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August 28, 2012

Packard Campus Theater Features History, Literary Classics

It’s back-to-school at the Library of Congress Packard Campus theater in September with a screening of the sing-along version of the original high-school musical, "Grease," on Saturday, Sept. 8. To commemorate the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Antietam, the 1989 film "Glory," which opens with a scene of what has been called the bloodiest single-day battle in American history, will be the Sept. 13 feature. The film goes on to tell the true story of the first U.S. Army regiment comprised entirely of African-American soldiers and its commander, Colonel Robert Gould Shaw.

The importance of literature in our society also is showcased in a tribute to Ray Bradbury, who passed away in June, with the 1966 adaptation of his classic sci-fi novel "Fahrenheit 451." The stylish (and controversial) "Last Year at Marienbad" was selected for both French and Avant Garde film studies.

Silent film accompanist Ben Model will return to the state-of-the-art theater in Culpeper, Va., for a silent movie weekend that includes a sampling of the film series "Cruel and Unusual Comedy" about American slapstick film, and Erich von Stroheim’s "The Wedding March," which was added to the National Film Registry in 2003. For more information on the National Film Registry, visit

Some of the most popular stars of the 1930s—Cary Grant, Katharine Hepburn and Claudette Colbert—will be featured in the romantic comedies "Holiday" and "Midnight." The grand finale on Sept. 29—"Saturday Morning Cartoons"—will feature three titles from the National Film Registry.

Screenings are preceded by an informative slide presentation about the film, with music selected by the Library’s Recorded Sound Section. Short subjects will be presented before select programs. Titles are subject to change without notice.

All Packard Campus programs are free and open to the public, but children 12 and under must be accompanied by an adult. For reservation information, call (540) 827-1079 ext. 79994 or (202) 707-9994 during business hours, beginning one week before any given screening. Reservations will be held until 10 minutes before showtime. In case of inclement weather, call the theater reservation line no more than three hours before showtime to confirm cancellations. For further information on the theater and film series, visit

The Library of Congress Packard Campus for Audio Visual Conservation is a state-of-the-art facility funded as a gift to the nation by the Packard Humanities Institute. The Packard Campus is the site where the nation’s library acquires, preserves and provides access to the world’s largest and most comprehensive collection of motion pictures, television programs, radio broadcasts and sound recordings ( The Packard Campus is home to more than 6 million collection items, including nearly 3 million sound recordings. It provides staff support for the Library of Congress National Film Preservation Board, the National Recording Preservation Board, and the national registries for film and recorded sound.

Founded in 1800, the Library of Congress is the nation’s oldest federal cultural institution. It seeks to spark imagination and creativity and to further human understanding and wisdom by providing access to knowledge through its magnificent collections, programs and exhibitions. Many of the Library’s rich resources can be accessed through its website at

Series Schedule

Thursday, Sept. 6 (7:30 p.m.)
"Fahrenheit 451"
(Universal, 1966)
Oskar Werner and Julie Christie star in this futuristic drama based on the science-fiction novel by Ray Bradbury. François Truffaut directed the story about a fireman who begins to question his duty to destroy all books.

Friday, Sept. 7 (7:30 p.m.)
"Paris, Texas"
(20th Century-Fox, 1984)
German director Wim Wenders’ atmospheric story of a man who tries to put his life back together after being lost for four years won the Palme d'Or at the 1984 Cannes Film Festival. Harry Dean Stanton, Nastassja Kinski and Dean Stockwell star in the film. Ry Cooder composed the musical score.

Saturday, Sept. 8 (7:30 p.m.)
"Grease Sing-A-Long"
(Paramount, 1978)
The original high-school musical is back in a sing-along version with animated subtitles. John Travolta, Olivia Newton-John and Stockard Channing star in this rocking musical-romance directed by Randal Kleiser.

Thursday, Sept. 13 (7:30 p.m.)
(Tri-Star, 1989)
Matthew Broderick portrays Colonel Robert Gould Shaw, commanding officer of the 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry, the first formal unit of the U.S. Army to be made up entirely of African-American men. Denzel Washington won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor in this Civil War drama, which was directed by Edward Zwick. "Glory" is R-rated.

Friday, Sept. 14 (7:30 p.m.)
"Cruel and Unusual Comedy"
(Various studios, 1913-1929)
The evening features a sampling of the film series "Cruel and Unusual Comedy: Social Commentary in the American Slapstick Film," which has been presented annually at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York City since 2009. Curated by Steve Massa and Ben Model, the program will include Mack Sennett’s "Their First Execution" (1913), starring Ford Sterling; legendary vaudeville comedian Bert Williams in "A Natural Born Gambler" (1916); and "Goodnight Nurse" (1929), directed by and starring British comedian Lupino Lane. The silent comedy shorts, courtesy of MoMA, will have live musical accompaniment by Ben Model.

Saturday, Sept. 15 (7:30 p.m.)
"The Wedding March"
(Paramount, 1928)
Erich von Stroheim directed and stars in this silent drama about a roguish Viennese prince who agrees to marry for money and position to help his family. He then falls in love with a beautiful but poor girl. Ben Model will provide live musical accompaniment for this 2003 selection to the National Film Registry.

Thursday, Sept. 20 (7:30 p.m.)
(Paramount, 1939)
Claudette Colbert stars as a penniless chorus girl stranded in Paris who masquerades as a Hungarian countess to help a millionaire break up his wife’s affair with another man. Mitchell Leisen directed this sparkling romantic comedy that also features Don Ameche, John Barrymore and Mary Astor.

Friday, Sept. 21 (7:30 p.m.)
(United Artists, 1981)
An expert jewel thief, who is also a hard-boiled ex-convict, agrees to take one last job before he goes straight—with dire consequences. Michael Mann directed this crime thriller starring James Caan, Tuesday Weld and Willie Nelson. The film is rated R.

Saturday, Sept. 22 (7:30 p.m.)
"Grand Prix"
(MGM, 1966)
Outstanding racing cinematography in European locations is the star of this story that follows four Formula One drivers throughout a racing season. Directed by John Frankenheimer, the Technicolor sports drama features James Garner, Yves Montand, Antonia Sabato, Brian Bedford and Eva Marie Saint.

Thursday, Sept. 27 (7:30 p.m.)
(Columbia, 1938)
George Cukor directed Cary Grant and Katharine Hepburn in this romantic-comedy classic about a rebellious young heiress who finds a kindred spirit in her stodgy sister’s freethinking fiancé.

Friday, Sept. 28 (7:30 p.m.)
"Last Year at Marienbad"
(Astor, 1961)
This surrealist psychological drama is famous for its enigmatic narrative structure where it is difficult to distinguish between truth and fiction. Produced in French with English subtitles, the film was directed by Alain Resnais and stars Giorgio Albertazzi and Delphine Seyrig.

Saturday, Sept. 29 (10 a.m.)
"Saturday Morning Cartoons"
(Various studios, 1933-1956)
This Saturday morning funfest features Bugs Bunny, Yosemite Sam, Porky Pig, Pepe Le Pew, Tweety & Sylvester, Mighty Mouse, Popeye and many more. The program will include three titles from the National Film Registry—"Gerald McBoing Boing," "Porky in Wackyland," and "One Froggy Evening."

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PR 12-162
ISSN 0731-3527

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