American Cinematheque at the Egyptian Theatre Presents...
Making Movie History for 80 Years!

August 8-25,  2002

Click Here To Print a September Schedule!
Series compiled by Dennis Bartok with the assistance of Chris D.
Special Thanks to:

Joe Dante; Dominique Brunet/STUDIO CANAL IMAGE; Fritz Herzog/ACADEMY OF MOTION PICTURE ARTS & SCIENCES – Film Archive; John Herron/CANAL + IMAGE U.K.; Tim Lanza/DOURIS CORP.; John Kirk/MGM-UA; Margaret Deriaz/BRITISH FILM INSTITUTE; Michael Schlesinger/COLUMBIA PICTURES REPERTORY.

Tickets available 30 days in advance. Tickets are $8 general admission unless noted otherwise.
Sold out programs will be indicated here if sold out 24 hours in advance of screening date.
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The American Cinematheque is a non-profit 501 (C) (3) organization.
The Film Programs of the American Cinematheque are presented at the magnificently renovated, historic 1922 Grauman's Hollywood Egyptian Theatre. Located at 6712 Hollywood Boulevard.
Photo Credit: Randall Michelson. Detail of Egyptian Theatre Ceiling.

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<<< September 20 - 22,  2002 >>>

Method to the Madness: A Tribute to Val Guest In- Person!

From the killer-on-the-run noir of HELL IS A CITY and JIGSAW to the sci fi-gone-amok horror of THE QUATERMASS XPERIMENT, to the literally earth-shattering panic of THE DAY THE EARTH CAUGHT FIRE, the films of British director, writer and producer Val Guest are a tense stand-off between beleagured humanity with its science and reason, and the awesome, inexplicable terrors of the Unknown. Like American counterparts Don Siegel and Richard Fleischer, Guest worked in a wide range of genres – crime films, war dramas, psychedelic spy movies, romantic comedies and more --, but all of his films are shot through with the same hard-edged intelligence and bracing visual style.

Born in London in 1911, Guest got his start in the film business in the early 1930’s working alongside then-fledgling director Alfred Hitchcock; he soon graduated to screenwriting, penning well-loved Gainsborough comedies such as GOOD MORNING BOYS. He began directing in the mid-1940’s, turning out a string of sparkling comedies including MR. DRAKE’S DUCK and PENNY PRINCESS starring wife-to-be Yolande Donlan. The year 1955 saw him come into his own with his no-nonsense adaptation of Nigel Kneale’s sci-fi classic THE QUATERMASS XPERIMENT. It was also the movie that put Hammer Studios on the map as a maker of shivery horror and science fiction. Guest’s bravura style of direction and editing, his intelligent, witty scripts and excellent eye for casting became evident in superior genre pieces like YESTERDAY’S ENEMY, HELL IS A CITY, EXPRESSO BONGO and THE DAY EARTH CAUGHT FIRE, as well as tongue-in-cheek Pop Art films like CASINO ROYALE and TOOMORROW. Retired from directing in 1985, he most recently penned his autobiography, So You Want To Be In Pictures.

We’re thrilled to welcome one of the true legends of British cinema, Val Guest, to the Egyptian for the first Los Angeles retrospective of his work!

 

Friday, September 20 – 6:15 PM

BookSigning with Val Guest So You Want To Be In Pictures ($20 plus tax). Mr. Guest will sign books until he runs out.

Friday, September 20 – 7:15 PM

Double Feature -- Director Val Guest In Person!

THE DAY THE EARTH CAUGHT FIRE, 1961, Canal +, 99 min. Widely hailed as one of the most gripping science fiction films of the 1960’s, THE DAY THE EARTH CAUGHT FIRE is a chillingly prescient warning of ecological disaster. The U.S. and Russia set off simultaneous nuclear bombs at opposite poles, resulting in the Earth tottering off its axis to head for the sun. Edward Judd delivers a career-making performance as an embittered, alcoholic journalist who finds last-minute redemption through the love of Janet Munro (mother of fantasy vamp Caroline) and the salty advice of fellow reporter Leo McKern. When we screened this last year, the entire audience gave a 5-minute standing ovation at the end – come and you’ll see why.

HELL IS A CITY, 1960, Canal +, 93 min. Dir. Val Guest. Jet-propelled, jazzy crime thriller with Stanley Baker as an acid-tongued police inspector on the trail of a brutally merciless killer (John Crawford). Produced by Hammer Films in one of their rare non-horror outings, HELL IS A CITY careens at a breakneck pace, aided by Arthur Grant’s stunning black-and-white Scope photography (much of it shot on location.) An important influence on future Brit cop TV shows like "Z-Cars" and "The Sweeney," HELL IS A CITY was recently acclaimed in a critics’ poll as the best British noir ever made. Discussion following with director Val Guest.

 

Saturday, September 21 – 5:00 PM

Val Guest and Yolande Donlan In Person!

EXPRESSO BONGO, 1960, Douris Corp., 108 min. Huckster agent Laurence Harvey discovers bongo-playing Cliff Richard in a seedy London club and manages to catapult his new discovery to pop music stardom – only to be left behind when Cliff falls for American songbird Yolande Donlan, who has her own designs on the boy. Guest takes a much grittier and more sardonic look at the pop music scene than anything coming out of America at the time – and helped create an actual sensation with the young Cliff Richard! Discussion following with director Val Guest and actress Yolande Donlan.

 

Saturday, September 21 – 6:15 PM

BookSigning with Val Guest So You Want To Be In Pictures ($20 plus tax). Mr. Guest will sign books until he runs out.

Saturday, September 21 – 8:00 PM

Sci-Fi Double Feature:

ABOMINABLE SNOWMAN OF THE HIMALAYAS, 1957, 20th Century Fox, 90 min. Dir. Val Guest. Researcher Peter Cushing butts heads with ruthlessly unprincipled carnival impresario Forrest Tucker, when the pair join forces to capture the elusive Yeti of the Himalayas. Director Guest and screenwriter Nigel Kneale balance tight, Hawksian action against an eerie, insistent sense of the supernatural. With evocative b&w photography by veteran Hammer cameraman Arthur Grant (HELL IS A CITY.)

THE CREEPING UNKNOWN (aka THE QUATERMASS XPERIMENT), 1956, MGM/UA, 82 min. Along with its sequel QUATERMASS 2 and Don Siegel's INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS, our choice hands down for the scariest science-fiction film from the 1950’s. Brian Donlevy stars as writer Nigel Kneale's no-nonsense rocket scientist Quatermass, bent on unlocking the mysteries of space, even if it means his only surviving astronaut (Richard Wordsworth) slowly mutates into an octopus-like blob monster! Val Guest to introduce screenings.

 

Sunday, September 22 – 4:00 PM

Director Val Guest In Person!

TOOMORROW, 1970, 95 min. Dir. Val Guest. Hard to believe, but this film actually exists. Olivia Newton-John stars as lead singer with groovy British pop band "Toomorrow" whose "Josie & The Pussycats"-style tunes draw the attention of music-hungry aliens, the Alphoids(!!). The extraterrestrials kidnap Livvy and bandmates, and transport them to their shimmering, Pop Art space module so they can re-invigorate the astral music scene. TOOMORROW’s genesis sprang from the unholy alliance of James Bond-producer Harry Saltzman and "The Monkees" –svengali Don Kirshner. If you missed it during our Mods & Rockers Fest two years ago, then see it here – it’s not on video, and this is the only print we know of!! Discussion following with director Val Guest.

 

Sunday, September 22 – 6:45 PM

Double Feature:

JIGSAW, 1962, Douris Corp., 107 min. One of Guest’s most criminally underrated films, JIGSAW is a relentless, riveting peephole into the investigation of a woman murdered in coastal Brighton. Jack Warner and Ronald Lewis shine as the bulldog detectives on the case in this refreshingly candid tour of the seedy underbelly of a resort town. Looks forward to the brutal, no-nonsense style of later Brit crime films like GET CARTER. With Yolande Donlan, Michael Goodliffe.

 

STOP ME BEFORE I KILL (aka THE FULL TREATMENT), 1961, Columbia, 109 min. Dir. Val Guest. Race car driver Ronald Lewis and saucy French bride Diane Cilento are plagued by marital woes when a freak car accident on their Riviera honeymoon causes the concussed Lewis to have impulses to strangle his loyal mate! In a race against time, suave French psychiatrist Claude Dauphin attempts to break down Lewis’ wall of mounting psychosis before the seemingly inevitable can come to pass. Director Val Guest and actress Yolande Donlan (JIGSAW) to introduce screening.