American Cinematheque at the Egyptian Theatre Presents...
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Series Compiled by: Chris D.
Special Thanks to: Mary Tallungan/ DISNEY; Michael Schlesinger/SONY REPERTORY; Amy Lewin/MGM REPERTORY; Marilee Womack/WARNER BROS.; Emily Horn/PARAMOUNT REPERTORY; Caitlin Robertson/20th CENTURY FOX; Sarah Finklea/JANUS FILMS; Paul Ginsburg/UNIVERSAL; Todd Wiener.

 

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 available 30 days in advance. Tickets are $10 general admission unless noted otherwise.
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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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<<< January 4 - February 8, 2007 >>>

Overlooked and Underrated

 

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This is an Egyptian Theatre Exclusive!

 

Just as there are hundreds of movies since the dawn of filmmaking that have broken records at the box office or gone on to become revered, evergreen classics, there are other films that have considerable merit that have not been so fortunate. Many different kinds of movies fall into this Overlooked and/or Underrated category. Some enjoyed initial popular success and good reviews on first release but have faded from view with the passage of time (Powell & Pressburger’s A MATTER OF LIFE AND DEATH, Frank Borzage’s THE MORTAL STORM and THE THREE COMRADES). Others undeservedly received lukewarm reviews and/or a disappointing box office (GONE TO EARTH, FRIENDS OF EDDIE COYLE, THE NICKEL RIDE, BLACK MOON, PLAY DIRTY, OUR MAN IN HAVANA, OUR MOTHER’S HOUSE, THE BEGUILED, TRUE CONFESSIONS). Yet again others were looked upon as program or genre pictures, not necessarily deserving of serious attention (THE TALL TARGET, DEVIL’S DOORWAY, RIDE LONESOME, CHINA GATE, MIRAGE, EXPERIMENT IN TERROR, MISTER CORY). There were even great foreign films that had won awards and wide acclaim but somehow managed to disappear from view for decades (LACOMBE LUCIEN, INVESTIGATION OF A CITIZEN ABOVE SUSPICION). This series – which will become an on-going showcase of hard-to-see films in the future – hopes to at least partially rectify this sorry state of affairs. Please join us for some of these entertaining, often thought-provoking treasures, films screened all-too infrequently on the big screen and many not available yet on DVD.

 

 

 

Thursday, January 4 – 7:30 PM

Powell/Pressburger Double Feature:

GONE TO EARTH, 1950, David O. Selznick Prod. (Walt Disney Co.), 110 min. Written, produced and directed by Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger. One of Powell and Pressburger’s most gloriously mystical films stars the enchanting Jennifer Jones as an orphaned country girl, who lives surrounded by magic, superstition and wild forest animals. David Farrar (BLACK NARCISSUS) co-stars as the bawdy aristocratic squire who finds himself bewitched by Jones’ charms, and Cyril Cusack is the country parson who loves her. Released in a tragically-shortened version in the U.S. as THE WILD HEART, this is a restored print of the full-length British version. NOT ON DVD.

A MATTER OF LIFE AND DEATH (aka STAIRWAY TO HEAVEN), 1946, Sony Repertory, 104 min. Written, produced and directed by Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger. This breathtaking meditation on the mercies of love and the cruelties of fate stars David Niven as a WWII pilot pleading his case in Heaven, claiming that he was not meant to die and should be allowed to return to lovely Kim Hunter on earth. Roger Livesey co-stars as the doctor who becomes Niven’s solicitor on the astral plane, with the delightful Marius Goring as a dandified angel who died during the French Revolution.

 

 

Friday, January 5 – 7:30 PM

Neo-Noir Double Feature:

THE FRIENDS OF EDDIE COYLE, 1973, Paramount, 102 min. Director Peter Yates (BULLITT) adapts George V. Higgins’ brilliant slice of Boston low life crime novel. Robert Mitchum is at his finest as streetwise Eddie Coyle, a blue collar fence squeezed between the Feds and his hoodlum cohorts, all the while trying to support his family. Cynical young cop Richard Jordan, hep gun dealer Steven Keats, bank robber Alex Rocco and sociopathic bartender Peter Boyle all use Eddie in one way or another for their own ends. And Eddie plays all ends against the middle, trying to survive and pick up a little change on the side. Gritty and grim, shot completely on Boston locations and full of some of the most wonderfully pungent dialogue this side of GOODFELLAS. NOT ON DVD

THE NICKEL RIDE, 1974, 20th Century Fox, 99 min. Dir. Robert Mulligan (TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD). A superb neo-noir with Jason Miller (THE EXORCIST) as the can-do man who holds keys to stolen goods depots in downtown Los Angeles. Charged by his syndicate boss, urbane John Hillerman, with buying up an unused block of warehouses for more storage, Miller starts to encounter problems. Like an unraveling ball of yarn, trivial difficulties snowball out-of-control, threatening not only his ‘career’ but his life. Beautifully realized, from the low-key performances to the evocation of a dying-on-the-vine downtown - whole blocks of which have not changed much since the making of this film. The gradual building of suspense and the aura of impending doom - a feeling so borderline we're not sure if Miller’s just being paranoid - is intensely disturbing. Bo Hopkins is the friendly good ole boy apprentice Miller gets saddled with and Linda Haynes, Miller’s understanding girl. NOT ON DVD. Discussion in between films with actor Bo Hopkins (THE NICKEL RIDE).

 

 

Saturday, January 6 – 7:30 PM

Louis Malle Double Feature:

BLACK MOON, 1975, Janus Films, 100 min. Out of circulation for years – at least in the USA - director Louis Malle’s hard-to-see surrealist, adult fairy tale finally became available again thanks to Janus Films. Fifteen-year-old Cathryn Harrison (granddaughter of Rex) is fleeing cross-country in the wake of a war between men and women, finding refuge in a manor (director Malle’s own estate) inhabited by an old lady (Therese Giehse) and a brother and sister (Joe Dallesandro, Alexandra Stewart). Much of the film is set to music and sound effects, with a minimum of dialogue spoken (some of it from animals!). Malle purposely defies logic at every turn, conjuring a world of dreams - and nightmares - as refuge from the crushing tyranny of modern reality. Unicorns, wild naked children, the breastfeeding of an old woman, and a gigantic pig all figure into the mix. Unique and wonderfully strange. NOT ON DVD

LACOMBE LUCIEN, 1974, Janus Films, 141 min. Possibly director Louis Malle’s most uncompromising film tracks 18-year-old Lucien (Pierre Blaise), a farmboy who tries to join the French Resistance during the closing days of WWII. When he is rejected after being judged too unreliable, he joins the Vichy forces collaborating with the Nazis. His coarse ignorance and absence of feeling – particularly when witnessing torture – seem to paint him as pure sociopath. But his adoption as surrogate family of a Jewish tailor (Holger Lowenadler), in hiding with his mother and his beautiful daughter (Aurore Clement), show his character to be more complex. Straightforward and matter-of-fact, Malle refuses to judge his characters or manipulate audience emotions with standard Hollywood plot devices. As a result, Malle creates one of his most deeply moving films. "Malle's toughest, most rueful, least sentimental film. Like the extraordinary Marcel Ophuls documentary, THE SORROW AND THE PITY, the film refuses to identify heroes and villains with certainty." – Vincent Canby, New York Times

 

 

Sunday, January 7 – 7:30 PM

Anthony Mann Double Feature:

THE TALL TARGET, 1951, Warner Bros., 78 min. A real treasure from director Anthony Mann starring Dick Powell as a detective (named, oddly enough, John Kennedy!) who tries to stop an assassin from gunning down President Lincoln on a night train from New York to Washington in 1861. Almost a blueprint for the smart, modern American action movie (see Wolfgang Petersen’s IN THE LINE OF FIRE, for one), full of twists, turns and characters who are not always who they seem to be. One of Mann’s most thrilling, pure entertainments. With sterling support from Adolphe Menjou, Paula Raymond, Ruby Dee, Marshall Thompson and Will Geer. NOT ON DVD

DEVIL’S DOORWAY, 1950, Warner Bros., 84 min. Director Anthony Mann’s first true western (before the more well-known James Stewart masterpieces), this is the story of a highly decorated Native American (Robert Taylor) who fought for the Union during the Civil War – and returns home to find his land seized by the Federal Government. A groundbreakingly fearless look at what are still controversial topics today, including racism, genocide, eminent domain and women’s struggle for equality (Paula Raymond, as Taylor’s inexperienced, novice lawyer!). Manns totally uncompromising, unsentimental portrait of the birth - and rape - of the American West is superbly photographed by John Alton (his last film with Mann). A scarily cold-hearted Louis Calhern co-stars as the unrepentant, bigoted land agent. NOT ON DVD

 

 

 

Thursday, January 11 – 7:30 PM

War Is Hell Double Feature:

CHINA GATE, 1957, Paramount, 97 min. Coerced by promises from hardbitten mercenary Gene Barry of getting her bastard son to America, gorgeous Eurasian Lucky Legs (Angie Dickinson) agrees to help Barry and his partners (including Nat King Cole) on their jungle trek to destroy a Viet-Cong munitions dump on the border of China and French Viet-Nam. The catch is racist Barry is the father of the boy, and Dickinson’s part in the scheme is to romance the arms depot’s Viet-Cong commander (played by Lee Van Cleef!). A super-hardboiled and deeply felt essay on then-current world events by master filmmaker, Sam Fuller. NOT ON DVD

PLAY DIRTY, 1968, MGM Repertory, 117 min. Director Andre de Toth pushes his pragmatism and cynicism to their furthest extremes here. Michael Caine stars as a skeptical, inexperienced officer leading his team on an eccentric and dangerous mission to blow up German fuel dumps in North Africa. A film about the sheer mechanics of survival in alien territory (against sand-storms, land-mines as well as your own commanding officers!). A war film without illusions, so sharp and nasty you could cut your hand on it. Co-starring Nigel Davenport, Nigel Green, Harry Andrews."De Toth’s characters always move in a treacherous world where deception and cynicism are always aimed at one goal: survival." – Martin Scorsese. NOT ON DVD

 

 

 

Sunday, January 14 – 7:30 PM

Alec Guinness Double Feature:

OUR MAN IN HAVANA, 1959, Sony Repertory, 111 min. Director Carol Reed’s (THE THIRD MAN) amusingly droll souffle of a film of Graham Greene’s novel received only lukewarm reviews upon its initial release, but is more impressive with each passing year. Alec Guinness is single father, Jim Wormold, a vacuum cleaner salesman in pre-Castro Cuba trying to bring up his teenage daughter. Strapped for money, Guinness accepts when he’s asked by Englishman, Hawthorne (Noel Coward) to spy for his country, but he proves inept at recruiting contacts. On the advice of friend, Dr. Hasselbacher (Burl Ives), he decides to make them up, as well as the information he passes along. Before he knows it, pleased UK bosses send him a secretary (Maureen O’Hara), and rival Soviet agents begin trying to eliminate him. A great, knowing satire about the unreliability of intelligence-gathering, something more prescient today than ever. With the great Ernie Kovacs as the smoothly sinister captain of police. NOT ON DVD

THE DETECTIVE, 1954, Sony Repertory, 91 min. Dir. Robert Hamer. Alec Guinness portrays G. K. Chesterton’s mild-mannered, but very shrewd detective, Father Brown. Pursuing dapper jewel thief, Flambeau (Peter Finch) through England and France, Brown is as eager to save the man’s soul as to recover the loot. Constantly amusing, with a formidable cast that also includes Joan Greenwood and Bernard Lee (M in the early Bond films) as a police inspector whose patience is sorely tested by the amateur sleuth cleric. "The near-sighted priest, who learns the secrets of unarmed combat from some of the tougher members of his flock, is admirably brought to life by Guinness. His performance, good though it is, does not overshadow a first-class thesping job by Peter Finch as the international thief who likes to collect the rare treasures he cannot afford."Variety NOT ON DVD

 

 

Wednesday, January 17 – 7:30 PM

Double Feature:

OUR MOTHER’S HOUSE, 1967, Warner Bros., 104 min. Afraid of being sent to an orphanage, seven children living in a decrepit London house decide to keep it a secret when their Mother dies. Led by eldest, Elsa (Margaret Brooks), they bury her in the garden, then go about their routine: school, shopping, cashing Mother’s monthly check. The desire to keep contact with Mom via seances using their sister, Diana (Pamela Franklin) as medium and the curiosity of a schoolteacher and a nosy ex-housekeeper enamored of leopard-skin coats (a delightfully vulgar Yootha Joyce) erodes the innocent clan’s self-assurance. When their ‘father,’ Charlie (Dirk Bogarde) suddenly shows up, rescue seems at hand. However, he’s revealed to be a manipulatng, hard-drinking layabout, and things take an ugly turn. Director Jack Clayton (THE INNOCENTS; THE PUMPKIN EATER), no stranger to films dealing sympathetically, yet realistically, with children, helmed this lesser-known, but no-less-worthy saga of urban Gothic jeopardy. NOT ON DVD

THE BEGUILED, 1971, Universal, 105 min. Don Siegel (DIRTY HARRY) directed this hypnotic American Gothic of a wounded Yankee soldier (Clint Eastwood) holed up in a rural finishing school of sexually voracious Southern belles during the Civil War. Eastwood’s complex, double-edged peformance is one of his greatest. Geraldine Page is the tragically-repressed schoolmistress who finds herself falling for her ‘prisoner’, and Elizabeth Hartman is the delicate flower who might just end up being Eastwood’s salvation. Critics were initially divided on the film, and it proved a financial flop at the box office. But its reputation has grown steadily, many now believing it one of Siegel and Eastwood’s best. With Jo Ann Harris, Mae Mercer. "Combining the conventions of both Western and Grand Guignol chiller, and often directed as if it were an art movie, this is one of Siegel and Eastwood's strangest - and most beguiling - collaborations."Time Out

 

 

 

Friday, January 19 – 7:30 PM

Budd Boetticher Triple Feature:

RIDE LONESOME, 1959, Sony Repertory, 73 min. Dir. Budd Boetticher. A complex, poetic revenge tragedy starring Randolph Scott as a sheriff-turned bounty hunter, using a young desperado (James Best) to flush out his murderous older brother (Lee Van Cleef). Scott’s final act of absolution at the hanging tree ranks with John Wayne’s last moments in THE SEARCHERS. Andrew Sarris’ description of Budd’s westerns "constructed partly as allegorical odysseys and partly as floating poker games" was never more apt. With Pernell Roberts ("Bonanza"), James Coburn. NOT ON DVD

THE TALL T, 1957, Sony Repertory, 78 min. Dir. Budd Boetticher. Tense, sexually ambiguous story of rancher Randolph Scott kidnapped by killer Richard Boone (Paladin from "Have Gun, Will Travel," in a career-making performance) and his gun-happy henchmen. Brilliantly scripted by Burt Kennedy (based on an Elmore Leonard story), THE TALL T switches effortlessly from folksy humor to tragic violence, leaving the viewer literally breathless. "In every one of the Scott pictures, I felt I could have traded Randy’s part with the villain’s." – Budd Boetticher. With Henry Silva, Maureen O’Sullivan. NOT ON DVD

COMANCHE STATION, 1960, Sony Repertory, 74 min. Dir. Budd Boetticher. In the last of the Ranown westerns cycle, Randolph Scott buys a white woman (Nancy Gates) back from the Indians, hoping to find his wife. Instead, he finds himself locked in a lethal struggle with a bounty hunter to return the woman to her husband for a large reward. Claude Akins is wonderfully serpentine as Scott’s perpetually smiling, unapologetically mercenary nemesis. With Richard Rust. NOT ON DVD

 

 

 

Saturday, January 20 – 7:30 PM

Suspense Thriller Double Feature:

MIRAGE, 1965, Universal, 108 min. Director Edward Dmytryk (MURDER, MY SWEET) delivers one of his best later pictures, expertly returning to noir territory with a modern sensibility and Hitchcockian style. During a New York skyscraper blackout, a high-powered executive falls to his death, and accountant Gregory Peck loses 90% of his memory. He enlists the help of new acquaintance Diane Baker and private eye Walter Matthau to help him uncover his past. Peck can only remember a couple of people who know him, and they inevitably turn up dead. From then on, all bets are off – the killers (George Kennedy, Kevin McCarthy) want Peck out of the way, too. A marvelous puzzler with brain-twisting turns that point the way to later thrillers like MEMENTO. NOT ON DVD

RETURN FROM THE ASHES,1965, MGM Repertory, 105 min. Post-WWII, doctor Ingrid Thulin (WILD STRAWBERRIES) returns after a grueling sojourn in a Nazi concentration camp, only to find that her daughter, alcoholic Samantha Eggar (THE COLLECTOR), is the mistress of stepfather (and Thulin’s non-Jewish husband) Maximilian Schell. Before Thulin can reveal her true identity, Schell – believing his mate long dead – approaches her because of the resemblance, hoping to use her in a scam to seize his ‘late’ wife’s assets. Still-in-love with her mercenary spouse, Thulin decides to go along with the ruse. Schell and Eggar are not nice people, and their schemes gradually pull Thulin into an ever-more-deadly game of cat-and-mouse. A fascinating, unjustly forgotten psychological suspenser, full of great performances, from underrated director J. Lee Thompson (THE GUNS OF NAVARONE). NOT ON DVD

 

 

 

Sunday January 21 – 7:30 PM

Neo-Noir Double Feature:

TRUE CONFESSIONS, 1981, MGM Repertory, 108 min. Circa 1948, Robert Duvall is a hardnosed cop and Robert DeNiro is his brother, an enterprising monsignor rising behind-the-scenes with high-powered Catholic members of Los Angeles’ political elite. When a young actress is gruesomely murdered ( la the Black Dahlia), Duvall believes one of DeNiro’s high-profile parishioners, former-pimp-and-current building contractor, Jack Amsterdam (Charles Durning) may be involved. Issues of family, guilt, moral responsibility and hypocrisy collide in screenwriter John Gregory Dunne and Joan Didion’s screenplay from Dunne’s novel. Director Ulu Grosbard’s (STRAIGHT TIME) focuses on character and the personal terrain of missed emotional and spiritual opportunities, rather than a standard whodunit, something that led critics to damn the movie with faint praise. One of the great lost films of the 1980’s. NOT ON DVD

NIGHT OF THE FOLLOWING DAY, 1968, Universal, 93 min. In director Hubert Cornfield’s minimalist, dreamlike suspense thriller, young heiress Pamela Franklin is snatched by fake chauffeur Marlon Brando, his junkie stewardess girlfriend Rita Moreno, her hulking brother Jess Hahn and a cheerfully sadistic double-crosser, Richard Boone. Originally dismissed by critics, NIGHT’S reputation has steadily grown over the last few decades to emerge as one of Brando’s best 1960’s pictures as well as one of the most cinematic and creepy of neo-noirs.

 

 

 

Wednesday, January 31 – 7:30 PM

Frank Borzage Double Feature:

THREE COMRADES, 1938, Warner Bros., 98 min. Three German soldiers who are best friends and WWI survivors return to civilian life, facing an uncertain future full of economic and political upheaval. For Robert Taylor, there is the love of Margaret Sullavan to help compensate for the hardships of the era, but comrades Robert Young and Franchot Tone are swept up in the turmoil of the times, reacting with both idealism and cynicism. Director Frank Borzage, producer Joseph Mankiewicz and screenwriter F. Scott Fitzgerald (!) adapt Erich Maria Remarque’s novel of life during the Weimar Republic period to profound affect in this largely forgotten and moving romantic tragedy. "…a beautiful film, even an unforgettable one, because of the work of Frank Borzage and Margaret Sullavan." – Dan Callahan, Slant Magazine NOT ON DVD

THE MORTAL STORM, 1940, Warner Bros., 100 min. In 1933 Germany, Margaret Sullavan’s family is splintered when her fiancee (Robert Young) and brothers (Robert Stack, William T. Orr) join the burgeoning Nazi Party. What begins as an idyll of tolerance and pursuit of enlightenment comes crashing down when their village is transformed into part of a fear-filled police-state. Sullavan’s Jewish stepfather (Frank Morgan), a beloved professor, is arrested, and one of the only citizens unafraid to speak up is family friend, James Stewart, with whom Sullavan gradually falls in love. Director Frank Borzage was a wizard at telling reality-based love stories without recourse to cheap sentimentality. "Frank Borzage was that rarity of rarities, an uncompromising romanticist…He plunged into the real world of poverty and oppression, the world of Roosevelt and Hitler…to impart an aura to his characters, not merely through soft focus and a fluid camera, but through a genuine concern with the wondrous inner life of lovers in the midst of adversity." – Andrew Sarris, The American Cinema NOT ON DVD

 

 

 

Thursday, February 1 – 7:30 PM

Blake Edwards Double Feature:

EXPERIMENT IN TERROR, 1962, Sony Repertory, 123 min. Lee Remick is a bank teller whose teenage sister (Stephanie Powers) is kidnapped by creepy, asthmatic Ross Martin (Artemus Gordon on TV’s "The Wild, Wild West"), a sociopathic crook brewing an extortion plot. Glenn Ford is the no-nonsense FBI agent who steps in after a terrified Remick contacts the agency. Director Blake Edwards’ skill at creating dark atmosphere and nailbiting suspense (honed on "Peter Gunn," the TV show he created) presaged his later seemingly contradictory focus on effervescent comedy. After BREAKFAST AT TIFFANY’S and THE PINK PANTHER (both also coincidentally Edwards’ films), composer Henry Mancini graces us with his most memorable (and sinister) score.

MISTER CORY, 1957, Universal, 92 min. Perhaps director Blake Edwards’ most underrated film, this sleeper finds tough slum rat, Cory (Tony Curtis) getting a job as a busboy at an upscale Wisconsin resort. But it’s just the first rung of the ladder for climber, Cory, who will soon end up as a prime mover and shaker in Chicago, manager of one of the city’s classiest gambling houses. The color cinematography belies the saga’s noirish roots, but Edwards is true to his material with a consistently realistic tone and a razor sharp ending. The supporting cast of Martha Hyer, Charles Bickford, Kathryn Grant and Henry Daniell are all fine as is Curtis in one of his best (and least known) performances. NOT ON DVD. Discussion in between films with actress Stefanie Powers (EXPERIMENT IN TERROR).

 

 

Friday, February 2 - 7:30 PM

Dalton Trumbo Double Feature:

LONELY ARE THE BRAVE, 1962, Universal, 107 min. David Miller helmed screenwriter Dalton Trumbo’s mournful masterpiece, a hymn to rugged individualism and freedom slowly being strangled to death by voracious urban development. Kirk Douglas, a Korean war vet, is a footloose cowboy who lives most of his life under the stars, going from job to job, and not adverse to cutting his way through barbwire fences when they get in his way. His uncompromising spirit is severely challenged when he breaks jail after a minor offense, and the entire county’s police force tries to recapture him before he can leave the territory. Walter Matthau is the pursuing sheriff, a thoughtful man with a growing, begrudging admiration for his fugitive, and Gena Rowlands is Douglas’ faithful friend, a woman who fears the world will sooner or later crush him. NOT ON DVD.

COWBOY, 1958, Sony Repertory, 92 min. Delmer Daves directed this lesser known, realistic western starring Glenn Ford as a broke, shorthanded cattle drive boss who has to take on an inexperienced hotel clerk (Jack Lemmon) as a drover and financial partner. Western cliches are discarded, with characters particularly well-drawn, including Brian Donlevy as an ill-fated ex-marshall who joins the drive to leave his disillusion and responsibilities behind him. Although available on DVD, it was compromised by a pan-and-scan transfer - seeing it on the big screen is the only way to truly appreciate Charles Lawton, Jr.’s evocative widescreen cinematography. With a screenplay penned by Dalton Trumbo and Edmund North. Co-starring Anna Kashfi, Dick York, Richard Jaeckel, King Donovan.

 

 

 

Saturday, February 3 - 7:30 PM

Suspense Double Feature:

New 35mm Print! WOMAN OF STRAW, 1964, MGM Repertory, 122 min. Basil Dearden (THE BLUE LAMP; LEAGUE OF GENTLEMEN) directed this crisp and atmospheric suspense thriller with Gina Lollobrigida as a private nurse for despicably mean, invalid tycoon Ralph Richardson. Sean Connery is flawless as Richardson’s sexy, conniving nephew who seduces Lollobrigida. When Richardson is murdered and Lollobrigida framed, is it Connery’s doing? Or someone else? Alexander Knox is the dogged police inspector and Johnny Sekka the butler who may hold the key to the mystery. Although Connery was still doing the Bond films at this point, he gets to stretch a bit here, playing a much more complex character. The velvety black-and-white cinematography was by the great Otto Heller. NOT ON DVD.

New 35mm Print! THE RUNNING MAN, 1963, Sony Repertory, 103 min. This slowly building psychological suspense film undeservedly fell through the cracks. Director Carol Reed (THE THIRD MAN) concentrates almost exclusively on his characters here ( la Patricia Highsmith, who seems an obvious influence), refusing to resort to the usual thriller cliches. Independent pilot Laurence Harvey, embittered by the treatment from his insurance company, fakes his own death to bilk them out of a small fortune. In-love, Lee Remick soon follows her "dead" husband - with his now bleached blond hair - to Spain where the couple hope to start a new life. But suddenly insurance man Alan Bates (whom Remick had met after the funeral) shows up. Is he wise to their scheme or is it a coincidence? Is he really, as he says, just on holiday (and a guy who may be falling in-love with the "grieving widow")? Reed expertly focuses on the uncomfortable dynamic that gradually evolves amongst the three, and we witness their strange, ever-more circuitous conversations, everyone saying more by what they are not saying. Gorgeously photographed in color on Spanish locations by Robert Krasker. NOT ON DVD.

 

 

Sunday, February 4 - 7:30 PM

Marguerite Duras Double Feature:

10:30 PM SUMMER,1966, MGM Repertory, 85 min. Director Jules Dassin (NIGHT AND THE CITY; RIFIFFI) helmed this mesmerizing existential drama written by Marguerite Duras, a melding of amor fou, fugitive-on-the-run melodrama and the tormented inner life of its main protagonist. Middle-aged married couple Melina Mercouri and Peter Finch and young friend Romy Schneider, driving cross-country in Spain, form a potentially explosive love triangle. A fierce rainstorm strands them overnight at a crowded hotel in a small village, and while they are there, the police begin an intense search for a man who has killed his unfaithful lover. Alcoholic Mercouri, obviously loved by spouse Finch, is, by nature, a melancholic, self-destructive person. Her drinking spurs her feelings of inadequacy as she witnesses Finch and Schneider’s obvious chemistry together. By chance, she runs into the fugitive, and spontaneously helps the despairing man make his escape into the lonely countryside. This deeply felt character study is one of Dassin’s finest later films. Charismatic Mercouri gives one of her greatest performances, and Finch and Schneider are likewise standouts. NOT ON DVD.

MADEMOISELLE, 1966, MGM Repertory, 103 min. Dir. Tony Richardson. Jeanne Moreau is stupendous as a provincial schoolteacher in the French countryside, secretly lashing out from her stifling cocoon of sexual repression. She drags earthy farmer Ettore Manni and his son (Keith Skinner) down with her into a whirlpool of humiliating degradation. When Manni finally decides to leave the village, the floodgates literally open, Moreau’s persona exploding in a swath of destruction aimed at implicating Manni. Writer Marguerite Duras penned the screenplay, adapted from a story by Jean Genet (The Thief’s Journal; Our Lady Of The Flowers). Many critics squirmed uncomfortably at the poisonously perverse and seemingly nihilistic subject matter. Yet the film has steadily grown in stature over the years, and is now seen in many quarters as a neglected masterpiece. In French, with English subtitles.

 

 

Thursday, February 8 - 7:30 PM

New 35mm Print! NIGHT OF THE GENERALS, 1967, Sony Repertory, 148 min. An epic murder mystery set in the depths of the Third Reich during the worst days of WWII. Peter O’Toole is alarmingly spot-on as the fastidiously uptight general who is a closet psychopath in the bedroom (he murders prostitutes) as well as on the battlefield. Omar Sharif is the comparatively moral colonel trying to amass evidence against him with the help of French police inspector Philippe Noiret. Corporal Tom Courtenay and paramour Joanna Pettet are the innocent couple caught up in the nightmare. To complicate matters, three other generals (Donald Pleasence, Charles Gray, Harry Andrews) are conspiring to assassinate Hitler. Director Anatole Litvak (SORRY, WRONG NUMBER; THE SNAKE PIT) directed this engrossing psychological study and atmospheric suspenser, a film criminally underrated on its initial release. NOT ON DVD.