October 15, 1998 through January 14, 1999
Interpreting services (American Sign Language, Contact Signing, Oral and/or Tactile) will be provided if requested five business days in advance of the event. Call 202-707-6362 TTY and voice to make a specific request. For other ADA accommodations please contact the ADA Coordinator at 202-707-7544 voice, or 202-707-9948 TTY.
Thursday, October 15 (6:00 p.m.)
Freud (Universal, 1962). Director: John Huston. Writers: Charles Kaufman, Wolfgang Reinhardt. Cast: Montgomery Clift, Larry Parks, Susannah York, Eileen Herlie. (120 min., sd., b&w, 35mm; LC Collection, courtesy Universal), preceded by
Let There Be Light (U.S. Army, 1946). Director: John Huston. Writers: John Huston, Charles Kaufman. Narrator: Walter Huston. (58 min., sd., b&w, 16mm; print courtesy of the National Archives)
John Huston’s film is a clear, well structured, though somewhat expurgated overview of Freud’s early theories and the resistance of his contemporaries to some of his ground breaking ideas, particularly regarding the existence of sexual impulses in infancy. Clift’s serious, respectful portrayal of Sigmund Freud avoids caricature and Susannah York artfully plays his attractive guinea pig, a fictional amalgam of several of Freud’s female patients. Jean-Paul Sartre contributed two early drafts of the screenplay, some of which even ends up on screen. Huston saw first hand how neurotic symptoms can be triggered by a traumatic event while making the documentary Let There Be Light (about WWII veterans recovering from what was then called "shell shock") and that understanding is clearly evident here.
Tuesday, October 20 (7:00 p.m.)
Secrets of the Soul (Neumann Film/UFA, 1926). Director: G.W. Pabst. Writers: Colin Ross and Hans Neumann. Cast: Werner Krauss, Ruth Weyher, Pawel Pawlow, Jack Trevor. (95 min., si., b&w, 16mm; LC Collection).
It has often been argued that psychoanalysis and expressionism have the same roots in the cultural explosion in central Europe at the end of the nineteenth century, and the works of Robert Wiene, Robert Siodmak, and Alfred Hitchcock (trained in Germany), are deeply influenced by the subjectivism that is central to both movements. How deeply this tradition runs in German film is shown in Secrets of the Soul. Pabst is usually considered as an upholder of a realistic tradition in German films, yet he puts into brilliant narrative form this story of the analysis of a man's neurosis. Pabst's film is still one the few real attempts to use cinema to explicate Freudian psychology honestly and intelligently without resorting the hokum usually found in later Hollywood films. The optical effects in the dream sequences, photographed by Guido Seeber and Kurt Oertel, and their use of Ernö Metzner's sets, are marvelous. Werner Krauss's portrayal of the protagonist Fellman is still fresh and sympathetic. For a wonderful contrast of German idealism (Freud) and Soviet materialism (Pavlov), compare this film to Pudhovkin's Mechanics of the Brain.
Wednesday, October 21 (7:00 p.m.)
King of Hearts (United Artists, 1966). Director: Philippe de Broca. Writer: Daniel Boulanger. Cast: Alan Bates, Geneviève Bujold, Jean-Claude Brialy, François Christophe. (102 min., sd., color, 35mm; LC Collection), preceded by
The Escaped Lunatic (American Mutoscope & Biograph, 1904). Camera: A.E. Weed. (7 min., si., b&w, 16mm; LC Paper Print Collection).
Though it was a commercial failure and received mixed notices when it was released, King of Hearts has become a cult classic, playing revival theaters, the college circuit, and for years at a theater in Cambridge, MA. The antiwar sentiments certainly contribute to the enduring popularity of the film, but doubtless there are other reasons. Shot in Senlis, France and set in the latter part of World War I, the fleeing Germans in an attempt to slow their pursuers set a booby trap in the center of the village square -- triggered to explode when an armored knight on the church steeple clock strikes the midnight hour with his mace. The townspeople, hearing the news, flee, leaving behind the inmates of the local insane asylum. And so it goes... the inmates take over the asylum, though in this case it's the village. There follows an enchanting carnival of events -- marked by unreality, delusion, and exhibitionism acted out by charming lunatics. And finally, in the midst of the horror and carnage of war, we are helplessly drawn to those who seem to have consciously chosen their "vagrant lunacy."
Thursday, October 22 (7:00 p.m.)
Spellbound (Selznick Productions, 1945). Director: Alfred Hitchcock. Writer: Ben Hecht, based on the novel "The House of Dr. Edwardes" by Francis Beeding. Cast: Ingrid Bergman, Gregory Peck, Leo G. Carroll, John Emery, Michael Chekhov. (111 min., sd., b&w, 35mm; LC Collection).
Although Hitchcock dealt with psychological themes in many of his films, Spellbound was the most overtly Freudian of his work. A psychiatrist at a mental hospital (Ingrid Bergman) falls in love with the newly-arrived director, only to discover that he is, in reality, a mental patient suffering from amnesia who has assumed the role of the director and who may have killed him. The doctor seeks to cure him by using dream analysis as she helps him elude the police. While not Hitchcock's best work, Spellbound does offer a stellar performance by Bergman, who is transformed by love from being rational and aloof to being a fully integrated person. The film is also worth seeing for the famous dream sequence by Salvador Dali, which depicted the dream world in a wholly unique way from previous films.
Tuesday, October 27 (7:00 p.m.)
New York Stories: Oedipus Wrecks (Warner Bros., 1989). Director/Writer: Woody Allen. Cast: Woody Allen, Mae Questel, Mia Farrow, Julie Kavner. (45 min., sd., color, 35mm; LC Collection, courtesy Turner Entertainment), followed by
Schmoedipus (BBC, 1974). Director: Barry Davis. Writer: Dennis Potter. Cast: Anna Cropper, Tim Curry, John Carson, Carol MacReady. Telecast: BBC 1, June 20, 1974. (67 min., sd., color, ¾" video; print courtesy of the National Film and Television Archive, London, courtesy BBC).
Tonight's program features two radically different takes on the oedipal story, and a further indication of how central that narrative has become to our storytelling. In Oedipus Wrecks -- the only watchable installment of the New York Stories trilogy -- Woody Allen is literally haunted by Great Jewish Mother in the Sky Mae Questel. Broadly comic in the manner of his "earlier, funnier" films, this vignette is still deeply rooted in myth, as Woody can't shake the spectral mother until he falls in love with a woman just like her.
Schmoedipusis a BBC teleplay from the late, lamented Dennis Potter (The Singing Detective, Pennies From Heaven). Anna Cropper is trapped in an bitter, childless marriage to man obsessed with toy trains. Tim Curry mysteriously appears at her door, claiming to be her long lost baby; he now wants to claim the idyllic English childhood he never had. Rewritten by Potter as the film Track 29, this is a caustic tale of emotional repression and the chasm between childish wonder and infantile delusion.
Wednesday, October 28 (6:30 p.m.)
Chinatown (Paramount, 1974). Director: Roman Polanski. Writer: Robert Towne. Cast: Jack Nicholson, Faye Dunaway, John Huston, John Hillerman. (131 min., sd., color, 35mm: LC Collection, courtesy Paramount), preceded by
Mia and Roman (Paramount, 1968). Cast: Mia Farrow, Roman Polanski. (7 min., sd., color, 16mm; LC Collection, courtesy Paramount).
Private eye Jake Gittes (Nicholson) is hired by recently widowed Evelyn Mulwray (Dunaway) to find out who murdered her husband, the former business partner of her father, the insatiable capitalist Noah Cross (Huston). As he is drawn into the mystery, Gittes gets further and further out of his depth, dogged by a past he is compelled to repeat. This is a Chandleresque variant of the Oedipus myth transplanted to 1930s Los Angeles. In a city blighted by drought, incest is punished by a bullet in the eye, prefigured by a broken tail light and a flaw in the iris. Robert Towne’s literate script investigating political and personal corruption is infused with Polanski’s keen attention to detail and fatalistic sense of the absurd. Chinatown is preceded by Mia and Roman, a short featurette shot during the making of Polanski’s first Hollywood film, Rosemary’s Baby.
Thursday, October 29 (6:30 p.m.)
Hamlet (Universal, 1948). Director: Laurence Olivier. Writer: Alan Dent, adapted from William Shakespeare. Cast: Laurence Olivier, Eileen Herlie, Basil Sydney, Jean Simmons. (153 min., sd., b&w, 35mm; LC Collection, courtesy Universal).
Laurence Olivier’s assured adaption of Shakespeare’s tragedy of the Danish prince who is driven to avenge his father’s murder. The dead king and the usurper become positive and negative aspects of the father figure. Olivier amplifies the Oedipal nature of the troubled Dane’s predicament by dwelling on the carnal kisses which Hamlet exchanges with his mother, making the film a clear example of how Freud has influenced our reading of familiar texts.
Tuesday, November 3 (7:00 p.m.)
The Seventh Veil (Universal, 1945). Director: Compton Bennett. Writers: Muriel and Sydney Box. Cast: James Mason, Ann Todd, Herbert Lom, Hugh McDermott, Albert Lieven. (95 min., sd., b&w, 35mm; LC Collection; courtesy Universal), preceded by
Taxi: Mr. Personalities (Paramount Television, 1981). Director: Howard Storm. Writers: Ian Praiser and Howard Gerwitz. Cast: Judd Hirsch, Andy Kaufman, Danny DeVito, Marilu Henner, Tony Danza, Christopher Lloyd, Barry Nelson. Telecast: ABC, October 22, 1981. (24 min., sd., color, 16mm; LC Collection, courtesy Paramount).
A young woman is raised by a misogynistic, Svengali-like guardian (James Mason), who fashions her into a concert pianist. An accident which burns her hands leaves her suicidal, convinced that she will never play the piano again. Certain that her wounds are more psychological than physical, a psychiatrist uses hypnosis to help her discover her real feelings about the men in her life, including her guardian, which is the key to her being able to play music again. This British film contains several Freudian elements: psychoanalysis, unresolved oedipal conflicts, and the ongoing struggle between love and aggression. "The seventh veil" refers to the part of one's psyche that one does not show to anyone, except the psychoanalyst. In Taxi: Mr. Personalities, the late, lamented Andy Kaufman stars as garage mechanic Latka Gravas, who in this episode is afflicted with multiple personalities, including Arlo the cowboy, ultra-smooth Vic Ferrari, and -- most amusingly -- Alex Reiger, the character played by Judd Hirsch. Both Alexes seek the help of psychiatrist Barry Nelson, but Latka/Alex seems to have more personal insight than does the real version.
Wednesday, November 4 (7:00 p.m.)
Deluxe Annie (Select Films, 1918). Director: Roland West. Writer: Paul West, based on the play by Edward Clark. Cast: Norma Talmadge, Eugene O'Brien, Frank Mills, Edna Hunter. (79 min., si., b&w, 35mm; LC Collection), preceded by
The Hypnotist's Revenge (American Mutoscope & Biograph, 1903). Camera: G.W. Bitzer. (11 min., si., b&w, 16mm; LC Paper Print Collection).
Woody Woodpecker: Hypnotic Hick (Universal, 1953). Producer: Walter Lantz. Artist: Ray Abrams. Voice: Gracie Stafford Lantz. (7 min., sd., color, 35mm; LC Collection, courtesy Universal).
Deluxe Annie is a dark tale of crime and fraud in which a young wife and mother loses her identity after suffering a head injury. Mrs Kendall (Norma Talmadge) develops anxiety over her husband’s fascination with criminology and dreams that he has been shot while pursuing Deluxe Annie, a black-mailing book agent, and her accomplice Jimmy Fitzgerald. Unable to shake off her fears, Mrs. Kendall leaves her country residence to warn her husband, who has gone to their city home in order to frame the criminals in the act.
As Mrs. Kendall enters the basement of her city home, the crooks knock her out and beat her violently till she looses consciousness. With no recollection of the past, she wanders into the world of darkness and fog. Ironically, the crook Jimmy Fitzgerald discovers Kendall, now under the assumed identity of Nan, in a Chicago boardinghouse. When the sly Nan pleads mercy after being accused of stealing Jimmy’s watch and money, he admires her keen knack for lying and makes her his new partner in the “deluxe book game.”
Produced by Lewis J. Selznick during the early years of The Classical Hollywood Cinema, Deluxe Annie features expressive lighting effects in a range of interior and exterior locations, which set the tone for the film’s images of violence and crime. Actress Norma Talmadge, often overlooked by film historians despite her status as a major star in 1917, offers her unique brand of the brave, tragic, and sacrificing heroine who eventually attains redemption at the end.
Like the stage magician, the hypnotist featured in traveling medicine shows and vaudeville acts became the subject of early motion picture narratives. As a figure aligned with both science and magic, the hypnotist publicly displayed his power to manipulate the will and actions of innocent individuals. In The Hypnotist's Revenge, Professor Stillman, a stage hypnotist, disguises himself in order to put Chappy, an innocent non-believer, in a trance. In a series of diverse social settings -- a church wedding, a fancy dinner party, and at a dance hall -- Chappy makes a fool of himself with his unconventional and unruly behavior.
In Hypnotic Hick, Woody Woodpecker breaks the law when he discovers the power of hypnotism and uses it to out-smart arch-rival Buzz Buzzard.
Thursday, November 5 (7:00 p.m.)
Eraserhead (Libra Films, 1978). Director/Writer: David Lynch. Cast: John Nance, Charlotte Stewart, Allen Joseph. (90 min., sd., b&w, 16mm; LC Collection), preceded by
Un Chien Andalou (Luis Buñuel, 1929). Director/Writer: Luis Buñuel. (24 min., si., b&w, 35mm; LC Collection).
The Pickford embraces surrealism in tonight's double feature. Inspired by Freud’s The Interpretation of Dreams, the Surrealists set out to explore the new aesthetic language of the subconscious, most directly accessible through dream. In Un Chien Andalou, the most notorious Surrealist film, Luis Buñuel and collaborator Salvador Dali realized that here was a perfect medium to convey the transient imagery of dreams. Heeding Andrés Breton’s call to fuse 'dream and reality into an absolute or 'super reality’”, they introduced a powerful new way to organize film images. The film caused a riot during its initial screening and it has lost none of its capacity to startle.
David Lynch reinvented Surrealism with Eraserhead, a weird, otherworldly primer on parenting which follows Henry (Jack Nance) and his spastic wife’s struggle to care for their deformed baby. Lynch has imagined a nightmare landscape of primordial progenitive expulsion and industrial decay. Heaven is represented by a baby faced lady in the radiator who giggles like Betty Boop while squashing oversized spermatozoa under her heel. An impressive first feature by any standard.
Tuesday, November 10 (7:00 p.m.)
Freud Home Movies (ca. 90 min., si. and sd., b&w, 16mm and video; LC Collection).
A selection of documentary footage of Freud and his contemporaries, including Sigmund Freud, His Family and Colleagues 1928-1929, The Eleventh Congress of the Psychoanalytic Association 1929 , Freud at Potzledorf, 1932 and Freud Home Movies 1937 - 1938.
Thursday, November 12 (6:30 p.m.)
Face to Face (Paramount, 1976). Director/Writer: Ingmar Bergman. Camera: Sven Nykvist. Cast: Liv Ullmann, Erland Josephson, Gunnar Björnstrand, Aino Taube-Henrikson. (136 min., sd., color, 35mm; LC Collection, courtesy Paramount).
Swedish director Ingmar Bergman spent a significant portion of his career exploring psychoanalytic themes in a far more explicit manner than had hitherto been seen on the world screen. Beginning his career with such dramas of social realism as Summer with Monica, in the late 1950s he turned toward spiritual themes with such films as The Seventh Seal, before finally reaching a point of disillusionment in such pictures as Winter Light. Then, during the 1960s, he began an intensive examination of the world of the mind, treated in a simultaneously realistic and symbolic manner, as in Persona and Cries and Whispers. Bergman became internationally acclaimed for having created a new existential cinema of the mind, although since the 1980s his reputation has been in eclipse. Face to Face was originally filmed as a four-part Swedish television series of 50 min. segments, following the pattern of Bergman's previous Scenes From a Marriage. When it proved impossible to broadcast on American television, Bergman cut it into feature form for theatrical distribution. Psychiatrist Liv Ullmann spends her vacation away from her husband and daughter at the home of her grandparents, where, haunted by a chimera of an old woman, she suffers a breakdown and attempts suicide through a drug overdose. During her hallucinogenic recovery, she relives portions of her childhood and realizes that family disputes formed much of her rigid character, a recognition that allows her to begin her own recovery.
Tuesday, November 17 (7:00 p.m.)
The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (Decla-Bioscop, 1919). Director: Robert Weine. Writers: Carl Mayer and Hans Janowitz. Cast: Werner Krauss, Conrad Veidt, Friedrich Feher, Lil Dagover. (69 min., si., b&w, 16mm; LC Collection), preceded by
The Somnambulist (American Mutoscope & Biograph, 1903). Copyright: December 10, 1903. (2 min., si., b&w, 16mm; LC Paper Print Collection).
The Criminal Hypnotist (American Mutoscope & Biograph, 1909). Director: D.W. Griffith. Cameraman: G. W. Bitzer. Cast: Owen Moore, Marion Leonard, Arthur Johnson, Florence Lawrence, Mack Sennett, Harry Salter. (7 min., si., b&w, 16mm; LC Paper Print Collection).
In the popular mind, somnambulism became associated with hypnotism and came to refer not just to a sleepwalker, but also to a person in a trance under the control of another individual. Freud was intrigued by the possibilities of hypnosis, but ultimately abandoned it as an ineffective treatment. It did, however, point Freud to the concept of an unconscious state where one could do things which were impossible to remember when awake.
The Somnambulist is an early short which shows a young woman leaving her bed to sleepwalk out into the streets. The Criminal Hypnotist capitalized on the popular fascination with hypnotism by showing a professor who attempts to hypnotize a young woman into stealing money for him. In The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, an evil doctor displays a somnambulist as a carnival attraction. It soon becomes apparent to the young man narrating the story that the doctor is ordering the somnambulist to kill various persons, and the young man attempts to track down the doctor and bring him to justice. One of the most famous German films, The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari blurs the lines between what is real and what is fantasy, and uses expressionistic sets to depict the workings of an insane mind.
Wednesday, November 18 (7:00 p.m.)
Peeping Tom (Anglo-Amalgamated, 1960). Director: Michael Powell. Writer: Leo Marks. Cast: Carl Boehm, Moira Shearer, Anna Massey, Maxine Audley. (109 min., sd., color, 35mm; LC Collection).
Peeping Tom critically examines the role of the artist and the inner demons that both torment him and which he tries to extend to others. The protagonist is a victim of child abuse, the object of his father's bizarre experiments to induce fear in his son through terrifying him in various ways, clinically recording the results on film. In turn, the son is compulsively repeating, in modified form, what was inflicted on him, through his work as a cameraman and fulfilling a scopophiliac obsession with photographing the gruesome. By night his obsessive compulsion is continued by impaling prostitutes with the spiked leg of his camera, filming their death and allowing them to simultaneously see it through a mirror. Through making the very instrument of filmmaking into a murder weapon, director Michael Powell speculates on the voyeuristic role of the filmmaker and its psychological effects on both himself and spectators. Seldom has a filmmaker so harshly examined the terrifying potential of his own art or the degree to which he is responsible for its consequences (Powell also plays the psychotic father). Although misunderstood upon its limited original release as a slasher film of virtually pornographic content, today Peeping Tom is regarded as a classic of referentiality and an exposé of the patriarchal gaze which forms the basis of narrative filmmaking.
Thursday, November 19 (7:00 p.m.)
Lilith (Columbia, 1964). Director/Writer: Robert Rossen, from the novel by J.R. Salamanca. Cast: Warren Beatty, Jean Seberg, Peter Fonda, Kim Hunter, Gene Hackman. (114 min., sd., b&w, 35mm; LC Collection, courtesy Columbia).
Lilith is one of those rare films that has worn well. Madness, obsession, nymphomania, implied incest, schizophrenia and narcissism are vividly yet artfully presented in a film that made audiences and critics, even during the socially awakening early sixties, extremely uncomfortable. Today, it is difficult to understand why the public reacted so violently against this extraordinarily beautiful and intelligent film. But it is interesting to consider that the critical response to this film was in many ways strikingly similar to the public reaction, in rigid turn-of-the-century Vienna, to the theories and public discourses of Sigmund Freud, who sought to shed a rational and compassionate light on many of the dark obsessions explored here. For many, Lilith is a lot more engaging than Freud's discourses. Shot in Rockville and Great Falls, Maryland, Lilith is set in a posh asylum for wealthy schizophrenics where beautifully cultivated gardens, fountains, rolling lawns, and people strolling in the sun or sitting quietly reading, create an illusion of absolute peace. This serene backdrop illuminates the profound complexities and sometimes savage intensities of the inmates and the staff -- and the central argument that madness is a two-way mirror, depending on whether you are examining what it looks like or what it feels like. A fabulous original jazz score by Kenyon Hopkins is a stunning compliment companion to Gene Shufftan's hypnotic and lyrical imagery.
This was the final film in Robert Rossen's thirty-year career -- he died a little over a year after its release. Regrettably, Rossen received only derision and harsh criticism for Lilith -- a film which stands alone in his cannon not only for it's beauty, but also as a remarkable departure from his earlier work. One wonders what he might have done next.
Tuesday, November 24 (7:00 p.m.)
The Cobweb (MGM, 1955). Director: Vincente Minnelli. Writer: John Paxson, from the novel by William Gibson. Cast: Richard Widmark, Lauren Bacall, Charles Boyer, Lillian Gish, Gloria Grahame. (124 min., sd., color, 35mm; LC Collection, courtesy Turner Entertainment).
By the mid-Fifties, Hollywood was beginning to portray the psychiatric profession in warmer, if not outright heroic, terms, and The Cobweb is an excellent example of this trend. Essentially Peyton Place in a sanitarium, the film deals less with the patients and more with the staff's personal problems. Widmark is the prototypical psychiatrist who can cure others, yet is distracted by a crumbling marriage, while Boyer is the washed-up analyst who masks his womanizing behind a fog of therapeutic jargon. In fact, it's rather difficult to distinguish inmate from staff for the first thirty minutes of the film, which is precisely the way director Minnelli intended. Please note that this print of The Cobweb is quite pink due to the deterioration of the original color film.
Tuesday, December 1 (7:00 p.m.)
Blind Alley (Columbia, 1939). Director: Charles Vidor. Writers: Philip MacDonald, Michael Blankfort, and Albert Duffy, based on the play by James Warwick. Cast: Chester Morris, Ralph Bellamy, Ann Dvorak, Joan Perry. (71 min., sd., b&w, 35mm; LC Collection, courtesy Columbia), preceded by
Frasier: The Impossible Dream (Paramount Television, 1996). Director: David Lee. Writer: Rob Greenberg. Telecast: NBC, October 15, 1996. Cast: Kelsey Grammer, David Hyde Pierce, John Mahoney, Peri Gilpin, Jane Leeves. (22 min., sd., color, ½" video; LC Collection, courtesy Paramount).
Oedipal obsession figures prominently in Blind Alley, one of Hollywood's first attempts to illustrate psychoanalytic practice. Fugitive Morris and his gang hide out in the home of psychology professor Bellamy. Soon, the convict is subjecting himself to intense questioning in an attempt to understand the meaning of a disturbing dream. Bellamy's character is a pipe-smoking, godlike figure, preternaturally calm in the face of mayhem, confident in his ability to expose the source of criminal pathology (he tells his wife, "I'm going to destroy him, take his brain apart and show him the pieces"). If Hollywood tended to exaggerate the power of psychiatrists at this time, it wouldn't be long before films such as Spellbound portrayed the profession with greater ambiguity. Although its remake The Dark Past (Columbia, 1948) is better known, Blind Alley is not without its virtues, including a pair of interesting dream sequences and an over-the-top performance by Chester Morris.
Frasier Crane, on the other hand, is frequently more in need of counseling than the callers to his radio show, which certainly seems to be the case in this episode from the acclaimed NBC series. He enlists the aid of bother and fellow psychiatrist Niles to interpret a recurring dream, with predictably comic results.
Blind Alley will be introduced by Dr. Paul Frizler, who holds a joint appointment in the Department of English and Comparative Literature and the School of Film and Television at Chapman University. He is presently at work on a definitive study of psychiatrists in the movies with Dr. John Flowers, tentatively entitled A Century of Psychotherapists in Film: 1899-1998.
Wednesday, December 2 (7:00 p.m.)
Free Love (Universal, 1931). Director: Hobart Henley. Writer: Edwin Knopf, from the play Half-Gods by Sidney Howard. Cast: Genevieve Tobin, Conrad Nagel, Bertha Mann, Zasu Pitts. (70 min., sd., b&w, 35mm; LC Collection, courtesy Universal), preceded by
Get Smart: All in the Mind (Talent Associates, 1965). Director: Bruce Bilson. Writers: Gerald Gardner and Dee Caruso. Cast: Don Adams, Barbara Feldman, Edward Pratt, Torin Thatcher. (25 min., sd., color, ¾" video; LC Collection).
Tonight we premiere a new print from our Motion Picture Preservation Lab -- Free Love, a comic melodrama of infidelity, drunkenness, bad parenting, and domestic violence. Not a walk in the park by any means, but we include it in this series for its introduction of a quack psychiatrist who tells an unhappy wife she is an "intuitive introvert" while her husband is an "infantile extrovert;" this prompts her to immediately pack up the kids and leave. He's a far cry from oracular Ralph Bellamy in Blind Alley, but indicative of the somewhat muddled image of the profession during the decade. At the same time, in light of some exceptionally boorish behavior from the aggrieved husband in the film, one can't help but wonder if maybe her instincts -- and his diagnosis -- was correct.
Free Love is preceded by an episode of Get Smart, in which Secret Agent Maxwell Smart must stop a psychiatrist who is passing along secrets divulged to him by top Pentagon brass, in part by pretending to be "disturbed" himself. Further, he must overcome one of the more deadly weapons ever devised by KAOS: the flooding phone booth.
Thursday, December 3 (6:30 p.m.)
The Dark Mirror (Inter-John, 1946). Director: Robert Siodmak. Writer: Nunnally Johnson, from a story by Vladimir Pozner. Cast: Olivia de Havilland, Lew Ayres, Thomas Mitchell. (85 min., sd., b&w, 35mm; print courtesy of the National Film and Television Archive, London), preceded by
The Case of Becky (Paramount, 1915). Director: Frank Reicher. Writer: Margaret Turnbull, based on the play by Edward J. Locke. Cast: Blanche Sweet, Theodore Roberts, James Neill, Carlyle Blackwell. (48 min., si., b&w, 35mm; LC Collection, courtesy Paramount).
It’s a doppelgänger doppel feature at the Mary Pickford Theater. Tonight’s first film, The Case of Becky, stars Blanche Sweet as a young woman suffering from dual personality. Sweet, featured in such D.W. Griffith classics as The Lonesdale Operator (1911) and Judith of Bethulia (1913), here displays the breadth and spontaneity of her acting ability, moving in and out of character -- from Dorothy, a medium in The Great Balzamo’s hypnotism act, to Becky, her dark, unruly, other self. As time increases Becky’s strength, her demonic personality dominates Dorothy, who looses control over her thoughts and actions. When a stroke of fate delivers Dorothy into the hands of medical specialists, a young doctor with powers to hypnotize measures his will against Balzamo’s, in a climatic dual of good vs evil. In The Case of Becky hypnotism functions as both a positive and negative form of power through its association with stage magic, and as a cure for mental disease.
The concept of the doppelgänger, a classic staple of German literature and cinema, found a perfect outlet in the fatalistic dramas of German expressionist filmmakers. As with other German emigres, Robert Siodmak drew from the expressionist tradition to contribute to the style and substance of Hollywood’s film noir genre. In The Dark Mirror, the doppelgänger is literally a double -- a physically identical but psychologically aberrant twin. When two eyewitnesses identify Miss Collins (Olivia de Havilland) as the woman accompanying Dr. Peralta shortly before he was murdered the previous evening, Detective Stevenson (Thomas Mitchell) thinks he has an open and shut case. However, during questioning Miss Collins is able to provide a airtight alibi. The conundrum is explained when Stevenson discovers that Terry Collins has an identical twin -- Ruth. Without a confession, both are free from prosecution. However, the adverse publicity costs them their jobs. Twin expert, Dr. Scott Elliott (Lew Ayres) offers the sisters a small fee to submit to psychological tests for his case studies on twins and soon concludes that one of the sisters is insane.
Tonight's screenings will be introduced by Dr. John Flowers, professor of psychology and director of the doctoral program at Chapman University. A noted expert in group psychotherapy, his present scholarly focus is on psychotherapists in the cinema, with special emphasis of the changing portrayals over time.
Tuesday, December 8 (7:00 p.m.)
The Innocents (20th Century-Fox, 1961). Director: Jack Clayton. Writers: William Archibald, Truman Capote, from the play by Archibald. Cast: Deborah Kerr, Megs Jenkins, Pamela Franklin, Michael Redgrave. (99 min., sd., b&w, 35mm; LC Collection, courtesy 20th Century-Fox).
Disquieting tale of a prim governess who is put in charge of two angelic children in an isolated country house and becomes convinced that they are being used by ghost-lovers to continue a lascivious affair. This intelligent interpretation of Henry James’ Turn of the Screw more than suggests that the apparitions are the figment of a sexually repressed Victorian imagination. Kerr is outstanding as the consumed governess on a mission to "save the children”. Taut, atmospheric direction by Clayton with haunting photography by Freddie Francis.
The Innocents will be introduced by Sam Sarafy, a film researcher for the Sigmund Freud: Conflict and Culture exhibition.
Wednesday, December 9 (7:00 p.m.)
Experiment Perilous (RKO, 1944). Director: Jacques Tourneur. Writer: Warren Duff, from the novel by Margaret Carpenter. Cast: Hedy Lamarr, Paul Lukas, George Brent, Albert Dekker. (91 min., sd., b&w, 16mm; LC Collection, courtesy Turner Entertainment), preceded by
Mesmerist and Country Couple (Edison, 1899). Copyright: June 17, 1899. (1 min., si., b&w, 35mm; LC Paper Print Collection).
How Old is Ann? (Edison, 1903). Camera: Edwin S. Porter. (1 min., si., b&w, 16mm; LC Paper Print Collection).
Psychiatrist George Brent falls in love with Hedy Lamarr, and must rescue her and her son from the apparently kindly philanthropist husband played by Paul Lukas, who is in fact a murderer insanely plotting to drive her mad and kill her. Director Jacques Tourneur -- the son of noted silent film director Maurice Tourneur -- was born in Paris but largely reared and trained in Hollywood. He became one of the leading directors of thrillers during the 1940s. Before directing Experiment Perilous, he turned such horror films as Cat People and The Leopard Man into explorations of the terror of the mind as much as the supernatural. Afterward, Tourneur shifted toward film noir with Out of the Past, even taking the swashbuckler in a noir direction with The Flame and the Arrow and Anne of the Indies. By the 1950s, Tourneur's career prematurely fizzled, as he proved unable to adjust to changes in the industry, but he had played a key role in bringing psychological themes to a variety of genres.
Experiment Perilous is preceded by two shorts from the Paper Print Collection. Mesmerist and Country Couple is a "trick" film that uses stop-action photography to create special effects, while How Old is Ann? tells the sad tale of a unfortunate man driven mad by a newspaper puzzle.
Thursday, December 10 (7:00 p.m.)
Pressure Point (United Artists, 1962). Director: Hubert Cornfield. Writers: Hubert Cornfield and S. Lee Pogositin. Cast: Sidney Poitier, Bobby Darin, Peter Falk. (91 min., sd., b&w, 35mm; LC Collection, courtesy United Artists), preceded by
M*A*S*H: Dear Sigmund (20th Century-Fox Television, 1976). Director/Writer: Alan Alda. Cast: Alan Alda, Mike Farrell, Harry Morgan, Loretta Swit, Gary Burghoff, Allan Arbus. Telecast: CBS, November 9, 1976. (25 min., sd., color, 16mm; LC Collection, courtesy 20th Century-Fox).
Sidney Poitier stars as the movies' first African-American psychiatrist in Pressure Point, which perhaps marks the apogee of the "Golden Age" of psychiatric films, at least in its portrayal of the therapist whose unquestioned professionalism is matched only by his nobility as a human being. Poitier overcomes institutional and personal hostility to uncover the root of patient Bobby Darin's racism, yet bears the subsequent disapproval of his colleagues with grace. The film blazes no new trails in its depiction of racist attitudes (producer Stanley Kramer's Home of the Brave covered much the same ground in 1949), but it is very well acted and beautifully photographed by Ernest Haller.
Allan Arbus guest stars in his recurring role as Army psychiatrist Sidney Freedman, this time seeking to rejuvenate his spirits by writing a letter to Freud about the "inmates" of the 4077th MASH. This episode of M*A*S*H is a fine example of what made the show so watchable: humor mixed with pathos and a dollop of heavy-handed moralizing. As Sidney notes, the 4077th has "an interesting defense against the carnage: insanity in the service of health."
Tuesday, December 15 (7:00 p.m.)
The Seven Per Cent Solution (Universal, 1976). Director: Herbert Ross. Writer: Nicholas Meyer. Cast: Nicol Williamson, Robert Duvall, Alan Arkin, Vanessa Redgrave, Laurence Olivier. (113 min., sd., color, 35mm; LC Collection, courtesy Universal).
Since the death of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, creator of Sherlock Holmes, writers have undertaken Holmesian pastiches at an exponentially increasing rate. Screenwriter Nicholas Meyer, the son of a psychoanalyst, began his own career as a filmmaker at age 9, making his own 8 mm movies. He had the unique idea of pairing fiction's most individualistic cocaine-addicted creation with the one man who might have been able to psychoanalyze such an unusual character, his contemporary Sigmund Freud. The 32 year-old Meyer received an Academy Award nomination for best screenplay from another medium for The Seven Per Cent Solution, basing it on his own best-selling novel which also inspired two sequels. In the story, a number of Holmes's eccentricities are revealed by Freud to have a basis in childhood trauma, but the beloved detective retains his magnetism through his continued unrivaled sleuthing ability. Not only did Meyer's popular original sequel launch him on an important filmmaking career which continues to this day, but it has influenced a whole school of literary pastiches, Holmesian and otherwise, matching fictional characters and real people in new fictional exploits.
Wednesday, December 16 (7:00 p.m.)
Alice (Condor-Hessisches, 1988). Director/Writer: Jan Svankmajer. Animation: Bedrich Glaser. Cast: Kristyna Kohoutuva, Camilla Power. (85 min., sd., color, 16mm; LC Collection), preceded by
The Simpsons: Fear of Flying (Gracie Films, 1994). Director: Mark Kirkland. Writer: David Sacks. Cast: Dan Castellaneta, Julie Kavner, Nancy Cartwright, Yeardly Smith, Hank Azaria, Harry Shearer, Anne Bancroft. Telecast: Fox, December 18, 1994. (24 min., sd., color, ¾" video; LC Collection).
Alice is a version of the Lewis Carroll classic as envisaged by master Czech animator Jan Svankmajer, combining live action with astonishingly original animation. Alice’s dream world is populated by a surreal menagerie of invented creatures pieced together with alchemic skill from everyday objects. Bones, buttons and taxidermied animals are reassembled and brought vividly to life with the help of heightened naturalistic sounds. The effect is at once fascinating and unsettling. By adamantly refusing to romanticize childhood, Svankmajer’s film adaption come the closest yet to capturing the contrary dream-logic of the original.
In Fear of Flying, Marge Simpson visits the Springfield Psychiatric Clinic ("Because There May Not Be Bugs On You") to overcome her fear of flying. Featuring appearances by Anne Bancroft and the cast of Cheers, this is a typically inventive episode, filled with more sight gags and throwaway lines than most shows have in a season.
Thursday, December 17 (7:00 p.m.)
Suddenly, Last Summer (Columbia, 1959). Director: Joseph L. Mankiewicz. Writers: Gore Vidal and Tennessee Williams, based on the play by Williams. Cast: Katharine Hepburn, Elizabeth Taylor, Montgomery Clift, Mercedes McCambridge, Albert Dekker. (114 min., sd., b&w, 35mm; LC Collection, courtesy Columbia).
Cannibalism, lobotomies, and the nature of God: who but Tennessee Williams could weave such a tale, creating two bravura female roles in the process, and all in one act? Suddenly, Last Summer began as a monologue -- Catherine's climactic description of her cousin's unusual demise -- called "And Tell Sad Stories of the Deaths of Queens." It was expanded into a one-act play and presented off-Broadway in 1958, along with the curtain-raiser "Something Unspoken," under the title "Garden District." Hortense Alden and Anne Meacham played Mrs. Venable and Catherine, respectively; in a tour the following year, Cathleen Nesbitt and Diana Barrymore assumed the roles. When Hollywood called, Gore Vidal was hired to expand the play into a feature-length script. To everyone's surprise, the film version, shot in England and released late in 1959, was not condemned by the Legion of Decency, even though Cousin Sebastian had been obviously gay (The Legion felt he got his desserts). Variety, however, called the film "a weirdo by any standard."
The lobotomy -- cutting nerves in the brain in an attempt to cure mental illness -- was an experimental procedure in vogue from the mid-1930s until the mid-1950s. Williams' beloved sister Rose was lobotomized for schizophrenia, and spent the rest of her life in institutions. Williams supported her until his death in 1983, and left the bulk of his estate in trust for her. She died in 1996.
Tuesday, January 5 (6:30 p.m.)
Tender Is the Night (20th Century-Fox, 1962). Director: Henry King. Writer: Ivan Moffat, from the novel by F. Scott Fitzgerald. Cast: Jennifer Jones, Jason Robards, Joan Fontaine, Tom Ewell. (146 min., sd., color, 35mm; LC Collection, courtesy 20th Century-Fox).
Tender Is the Night is best appreciated less as an adaptation of the Fitzgerald novel than as an original work. At the time it was made (1962) many of Fitzgerald's themes were still considered beyond what would be allowed on the screen. Instead, producer David O. Selznick sought a vehicle to showcase his wife, actress Jennifer Jones, and other stars were cast who were not ideal representations of the characters Fitzgerald had imagined. Veteran director Henry King, whose career dated back to the 1910s, had a long tenure as the leading house director at 20th Century-Fox. With this film King had for the first time a producer who attempted to dictate how shooting should be done; predictably, he and Selznick clashed. The resulting long film satisfied neither man, and it was the last film of both.
Nonetheless, Tender Is the Night memorably depicts the crumbling of a talented man of promising future, played by Jason Robards as therapist to wealthy Jones in a sanitarium. Against his better judgement, the two fall in love and he agrees to marry her, despite the breach of professional standards. Over the course of their marriage, Robards loses his intellectual drive and becomes increasingly dependent on Jones, who, although she had begun desperately needing his guidance and love, gradually transforms. Jones becomes a strong, independent woman, and ultimately leaves behind the man who began as her mentor but who has lost the very qualities which attracted her to him. Yet Jones's full recovery from sanitarium to be capable of life on her own is a result of the same marriage that proved disastrous for Robards, and the complex, shifting nature of power and ambition in their union, and its personal outcome, provides an absorbing, cautionary romantic parable.
Wednesday, January 6 (7:00 p.m.)
Deep End (Paramount, 1970). Director: Jerzy Skolimowski. Writers: Jerzy Skolimowski, Jerzy Gruza, and Boleslaw Sulik. Cast: Jane Asher, John Moulder-Brown, Michael Volger, Diana Dors. (88 min., sd., color, 35mm; LC Collection, courtesy Paramount), preceded by
The Bob Newhart Show: The Two Loves of Dr. Hartley (MTM Enterprises, 1973). Director: George Tyne. Writer: Gene Thompson. Cast: Bob Newhart, Suzanne Pleshette, Peter Bonerz, Bill Daily, Marcia Wallace, Emmaline Henry. Telecast: CBS, January 27, 1973. (25 min., sd., color, ¾" video, LC Collection).
Obsessive love night at the Pickford Theater. After authorities banned his anti-Stalinist film Hands UP! in 1967, director Jerzy Skolimowski left his native Poland for a career in the West. Literally awash in Freudian shadings and symbolism, the tragi-comic thriller Deep End was Skolimowski's breakthrough English-language feature. The deceptively simple story of two attendants in a decaying London bathhouse is told in a style both relaxed and tense. Fifteen year old Mike (John Moulder Brown) exudes a dangerous innocence in his obsessive desire for Sue (Jane Asher), his older and more worldly co-worker. Intensely dreamlike in its use of color and atmosphere, Deep End's bathhouse becomes a hothouse for its characters' projections and fantasies. As in Hitchcock and Powell, the color red is given heightened importance, with all its deep-seated cultural and psychological associations. The literal and metaphorical meanings of the film's title inexorably come together in a shattering climax.
The Bob Newhart Show was designed especially for the stand-up comedian because -- in the words of co-creator Lorenzo Davis -- he "listens funny," but what made the program work was the delicate balance it struck between Newhart's utterly grounded home life and professional work with his quirky, albeit endearing, clients. In this episode, the two worlds converge as Newhart is the object of unwanted affection from one of his patients. Although "transference" is the diagnosis, wife Emily (Suzanne Pleshette) is not convinced.
Thursday, January 7 (7:00 p.m.)
The Shrike (Universal, 1955). Director: José Ferrer. Writer: Ketti Frings, from the play by Joseph Kramm. Cast: José Ferrer, June Allyson, Joy Page, Jacqueline de Wit. (88 min., sd., b&w, 35mm; LC Collection, courtesy Universal), preceded by
Dr. Dippy's Sanitarium (American Mutoscope & Biograph, 1906). Camera: G.W. Bitzer. (9 min., si., b&w, 16mm, LC Paper Print Collection).
Popeye: Psychiatricks (King Features, 1960). Writer: Seymour Kneitel. Music: Winston Sharples. Voices: Jack Mercer, Mae Questel, Jackson Beck. (6 min., sd., color, 16mm; LC Collection, courtesy King Features).
Shrike (n.): "A little soft, downy bird with a long beak with which she impales her victims, as on a sharp thorn." Having a nervous breakdown, a theater director attempts suicide and is committed to a hospital's mental ward. His outwardly supportive if controlling wife is revealed to have him tied to her apron strings. The Shrike is a psychological melodrama with sudden violence depicting the slow destruction of the human mind. The title character is played by June Allyson in a surprising change of pace from her popular persona as the helpmeet housewife. José Ferrer directs and stars as a man with a chaotic emotional life; the woman psychologist is played by Isabel Bronner, creator of the stage role and wife of the playwright. The individual conceptions of the group of inmates are clever, if by now familiar, characterizations.
A new guard at an insane asylum is subjected to terrific abuse from the residents in Dr. Dippy's Sanitarium, while in Psychiatricks, Popeye takes the talking cure to determine the root of his aggressive behavior. But doesn't Prof. Ed Shrinker look a bit like Brutus? Although this isn't one of the sublime Max Fleischer cartoons, but rather a crudely drawn TV issue, it's worth it just to hear Popeye sing: "Spinach ain't the diagnosis/for the fighting neurosis/of Popeye the Sailor Man."
Tuesday, January 12 (7:00 p.m.)
The Mark (20th Century-Fox, 1961). Director: Guy Green. Writers: Sidney Buchman, Stanley Mann. Cast: Stuart Whitman, Maria Schell, Rod Steiger. (127 min, sd., b&w, 16mm; LC Collection, courtesy 20th Century-Fox).
Thoughtful, sober study of a recovering pedophile (Whitman) whose successes in his professional and personal life are seriously jeopardized when an opportunistic reporter reveals his criminal past. Steiger plays a sympathetic psychiatrist with boundless optimism and common sense. A compassionate plea for understanding of the challenges facing the mentally maladjusted, much needed in post Megan’s Law America.
Wednesday, January 13 (7:00 p.m.)
The President's Analyst (Paramount, 1967). Director/Writer: Theodore J. Flicker. Cast: James Coburn, Godfrey Cambridge, Severn Darden), Joan Delaney, Pat Harrington. (104 min., sd., color, 35mm; LC Collection, courtesy Paramount).
The President's Analyst belongs to that time-honored form, the paranoia film in which nothing is as it seems, unless it seems that everything is a conspiracy. Like its hero, the film is of its time: mod haircuts, zoom lenses, Soviet spies and Hollywood hippies, even a strolling-elatedly-through-Manhattan-with-groovy-music-on-the-soundtrack sequence. But even though Ma Bell has been deregulated, The President's Analyst seems far from out-of-date. Viewers in 1998 even may get a chuckle from several obviously inadvertent allusions.
Thursday, January 14 (7:00 p.m.)
The Florentine Dagger (Warner Bros., 1935). Director: Robert Florey. Writer: Brown Holme and Tom Reed, from the novel by Ben Hecht. Cast: Margaret Lindsay, Donald Woods, C. Aubrey Smith. (70 min., sd., b&w, 35mm; LC Collection, courtesy Turner Entertainment), preceded by
Maude: The Analyst (Tandem Productions, 1975). Director: Hal Cooper. Writer: Jay Folb. Cast: Beatrice Arthur. (26 min., sd., color, ¾" video; LC Collection).
Our Freud series concludes with a new print from the Library's Motion Picture Preservation Lab. The Florentine Dagger, although technically made after more stringent censorship resumed, belongs to the type of films known as "pre-code" and that would be later recognized as "pre-noir." Director Robert Florey was designated to helm the project only a week before shooting began, while the script by Tom Reed (who had already collaborated with Florey on Murders in the Rue Morgue [Universal, 1932]) was still being rewritten and substantially changed during photography, adding themes not present in the Ben Hecht novel but which deepened it considerably. Despite these conditions, The Florentine Dagger was completed in a mere 20 days, on a $135,000 budget, although it was not, properly speaking, a "B," but intended as an unusual, high-quality item. Operating on multiple levels, The Florentine Dagger delves past a surface mystery into a domain where the apparently dead past intrudes on the present, releasing ungovernable passions.
Melancholic Cesare (Donald Woods), a descendant of the Borgias, is driven to the brink of suicide by his belief that he has a dual personality, with his subconscious half inheriting the murderous proclivities of his ancestors. A misogynistic psychiatrist, Dr. Lytton (C. Aubrey Smith) suggests Cesare exorcize his internal demons by writing a play on the Borgias, but no sooner has he done so, and fallen in love with leading lady Florence Ballau (Margaret Lindsay), than it appears she is becoming her role--Lucretia Borgia. Florence is accused of murdering her father, theatrical producer Victor Ballau, but in investigating on her behalf, Cesare (in conjunction with psychiatrist Lytton) discovers he is hardly alone in experiencing a deep psychological turmoil, uncovering a maelstrom of revenge and bitterness stretching back over two decades.
The consistently strange, unnatural behavior of each of the performers is augmented by Florey's expressionistic treatment, with painterly camerawork by Arthur Todd, full of oblique angles, dark lighting, shadow effects, and composition in depth, heightening moments of drama and character revelation. Many objets d'art from director Florey's own collection enrich the set design and enhance the chilling mood it creates. In a move seldom allowed contract directors, Warner Bros. allowed Florey to oversee the editing of the film, so that pace, choice of shots, and narrative all combine together to memorably explore the psyche of its characters in a manner decades ahead of its time.
The Florentine Dagger will be introduced by Motion Picture, Broadcasting and Recorded Sound Division staff member Brian Taves, author of Robert Florey, the French Expressionist (Scarecrow, 1987).
A bravura performance from Bea Arthur is featured in a wonderful episode from the Norman Lear sitcom Maude. Maude Findlay talks to an unseen (and unheard) therapist about her marriage, her father, and her intense self-doubt. The husband-as-father parallel might be a bit pat, but Arthur's serio-comic delivery more than compensates for the predictability of the script.
Programs are subject to change.