April 14, 2014 Mickey, Monsters, Motor Cars and Musty Populate the May Film Schedule
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A tribute to legendary actor Mickey Rooney, who passed away on April 6 at age 93, opens the May film program at the Library of Congress Packard Campus Theater in Culpeper, Va., with a screening of the 1938 Oscar-nominated “Boys Town.” Also featured at the screening will be “Mickey’s Musketeers” (1930)—one of the Mickey McGuire comedy shorts from the series that launched Rooney’s career as a child actor—and the television program “This is Your Life: Mickey Rooney,” originally broadcast in 1984.
Boris Karloff, Godzilla, King Kong and John Barrymore are among the stars of a series of “Monsters in May” at the Packard Campus Theater. Showing that the genre is timeless, titles range across the decades from the highly regarded 1920 version of “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” to a 1940s Universal double feature of “Black Friday” and “House of Frankenstein” to a pair of fearsome tales from the current millennium—“The Host” and “Pan’s Labyrinth.”
A salute to the Indianapolis 500 includes the race-car films “The Crowd Roars” starring James Cagney; Paul Newman in the 1969 film “Winning”; and Pixar’s animated adventure comedy “Cars.”
“The Mishaps of Musty Suffer” was a popular slapstick comedy film series that ran in 30 one-reel episodes from 1915-17, and has not been seen by the general public since its original release. Four of the silent comedy shorts, newly digitized by the Library of Congress Packard Campus, will be screened with live musical accompaniment by Ben Model.
Short subjects will be presented before select programs. Titles are subject to change without notice. Screenings at the Packard Campus are preceded by an informative slide presentation about the film, with music selected by the Library’s Recorded Sound Section.
All Packard Campus programs are free and open to the public, but children 12 and under must be accompanied by an adult. For general Packard Campus Theater information, call (540) 827-1079 ext. 79994 or (202) 707-9994 during regular business hours. For further information on the theater and film series, visit www.loc.gov/avconservation/theater/. In case of inclement weather, call the theater information line no more than three hours before showtime to confirm cancellations. The Packard Campus Theater will be closed May 23 and 24.
Seating at the Packard Campus Theater’s free screenings is on a first-come, first-serve basis. However, for a ticketing service charge, patrons can ensure admission to these shows by reserving tickets through the State Theatre website (www.culpepertheatre.org External) or by visiting the State Theatre ticket office at 305 S. Main Street in Culpeper, Va.
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 (www.loc.gov/avconservation). The Packard Campus is home to more than 7 million collection items. It provides staff support for the Library of Congress National Film Preservation Board (www.loc.gov/film), the National Recording Preservation Board (www.loc.gov/rr/record/nrpb) 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, publications and exhibitions. Many of the Library’s rich resources can be accessed through its website at www.loc.gov.
Library of Congress Packard Campus Theater Schedule
Thursday, May 1 (7:30 p.m.)
Tribute to Mickey Rooney
“Boys Town” (MGM, 1938)
Spencer Tracy won his second consecutive Best Actor Oscar for his performance as Father Flanagan, a Catholic priest who founds a community for underprivileged and delinquent boys. Mickey Rooney plays troublemaker Whitey Marsh, the toughest kid in the bunch. The Variety review stated, “Rooney virtually takes the production away from the capable and veteran Tracy.” This drama, based on a true story, was nominated for an additional four Oscars including Best Picture. “Mickey’s Musketeers” (1930), one of the Mickey McGuire comedy shorts that starred Rooney, will precede the feature. The television show “This is Your Life: Mickey Rooney” (1984) will conclude the program.
Friday, May 2 (7:30 p.m.)
“The Host” (Magnolia Pictures, 2006, R-rated*)
In Seoul’s River Han, a giant mutant creature has developed as a result of toxic chemical dumping. When the squid-like monster scoops up the teenage granddaughter of humble snack-bar owner Hie-bong, he races to track down the murderous beast. Utilizing state-of-the-art special effects, “The Host” is both a creature-feature thrill ride and a poignant human drama. The film was produced in Korean with English subtitles.
*No one under the age of 17 will be admitted without a parent or guardian.
Saturday, May 3 (7:30 p.m.)
“Them!” (Warner Bros., 1954)
The inhabitants of a small Southwestern town feel the fallout when radiation from bomb tests creates a mysterious killing force that infests their community. Facing human extermination, a team of scientists scrambles to figure out how to stop “them.” One of the first of the 1950s “nuclear monster” movies and the first “big bug” film, “Them!” was nominated for an Oscar for its special effects. Directed by Gordon Douglas, the sci-fi horror story stars James Whitmore, Edmund Gwenn, Joan Weldon and James Arness.
Thursday, May 8 (7:30 p.m.)
Monsters Double Feature
“Godzilla” (Toho, 1954)
In the wake of American nuclear-weapons testing over the Pacific Ocean, a 400-foot dinosaur springs to life. The fire-breathing Gojira (a.k.a Godzilla) ravages Japan and brings back the horrors of World War II’s nuclear devastation to the very nation that experienced it first-hand. The film became popular enough to spawn nearly 30 sequels and inspire countless ripoffs, imitations, parodies and homages. An American reboot is scheduled for release on May 16. In 1956, an edited version of “Godzilla” was released in the U.S., which featured newly shot scenes of Hollywood actor Raymond Burr as an American reporter covering the monster’s activities. The original Japanese-language version will be screened with English subtitles.
“Gigantis, the Fire Monster” (Toho, 1955)
This second film in the Godzilla series, a.k.a “Godzilla Raids Again,” was a direct sequel quickly put into production to capitalize on the box-office success of “Godzilla” the previous year. It was the first in the series to feature a “monster vs. monster” scenario, which would become a staple for the rest of the series.
Friday, May 9 (7:30 p.m.)
“Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” (Paramount, 1920)
With its grim naturalism, this version is one of the more faithful of the many screen adaptations of Robert Lewis Stevenson’s famous tale. Legendary actor John Barrymore stars as London doctor Dr. Jekyll, who is progressive in his research, yet repressed in his personal life. After drinking a potion of his own creation, Jekyll is transformed into the evil Edward Hyde. Andrew Simpson will provide live musical accompaniment for this great American horror film, directed by John S. Robertson.
Saturday, May 10 (7:30 p.m.)
Monsters Double Feature
“Black Friday” (Universal, 1940)
College professor George Kingsley is seriously injured when he is caught in the middle of a gangster shootout. To save his life, Kingsley’s best friend Dr. Sovac (Boris Karloff) performs an emergency operation, implanting part the brain of a criminal who has died at the scene into Kingsley’s skull. Though the surgery is successful, the mild-mannered Kingsley occasionally lapses into the brutal personality of the dead man. Bela Lugosi also appears in this sci-fi horror film, directed by Arthur Lubin.
“House of Frankenstein” (Universal, 1944)
Mad scientist Dr. Niemann (Boris Karloff) and his hunchback assistant pose as traveling horror-show operators as a cover for their diabolical dealings—to revive Count Dracula, the Wolf Man and the Frankenstein monster—in order to extract revenge upon their many enemies. Erle C. Kenton directed this horror film that features John Carradine, Lon Chaney Jr., Lionel Atwill, George Zucco and Glenn Strange.
Thursday, May 15 (7:30 p.m.)
“King Kong” (RKO, 1933)
Filmmaker Carl Denham (Robert Armstrong), recent discovery Ann Darrow (Fay Wray) and his team discover a giant prehistoric ape, dubbed Kong, while searching for locations on an uncharted jungle island. The crew manages to subdue the primate and bring Kong to New York to exploit him in a stage show from which he promptly escapes, spreading mayhem. Merian C. Cooper and Ernest B. Schoedsack directed this classic beauty-and-the-beast adventure, which was added to the National Film Registry in 1991.
Friday, May 16 (7:30 p.m.)
“King Kong Escapes” (Toho, 1967)
At the behest of his wealthy benefactress, evil Dr. Who (Eisei Amamoto) builds a robotic King Kong to retrieve a rare radioactive element. However, when the simian machine falters, there’s only one alternative: the real King Kong. Ishiro Honda directed the Japanese/American co-production, which features special effects by Eiji Tsuburaya. The film is dubbed in English.
Saturday, May 17 (7:30 p.m.)
“Pan’s Labyrinth” (Picturehouse, 2006, R-rated*)
Guillermo Del Toro directed this dark fantasy, set in Fascist Spain, about the bookish young stepdaughter of a sadistic army officer who escapes into an eerie-but-captivating imaginary world. The film won Oscars for cinematography, art direction and makeup and was nominated for best foreign language film. The film was produced in Spanish with English subtitles.
*No one under the age of 17 will be admitted without a parent or guardian.
Thursday, May 22 (7:30 p.m.)
“The Crowd Roars” (Warner Bros., 1932)
Howard Hawks directed this fast-paced auto-racing story starring James Cagney as top-ranked race-car driver Joe Greer. His younger brother Eddie (Eric Linden) wants to follow in Joe’s footsteps, but knowing his brother’s reckless side, Joe tries to keep him away from the racer’s life. Several famous racing drivers appear in the production including William Arnold, who was the winner of the 1930 Indianapolis 500 race. Joan Blondell, Ann Dvorak and Frank McHugh round out the cast of this sports drama.
Thursday, May 29 (7:30 p.m.)
“The Mishaps of Musty Suffer” (Kileine, 1915-1917)
The Mishaps of Musty Suffer was a cartoony and surreal series of silent comedy shorts produced from 1915 to 1917. Wildly popular during their release, they have been oddly overlooked and neglected ever since. The films follow the misadventures of put-upon tramp Musty Suffer (Harry Watson Jr.), who lives a slapstick version of the Story of Job, abetted by an ensemble of zanies as he tries his hand at a variety of jobs, gets subjected to medical treatments, and even marries a lemon from the garden of love. The Musty Suffer films have been preserved by the Library of Congress and will be shown in new HD digital transfers. Film historian Steve Massa will introduce the program. Live musical accompaniment will be provided by Ben Model, who also produced a recently released DVD, which is a joint production with the Library of Congress.
Friday, May 30 (7:30 p.m.)
“Winning” (Universal, 1969)
Paul Newman stars as professional race-car driver Frank Capua, whose obsession with work on the racing circuit threatens both his recent marriage and his relationship with his new 13-year-old stepson. James Goldstone directed the action sports drama that co-stars Joanne Woodward, Robert Wagner and Richard Thomas in his film debut. Newman developed a lifelong passion for auto racing after doing his own driving in this film.
Saturday, May 31 (2 p.m.)
“Cars” (Disney, 2006)
In this story set in a world populated entirely by cars and other vehicles, pretentious up-and-coming race car Lightning McQueen gets waylaid on a cross-country journey to get to an important race. He ends up in the small town of Radiator Springs where he learns the meaning of friendship. The computer-animated adventure features voices by Paul Newman (in his final non-documentary feature), Owen Wilson, Larry the Cable Guy, Bonnie Hunt, Tony Shalhoub, Cheech Marin, and many more.