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

Click to print Page 1 or Page 2 or Full Text of a Jan./Feb. Calendar!

Click to print Page 1 or Page 2 or Full Text of a Feb./March Calendar!

Series compiled by: Dennis Bartok.

 

Special Thanks to:

John Kirk and Latanya Taylor/MGM-UA; Mike Schlesinger/COLUMBIA PICTURES REPERTORY; Marilee Womack/WARNER BROS. CLASSICS; Paul Ginsburg/UNIVERSAL DISTRIBUTION.

 

SOLD OUT SCREENINGS: There will be a waiting line for Sold Out screenings. Tickets often become available at the door the night of an event.

Sold out programs will be indicated here if sold out 24 hours in advance of screening date.

 

 

All guests are subject to availability. The Cinematheque will offer a refund due to guest cancellations only IF the refund transaction is complete PRIOR to the start of the show.

Tickets available 30 days in advance. Tickets are $9 general admission unless noted otherwise.
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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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<<< February 25 - 26, 2005 >>>

If I Were King: Ronald Colman, Hollywood's Forgotten Superstar

Screenings of these films will take place at the Aero March 4 - 5, 2005.

 

In this age of ready access to films on DVD, video, cable TV and more, is it really possible for an actor to be truly "forgotten?" Perhaps not – but even if the films are available, there are certain performers whose work cries out to be seen, enjoyed and re-appraised, and who deserve far-greater iconic status than they have with today’s audiences. Certainly, the British-born actor Ronald Colman (1891 – 1958) belongs on this list.

One of the few silent film stars who made the successful transition into the sound era, Colman practically created the prototype for the superbly capable, self-deprecating romantic hero later followed by Cary Grant, David Niven, Clark Gable and others, right up to today (it should be said that Colman was undoubtedly influenced himself by the great silent star Douglas Fairbanks Sr.). But in his finest roles – the alcoholic Sydney Carton in A TALE OF TWO CITIES, the pacifist, truth-seeking adventurer Robert Conway in LOST HORIZON, medieval poet Francois Villon in IF I WERE KING – Colman was unmatchable, creating complex, three-dimensional heroes who show one brave face to the world, and another, far more melancholy and introspective one, to themselves. He also added a razor-sharp, self-aware sense of humor that makes his work seem incredibly modern (look at his Bulldog Drummond to see the earliest glimmer of the James Bond prototype.) Colman’s maturity – he was already well into his mid-30’s by the time of his greatest films – lent a gravity and resonance to many of his performances, but also meant that his career as a leading man was essentially over by the time Grant, Gable and the others came to the fore in the late 1930’s and early 1940’s. Colman won the Academy Award for Best Actor for one of his last performances, as a Shakespearean actor in A DOUBLE LIFE in 1948 – but it’s for his irresistible earlier films, where he seems ready and willing to take on the world and all its problems (and suffer the consequences), that he deserves to be remembered, and treasured.

 

Friday, February 25 – 7:15 PM

Double Feature – New 35 mm. Prints!!

LOST HORIZON, 1937, Columbia, 132 min. Ronald Colman is at his finest as the world-beating hero who finds long-sought-for harmony – and love – in the high Himalayan mountains. Director Frank Capra’s flawless adaptation of James Hilton’s novel is that rare film that combines edge-of-your-seat adventure with a truly moving and profound exploration of what it means to be alive and at peace with oneself. Brilliantly mounted on all levels, from the tremendous supporting cast – Jane Wyatt, Edward Everett Horton, Thomas Mitchell, H.B. Warner and Sam Jaffe as the High Lama – to the glorious Shangri-La set, one of the largest ever built in Hollywood. Long available only in a shortened version, LOST HORIZON was finally restored by preservationist Robert Gitt following a 25 year search for footage; we’ll be screening a new 35 mm. print of the long version, courtesy of our friends at Columbia Pictures Repertory!

BULLDOG DRUMMOND, 1929, MGM/UA, 89 min. Dir. F. Richard Jones. Crackling good mystery/romance with Ronald Colman firing on all cylinders as the ex-WWI officer, Captain Hugh "Bulldog" Drummond who makes it his business to seek out trouble. He finds it, in the form of a sadistic trio of thieves out to steal the fortune from lovely Joan Bennett’s uncle. Fans of James Whale’s THE OLD DARK HOUSE should check this out for a similar, almost unclassifiable mixture of Gothic weirdness and black humor. Our thanks to MGM/UA for making a new print of this delirious little gem just for this series!

>> Both films also playing at the Aero on March 4.

 

Saturday, February 26 – 5:00 PM

A TALE OF TWO CITIES, 1935, MGM (Warners), 128 min. Dir. Jack Conway. Producer David O. Selznick’s stunning adapation of Charles Dickens stars Ronald Colman in perhaps his greatest performance as Sydney Carton, the drunken cynic who finds redemption during the French Revolution’s unholy Reign of Terror. A lush, definitive version of one of Dickens’s greatest novels. Colman’s final scenes in the Bastille are among the most unbearably moving in all cinema. Co-starring Basil Rathbone, Elizabeth Allan and the great Edna May Oliver as the fabulously-prickly nurse, Miss Pross.

>> Also playing at the Aero on March 5.

 

Saturday, February 26 – 7:45 PM

Double Feature:

IF I WERE KING, 1938, Paramount (Universal), 101 min. Dir. Frank Lloyd. A role Ronald Colman was born to play, that of real-life medieval poet and rascal Francois Villon ("Where have they gone, the snows of yesteryear?"), who finds himself drawn into swashbuckling high adventure when King Louis XI of France (Basil Rathbone, in a rare good-guy part) calls on him in an hour of need. Comedy genius Preston Sturges wrote the script (based on Justin McCarthy’s oft-filmed play and novel), giving Colman some of his juiciest lines: "Epitaph? What’s that?" "Oh, usually something good about somebody bad … after they’re dead."

THE PRISONER OF ZENDA, 1937, MGM (Warners), 101 min. Dir. John Cromwell. Another perfect Ronald Colman performance in one of Hollywood’s most beloved swashbucklers. Here, he stars in a dual role, as a King forced to go undercover to avoid assassination, and the loyal, look-a-like cousin who takes his place – and finds himself falling in love with the King’s fiancee (Madeleine Carroll). Terrific support from Raymond Massey, Mary Astor, David Niven and Douglas Fairbanks Jr., and featuring one of the most dazzling swordfights ever put on film.

>> Both films also playing at the Aero on March 5.