Mary Pickford Theater
2016 Archive of Screened Films
Thursday, March 17, 2016 (7:00pm)
FLAXY MARTIN (Warner Bros., 1949). Dir Richard Bare. Wrt David Lang. With Virginia Mayo, Zachary Scott, Dorothy Malone, Tom D’Andrea, Helen Westcott, Douglas Kennedy, Elisha Cook, Jr., Douglas Fowley, Monte Blue. (86 min, black & white, 35mm)
Virginia Mayo stars as the title character, a showgirl and the girlfriend of crime syndicate lawyer Walter Colby (Zachary Scott). When Colby is hired to defend a mobster on a murder charge, he finds himself framed in another killing. Preserved from the original camera negatives in the United Artists Collection.
Preceded by: BACHELOR BLUES (RKO, 1948). Dir Leslie Goodwins. Wrt Julian Woodward, Goodwins. With Leon Errol, Dorothy Granger, Wally Brown, Betty Underwood, Grandon Rhodes. (17 min, black & white, 35mm).
A husband and wife discover they are not legally married. Following his first, albeit short-lived starring comedy series at Columbia, Leon Errol switched to RKO in 1934, churning out 4-5 two-reelers every year until his death in 1951 at the age of 70.
Thursday, April 21, 2016 (7:00pm)
DISC JOCKEY (Allied Artists, 1951). Dir Will Jason. Wrt Clark E. Reynolds. With Ginny Simms, Tom Drake, Jane Nigh, Michael O’Shea, Jerome Cowan. (76 min, black & white, 35mm)
When disc jockey Michael O’Shea’s sponsor becomes convinced that radio is history and wants to take his money to television, he turns for support to an all-star cast that includes Russ Morgan, Tommy Dorsey, George Shearing, Nick Lucas, Herb Jeffries, Sarah Vaughn, The Weavers, Jack Fina, Red Norvo, Ben Pollack, Red Nichols, Joe Venuti, Foy Willing & the Riders of the Purple Sage. “Imaginary Ballroom” host Martin Block and jazz impresario Gene Norman are two of the twenty-eight real life radio disc jockeys who also come to O’Shea’s side. Disc Jockey has been little seen since its original release. It not only captures a cross section of American popular music, but also the transition from the days of live radio drama and comedy to disc jockey format. It has never been on video and will be shown in a newly restored 35mm print made at the Library of Congress’s Packard Campus for Audiovisual Conservation in Culpeper, VA.
Preceded by: EDDIE CONDON’S (Columbia, 1951). Series: Cavalcade of Broadway. Dir Harry Foster. With Danton Walker. (10 min, black & white, 35mm)
Eddie Condon’s All Stars in performance in Condon’s club at West 3rd Street in Greenwich Village. Personnel: Wild Bill Davison, cornet; Cutty Cutshall, trombone; Edmond Hall, clarinet; Gene Schroeder, piano; Eddie Condon, guitar; Buzzy Drootin, drums; Bob Casey, bass; Dolores Hawkins & Johnny Ray, vocals.
And MUSIC BY MARTIN (Universal, 1950). Dir Will Cowan. With Freddy Martin and His Orchestra, Merv Griffin, Marilyn Cleek, Murray Arnold, Marilyn Watson, The Martin Men. (15 min, black & white, 35mm)
Musical short featuring a band led by tenor saxophonist Freddy Martin. With harpist Marilyn Cleek singing “Over the Rainbow” and Merv Griffin, in his pre-TV days, crooning “Tenement Symphony.”
Thursday, May 19, 2016 at 7:00pm
THE WORLD CHANGES (First National, 1933). Dir Will Mervyn Le Roy. Screenplay Edward Chodorov. Story Sheridan Gibney. With Paul Muni, Aline MacMahon, Mary Astor, Donald Cook, Jean Muir, Guy Kibbe, Patricia Ellis, Theodore Newton, Margaret Lindsat. (90 min, black & white, 35mm)
This saga of the rise and fall of a Midwestern family dynasty from the mid-1800s through the Great Depression was Paul Muni’s second film for Warner Bros. and his first under an exclusive five-year contract with the studio. It was also Muni’s second collaboration with director Mervyn Le Roy following the success of “I Am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang.” Muni stars as a young Dakota farm boy who pursues his ambitions by moving to Chicago where he becomes a meat-packing baron and multimillionaire--only to see his family life crumble before his very eyes.
The film was based on Sheridan Gibney’s unpublished novel “America Kneels” and follows a narrative arc familiar from earlier Warner releases such as “Silver Dollar” (1932) and “I Loved a Woman” (1933), the latter featuring another Chicago meat-packer and his ambitious wife. Preserved in 2013 by the Packard Campus Film Preservation Lab from the original nitrate negatives in the United Artists Collection.
Preceded by I SCREAM (Vitaphone, 1934). Dir Ray McCarey. Screenplay Jack Henley, Eddie Moran. With Gus Shy, Shemp Howard, Curtis Karpe, Lionel Stander. (20 min, black & white, 35mm)
Short comedy about an ice cream delivery man who is mistakenly hired by an insurance company and finds himself in the midst of a gang war.
Thursday, June 16, 2016 at 7:00pm
WE STILL KILL THE OLD WAY = A CIASCUNO IL SUO (Cemo Film, Italy, 1967). Released in the U.S. in 1968 by Lopert Pictures. Directed by Elio Petri. Screenplay by Elio Petri, Ugo Pirro, freely adapted from the novel “To Each His Own” by Leonardo Sciascia. With Gian Maria Volonté, Irene Papas, Gabriele Ferzetti, Salvo Randone, Luigi Pistilli. (92 min, Technicolor, 35mm, in Italian w/English subtitles)
In a provincial town in Sicily, a professor embarks on his own investigation of a double homicide after the official inquiry unconvincingly labels the murders as crimes of honor. Leonardo Scascia’s 1966 novel “To Each His Own” (originally published in English as “A Man’s Blessing”) was inspired by the real-life murder of the local police chief in the town of Agrigento in 1960. It closely follows the themes and style of the author’s earlier work “The Day of the Owl” (Il giorno della civetta) – a crime thriller with political overtones set in a provincial Sicilian community where the influence of the Mafia runs wide and deep. In Elio Petri’s screen adaptation, the crime syndicate is never mentioned by name and the sinister undertones stand in marked contrast to the sun-drenched, Technicolor-rendered Mediterranean landscape.
The film won the award for best screenplay (ex-aequo) at the 1967 Cannes Film Festival and marked the beginning of director Petri’s fruitful collaboration with actor Gian Maria Volonté, screenwriter Ugo Pirro, and cinematographer Luigi Kuveiller. Never released on home video in the U.S. Archival print from the Library’s Copyright Collection.
Thursday, July 21, 2016 at 7:00pm
WHIRLPOOL (Twentieth Century-Fox, 1950). Directed by Otto Preminger. Screenplay by Ben Hecht, Andrew Solt, based on the novel "Methinks the Lady" by Guy Endore. With Gene Tierney, Richard Conte, José Ferrer, Charles Bickford, Barbara O'Neil, Eduard Franz, Constance Collier. (97 min, black & white, 35mm).
The wife (Tierney) of a distinguished psychoanalyst (Conte) falls under the influence of a devious hypnotist (Ferrer). A textbook example of the close relationship between psychoanalysis and film noir, “Whirlpool” draws a clear dividing line between psychiatry, the practitioner of which is portrayed as a respected, prominent member of society, and hypnosis, depicted as a suspect, even dangerous method of dealing with mental illness. While the film bears similarities to the 1944 noir classic “Laura,” also starring Gene Tierney and directed by Otto Preminger, its female protagonist, a troubled housewife far removed from Laura’s successful career woman, is firmly rooted in the post-World War II era.
"Whirlpool" is presented in a brand new 35mm print generated by the Packard Campus Film Preservation Lab from a nitrate negative repatriated from the Australian National Film and Sound Archive.
Thursday, August 18, 2016 at 7:00pm
B-WESTERN DOUBLE BILL
SADDLES AND SAGEBRUSH (Columbia, 1943). Directed by William Berke. Story and screenplay by Ed Earl Repp. With Russell Hayden, Dub Taylor, Bob Wills, Ann Savage, William Wright, Frank LaRue. (55 min, black & white, 35mm).
A cowhand with a fast draw (Hayden) switches sides in a range war when he realizes that his boss (Wright) is stealing land from the homesteaders. Graduating from sidekick roles in William Boyd ("Hopalong Cassidy") and Charles Starrett westerns, Russell Hayden starred in his own series for Columbia from late 1942 to mid-1944. He was usually joined by Dub Taylor, who provided the comic relief, and Bob Wills and His Texas Playboys, charged with the musical interludes. After the war, Hayden’s career was mostly confined to poverty row studios, including nine westerns for Lippert Pictures, and television (syndicated TV series "Cowboy G Men" and "Judge Roy Bean"). Songs include &Hubbin' It," "Ki Yi, Yippee Yea," and "Toodleumbo."
THE BANDIT TRAIL (RKO, 1941). Directed by Edward Killy. Screenplay by Norton S. Parker, from an original story by Arthur T. Horman. With Tim Holt, Ray Whitley, Janet Waldo, Lee "Lasses" White, Morris Ankrum, Roy Barcroft. (61 min, black & white, 35mm).
After a rancher is killed trying to stop a gun battle between his hot-headed brother (Ankrum) and the sheriff, the rancher’s son (Holt) is reluctantly persuaded by his uncle to help rob the local bank that has been trying to repossess their land. Today best remembered for his roles in Orson Welles’s "The Magnificent Ambersons" (1942) and John Huston’s "The Treasure of the Sierra Madre" (1948), to contemporary audiences Tim Holt was primarily known as a popular star of B-westerns. "The Bandit Trail" is considered one of the best of the nearly fifty westerns Holt made for RKO between the late 1930’s and early ‘50’s.
Thursday, September 15, 2016 at 7:00pm
ONCE IN A LIFETIME (Universal, 1932). Directed by Russell Mack. Adapted by Seton I. Miller, from the play of the same name by Moss Hart and George S. Kaufman. With Jack Oakie, Sidney Fox, Aline MacMahon, Russell Hopton, Louise Fazenda, ZaSu Pitts, Gregory Ratoff. (91 min, black & white, 35mm).
With the craze for talking pictures reducing their audiences to a trickle, three vaudeville performers move from New York to Hollywood with a plan to open an elocution school for stage actors trying to break into the movies. A blistering satire of the film industry, and the first teaming of writers Moss Hart and George S. Kaufman, the play “Once in a Lifetime” opened on Broadway in September 1930 to rave reviews and full houses. As soon as Universal purchased the screen rights, questions started being asked about how much of the original’s biting edge would survive. Producer Carl Laemmle’s response: “If I or anyone else who is earning a livelihood in pictures cannot stand to have fun poked at us for our eccentricities, it is just too bad.”
MAIDS A LA MODE (Hal Roach/MGM, 1933). Directed by Gus Meins. With ZaSu Pitts, Thelma Todd, Billy Gilbert, Cissy Fitzgerald. (18 min, black & white, 35mm).
Comedy duo ZaSu Pitts and Thelma Todd play two employees of a modiste shop, who instead of delivering a pair of dresses to a customer, wear them to a party.
Thursday, October 20, 2016 at 7:00pm
ONLY TWO CAN PLAY (Vale Film Productions, in association with British Lion, United Kingdom, 1962). Directed by Sidney Gilliat. Screenplay by Bryan Forbes, from the novel “That Uncertain Feeling” by Kingsley Amis. With Peter Sellers, Virginia Maskell, Mai Zetterling, Kenneth Griffiths, Richard Attenborough. (106 min, black & white, 35mm).
In a small town in Wales, an unhappily married librarian starts an affair with the wife of a local politician. An understated comedy with an effortlessly inventive performance by Peter Sellers, the film superbly captures the dissatisfaction of lower middle-class life in 1960’s provincial Britain, as well as the tragicomic trials and tribulations of the male mid-life crisis, the portrayal of which Sellers developed and refined throughout his career. Never released on DVD in the U.S. Archival print from the Library’s Copyright Collection.
Thursday, November 17, 2016 at 6:30pm
Film Noir Double Bill
CHICAGO CALLING (Arrowhead Pictures / United Artists, 1952).
Directed by John Reinhardt. Screenplay by John Reinhardt and Peter Berneis. With Dan Duryea, Mary Anderson, Gordon Gebert, Ross Elliott, Melinda Plowman. (75 min, black & white, 35mm).
Awaiting news of his severely injured daughter, a struggling photographer desperately tries to find money to prevent his phone service from being cut. Noir stalwart Dan Duryea creates a harrowing portrait of desperation fueled by alcohol, unemployment and lack of self-belief against a backdrop of LA’s gritty underbelly, rendered with a neo-realist touch by cinematographer Robert de Grasse. Preserved in 2012 by the Packard Campus Film Preservation Lab from the original negatives in the United Artists Collection.
THE BIG STEAL (RKO, 1949).
Directed by Don Siegel. Screenplay by Geoffrey Homes and Gerald Drayson Adams, based on the short story "The Road to Carmichael's" by Richard Wormser. With Robert Mitchum, Jane Greer, William Bendix, Patric Knowles, Ramon Novarro, Don Alvarado. (71 min, black & white, 35mm).
An army officer wrongly accused of robbery travels to Mexico in an attempt to find the real thief and clear his name. Despite the many interruptions and workarounds in the film’s production schedule due to Robert Mitchum’s trial and brief incarceration on marijuana possession charges, Don Siegel’s third feature as director is a fast-paced and tautly constructed thriller featuring a character who consistently straddles the line between hero and villain, not unlike the morally ambiguous protagonists of Siegel’s later films (Coogan’s Bluff, Madigan, Dirty Harry).
Thursday, December 15, 2016 at 7:00pm
RED SKY AT MORNING (Hal Wallis / Universal, 1971).
Directed by James Goldstone. Screenplay by Marguerite Roberts, from the novel of the same name by Richard Bradford. With Richard Thomas, Catherine Burns, Desi Arnaz Jr., Richard Crenna, Claire Bloom, John Colicos, Harry Guardino, Strother Martin. (112 min, Technicolor, 35mm).
In 1970, during a brief period of cinema history that has come to be called the American New Wave, the newly created New Mexico Film Commission enticed Universal Pictures to their state to adapt the well-received, recently published coming-of-age novel, “Red Sky at Morning,” that some had compared with “Catcher in the Rye.” With stunning impressionistic cinematography by Hungarian expatriate Vilmos Zsigmond, soon to become one of New Hollywood’s most acclaimed directors of photography, the film, set during World War II, captured an intense South-West ethnic cultural clash encountered by a family transplanted from Alabama to New Mexico. With a sensitive performance by Richard Thomas, “Red Sky at Morning” conveyed in the words of critic Charles Champlin, a more authentic “past remembered” than “the past imagined” personified by a more successful World War II-era coming-of-age period piece of that year, “Summer of ’42.”