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


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Series compiled by:Chris D.
Special Thanks to: 

MGM REPERTORY; Dario Argento; UCLA FILM AND TELEVISION ARCHIVE; Quentin Tarantino; Harry Guerro.

 

 

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. Aero Theatre: Barry King.

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<<< July 9 - 16, 2009 >>>

So Sweet, So Perverse: Italian Grindhouse Treasures!

 

An Egyptian Theatre Exclusive!

Also this month: Richard Elfman's FORBIDDEN ZONE at the Egyptian!

From the sublime to the ridiculous, the Italian genre films from the 1960s through the 1970s still remain the gold standard, the Golden Age, the yardstick to measure bigger-than-life greatness in low budget international cult cinema. Rivaled only by the Japanese in the same time period for sheer jaw-dropping wildness, the Italian moviemakers toiled in the salt mines of debased genres – giallo (sexy suspense) thrillers, sword and sandal adventures, spaghetti sagebrush sagas, gothic horror, nunsploitation and, last but not least, polizioteschi or the action-packed crime film. That said, before delving further back in time, we’re kicking off with a double bill from the 1980s-‘90s – Dario Argento’s OPERA and Michele Soavi’s CEMETERY MAN. Also screening are two sexy jet-set, giallo mindbenders with Carroll Baker (PARANOIA and A QUIET PLACE TO KILL); a peplum double bill of Mario Bava’s HERCULES IN THE HAUNTED WORLD and Sergio Corbucci’s DUEL OF THE TITANS (starring muscle-bound icons, Steve Reeves and Gordon Scott); rare spaghetti oaters SARTANA and Corbucci’s MINNESOTA CLAY (starring Cameron Mitchell); groovy, mod "psycho"-delic puzzlers THE NEXT VICTIM and QUEENS OF EVIL and crime masterworks Giuliano Montaldo’s MACHINE GUN MCCAIN (with John Cassavetes!) and Enzo G. Castellari’s HIGH CRIME (with Franco Nero). Don’t miss these Euro Cult treasures!

Thursday, July 9 – 7:30 PM

Double Feature:
OPERA (aka TERROR AT THE OPERA)
, 1987, 100 min. One of director Dario Argento’s greatest masterpieces, OPERA is a tour-de-force of deliriously cinematic setpieces surrounding the murderous production of an operatic version of "Macbeth." (The script was inspired by Argento’s own attempt to mount "Rigoletto"!) Argento’s camera moves like a thing possessed: swooping, gliding, tracking a bullet through a peephole and, in one mindbending shot, whirling around the opera house on raven’s wings. When a prominent opera star suffers a non-fatal car accident, her understudy Betty (Cristina Marsillach) must take on the role of Lady Macbeth. Coincidentally, a deranged madman goes on a homicidal rampage. Co-starring Ian Charleson and Daria Nicolodi (DEEP RED). "…A violent aria of memory, bad luck, the artistic drive and the horror of the stare… If you've pinpointed the identity of the film's killer, it's of little consequence -- the genius of the film lies not in such details but in Argento's operatic attention to death and the way in which the film's killer forces Betty's gaze." – Ed Gonzalez, SlantMagazine.com Trailer

 

CEMETERY MAN (aka DELLAMORTE DELLAMORE), 1996, 105 min. Director Michele Soavi (THE CHURCH, STAGE FRIGHT) adapts Tiziano Sclavi’s darkly humorous graphic novel Dylan Dog into this eccentric, sumptuously photographed zombie film. Rupert Everett is Francesco Dellamorte, a lonely, romantic caretaker who needs to keep killing the undead that stubbornly keep rising from the graves in his cemetery. His best friend is Gnaghi, an obese mute savant (Francois Hadji-Lazaro) who helps him around the graveyard (and falls for a decapitated biker chick!). Dellamorte courts an exotic widow (Anna Falchi), but things take a turn for the worse when she becomes a zombie from her dead husband’s bite, and our hero must pursue his romance beyond the grave. "Strikes a unique tone…Like EVIL DEAD II or RE-ANIMATOR, the film leans into modern comedy, but it also passes through moments of genuine longing and even existential crisis…one unique film and a wake-up call for anyone who thinks recent zombie movies like DAWN OF THE DEAD and 28 DAYS LATER are cool." – Jeffrey M. Anderson, Combustible Celluloid Trailer

 

Friday, July 10 – 7:30 PM

Carroll Baker Giallo Double Feature:

PARANOIA (aka ORGASMO), 1968, 91 min. Dir. Umberto Lenzi. "Love is the tool that strips a jet-set widow bare of her morals and her millions!" A superbly entertaining Euro-trash psychodrama with love-starved widow Carroll Baker victimized by an unscrupulous, smart-aleck playboy (Lou Castel) and his vixenish, bisexual "sister" (Colette Descombes) in an escalating series of mind games. A tremendously enjoyable mix of Hitchcockian suspense and VALLEY OF THE DOLLS-style histrionics, fueled by Baker’s wonderfully uninhibited performance. The glamorous Baker starred in numerous Italian genre films in the late 1960s through the mid-1970s, including four giallo thrillers directed by the ever-reliable Lenzi – this is one of the best. NOT ON DVD.

A QUIET PLACE TO KILL (aka A DRUG CALLED HELEN), 1970, 94 min. Director Umberto Lenzi reunites with star Carroll Baker to once again revel in the murderous excesses of the jet set in this super-entertaining followup to PARANOIA. To make matters more confusing to potential patrons, QUIET PLACE was also released under the title PARANOIA in some European territories! Baker is Helen, a race car driver (!) who experiences a near-fatal crash when she thinks she sees her ex-husband, Jean Sorel. Recuperating, she’s invited down to Sorel’s beach villa by his rich new wife (Anna Proclemer). Before long, all kinds of murder plots begin hatching, someone dies, red herrings multiply and Baker is as mystified as we are. The plot thickens when Sorel’s sexy stepdaughter (Marina Coffa) shows up. Rivals Bava’s FIVE DOLLS FOR AN AUGUST MOON in ultra-mod, unwholesome goodness, with a suitably over-the-top ending. (Screened from a digital source) NOT ON DVD

 

Saturday, July 11 – 7:30 PM

Sword-and-Sandal Double Feature:

HERCULES IN THE HAUNTED WORLD (ERCOLE AL CENTRO DELLA TERRA), 1961, 86 min. Director Mario Bava’s glorious Cinemascope spectacle is one of his most visually ravishing films, as strongman Hercules (Reg Park) descends into a phantasmagorical underworld in search of a stone that will restore his beloved’s memory. With Christopher Lee as evil Lycos, the smooth-talking, bloodthirsty necromancer out to destroy the legendary hero. Bava’s color palette and matte work is astonishing, a sterling example of imagination triumphing over budget. Whatever the audience’s nationality, this is what Saturday matinees were all about, pure and unpretentious, with an infectious, effortless storytelling embodying the joy of cinema. Trailer

Ultra-Rare! DUEL OF THE TITANS, 1961, Paramount, 89 min. "The Legendary Conflict of Mankind's Mightiest Mortals!" Director Sergio Corbucci (THE GREAT SILENCE, DJANGO) tackles the myth of Romulus (Steve Reeves) and Remus (Gordon Scott), the two rebel brothers said to have been suckled by wolves at birth, who went on to found the ancient city of Rome. Reeves had already garnered fame as Hercules, and Scott was a veteran of some of the best post-Johnny Weismuller Tarzan films; it was a perfect pairing for this tale of the legendary rival siblings who lead their people out of bondage to a more enlightened future. Co-starring Virna Lisi. NOT ON DVD

 

Sunday, July 12 – 7:30 PM

Spaghetti Westerns Double Feature:

Rare! SARTANA, 1968, 95 min. Dir. Gianfranco Parolini (aka Frank Kramer). Known under such grim alternate titles as IF YOU MEET SARTANA, PRAY FOR YOUR DEATH and I AM YOUR PALLBEARER, this was the first in a spectacularly successful (in Europe) series. It sparked the imagination of international audiences, with Gianni Garko as a blond, blue-eyed, black-clad avenger -- a hustling gunslinger whose image blends Old West James Bond with a touch of the Gothic. A stagecoach is robbed, passengers are murdered and a succession of smiling, evil double-crossers and red herrings, among them Klaus Kinski and William Berger (FIVE DOLLS FOR AN AUGUST MOON), vie with Sartana in a search for the loot. "Often remembered as the best (of the series)…from Gianni Garko’s laid back and always smooth performance as well as the welcome cameo…of Klaus Kinski who gives a brief but memorable performance as Lasky’s right-hand man. As Lasky, William Berger, is probably the standout of the cast…his manic personality and amazing charisma shining through at all times. He kept me glued to the film…I’m giving the movie a high four out of five." Varied Celluloid NOT ON DVD

Rare! MINNESOTA CLAY, 1965, 90 min."The Sightless Gunman...Who Killed by Sound!" One of the first westerns from director Sergio Corbucci (DJANGO, COMPANEROS) follows released, wrongfully convicted prisoner Minnesota Clay (Cameron Mitchell) as he tries to put his life back together and confront the high-living town boss (Georges Riviere) who betrayed him. But Clay is middle-aged, not as fast on the draw as he used to be and, to make matters worse, he’s going blind! Adding to the aggravation, Mexican bandit Fernando Sancho has his own homicidal agenda. "It's beautifully shot, hiding the film's reduced budget very well, and Mitchell adds a distinctive melancholic touch to his character of the aging gunslinger-with-a-past."Westerns All’Italiana NOT ON DVD Trailer

 

Wednesday, July 15 – 7:30 PM

Double Feature:

Ultra-Rare 35mm Print! THE NEXT VICTIM (aka THE STRANGE VICE OF MRS. WARDH), 1971, 81 min. Sergio Martino went on to direct many other giallo thrillers, but this was his genre debut and set the template for his films to come. A beautiful, vulnerable woman (Edwige Fenech, of ALL THE COLORS OF THE DARK) is being stalked while her busy diplomat husband (Alberto de Mendoza) is out of town. Is it mod Latin lothario George Hilton (in the first of many such roles), sadistic former lover Ivan Rassimov, maniac Bruno Corazarri or ? Co-written by Italian script maestro Ernesto Gastaldi with a superbly atmospheric lounge score by the rarely-heard-from Nora Orlandi. One of the great guilty pleasures of 1970s cult cinema! (This, one of the only surviving 35mm prints of the American version, is slightly faded.) Trailer

QUEENS OF EVIL, 1970, 85 min. Dir. Tonino Cervi. Ray Lovelock stars as a wandering young hippie motorcycling through the countryside. One night he stops on a forest road to help a rich man in a Rolls-Royce (who may be the Devil) with a flat tire. Afterwards he comes upon a strange house inhabited by three beautiful, mysterious, ultra-mod sisters (Evelyn Stewart, Silvia Monti, Haydee Politoff), who invite him to stay. Plied with delicious food, idyllic swims and nature outings – not to mention sex with all three -- Lovelock starts to forget his freedom-loving lifestyle. As he starts to fall into the bourgeois decadence he previously abhorred, weird things start happening. Is he sowing the seeds of his own destruction, helped by the all-too-accommodating sisters? A bizarre, groovy adult fairy tale, superbly photographed by Sergio D’Offizi. (Screened from a digital source) NOT ON DVD Trailer

 

 

Thursday, July 16 – 7:30 PM

Italian Crime Double Feature:

MACHINE GUN MCCAIN (GLI INTOCCABILI), 1968, Sony Repertory, 94 min. Dir. Giuliano Montaldo. John Cassavetes is pitch-perfect as McCain, a lone wolf ex-con who helps his son rip off former mob comrades Peter Falk and Gabriele Ferzetti. Things go wrong, and the gangsters hunt him down. On the run, McCain brings along his girl (Britt Ekland) and enlists the help of his devoted ex-wife (Gena Rowlands), two choices that contribute to his downfall in this violently riveting Italian/American co-production. Ennio Morricone did the simple but very memorable score. With a supporting cast of familiar Italian greats, including Luigi Pistilli, Florinda Bolkan and Tony Kendall. NOT ON DVD

HIGH CRIME, 1973, 100 min. Franco Nero is an obsessed police commissioner frustrated with superior James Whitmore’s slow, methodical accumulation of evidence against a vast European drug ring. Nero goes on a violent trek through the underworld connecting the dots, confronting ailing, old school mob boss, Fernando Rey (THE FRENCH CONNECTION) and untouchable rich importer Silvano Tranquilli. As Nero steps on more and more toes, people around him start to die, and he must face the reality that he has put his girlfriend and young daughter in harm’s way. Unrelenting and unforgiving, this is one of the best collaborations between Nero and action auteur Enzo G. Castellari (director of the original INGLORIOUS BASTARDS). (Screened from a digital source) NOT ON DVD Trailer