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American Cinematheque at the Aero Theatre Presents...
Movies on the Big Screen Since 1940!
1328 Montana Avenue at 14th Street in Santa Monica

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Series programmed by: Philippe Muyl: Gwen Deglise.

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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.

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Tickets are $9 general admission unless noted otherwise.
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The American Cinematheque was awarded 4 Stars by Charity Navigators for successfully managing the finances of the organization in an efficient and effective manner as compared to other non-profits in America.
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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 newly re-opened and renovated Aero Theatre at 1328 Montana Avenue in Santa Monica and at the magnificently renovated, historic 1922 Grauman's Hollywood Egyptian Theatre. Located at 6712 Hollywood Boulevard.
Photo Credit: Barry Gerber. Aero Theatre (c) 2004.

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<<< Monthly 2006 >>>

Film Critic Kevin Thomas' Favorite Films:

 

 

Kevin Thomas

Filmmakers in the indie, experimental, foreign, avant-garde or,until very recently, documentary fields desperately need critics. Lacking money for a promotional campaign and forced to rely on word-of-mouth, these filmmakers have found no better friend over the past 40-plus years than Kevin Thomas of the Los Angeles Times.

Hard to believe there once was a time in antediluvian Los Angeles when major critics shunned anything with subtitles. And drive-in movies were certainly beyond the pale. So it fell to Kevin to alert Angelenos to the French New Wave and to such giants as Akira Kurosawa, Ingmar Bergman, Federico Fellini, Luchino Visconti and Andrei Tarkovsky. He also discovered talented newcomers doing interesting work in films from Roger Corman and American International Pictures. Indeed, he was the first journalist to interview a young actor named Jack Nicholson.

His love of avant-garde and experimental films led him to be the only Los Angeles Times critic to review films by Kenneth Anger and Andy Warhol. Since 1984 his "Special Screenings" column in the Los Angeles Times has been the lifeblood for venues that exhibit films for brief runs or even one night. In short, no one in the Los Angeles critical establishment has done more to create an awareness and appreciation of film culture than Kevin Thomas.

-- Kirk Honeycutt, Los Angeles Film Critics Association

 

Series Kick-Off!

Wednesday, April 19, 2006 – 7:30 PM

Film Critic Kevin Thomas’ Favorites:

Kevin Thomas has picked his ten favorite films to be screened at the Aero – don’t miss this monthly occasion to revisit these classics, including SUNSET BOULEVARD, LOLA MONTES, A STAR IS BORN and many other wonderful movies.

Homage to Shelley Winters

THE NIGHT OF THE HUNTER, 1955, Sony Repertory, 93 min. Actor Charles Laughton’s one excursion behind the camera gave birth to this pantheon movie marvel, Laughton’s simultaneous debut and swan song as a film director. Robert Mitchum is astonishing as a wandering sociopathic preacher who uses his fire-and-brimstone fundamentalism to mask his schemes to bilk money from gullible yokels, and when that doesn’t work, to blithely rob and murder. Puritanical Shelley Winters, left alone with her son and daughter after husband Peter Graves is sent to jail for robbery, is a perfect target for smooth-talking Mitchum who has gotten wind of the hidden loot. Lillian Gish is rock-solid as the elderly matron who shelters the children when they flee with homicidal Mitchum in pursuit. A genuine work of cinematic poetry and a trenchant allegory on the hypocrisy and evil waiting just below the surface in seemingly harmonious communities. Introduction to film by Shelley Winters’ friend, Kevin Thomas.

 

 

Wednesday, May 17, 2006 - 7:30 PM
Kevin Thomas’ Favorite Films:
SUNSET BOULEVARD, 1950, Paramount, 110 min. "I’m ready for my close-up, Mr. De Mille!" Director Billy Wilder created one of his most enduring masterpieces in this dark, glittering poison pen letter to all things Hollywood, told in flashback by murdered screenwriter Joe Gillis (William Holden), whose final job is playing paid-companion to egocentric, aging silent film goddess Norma Desmond (Gloria Swanson). With Erich von Stroheim. Academy Award Winner for Best Screenplay (Wilder, Charles Brackett and D.M. Marshman, Jr.) and Score (Franz Waxman). The original Schwab’s drugstore figures prominently in the film, as does Paramount Studios and the still-standing Alto Nido apartments. Kevin Thomas will introduce screening.

 

 

 

Wednesday, June 14, 2006 - 7:30 PM
Kevin Thomas’ Favorite Films:
IT HAPPENED ONE NIGHT, 1934, Columbia (Sony), 105 min. Dir. Frank Capra. The first film to win all five major Oscars (like a comedy could ever pull that off today) remains a jewel of timing and charm, as runaway bride Claudette Colbert finds herself saddled with pushy reporter Clark Gable, who smells the story of his career. The legendary hitchhiking and "Walls of Jericho" scenes are only the tip of this matchless comic tour de force. Screenplay by Robert Riskin; with Walter Connolly, Alan Hale and Roscoe Karns. Kevin Thomas will introduce the screening.

 

 

 

Thursday, July 13 - 7:30 PM
Kevin Thomas’ Favorites - Celebrate Bastille Day with a classic French film!

CHILDREN OF PARADISE (LES ENFANTS DU PARADIS), 1945, Pathé, 195 min. Directed by the leading French filmmaker of the 30’s, Marcel Carné, and written by the leading French screenwriter of the time, Jacques Prevert, with the set designed by Alexander Trauner, LES ENFANTS DU PARADIS has often been mentioned as the greatest French film of all time. A tragic tale of doomed love between theater mime Baptiste (Jean-Louis Barrault) and Garance (Arletty), a bewitching courtesan actress. Three other men are courting her, Frederick, an unscrupulous pretentious actor, Lacenaire, a ruthless conniving thief, and the rich Count Eduard of Monteray whom Garance is forced to accept protection. Years of loveless relationships for the two lovers keep them apart. "A wicked, worldly, flamboyant film set in Paris in 1828... A sophisticated, cynical portrait of actors, murderers, swindlers, pickpockets, prostitutes, impresarios and the decadent rich. Many of the characters are based on real people, as is its milieu of nightclubs, dives and dens, theaters high and low, and the hiding places of the unsavory." Roger Ebert.

 

 

 

Wednesday, August 16 - 7:30 PM
Kevin Thomas’ Favorites
A STAR IS BORN, 1954, Warner Bros., 170 min. Alcoholic failing star Norman Maine (James Mason) discovers and marries rising matinee idol songbird Esther Blodgett (Judy Garland), in director George Cukor’s emotionally incandescent remake of William Wellman’s 1937 version. Fueled by Garland’s terrifying vulnerability, Cukor’s flawless direction, a superb script by Moss Hart and production designer Gene Allen’s (MY FAIR LADY) brilliant evocation of Hollywood wealth and power, A STAR IS BORN (shown here in the restored, 170 min. version) is an amazing synthesis of on-screen drama, music and behind-the-scenes myth.

 

 

 

Friday, October 20 – 7:30 PM

Kevin Thomas’ Favorites

Brand New Print! GONE WITH THE WIND, 1939, Warner Bros., 222 min. Dir. Victor Fleming. Coquettish, infuriating Southern vixen Scarlett O’Hara (Vivien Leigh) only has eyes for sensitive Ashley Wilkes (Leslie Howard) - but wise-cracking hellraiser Rhett Butler (Clark Gable) is determined to win her heart, even if it takes surviving the burning of Atlanta, the destruction of Scarlett’s beloved Tara, and the overthrow of the Old South itself. Considered by many the high point of grand, Hollywood style filmmaking, and - despite its sometimes questionable depiction of blacks during the Civil War - still one of the most irresistible American epics ever put on screen. Brilliantly mounted by producer David O. Selznick based on Margaret Mitchell’s best-selling novel, with an unforgettable score by Max Steiner. With Olivia de Havilland, Hattie McDaniel (the first African American to win an Academy Award), Thomas Mitchell, Butterfly McQueen, Evelyn Keyes. In addition to McDaniel, it also won Oscars for Best Picture, Director, Actress (Vivien Leigh) and Screenwriter (Sidney Howard). Kevin Thomas will introduce the screening.

 

 

 

Wednesday, November 15 – 7:30 PM

Kevin Thomas’ Favorites

SOME LIKE IT HOT, 1959, MGM Repertory, 120 min. Cross-dressing musicians Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon take it on the lam from the Chicago mob, while luscious Marilyn Monroe falls for a playboy who’s posing as a playgirl. Director Billy Wilder’s insane blend of sexual confusion and flawless slapstick gave his three stars arguably the best comic roles of their careers. Biggest on-set problem? Keeping Curtis and Lemmon from looking too good in women’s clothes. Kevin Thomas will introduce the screening.

 

 

 

Wednesday, December 13 - 7:30 PM
Kevin Thomas’ Favorites
STAGECOACH, 1939, Warner Bros., 96 min. Dir. John Ford. Released in 1939, that banner year for American movies, STAGECOACH, some argue, is not John Ford's greatest western. But surely it is one of the most enduringly enjoyable films of all time. It's the kind of picture that, when you happen upon it airing on TV, you are swiftly hooked, no matter how familiar it is to you. The journey has been a potent metaphor for life's passage as far back as Chaucer and beyond, and here it is especially exciting as a stagecoach full of involving characters, superbly drawn and played, travels through dangerous Indian territory. After a decade in movies John Wayne became a star once and for all time as the Ringo Kid, gallantly defending vulnerable shady lady, Claire Trevor while Thomas Mitchell's drunken doctor won him an Oscar. Also memorable: a shifty John Carradine and Louise Platt's proper gentlewoman. Adapted by Dudley Nichols from Ernest Haycox's story, "Stage to Lordsburg." - Kevin Thomas. Film Critic Kevin Thomas will introduce the screening.