Feb. 15-16, 2002

American Cinematheque Presents...

In Spite of Himself: A Tribute to Patrick Macnee In-Person!

Presented in association with the British Academy of Film & Television Arts – Los Angeles

To celebrate his 80th birthday (on February 6th, actually), the Cinematheque is delighted to welcome the irrepressible Patrick Macnee to the Lloyd E. Rigler Theatre at the Egyptian!

(Please note that BAFTA-L.A. members will receive the Cinematheque Members Discount for this program.)

Series Compiled by Dennis Bartok and Gwen Deglise.

Our grateful thanks to Juan Davila and Jason Campbell at A&E Home Video, Jacqueline Green and Patrick Macnee himself for their tremendous assistance with this program.

Special Thanks to: Dennis Hunt, British Consul General in Los Angeles; Don Haber/BAFTA-L.A.; Stuart Lisell; Joe Dante; Kerry Slattery / SKYLIGHT BOOKS; Eric Caidin / HOLLYWOOD BOOK & POSTER

Tickets available 30 days in advance.

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"I prefer umbrellas to guns." – Patrick Macnee, on "The Avengers"

Few performers have ever captured the heart and imagination of the public as superbly as actor Patrick Macnee in his role as John Steed in "The Avengers," secret agent extraordinaire, enjoyer of fine wine and elegant clothes, guardian of all that is good and holy about the British way of life. From 1961 to 1969 (and again, briefly, in 1976 – 77), Macnee fought off a surreal rogues’ gallery of cybernauts, winged crusaders, space artichokes and more with partners Ian Hendry, Honor Blackman, Linda Thorson, Joanna Lumley and – most memorably – Diana Rigg as Mrs. Emma Peel. Macnee’s effortless charm and impeccable comic timing made it seem like he’d been born in the role – but in fact, his acting career began on the British stage in the early 1940’s and (following a stint in the Royal Navy during World War II), continued with supporting roles in films such as Laurence Olivier’s HAMLET and Michael Powell’s THE BATTLE OF THE RIVER PLATE. Following the success of "The Avengers," Macnee has appeared in dozens of film and television programs, including THE HOWLING, A VIEW TO A KILL and THIS IS SPINAL TAP – but by his own admission, Steed remains his favorite role. "John Steed was more than a part to me, he was an extension of myself," Macnee wrote in his autobiography, Blind In One Ear. (Recently, Macnee was instrumental in prompting the mega-successful re-release of "The Avengers" on video and DVD through A&E Home Video.)

 

Friday, February 15 – 7:30 PM

Patrick Macnee In Person!!

"THE AVENGERS" -- Episode: "Death At Bargain Prices" 1965, A&E Home Video/Canal + Image Int’l, 52 min. Steed (Patrick Macnee) buys a dozen bowler hats while Mrs. Peel (Diana Rigg) sells some lingerie in this classic, what-sinister-things-are-going-on-at-Pinter’s Department Store? episode that combines several of the series’ favorite themes: nostalgia for the bygone days of England; 1960’s paranoia over the atomic bomb; and some surprisingly racey double-entendres between Steed and Mrs. Peel that show the chemistry between co-stars Macnee and Rigg at its very best. Directed by future A FISH CALLED WANDA helmer Charles Crichton, and brilliantly written by series co-producer and stalwart Brian Clemens.

"THE AVENGERS" – Episode: "Too Many Christmas Trees", 1965, A&E Home Video/Canal + Image Int’l, 52 min. Dir. Roy Baker. Written by Tony Williamson. One of the series’ most devilishly clever episodes finds Steed the target of telepathic masterminds who are influencing his dreams in an attempt to get secret information from him. The surreal setting for this adventure is a Christmas Party where all the guests must dress as Dickens characters – including Mrs. Peel, whose Tiny Tim outfit is something to be seen! A darkly comic gem, and one of Macnee’s personal favorites from the entire "Avengers" series. Discussion following with actor Patrick Macnee. Mr. Macnee will also appear prior to the screening at 6:30 PM to sign copies of his autobiographies Blind In One Ear and The Avengers & Me

 

Saturday, February 16 – 5:00 PM

Patrick Macnee and Joe Dante In Person!!

THE HOWLING, 1981, 91 min. Dir. Joe Dante. TV anchorwoman Dee Wallace, traumatized after acting as bait for a Hollywood serial killer’s bloody demise, takes a sojourn in an Esalen-type retreat run by guru Patrick Macnee – only to find the entire New Age community is made up of werewolves! Macnee’s performance here is one of his finest, a seductive blend of charm, black humor and sinister magnetism. Co-starring Slim Pickens, John Carradine, Kevin McCarthy and Dick Miller. Discussion following with actor Patrick Macnee and director Joe Dante. Mr. Macnee will also appear prior to the screening at 4:15 PM in the lobby to sign copies of his autobiographies.

 

 

Saturday, February 16 – 7:45 PM

Patrick Macnee In Person!!

"THE AVENGERS" – Episode: "The Forget-Me-Knot" 1968, A&E Home Video/Canal + Image Int’l, 52 min. Dir. James Hill. Written by Brian Clemens. Steed bids a fond farewell to Mrs. Peel (Diana Rigg) and says hello to voluptuous young agent Tara King (played by 20-year old Canadian Linda Thorson) in this famous episode involving a plot to undermine the Ministry by means of an amnesia-inducing drug. For all of the series’ wicked humor and surreal imagination, its heart was always the relationship between the magnificent Macnee and his sparkling female partners – never more poignant than in the last parting glances shared by Steed and Mrs. Peel …

"THE NEW AVENGERS" – Episode: "The Eagle’s Nest", 1976, A&E Home Video/Canal + Image Int’l, 52 min. Dir. Desmond Davis. Written by Brian Clemens. After a hiatus of eight years, Steed returned to action with new partners Purdey (the delightful Joanna Lumley) and Gambit (Gareth Hunt) in "The New Avengers," which managed to recapture much of the sexiness and suspense of the original series. This, the first episode of "The New Avengers," finds Steed and his partners traveling to a remote Scottish monastery to stop a fiendish plot to revive the cryogenically frozen body of Adolf Hitler. Discussion following with actor Patrick Macnee.