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


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Series compile by: Chris D.
Special Thanks to: Suzanne Leroy, Jared Sapolin and Helena Brissenden/SONY REPERTORY; Bob Mirowski and Sage Stallone/GRINDHOUSE RELEASING; Harry Guerro; Amy Lewin/MGM REPERTORY; Emily Horn/PARAMOUNT; Nico B./CULT EPICS.

 

 

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 $10 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. Barry King. Aero Theatre exterior.

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<<< July 11 - 24, 2008 >>>

Italian Grindhouse: Assault of the Deadly Celluloid

 

An Egyptian Theatre exclusive!

 

From the early 1960s throughout the 1970s, Italy supplied some of the most flat-out entertaining genre pictures in the world. Sword-and-sandal peplum, Gothic horror, spaghetti westerns, nunsploitation, spy opuses, giallo thrillers and poliziotteschi (crime actioners) – many found their way into second-tier American movie theatres at one time or another (and now, into an ever-widening market of DVD releases). Following our popular giallo weekend two years ago, we’re happy to once more delve into the treasure trove of Italian cinematic blasts-from-the-past, screening movies that are sure to put a smile on the face of the most jaded, Euro-exploitation film fiend. Showcased are rarely screened spaghetti westerns THE BIG GUNDOWN and THE MERCENARY, crime films THE VIOLENT PROFESSIONALS, BIG GUNS (French star Alain Delon’s sole foray into the Italian genre), THE FAMILY (with Charles Bronson), Tinto Brass’ Pop Art giallo DEADLY SWEET and his freaky piece of psychedelia THE HOWL, as well as encore presentations of Dario Argento’s 4 FLIES ON GREY VELVET, THE BIRD WITH THE CRYSTAL PLUMAGE and DEEP RED (if you’ve only seen Argento’s latest MOTHER OF TEARS, be sure to check out these gems from earlier in his career), Umberto Lenzi’s ASSAULT WITH A DEADLY WEAPON and ALMOST HUMAN and more! (Please note: Many of these are original 35mm prints from the era and, though in reasonably good condition, there has been slight fading of color and wear-and-tear on some prints. A few films are being screened from a digital video source – see individual film listings. All films are dubbed-in-English, unless otherwise noted.)

 

Friday, July 11 – 7:30 PM

Spaghetti Western Double Feature:

THE BIG GUNDOWN, 1966, Sony Repertory, 91 min. Dir. Sergio Sollima. Bounty hunter Corbett (Lee Van Cleef) is hired by wealthy Brokston (Walter Barnes) to hunt down bandit Cuchillo (Tomas Milian) for the rape murder of a teenage girl. But as Corbett tracks the cagey fugitive, he starts to have his doubts about Cuchillo’s guilt and to wonder if there is more at stake than Brokston is letting on. One of the great spaghetti westerns, abetted by one of Ennio Morricone’s most beautiful scores, GUNDOWN compares favorably with the best of Leone’s Eastwood trilogy. NOT ON DVD

CUTTHROATS NINE, 1972, Grindhouse Releasing, 90 min. Joaquin Romero Marchent directed this notorious Spanish-Italian western. A cavalry troop escorts chained convicts through a treacherous mountain range. When the convoy is attacked by bandits, the balance of power shifts, and the only surviving soldier (Robert Hundar) must still somehow transport the prisoners in addition to protecting his teenage daughter (Emma Cohen). Labeled by fans as one of the goriest Euro westerns ever made, the American distributors dispensed "terror masks" to audience patrons on its initial release.

 

Saturday, July 12 – 7:30 PM

Giallo Triple Feature:

4 FLIES ON GREY VELVET (4 MOSCHE DI VELLUTO GRIGIO), 1971, Paramount, 104 min. Michael Brandon is a rock drummer who thinks he accidentally killed the strange man who was following him. Mimsy Farmer is his high-strung wife, and Bud Spencer is "God," Brandon’s pal who lives in a shack by the river. Soon a maniac blackmails Brandon with photos of the "killing" and begins murdering people in horrible ways, all set to a creepy Ennio Morricone score. One of Dario Argento’s hardest-to-see pictures. Don’t miss this super-rare screening! NOT ON DVD.

BIRD WITH THE CRYSTAL PLUMAGE (L’UCCELLO DALLE PIUME DI CRISTALLO), 1970, 96 min. Director Dario Argento’s debut feature was a huge success and codified the classic giallo thriller formula. Visiting American writer Tony Musante witnesses an attempted murder when he becomes trapped in an art gallery. He fails to glimpse the assailant’s face, but the black-clad killer starts dogging his trail when not busy dispatching beautiful women. Suzy Kendall is Musante’s girl. A great cast join in the fun, including disturbed gallery owner Eva Renzi, hit man Reggie Nalder and cat-loving painter Mario Adorf. With perhaps Morricone’s greatest giallo score.

RED RINGS OF FEAR (ENIGMA ROSSO), 1978, 85 min. Director Alberto Negrin wraps up the SOLANGE trilogy in this giallo where more sexually precocious schoolgirls bite the dust. Fabio Testi is the police inspector on the murderer’s trail, and Christine Kaufmann is his girlfriend. Chock-full of red herrings, perverse twists, sleazy situations, outrageous dialogue and an out-of-left-field climax, punctuated by Riz Ortolani’s groovy score. (Screened from a digital video source.) NOT ON DVD

 

Sunday, July 13 – 7:30 PM

Italian Crime Double Feature:

THE VIOLENT PROFESSIONALS (MILANO TREMA – LA POLIZIA VUOLE GIUSTIZIA), 1973, Grindhouse Releasing, 104 min. Giallo master Sergio Martino helmed other genre pictures, too, including this ultra-violent and subversive poliziotteschi. Ferocious cop Luc Merenda (TORSO) swears revenge when his boss is murdered. He infiltrates a prostitution ring, but soon uncovers evidence of a major political conspiracy. Right-wing politicians are secretly manipulating radicals as pawns so they’ll have an excuse to step in and order a major clampdown. Co-starring Richard Conte.

BIG GUNS (TONY ARZENTA), 1973, 90 min. Dir. Duccio Tessari. Alain Delon stars in his only Italian crime film as Tony Arzenta, a Sicilian hit man hoping to retire so he can concentrate on a peaceful life with his wife and son. His superior Richard Conte is not happy, and a coterie of bosses decides to eliminate him. But when his wife and son are the accidental victims, Delon goes on a clandestine rampage to destroy his former associates. With Carla Gravina, Nicoletta Machiavelli, Erika Blanc, Anton Diffring. NOT ON DVD

 

Thursday, July 17 – 7:30 PM

Double Feature:

DEEP RED (PROFONDO ROSSO), 1975, 106 min. Dir. Dario Argento. From the opening with a child slashing someone and a bloody knife dropping to the floor, we’re plunged into an ever-deepening pool of repressed terrors. David Hemmings is a pianist sucked into an undertow of escalating homicide after he witnesses the murder of psychic Macha Meril. One of Argento’s most justly-famous gialli, where something as simple as a lizard writhing on the floor could represent a child’s wounded psyche, bound some day to erupt in spectacular fits of murder. With Daria Nicolodi. More on this movie!

THE SECRET OF DORIAN GRAY (IL DIO CHIAMATO DORIAN), 1970, 93 min. Massimo Dallamano (WHAT HAVE THEY DONE TO SOLANGE?) directs this Mod, super-trashy update on Oscar Wilde’s classic. Narcissistic youth Dorian (Helmut Berger) has his portrait painted by his artist friend Basil (Richard Todd). As time passes and he falls into an ever-more-decadent lifestyle, he remains perpetually young. However, his painting registers every bit of his depravity, drawing him deeper into an inescapable nightmare, culminating in murder. With Herbert Lom, Marie Liljedahl, Margaret Lee. NOT ON DVD More on this movie!

 

 

Friday, July 18 – 7:30 PM

Tomas Milian/Umberto Lenzi Crime Triple Feature:

ASSAULT WITH A DEADLY WEAPON (ROMA A MANO ARMATA), 1976, Grindhouse Releasing, 80 min. Director Umberto Lenzi (SPASMO) turns out one of the most gonzo, over-the-top Euro crime films you’ll ever see, a picture that compares favorably in pace and impact to Kinji Fukasaku’s 1970s yakuza thrillers. Maurizio Merli is the hot-tempered cop on the trail of wisecracking hunchback "Il Gobbo" (charismatic Tomas Milian), a psycho thief who occasionally enjoys machine- gunning innocent bystanders just for the hell of it! With Arthur Kennedy, Ivan Rassimov. NOT ON DVD

ALMOST HUMAN (MILANO ODIA: LA POLIZIA NON PUO SPARERE), 1974, 90 min. Umberto Lenzi’s "I-can’t-believe-what-I’m-seeing-on-screen" epic. Big-mouth sociopath Tomas Milian convinces his crime partners to kidnap the teen daughter of a wealthy businessman. But things go wrong, spurring resentful Milian to massacre an astounding number of people who cross his path at the wrong moment. Refusing to render a happy ending for anyone, including hardboiled cop Henry Silva, and set to a throbbing score by Ennio Morricone, this is a shocking 1970s pulp classic. More on this movie!

THE CYNIC, THE RAT AND THE FIST (IL CINICO, L’INFAME, IL VIOLENTO), 1977, 100 min. Dir. Umberto Lenzi. Maurizio Merli reprises his role as the apoplectic cop from ASSAULT WITH A DEADLY WEAPON. This time he’s going after small-time crime boss Tomas Milian, who is allied with big-shot New York mobster John Saxon. But shrewd Milian ("The Cynic") is maneuvering to play lawman Merli ("The Fist") and Saxon ("The Rat") off against each other. ASSAULT composer Franco Micalizzi supplies another pulse-pounding score. (Screened from a digital video source.) NOT ON DVD

 

Saturday, July 19 – 7:30 PM

Super-Rare Tinto Brass Double Feature:

DEADLY SWEET (COL CUORE IN GOLA), 1967, Cult Epics, 107 min. A psychedelic giallo by Tinto Brass, starring Ewa Aulin (CANDY) and Jean-Louis Trintignant. After finding his business contact murdered, a French actor protects the young woman he discovers at the scene and decides to hunt the killers himself. A mind-bending series of Pop Art visuals follows as he plunges into the London underworld, created by renowned erotic cartoonist Guido Crepax (Valentina). Unseen since its initial release, the film’s two leads went on to co-star in the legendary DEATH LAID AN EGG the very next year. In Italian with English subtitles. (Screened from a digital video source.) NOT ON DVD More on this movie!

 

THE HOWL (L’URLO), 1970, Cult Epics, 93 min. A surrealist classic by Tinto Brass, filled with eye-shattering imagery, visual jokes, impossible characters, riotous comedy and punk rock well before its time. A bride escapes her wedding with a stranger, and together they trek though increasingly bizarre lands. They come across talking animals, mournful exhibitionists and a psychedelic hotel, instigate a prison riot, escape from cannibals and battle a wind-up midget dictator! Featuring Tina Aumont and Italy's great clown Luigi Proietti, cavorting in the anarchist spirit of the 1960s. In Italian with English subtitles. (Screened from a digital video source.) NOT ON DVD More on this movie.

 

 

Sunday, July 20 – 7:30 PM

Sergio Corbucci Spaghetti Western Double Feature:

New 35mm Print: THE MERCENARY (IL MERCENARIO), 1968, MGM Repertory, 105 min. Franco Nero is a Polish dandy-cum-mercenary who becomes uneasy allies with Mexican revolutionary Tony Musante in this action-packed, very entertaining and often very funny spaghetti western. Jack Palance is in rare form as their nemesis, a prissy bounty hunter with a sadistic sense of humor. Quentin Tarantino reused Ennio Morricone’s "L’Arena" piece from the soundtrack to stirring effect in KILL BILL: VOL. II. Director Sergio Corbucci went on to reprise the same general storyline with Nero, Palance and Tomas Milian with COMPAŅEROS in 1971. NOT ON DVD. More on this movie!

New 35mm Print: NAVAJO JOE, 1966, MGM Repertory, 93 min. Dir. Sergio Corbucci (THE GREAT SILENCE). Burt Reynolds (himself part Indian) is Joe, the lone-wolf Navajo, in one of his first lead movie roles. When his wife is butchered by scalphunters led by the ultra-cruel Aldo Sambrell, Joe agrees to help the neighboring town recover its gold shipment that was stolen by the lawless bunch. Ennio Morricone (under pseudonym Leo Nichols) contributes a score that ranks alongside THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY as one of his most exhilarating (Tarantino again reprised a piece from this soundtrack in KILL BILL: VOL. II.) More on this movie!

 

 

Thursday, July 24 – 7:30 PM

Italian Crime Double Feature:

THE FAMILY (CITTA VIOLENTA aka VIOLENT CITY), 1970, 100 min. Dir. Sergio Sollima. Killer Charles Bronson is chased by double-crossers while on a vacation with main squeeze Jill Ireland and, after mucho mayhem, left for dead. But Bronson re-emerges from prison to hunt through the New Orleans underworld for his traitorous comrades. He gets more than he bargains for, running into duplicitous Ireland and her new hubby, mob boss Telly Savalas who wants to hire Bronson -- and won’t take no for an answer. "One stylish action scene after another…whipped into a frenzy by Ennio Morricone's shredded electro soundtrack..." – Grady Hendrix, New York Sun More on this movie!

CALIBER 9 (MILANO CALIBRO 9), 1972, 100 min. Right at the top of the finest crime films from maestro, Fernando Di Leo (THE BOSS, MISTER SCARFACE, TO BE TWENTY). Tough guy, Ugo (Gastone Moschin) is released from stir only to be harassed by an abusive police inspector (the great Frank Wolff in one of his final roles) and former gang partners led by sadistic Mario Adorf. Both want to know the location of stolen loot. Ugo is a surprisingly complex, misfit loner, but is as ruthless as his enemies. He hooks up with former girlfriend Barbara Bouchet and pal Philippe Leroy to try to even the odds. (Screened from a digital video source.) NOT ON DVD.