen Gems, 1956). Dir & Wrt Douglas Heyes. With Philip Carey, Warren Stevens, Patric Knowles, Patrick Whyte, Jean Byron. (30 min, 16mm)
The Adventures of Sir Lancelot. Knight Errant (Weinstein for Sapphire Films, 1957). Dir Bernard Knowles. Wrt Peggy Phillips, Selwyn Jepson. With William Russell, Ronald Leigh-Hunt, David Morrell, Cyril Smith, Julian Somers. (30 min, 16mm)
Ivanhoe. Prisoner in the Tower (Screen Gems, 1957). With Roger Moore, Robert Brown, Jennifer Jayne, Leonard Sachs. (30 min, 16mm)
Sir Francis Drake. Lost Colony of Virginia (ITC, 1961). Dir. David Greene. Wrt Larry Forrester. With Terence Morgan, Jean Kent, Patrick McLoughlin, Michael Crawford, Roger Delgado, Milton Reid. (30 min., 16mm)

Television versions of adventure stories were a staple of the 1950s, although seldom used on small screen weekly series today. Tonight, several forms of adventure are shown, set in colonial India, at sea, and a couple of swashbucklers.

Tuesday, July 4 – NO SCREENINGS (Independence Day)

Friday, July 7 (7:00pm)

Treasures from the Film Vault

Paris Is Burning (Off White Productions, 1990). Dir Jennie Livingston. With André Christian, Dorian Corey, Paris Duprée. (71 min, 35mm)

Preceded by:

60 Minutes. Vol. 5, No. 34 (CBS, 8/24/1973). Dir Arthur Bloom. With Morley Safer and Mike Wallace. (20 min, Digital Betacam)
Soap. Episode # 001 (Witt-Thomas-Harris Productions/ABC, 1977). Dir Jay Sandrich. Wrt Susan Harris. With Diana Canova, Cathryn Damon, Katherine Helmond, Richard Mulligan, Billy Crystal. (22 min, DVD)

Jennie Livingston’s critically acclaimed documentary on the urban subculture of New York’s drag queen balls. Issues of race, class, gender and sexuality collide on the “drag ball” runway as African-American and Latino drag queens vie to be the best emulator of women, mostly Caucasian, who make up the fashionable world of elites that frequent New York’s social scene. Livingston’s subjects give us a fascinating portrait of a marginalized community that both embraces and mocks mainstream social norms and conventions.

Preceding the documentary, a segment of 60 Minutes that focuses on the controversy surrounding the American Psychiatric Association’s decision to remove homosexuality from a diagnostic list of mental illnesses; and the first episode of the television comedy Soap with Billy Crystal as Jodie Dallas, the gay crossdresser son /nephew in the Campbell/Tate family.

Tuesday, July 11 (7:00pm)

Bob Hope and the American Comedy Tradition

The Cat and the Canary (Paramount, 1939). Dir Elliott Nugent. Wrt Walter DeLeon, Lynn Starling, based on the play by John Willard. With Bob Hope, Paulette Goddard, John Beal, Douglass Montgomery, Gale Sondergaard. (72 min, 35mm)

Preceded by:

Paree Paree (Vitaphone, 1934). Dir Roy Mack. With Bob Hope, Dorothy Stone. (21 min, 35mm)

In one of Hollywood’s stranger transmutations, John Willard’s venerable chiller about a malevolent house morphs gracefully into one of Bob Hope’s most felicitous star vehicles. Comedy, mystery, and the occasional mild fright are the chief ingredients; a spooky atmosphere and the macabre supporting cast add savor. Preceded by Paree Paree, a musical short that showcases Cole Porter’s melodies and Hope’s youthful charm.

Friday, July 14 (7:00pm)

Treasures from the Film Vaults

The Phantom Thief (Columbia, 1946). Dir D. Ross Lederman. Wrt Richard Wormser, Richard Weil, based on the character created by Jack Boyle. With Chester Morris, Jeff Donnell, Richard Lane, Dusty Anderson, George E. Stone. (67 min, 35mm)

Preceded by:

Boston Blackie. Train Murder (Ziv TV, 1951). Dir Paul Landres. Wrt J. Benton Cheney. With Kent Taylor, Frank Orth, Lois Collier, Frank Richards, Douglas Evans. (27 min, 16mm)

Reformed thief Boston Blackie finds himself enmeshed in a web of deception when he tries to help chauffeur Eddie Alexander, a friend of his associate The Runt, solve the mystery behind a diamond necklace discovered in a leather case picked up from a spiritualist by the name of Dr. Nejino. The latter invites Blackie, Runt and Eddie to a séance, but after he finishes summoning up the spirits, Eddie’s body is discovered lying lifeless on the floor…

Preceded by the pilot show for the Boston Blackie TV series, which ran only one season despite its much longer life on radio.

Tuesday, July 18 (7:00pm)

Get Out the Vote!

Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (Columbia, 1939). Dir Frank Capra. Wrt Sidney Buchman, Lewis R. Foster. With Jean Arthur, James Stewart, Claude Rains, Edward Arnold. (130 min, 35mm)

We open our series on elections with a quintessential piece of Americana, a "drama that combines timeliness with current topical interest and a patriotic flavor blended masterfully into the composite whole" (Variety). Hedda Hopper, writing for Esquire, gushed "Not since Edison discovered motion pictures fifty years ago have we realized their possibilities until Frank Capra made Mr. Smith Goes to Washington. To me it is as great as Lincoln's Gettysburg speech."

Friday, July 21 (7:00pm)

Get Out the Vote!

The Great McGinty (Paramount, 1940). Dir & Wrt Preston Sturges. With Brian Donlevy, Muriel Angelus, Akim Tamiroff, Allyn Joslyn, William Demarest. (83 min, 35mm)

Prologue: "This is the story of two men who met in a banana republic. One of them never did anything dishonest in his life except for one crazy minute. The other never did anything honest in his life except for one crazy minute. They both had to get out of the country."

Preston Sturges received the first Academy Award for Original Screenplay for this hilarious political satire, paving the way for other writer/directors. Told in flashback, it chronicles the story of a tramp who manages to impress the local political boss by voting 37 times in a rigged mayoral election. Affable and savvy, McGinty is taken on as an enforcer, becomes a political protégée, upsets the mayoral seat as a "reform" candidate, and goes on to the governor's mansion before a change of heart compels him to take public service seriously. The latter being a politically expedient marriage to honest Catherine, the foil being that they fall for each other six months after they tie the knot which prompts him to go hopelessly straight.

This depiction of "the truths of our democracy" in cinema can hardly be what FDR meant when he gave his introductory radio address at the 13th Academy Awards ceremony. Sturges was inspired by conversations with a Chicago area judge who shared stories about city elections. Sturges comedic repertory doesn't fail to please in the screwball category, represented here by William Demarest, Thurston Hall, Arthur Hoyt and Jimmy Conlin.

Tuesday, July 25 (7:00pm)

Get Out the Vote!

The Last Hurrah (Columbia, 1958). Dir John Ford. Wrt Frank Nugent, from the novel by Edwin O'Connor. With Spencer Tracy, Jeffrey Hunter, Dianne Foster, Pat O’Brien, Basil Rathbone. (120 min, 35mm)

A dark slice of Americana from John Ford about a New England mayor (Tracy) whose re-election campaign mobilizes the forces of “old money” opposed to his populist policies. Edwin O'Connor's novel was loosely based on the life of Irish-American political boss James M. Curley (1874-1958), the four-term Democratic mayor of Boston, the governor of Massachusetts, and a two-term Congressman. Even though he was convicted of mail fraud in 1947, Curley continued to serve as mayor, and in 1950 received a full pardon from President Truman.

Friday, July 28 (7:00pm)

Get Out the Vote!

The Kraft Theatre. All the King’s Men [Parts I & II] (Talent Associates/NBC, 1958). Dir Sidney Lumet. Wrt Don Mankiewicz, from the novel by Robert Penn Warren. With Neville Brand, Maureen Stapleton, Fred J. Scollay. (120 min, video)

One of the most insidious celluloid politicians is the demagogue Willie Stark, based on the classic novel by Robert Penn Warren, inspired by the career of Huey Long. The final show in the Kraft series was a two-part adaptation by Don Mankiewicz, acclaimed by Variety as the equal of the Academy Award winning Robert Rossen version with Broderick Crawford in 1949.

Tuesday, August 1 (7:00pm)

Get Out the Vote!

The Best Man (Millar-Turman Productions/United Artists, 1964). Dir Franklin Schaffner. Wrt Gore Vidal, based on his play. With Henry Fonda, Cliff Robertson, Edie Adams, Margaret Leighton, Shelley Berman, Lee Tracy, Ann Sothern. (102 min, 35mm)

A bitter struggle for a party's presidential nomination between an ambitious and self-righteous character assassin and a reflective and scrupulous intellectual who is faced with the need to use his opponent's smear tactics. United Artists originally bought the play for Frank Capra, but, not surprisingly, the veteran director's style was incompatible with Vidal's, and he soon left the picture. The producers then turned to Schaffner (Planet of the Apes, Patton), a director with an extensive television background who also had experience working with Vidal on two episodes of CBS's Studio One series.

Friday, August 4 (7:00pm)

Get Out the Vote!

Election (MTV Films/Paramount, 1999). Dir Alexander Payne. Wrt Payne, Jim Taylor, based on the novel by Tom Perrotta. With Matthew Broderick, Reese Witherspoon, Chris Klein, Jessica Campbell, Phil Reeves. (103 min, 35mm)

Tom Perrotta's eviscerating comic novel of high school politics is winningly brought to the screen by Alexander Payne (Sideways, About Schmidt). Matthew Broderick and Reese Witherspoon are a teacher and student locked in a smartly cynical battle over the senior class presidency (she wants it, he's determined not to let her have it), even as both their personal lives are in turmoil. And if it wasn't for the fact the film was released in 1999, one would be excused for thinking it was a satire of the Bush-Gore matchup the following year.

Tuesday, August 8 (7:00pm)

Bob Hope and the American Comedy Tradition

Libeled Lady (MGM, 1936). Dir Jack Conway. Wrt Maurine Watkins, Howard Emmett Rogers, George Oppenheimer, Wallace Sullivan. With Jean Harlow, William Powell, Myrna Loy, Spencer Tracy. (98 min, 35mm)

A movie that takes a headstrong heiress, throws in an unscrupulous reporter, then gleefully exposes the latent antagonism of romantic attraction can only be called one thing – screwball. This comedy shrewdly ups the ante by featuring two happily warring couples: elegant William Powell and Myrna Loy, plus the inspired teaming of Jean Harlow and Spencer Tracy. Maurine Watkins, playwright of Chicago, co-authored the script. MGM provides the gloss.

Friday, August 11 (7:00pm)

Treasures from the Film Vaults

The Goddess (Carnegie Productions/Columbia, 1958). Dir John Cromwell. Wrt Paddy Chayefsky. With Kim Stanley, Lloyd Bridges, Steve Hill, Betty Lou Holland. (105 min, 35mm)

Shot on location in Ellicott City, Maryland, The Goddess was one of the few films of legendary Method actor Kim Stanley (1925-2001), often described as "the female Brando." Paddy Chayefsky (Marty, Network) reportedly modeled his screenplay, in a cruelly prophetic way, on the life of Marilyn Monroe. As the falling movie star, Stanley gives an emotionally naked and powerful performance.

Tuesday, August 15 (7:00pm)

Bob Hope and the American Comedy Tradition

On the Avenue (Twentieth Century Fox, 1937). Dir Roy Del Ruth. Wrt Gene Markey, William Conselman. With Dick Powell, Madeleine Carroll, Alice Faye, Ritz Brothers. (89 min, 16mm)
Four Star Playhouse. Uncle Fred Flits By (Four Star Productions/CBS, 1955). Dir Roy Kellino. With David Niven, Robert Nichols, Jennifer Raines, Alex Frazer. (30 min, 16mm)

As part of our ongoing salute to American comedy and Bob Hope, we offer a musical with his own "favorite blonde," lovely Madeleine Carroll. Singing the compositions by Irving Berlin, Dick Powell and Alice Faye offer support. Rounding out the program is a bit of British humor from a famous story by P.G. Wodehouse, in an exemplary American television adaptation with David Niven as star and producer.

Friday, August 18 (6:30pm)

Bob Hope and the American Comedy Tradition

The Bellboy (Jerry Lewis Pictures Corp./Paramount, 1960). Dir & Wrt Jerry Lewis. With Lewis, Alex Gerry, Bob Clayton, Sonny Sands. (72 min, 35mm)
The Geisha Boy (York Pictures Corp./Paramount, 1958). Dir Frank Tashlin. Wrt Frank Tashlin, Rudy Makoul. With Jerry Lewis, Marie McDonald, Sessue Hayakawa, Barton MacLane, Suzanne Pleshette. (98 min, 35mm)

"Jerry Lewis' status as a filmic auteur revered by the French is something of a baffling cliché in the Anglophone world. But the Legion of Honor ribbon and approbation of Jean-Luc Godard are perhaps less perplexing than why, after directing twelve films, he still remains something of a prophet without honor in his own land.”

The Bellboy is Jerry Lewis' directorial debut, and it alone may demonstrate why a reassessment of Lewis' stateside artistic reputation should be undertaken. Lewis also produced and starred in the film during the day in Miami's Fountainbleu Hotel while performing a month-long gig in the resort's ballroom at night. The alternately claustrophobic and enormous spaces of Morris Lapidus' building make for an Alice-In-Wonderland filmic environment in which Lewis' character Stanley, the titular bellboy, is alternately overwhelmed or painted into a corner by director Lewis' mise en scene. Lewis here perfects routines he had previously performed for other directors, most notably Warner Bros. animation maestro turned feature film director Frank Tashlin. (It has been remarked that Tashlin was the only director who knew how to direct Jerry Lewis as well as Jerry Lewis). Lewis had recently split from longtime partner Dean Martin when he made The Bellboy, and in the film he examines aspects of psychic doubling or split personality that he would take as the entire subject of 1963's Jekyll and Hyde-derived Nutty Professor. In The Bellboy, hotel employee Stanley's alter ego is a suave movie star named Jerry Lewis, who arrives at the Fountainbleu checkout desk draped with twenty-seven sycophants wearing identical movie-star shades. Lewis here finally inhabits the suave role normally reserved for Martin, but he also reveals a serious ambivalence toward his own worldwide stardom as "Lewis'" sycophants erupt into peals of laughter at his most matter-of-fact utterance, and follow him so closely that he is forced to beg for air. (This ambivalence toward fame would reach its apex in Lewis' turn as late-night TV emperor Jerry Langford in Martin Scorcese's King of Comedy). While bellboy Stanley is frequently out of control of the hotel's suitcases and furniture and telephones and even his own body, director Lewis is completely in control of the Fountainbleu's fantasy environment, at one point snapping his fingers and turning out the blazing Florida sun. Despite the brilliant gags and touches of Jacques Tati-esque poetry in The Bellboy, the simple reason the French revere Jerry Lewis may be that clumsy, loud, uncivilized Stanley is how all we Americans look to the French. Which might finally explain our resistance to Lewis' smart, insightful and particularly vernacular comedy: the joke, it seems, is on all of us." (writer/filmmaker Theresa Duncan)

In The Geisha Boy, a transitional film for Lewis, Jerry is an inept magician trying his luck in Japan. Before taking a detour into pathos and sentimentality, Tashlin and Lewis come up with some brilliant sight gags.

Tuesday, August 22 (7:00pm)

Bob Hope and the American Comedy Tradition: Variety TV Shows - The Innovators

The Ernie Kovacs Show [04 13 1956] (NBC). (60 min, video)
The Steve Allen Show [04 05 1959] (NBC). Guests: Lenny Bruce, 3 Stooges. (59 min, video)

From the early 1950s to the 1970s, comedy-variety shows were one of the most popular genres on television. While most adhered to familiar formats that were derived from the early vaudeville stage, some used the variety show as a vehicle to push the parameters of creativity and humor. For two nights, we revisit the shows of some of these innovators.

Ernie Kovacs recognized the possibilities of television as a visual medium and became the master of the "sight gag." His humor was based on the unexpected. Ad lib routines, speaking directly to the off camera crew, and the use of special image effects were just some of the ways he created his humor. Steve Allen’s show appeared directly opposite the popular Ed Sullivan Show, but Allen’s innovative humor contrasted starkly with the more staid Sullivan show. Like Kovacs, Allen ad libbed on camera and improvised routines. He also featured controversial, cutting edge performers, such as Lenny Bruce, who he introduced as "the most shocking comedian of our time."

Friday, August 25 (7:00pm)

Bob Hope and the American Comedy Tradition: Variety TV Shows - The Innovators

The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour [09 17 1967] (CBS). Guests: Mickey Rooney, Bette Davis, The Who. (60 min, video)
Rowan & Martin’s Laugh In [03 02 1970] (NBC). Guest: Danny Kaye. (59 min, video)

Continuing with our two night presentation of innovative comedy variety shows, The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour became famous for its irreverent political humor, its references to the counter culture, its opposition to the Viet Nam War, and the appearances on the show of blacklisted artists such as Pete Seeger. Frequent battles with the censors caused the network to ultimately cancel their show. Rowan & Martin’s Laugh In featured fast paced, unstructured, anarchic humor with a large cast of regulars, several of whom became famous in their own right including Goldie Hawn, Arte Johnson, and Ruth Buzzi. The enormously popular show developed a number of famous catchphrases, even featuring Richard Nixon in one episode imploring, "Sock it to me!" Although the topicality of the show can make it appear dated to current audiences, its cultural significance and lasting imprint on subsequent comedy shows make it worth viewing again.

Tuesday, August 29 (7:00pm)

Bob Hope and the American Comedy Tradition

Up in Smoke (Paramount, 1978). Dir Lou Adler. Wrt Thomas Chong, Cheech Marin. With Cheech & Chong, Stacy Keach, Tom Skerritt, Edie Adams, Strother Martin. (86 min, 35mm)

Our American comedy series would not be complete without everyone’s two favorite stoners. Cheech and Chong’s premiere film rushed giant joints and LSD to the forefront of American comedy. Featuring such taglines as “DON’T go straight to see this film,” and “Don't miss the only film where the heroes get wiped out in the first five minutes!” Up in Smoke made this longtime comedy duo household names. In 1978, Variety said of the film, ”Since several millions of Americans are by estimate addicted to the weed, there’s presumably a large potential audience” – quite an understatement when one factors in the pair’s four successful follow-up films with nearly identical “plots.”

Friday, September 1 (7:00pm)

Bob Hope and the American Comedy Tradition

The Facts of Life (H.L.P. Co./United Artists, 1960). Dir Melvin Frank. Wrt Norman Panama, Frank. With Bob Hope, Lucille Ball, Ruth Hussey, Don DeFore, Louis Nye. (103 min, 35mm)

This story of a middle-aged housewife involved in a romantic tryst with the husband of a good friend, was originally conceived by Panama & Frank in the early 1950's as a drama with James Stewart and Olivia de Havilland in the lead roles. Unhappy with the script, the writers put it aside, and upon unearthing it in 1959, rewrote it as a comedy. Reviews of the films were mixed. While the New York Times called it "a grandly good-natured picture, full of sparkling repartee and word-gags and sight-gags that crackle with humor and sly intelligence," the New Yorker stated that the film marked "the latest and possibly the most vulgar model of the Hollywood sex comedy."

Tuesday, September 5 (7:00pm)

Bob Hope and the American Comedy Tradition

Yankee Doodle Dandy (Warner Bros., 1943). Dir Michael Curtiz. Wrt Robert Buckner, Edmund Joseph. With James Cagney, Joan Leslie, Walter Huston, Rosemary DeCamp, Jeanne Cagney, Irene Manning. (123 min, 35mm)

The patriotic words and music of George M. Cohan, “the man who owned Broadway” serve as the solid core to this breezy and extremely popular film, based, albeit loosely, on Cohan’s life. Cagney’s performance is timeless and spectacular.

Friday, September 8 (7:00pm)

Bob Hope and the American Comedy Tradition

A Damsel in Distress (RKO, 1937). Dir George Stevens. Wrt P.G. Wodehouse, Ernest Pagano, S.K. Lauren, based on the novel by Wodehouse. With Fred Astaire, George Burns, Gracie Allen, Joan Fontaine. (101 min, 35mm)

It’s an astonishing though underreported fact that thirteen songs written by George and Ira Gershwin, in 1937, comprise one of the great feats of musical creativity of the twentieth century. Though not all of these songs fit into the dubious category of “standards” – many fine songs suffer from neglect – all the songs in Damsel are superb. Pay particular attention to the Madrigal Singers’ performance of “Nice Work If You Can Get It,” which displays much of the charm and eccentricity of this wonderfully odd movie.

Tuesday, September 12 (6:30pm)

Bob Hope and the American Comedy Tradition

The Greatest Show on Earth (Paramount, 1952). Dir Cecil B. DeMille. Wrt Fredric M. Frank, Barré Lyndon, Theodore St. John. With Betty Hutton, Cornel Wilde, Charlton Heston, Dorothy Lamour, Gloria Grahame, James Stewart, Emmett Kelly, Bing Crosby, Bob Hope. (153 minutes, 35mm)

This big, colorful, circus epic earned two Academy Awards, for Best Picture and a special Oscar to DeMille as a prominent producer. Not only does DeMille serve as the film’s narrator, but prior to shooting the producer/director traveled many months with the Ringling Bros.-Barum & Bailey Circus doing first hand research and soaking up the big top atmosphere. From Paramount’s Road to… series, Dorothy Lamour plays an aerialist (she performed many of her own stunts), and Crosby and Hope provide cameo appearances as they view their colleague on the high wire.

Friday, September 15 (7:00pm)

Bob Hope and the American Comedy Tradition

The Comedy of Terrors (Alta Vista Productions/American International, 1963). Dir Jacques Tourneur. Wrt Richard Matheson. With Vincent Price, Peter Lorre, Boris Karloff, Basil Rathbone, Joe E. Brown. (83 min, 35mm)

Preceded by:

Du Pont Show of the Week. Laughter, U.S.A. (Project 20/NBC, 1961). Dir Donald B. Hyatt. Wrt Richard Hanser, Rod Reed. (60 min, Digital Betacam)

This horrific ensemble cast complements the film’s dark comedy plot… funeral director Waldo Trumbull (Price) has so many financial woes he decides to drum up the business by increasing the corpse population of his New England town. Karloff was originally cast in the lead, but arthritis limited him to the less-mobile character of 92-year-old Amos Hinchley. Although the color on this print is somewhat faded, it is worth a watch… and Rhubarb the Cat maintains his healthy golden hue.

Preceded by Laughter, U.S.A., a look at American humor, from slapstick to satire, from Ben Franklin to Jack Benny and what makes people laugh. Hosted by George Burns, the program features clips from films and TV shows with Bob Hope, Jimmy Durante, Eddie Cantor, Jack Benny, Buster Keaton, and many others.

Tuesday, September 19 (7:00pm)

Bob Hope and the American Comedy Tradition

The Iron Petticoat (Remus Films/MGM, 1956). Dir Ralph Thomas. Wrt Ben Hecht. With Bob Hope, Katharine Hepburn, Noelle Middleton, James Robertson-Justice, Robert Helpmann. (95 min, 35mm)

An update of Ninotchka, with Hepburn as Soviet jet pilot Vinka Kovalenko and Hope as American Capt. Chuck Lockwood trying to win her over. Filmed at London's Pinewood Studios, this was the first film production for Harry Saltzman, later one of the producers of the James Bond series. Notwithstanding his sole on-screen credit, Ben Hecht pulled out of the project after Hope brought his own team of writers to England, where they rewrote the script to incorporate more of the comedian's typical humor.

Friday, September 22(7:00pm)

Bob Hope and the American Comedy Tradition

The Original Amateur Hour [08-28-1959] . (30 min, 16mm)
The Hollywood Palace [05-01-1965] (ABC). (60 min, 16mm)

From 1948 to 1970, Ted Mack gave tyros of the entertainment world their chance to shine in the spotlight on the television series The Original Amateur Hour. In this episode, crooner Matt Hickson and plectrum banjo ace Bobby Lang are just two of the talented performers yearning to be future stars. In The Hollywood Palace, an ebullient Louis Armstrong celebrates 50 years in show business with Jimmy Durante, Diahann Carroll, Rowan and Martin, Edward G. Robinson, and the Ballet Folkórico de México.

Tuesday, September 26 (7:00pm)

Bob Hope and the American Comedy Tradition

That Certain Feeling (P and F Productions/Hope Enterprises/Paramount, 1956). Dir Norman Panama, Melvin Frank. Wrt Panama, Frank, I.A.L. Diamond, William Altman, based on the play by Jean Kerr and Eleanor Brooke. With Bob Hope, Eva Marie Saint, George Sanders, Pearl Bailey, Al Capp. (102 min, 35mm)

The Bob Hope-Woody Allen nexus is more evident than usual in this romantic comedy. Hope plays a neurosis ridden comic strip artist who has confrontation issues. Things look up when he lands a lucrative ghostwriting position that will pay for his psychoanalysis. The downside is that the boss is wooing his ex wife. Billy Wilder’s celebrated collaborator, I.A.L. Diamond, is one of the screenwriters; Pearl Bailey contributes her inimitable zing and interpretations of three classic songs, including the title tune.

Friday, September 29 (7:00pm)

Bob Hope and the American Comedy Tradition

Go, Man, Go (Sirod Productions/United Artists, 1954). Dir James Wong Howe. Wrt Arnold Becker. With Dane Clark, Patricia Breslin, Sidney Poitier, The Harlem Globetrotters. (83 min, 35mm)

Since 1927, the Harlem Globetrotters have mixed basketball and vaudeville, traveling the country and the world like true barnstormers, taking on all comers and always leaving their audiences laughing. Although Go, Man, Go is a semi-fictional version of their story, it features the real life Globetrotters, including Reece “Goose” Tatum, “Sweetwater” Clifton and Marques Haynes. With a title song by Swing Era great Sy Oliver, and a special appearance by the great Slim Gaillard, of "Flat Foot Floogie" fame. One of the few films directed by the great cinematographer James Wong Howe.

The Mary Pickford Theater is programmed by Chris Ames, Matthew Barton, Amy Gallick, Dave Gibson, Jerry Hatfield, Wilbur King, Karen Lund, David March, Mike Mashon, David Novack, Jennifer Ormson, Pat Padua, Lynne Parks, David Sager, Christel Schmidt, Zoran Sinobad, John Snelson, Brian Taves, and Kim Tomadjoglou.


Current Film Schedule: October - December 2006

Tuesday, October 3 (7:00pm)

National Film Registry

The Witches of Eastwick (Guber-Peters Co./Warner Bros., 1987). Dir George Miller. Wrt Michael Cristofer, based on the novel by John Updike. With Jack Nicholson, Cher, Susan Sarandon, Michelle Pfeiffer, Veronica Cartwright. (118 min, 35mm)

At an alcohol a-plenty, late-night skull session, three bored New England women (Susan Sarandon, Cher, and Michelle Pfeiffer) conjure up visions of an ideal man, who turns out to be horny, master lover from Hades Jack Nicholson. Lucifer rapidly assembles and satisfies the heavenly troika, but even this viceroy-of-vice-stud-muffin cannot keep these women happy for long. Never taking itself too seriously, The Witches of Eastwick, directed by George Miller of the Mad Max fame, proves great fun until derailed by a special effects orgy near the end. Those patrons revolted by the "cherry" scene should be advised the original John Updike novel uses frogs.

Friday, October 6 (7:00pm)

National Film Registry

The Haunting (Argyle Enterprises/MGM, 1963). Dir Robert Wise. Wrt Nelson Gidding, based on the novel by Shirley Jackson. With Julie Harris, Claire Bloom, Richard Johnson, Russ Tamblyn, Lois Maxwell. (112 min, 35mm)

Preceded by:

The House that Dripped Blood [Trailer] (1971). (35mm)
The Entity [Trailer] (1983). (35mm)
The Legacy [Trailer] (1979). (35mm)


The Tell Tale Heart (United Productions of America/Columbia, 1953). Dir Ted Parmelee. Wrt Bill Scott, Fred Grable, based on the story by Edgar Allan Poe. Narrator James Mason. (8 min, 35mm)

In between directing West Side Story and The Sound of Music, the late Robert Wise pulled off this masterful psychological/supernatural thriller. In this adaptation of Shirley Jackson's “The Haunting of Hill House,” a group of amateur psychic researchers investigate paranormal activity in a reputedly haunted mansion. They soon find that an ominous presence within the house is after the most vulnerable of the group, social misfit Eleanor (the great Julie Harris). Wise's homage to Val Lewton exemplifies the latter's influence in its use of shadow, sound and suggestion. The audience is made to imagine, rather than see; in one famous scene a wallpaper pattern becomes a virtual Rorschach test for the individual viewer.

Tuesday, October 10 (7:00pm)

National Film Registry: You Asked for It

The Exile (Universal-The Fairbanks Co., 1947). Dir Max Ophuls. Wrt Douglas Fairbanks, Jr., suggested by a novel by Cosmo Hamilton. With Douglas Fairbanks, Jr., Maria Montez, Paule Croset, Henry Daniell, Nigel Bruce, Robert Coote. (95 min, 35mm)

This elegant swashbuckler imagines the adventures of Charles II, the English monarch forced to live by his wits in the Netherlands during Oliver Cromwell’s Protectorate. The lead role is an ideal fit for the dashing and agile Fairbanks; Max Ophuls’ sensitive direction is masterful. Another in our series of films requested by the Pickford patrons, this screening also includes the director’s ending, which will be shown after the closing credits.

Friday, October 13 (7:00pm)

National Film Registry

The Day the Music Died (Bert Tenzer Productions, 1973). Dir/Wrt Bert Tenzer. With Mel Winkler, Murray the K, Jackie Zeman, Arthur York. (100 min, 35mm)

Is 1973 the last really great year for rock’n’roll music? On the heels of the stabbing at Altamont Raceway, the riots that broke out during the Randall's Island rock concert, many involved in the music industry felt things were out of hand with the size and scope of rock concerts and the culture and behavior of the fans who enjoyed them. Was the original intent of the artists getting lost in the mayhem? Judge for yourself by exploring the film's interview footage and live performances by Jimi Hendrix, The Beatles, Country Joe & The Fish, Jim Morrison, Van Morrison, Mountain, Dionne Warwick, Steppenwolf, Jan and Dean, Otis Redding and others.

Tuesday, October 17 (7:00pm)

National Film Registry

The Goddess (Carnegie Productions/Columbia, 1958). Dir John Cromwell. Wrt Paddy Chayefsky. With Kim Stanley, Lloyd Bridges, Steve Hill, Betty Lou Holland. (105 min, 35mm)

Shot on location in Ellicott City, Maryland, The Goddess was one of the few films of legendary Method actor Kim Stanley (1925-2001), often described as "the female Brando." Paddy Chayefsky (Marty, Network) reportedly modeled his screenplay, in a cruelly prophetic way, on the life of Marilyn Monroe. As the falling movie star, Stanley gives an emotionally naked and powerful performance.

Friday, October 20 (7:00pm)

National Film Registry

Desire (Paramount, 1936). Dir Frank Borzage. Wrt Edwin Justus Mayer, Waldemar Young, Samuel Hoffenstein, based on the play by Hans Szekely and Robert A. Stemmle. With Marlene Dietrich, Gary Cooper, John Halliday, William Frawley, Ernest Cossart. (96 min, 35mm)

Preceded by:

A Duel for Love, or, The Sisters (Majestic Pictures Corp., 1914). Dir Christy Cabanne. Wrt Anita Loos, based on a story by Myron T. Brinig. With Dorothy Gish, Lillian Gish. (23 min, 35mm)

Frank Borzage directs the comedy Desire starring Marlene Dietrich as Madeline de Beaupre, a jewel thief living in Paris, who poses as a psychiatrist’s wife. After stealing a valuable necklace from a jeweler, Madeleine flees the city and heads for the Spanish border, where she encounters vacationing Tom Bradley (Gary Cooper), an American automobile engineer stationed in Paris. Madeline slips the stolen necklace into Bradley’s pocket in order to avoid a customs inspector, but winds up having great difficulty recovering the jewels, not to mention resolving her growing affections for Bradley.

Preceded by a rarely seen silent short directed by Christy Cabanne and written by Anita Loos. The 35mm copy screened tonight was made from a 28mm diacetate print which was preserved by LOC’s Motion Picture Conservation Center.

Tuesday, October 24 (7:00pm)

National Film Registry: Venereal Disease, Everyone’s Foe

Damaged Lives (Beacon Productions-Columbia, 1933). Dir Edgar G. Ulmer. Wrt Don Davis, Ulmer. With Lyman Williams, Diane Sinclair, George Irving, Almeda Fowler, Jason Robards, Marceline Day. (53 min, 35mm)

Preceded by:

Venereal Disease--The Hidden Epidemic (Encyclopaedia Britannica Educational Corp., 1973). Dir & Wrt Tom Smith. (23 min, 16mm)

Ulmer’s first sound film, and his most famous public health film, Damaged Lives tells the tale of Donald Bradley, who has an affair, contracts venereal disease, and passes it on to his new bride. After witnessing the horrors of the disease at its advanced-stages, Donald chooses treatment over madness, blindness and death. A longer version of this film was also released, which included a 20-minute lecture.

Preceded by an Encyclopaedia Britannica educational short which begins with a historical look at venereal disease. The audience is then shown (in graphic detail) how to recognize syphilis and gonorrhea in its various stages. Tom Smith, Executive Producer of Honey, I Shrunk the Kids, wrote and directed this frank and artistic sex hygiene picture.

Friday, October 27 (7:00pm)

National Film Registry: Halloween Hecatomb

The Visitor (SWAN American Film Corp., 1979). Dir Giulio Paradisi (as Michael J. Paradise). Wrt Paradisi, Ovidio Assonitis, Lou Comici, Robert Mundy. With Mel Ferrer, John Huston, Joanne Nail, Sam Peckinpah, Shelley Winters, Glenn Ford, Lance Henriksen, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Franco Nero. (100 min, 35mm)

Preceded by:

Demon Seed [Trailer] (1977). (2 min, 35mm)
Two Masks For Alexa [Trailer] (1971). (2:30 min, 35mm)
A Belle From Hell [Trailer] (1973). (2 min, 35mm)
Inhibition [Trailer] (1976). (4 min, 35mm)
Bay of Blood [Trailer] (1971). (2 min, 35mm)

Giulio Paradisi, Federico Fellini's Assistant Director on 8 ½, weaves one of the more outlandish and obscure fables to be put onto celluloid with The Visitor. The Book of Revelations comes to life on screen in the form of an LSD soaked Apocalyptic-Giallo-Horror-Science-Fiction space odyssey that happens to be an unintentionally funny fashion nightmare with abstract and striking visuals, visuals mostly of naked flesh, blood, guts and gore!

Film legend John Huston stars as an intergalactic bounty hunter sent by a group of bald alien angels (portrayed by small children) to stop a daemon from the planet Saturn from impregnating a genetically perfect Earth woman named Barbara Collins (Joanne Nail). A woman, mind you, who already spawned a 10-year-old daughter fathered by The Devil himself… a daughter with eyes of metal, an Elton John fashion sense, and a vocabulary that would make even Larry Flynt blush. Well, Barbara feels that one seed of Satan in her life is more than enough! As John Huston's Bounty Hunter and Barbara search for each other, they encounter a series of oddities such as iconic film director "Bloody Sam" Peckinpah as a ghoulish gynecologist, Shelley Winters as an astrological bible-bashing Mary Poppins-type, exploding basketballs, giant fish-tanks, UFO's filled with artificial insemination machines, birds who gouge out eyes, mazes of mirrors, and Italian superstar Franco Nero as "Jesus Christ, Lord and Savior". A rare, weird, crazy, campy piece of cinema that is perfect viewing for the Halloween weekend.

Tuesday, October 31 (7:00pm)

National Film Registry

Somewhere in Time (Rastar/Universal, 1980). Dir Jeannot Szwarc. Wrt Richard Matheson, based on his novel “Bid Time Return.” With Christopher Reeve, Jane Seymour, Christopher Plummer, Teresa Wright, Bill Erwin. (103 min, 35mm)

This time traveling tale was originally made for audiences who enjoyed love stories, but the targeted crowd didn’t respond in large numbers. A solid performance is delivered by the late actor Christopher Reeve in his only film role between Superman (1978) and Superman II (1980). Jane Seymour and Christopher Plummer portray the two other principal characters, both sporting Edwardian-era costumes, and Jean-Pierre Dorléac was nominated for an Oscar for Best Costume Design for this film. The beautiful, poignant original musical score written by John Barry is augmented with Rachmaninoff’s “Variations on a Theme by Paganini”. Richard Matheson wanted to use Gustav Mahler on the soundtrack (too much influence of Visconti’s Death in Venice?), since his novel called for specific Mahler excerpts, but director Szwarc and Jane Seymour eventually prevailed with John Barry’s score. The stately Grand Hotel and formal gardens located on Mackinac Island, Michigan, are the biggest stars in this motion picture. Presently, Somewhere in Time boasts of a cult classic status and has it’s own website. Believe it or not, there are plans to mount a musical version of the film, slated to be on Broadway within the next 2-3 years.

Friday, November 3 (7:00pm)

National Film Registry

Get Yourself a College Girl (Four Leaf Productions/MGM, 1964). Dir Sidney Miller. Wrt Robert E. Kent. With Mary Ann Mobley, Nancy Sinatra, Chad Everett, Joan O’Brien. (86 min, 35mm)

Preceded by:

Go Go Amigo (Warner Bros., 1965). Dir Robert McKimson. Wrt David DeTiege. With the voices of Mel Blanc, Gonzalez-Gonzales. (8 min, 35mm)

Former Miss America Mary Ann Mobley portrays a college girl who writes a "sex song," which creates a scandal on campus, but gets her pursued by a music publisher. This fun, sixties rock and roll romp features performances by the Animals, the Dave Clark Five, the Standells, Stan Getz and Astrud Gilberto, and the Jimmy Smith Trio.

This is preceded by the Warner Bros. cartoon Go Go Amigo, featuring Daffy Duck as a music store owner trying to thwart Speedy Gonzales and his friends from listening to music in his store.

Monday, November 13 (7:00pm)

Jazz & Rock

A Hard Day’s Night (Proscenium Films/United Artists, 1964). Dir Richard Lester. Wrt Alun Owen. With John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, Ringo Starr, Wilfrid Brambell. (90 min, 35mm)

Fresh from their historic debut on The Ed Sullivan Show, The Beatles in this Academy Award-nominated film offer fans a peek into “a day in the life” of the Fab Four. The film serves as an inspiration for the future music video format. Songs include “I'll Cry Instead,” “A Hard Day’s Night,” “I Should Have Known Better,” “Can't Buy Me Love,” “If I Fell,” “And I Love Her,” “I'm Happy Just to Dance With You,” “Ringo’s Theme (This Boy),” “Tell Me Why,” “Don't Bother Me,” “I Wanna Be Your Man,” “All My Lovin’,” and “She Loves You.”

Tuesday, November 14 (6:30pm)

National Film Registry

Hearts of Fire (Lorimar, 1987). Dir Richard Marquand. Wrt Scott Richardson, Joe Eszterhas. With Fiona Flanagan, Bob Dylan, Rupert Everett, Suzanne Bertish, Julian Glover. (95 min, 35mm)

Shown with:

Hard Rain, a.k.a. Bob Dylan TV Special (Streaming Eagle Productions/NBC, 1976). Dir Bob Dylan. (60 min, U-matic video)

In Hearts of Fire, Dylan plays Billy Parker, an aging rock star who tutors young Molly (eighties' Jersey chanteuse Fiona) from the toll booth where she works to the concert stage where she dreams. Scripted by Joe Eszterhas (between Flashdance and Basic Instinct), this flawed riff on A Star is Born was never released in US theaters. Does Dylan raise this up on hellhound's wings? Does co-star Rupert Everett singing "Tainted love" bring it back to earth? Shown with the NBC special Hard Rain, a document of the classic Rolling Thunder Revue, including duets with Joan Baez.

Friday, November 17 (7:00pm)

National Film Registry

Foxes (Casablanca-Filmworks/United Artists, 1980). Dir Adrian Lyne. Wrt Gerald Ayers. With Jodie Foster, Scott Baio, Sally Kellerman, Randy Quaid. (105 min, 35mm)

Four teenage girls in the San Fernando Valley encounter the usual problems adolescents have to cope with, namely drinking, drugs and sex. A coming-of-age drama featuring a killer soundtrack and a cameo by a young Laura Dern.

Monday, November 20 (7:00pm)

Jazz & Rock

The T.A.M.I. Show (Electronovision/AIP, 1964). Dir Steve Binder. Hosted by Jan and Dean. (111 min, 35mm)

This rollicking film, the acronym stands for “Teenage Awards Music International,” features Chuck Berry, James Brown, The Rolling Stones, The Supremes, Gerry and the Pacemakers, Smokey Robinson and the Miracles, Marvin Gaye with the Blossoms, Lesley Gore, Billy J. Kramer and the Dakotas, The Barbarians, and others. Watch for a teenage Terri Garr as a go-go dancer!

Tuesday, November 21 (7:00pm)

National Film Registry

The Rise and Fall of Legs Diamond (United States Productions/Warner Bros., 1960). Dir Budd Boetticher. Wrt Joseph Landon. With Ray Danton, Karen Steele, Elaine Stewart, Jesse White, Simon Oakland. (102 min, 35mm)

Western specialist Boetticher directed this excellent gangster picture based on the life of Jack "Legs" Diamond (1899-1931), a car thief in the 1920's who turned to bootlegging during the Prohibition and eventually gained notoriety as a powerful underworld figure. Look for Warren Oates as Jack's tubercular brother Eddie, and Dyan Cannon in her first screen appearance.

Monday, November 27 (7:00pm)

Jazz & Rock

Monterey Pop (The Foundation/Leacock Pennebaker, 1968). Directed by D. A. Pennebaker. (79 min, 16mm)

From San Francisco’s “Summer of Love” come Eric Burdon and the Animals, Canned Heat, Country Joe and the Fish, Simon & Garfunkel, The Jefferson Airplane, The Mamas & the Papas, The Who, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Otis Redding, and Ravi Shankar.

Tuesday, November 28 (7:00pm)

National Film Registry

Ruggles of Red Gap (Paramount, 1935). Dir Leo McCarey. Wrt Walter DeLeon, Harlan Thompson, based on the novel by Harry Leon Wilson. With Charles Laughton, Mary Boland, Charlie Ruggles, ZaSu Pitts. (90 min, 35mm)

Formerly a director of Laurel and Hardy silent comedies, Leo McCarey (1898-1969) attained a higher level of wit and sophistication with Ruggles of Red Gap. In his version - earlier treatments appeared in 1918 and 1923 - McCarey, who frequently revised his script during production, has his stoical hero, an English valet, tell his former employer: "When people think you are someone, you begin to think you are." Portraying a servant who becomes his own master, Charles Laughton created one of the great comic figures in American screen comedy.

Friday, December 1 (6:30pm)

National Film Registry: Shades of Noir

Stranger on the Third Floor (RKO Radio Pictures, 1940). Dir Boris Ingster. Wrt Frank Partos. With Peter Lorre, Elisha Cook, Jr., John McGuire, Margaret Tallichet, Charles Waldron. (62 min, 35mm)

Phantom Lady (Universal, 1944). Dir Robert Siodmak. Wrt Bernard C. Schoenfeld, based on the novel by William Irish. With Franchot Tone, Ella Raines, Alan Curtis, Elisha Cook, Jr., Aurora. (85 min, 35mm)

The program begins with Stranger on the Third Floor, one of the earliest examples of film noir. A reporter who is responsible for sending a man to the electric chair later has doubts about the man’s guilt and begins to investigate the case. Crime and mystery mainstay Peter Lorre co-stars.

Phantom Lady stars Franchot Tone as a husband falsely accused of murdering his wife. Only his loyal secretary believes the alibi of his spending the evening with a woman whose name he never learned. Can she save him before its too late? Joan Harrison, Alfred Hitchcock’s writer and production partner, gets her first onscreen credit as the associate producer.

Monday, December 4 (7:00pm)

Jazz & Rock

Gimme Shelter (Maysles Films, 1970). Dir Albert Maysles, David Maysles, Charlotte Zwerin. (90 min, laserdisc)

This film examines the controversial, free December 1969 concert in Northern California by the Rolling Stones and Jefferson Airplane, where the Hell’s Angels acted as “security guards.” Armed with pool cues and knives, the Angels spent the concert beating up spectators, eventually killing one member of the audience.

Tuesday, December 5 (6:30pm)

National Film Registry

The Face Behind the Mask (Columbia, 1941). Dir Robert Florey. Wrt I. Von Cube, Allen Vincent, Paul Jarrico, Arthur Levinson, based on the radio play “Interim” by Thomas Edward O'Connell. With Peter Lorre, Evelyn Keyes, Don Beddoe, George E. Stone, John Tyrrell, Stanley Brown, Al Seymour, James Seay. (69 min, 35mm)

Daughter of Shanghai (Paramount, 1937). Dir Robert Florey. Wrt Gladys Unger, Garnett Weston. With Anna May Wong, Charles Bickford, Larry Crabbe, Cecil Cunningham, J. Carrol Naish, Anthony Quinn, John Patterson, Evelyn Brent, Philip Ahn, Fred Kohler, Guy Bates Post, Virginia Dabney, Ching Wah Lee, Layne Tom Jr. (67 min, 35mm)

Two of the most intriguing B films of the studio era, both by Robert Florey, widely acclaimed as the best director working in major studio Bs during the time. Daughter of Shanghai is unique among 1930s Hollywood features for its portrayal of an Asian focused theme with two of the most prominent Asian American performers of the time as leads, Anna May Wong and Philip Ahn. This was truly unusual in a time when white actors typically played Asian characters in the cinema, and Daughter of Shanghai was written as a Wong starring vehicle. The Face Behind the Mask offers Peter Lorre as an immigrant, horribly disfigured in a boarding house fire on his first day in the United States. The camera traces his descent into crime, attempted regeneration, and ultimate revenge in a style combining expressionism and naturalism.

Friday, December 8 (7:00pm)

National Film Registry: Shades of Noir

Gunn (Geoffrey Productions/Paramount, 1967). Dir Blake Edwards. Wrt Blake Edwards, William Peter Blatty. With Craig Stevens, Laura Devon, Ed Asner, Sherry Jackson, Helen Traubel. (95 min, 35mm)

Preceded by:

Peter Gunn. Pecos Pete (Spartan Productions/ABC-TV, 2/9/1959). Dir Robert Ellis Miller. Wrt Lewis Reed. With Craig Stevens, Lola Albright, Hope Emerson. (30 min, 16mm)

Most early television private eyes were transplants from books, magazine, films and radio, but Blake Edwards created Peter Gunn specifically for the small screen in 1958, and the high living, jazz loving LA detective was an instant hit, helped in no small part by Henry Mancini’s tense and haunting theme music. Tonight’s episode was shot by cinematographer Phillip Lathrop, who would be Edwards’ director of photography for Days of Wine and Roses, Experiment in Terror, The Pink Panther and other films, including our feature presentation of Gunn.

With the help of future “Exorcist” author William Peter Blatty, Edwards retooled Peter Gunn for the movies in 1967. Apart from cinematographer Lathrop, Craig Stevens was back in the role he created, and Henry Mancini wrote a new score and even appears briefly as himself.

Monday, December 11 (7:00pm)

Jazz & Rock

American Hot Wax (Paramount, 1978). Dir Floyd Mutrux. Wrt John Kaye, Art Linson. With Tim McIntire, Fran Drescher, Jay Leno, Laraine Newman, Moosie Drier. (89 min, 35mm)

The story of famed Cleveland disc jockey Alan Freed, who introduced the music genre called “rock‘n’roll” to teenage American radio audiences in the 1950’s. Freed was a source of great controversy: criticized by conservatives for corrupting youth with the “devil’s music,” hated by racists for promoting African American music for white consumption, persecuted by law enforcement officials, and finally brought down by the “payola” scandals.

Tuesday, December 12 (7:00pm)

National Film Registry: Shades of Noir

Brainstorm (Warner Bros., 1965). Dir William Conrad . Wrt Mann Rubin, from an original story by Lawrence B. Marcus. With Jeffrey Hunter, Anne Francis, Dana Andrews, Viveca Lindfors, Richard Kiel. (105 min, 35mm)

A scientist (Hunter) rescues his employer’s wife (Francis) from suicide and later fakes insanity to escape the charge of murdering her husband (Andrews). William Conrad, TV’s Cannon, directed this tautly structured and cleverly edited late film noir about a man unwittingly stepping into a trap of his own design. Now largely overlooked, Brainstorm is an odd and obsessive little tale of crime and punishment that remains rigorously faithful to its own paranoid logic throughout.

Friday, December 15 (6:30pm)

National Film Registry: Shades of Noir

Hollow Triumph, a.k.a. The Scar (Eagle Lion Films, 1948). Dir Steve Sekely. Wrt Daniel Fuchs, from a novel by Murray Forbes. With Paul Henreid, Joan Bennett, Eduard Franz, Leslie Brooks, John Qualen. (83 min, 35mm)

Lady in the Death House (P.R.C. Pictures, 1944). Dir Steve Sekely. Wrt Harry O. Hoyt, from an original story by Frederick C. Davis. With Jean Parker, Lionel Atwill, Douglas Fowley, Marcia Mae Jones. (56 min, 35mm)

Two film noir/crime dramas from journeyman director Steve Sekely, also known for The Day of the Triffids, Blonde Savage, Women in Bondage and Revenge of the Zombies.

Hollow Triumph carried the tagline “HIS SCAR marked them BOTH!!” John Muller (Paul Henreid) dropped out of medical school to embrace a life of crime. Recently paroled from prison and finding the straight life dull, he reassembles his old gang in order to knock over a casino. The heist goes awry and he finds himself on the run from the mob. In a seeming stroke of luck, he stumbles across his double, the local psychoanalyst Dr. Bartok. With Muller’s background, what could be easier than taking the doctor’s place? Especially with the enticing Evelyn on hand as secretary, played by husky-voiced brunette noir femme Joan Bennett. There is just the small detail of replicating the doctor’s scar, what could go wrong? He could never have guessed that the doctor’s problems might equal his own. This ending will startle even the most seasoned film noir fans.

In Lady in the Death House, wrongfully accused Mary Kirk Logan (Jean Parker) is sentenced to death for the murder of the blackmailer plaguing her family. It just so happens that her fiancée is the state executioner who also happens to be conducting experiments with the intention of reviving the dead. However, it is the criminologist Charles Finch (Lionel Atwill) who races against the clock to save the day and bring the real murderer to light.

Tuesday, December 19 (7:00pm)

National Film Registry: Preservation Showcase

The Struggle (D. W. Griffith, Inc./United Artists, 1931). Dir D. W. Griffith. Wrt Anita Loos, John Emerson. With Hal Skelly, Zita Johann, Charlotte Wynters, Evelyn Baldwin, Jackson Halliday. (78 min, 35mm)

Preceded by:

Keystone Hotel (Vitaphone Corp., 1935). Dir Ralph Staub. With Ben Turpin, Ford Sterling, Marie Prevost, Vivien Oakland. (16 min, 35mm)

We close the year with a rarely seen gem recently preserved by the Library’s Motion Picture Conservation Center. A Prohibition drama about a young couple whose marriage is threatened by the husband's descent into alcoholism, The Struggle was D. W. Griffith’s last film as director. Lacking money for elaborate sets, a number of scenes were shot on location (the Bronx, NY, and Springdale, CT), which was unusual in the early days of sound film. The film was a failure, however, sending Griffith into such debt that his company went bankrupt.

Preceded by Keystone Hotel, a pie-throwing bout involving some of the greats of the Slapstick era.

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