February 18, 2015 Packard Campus March Films Spotlight Silent Movies, Early TV
Press Contact: Sheryl Cannady (202) 707-6456
Public Contact: Rob Stone (202) 707-0851
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The Peacherine Ragtime Society Orchestra, under the direction of founder Andrew Greene, will make its debut at the Packard Campus for Audio Visual Conservation in Culpeper, Virginia, when the ensemble provides accompaniment for the Douglas Fairbanks swashbuckler “The Mark of Zorro” on March 28. The 12-piece theater orchestra, described by the Washington Post as “the premier American ragtime ensemble,” will use period instruments as the group performs music based on the original score compiled by James C. Bradford for the 1920 film.
An additional pair of silent films—the Roscoe Arbuckle comedy “Leap Year” and the WWI drama “The Patent Leather Kid,” starring Richard Barthelmess—will open the month of film screenings in March. Ben Model will provide live musical accompaniment on the Walker theater organ.
A program of excerpts from the live Sunday-night magazine program “Public Broadcasting Laboratory (PBL),” digitally restored and curated by the Library of Congress’ Video Preservation Lab, will include notable news features from 1968 and appearances by such musical icons as Bob Dylan, Johnny Cash, George Harrison and Richie Havens.
The 75th anniversary of the premiere of director John Ford’s “The Grapes of Wrath” will be celebrated with a screening of the classic, based on John Steinbeck’s novel, starring Henry Fonda. The film was one of the first 25 titles selected for preservation in the National Film Registry in its inaugural year of 1989. For more information on the National Film Registry, visit www.loc.gov/film.
Other notable Hollywood stars appearing on the big screen in March include Errol Flynn and Olivia de Havilland in “The Charge of the Light Brigade”; Warren Beatty and Eva Marie Saint in “All Fall Down”; and Bette Davis, Ernest Borgnine and Debbie Reynolds in “The Catered Affair.”
Short-subject films 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.
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) or by visiting the State Theatre ticket office at 305 S. Main Street in Culpeper, Virginia.
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, March 5 (7:30 p.m.)
“The Charge of the Light Brigade” (Warner Bros., 1936)
Errol Flynn stars as Major Geoffrey Vickers, an officer in the 27th Lancers stationed in India. When his regiment is drawn out on maneuvers, Indian potentate Surat Khan—who is angry that the British government has cut off his subsidies—attacks the barracks, killing women and children. Vickers and his fellow Light Brigade lancers seek revenge by battling Khan, now ensconced with the Russians, at Balaclava. Olivia de Havilland co-stars as Flynn’s longtime fiancée with Patric Knowles as his brother and fellow officer. Michael Curtiz directed this epic adventure tale based on Alfred, Lord Tennyson’s narrative poem.
Friday, March 6 (7:30 p.m.)
“Leap Year” (Paramount, 1921)
Silent film comedian Roscoe “Fatty” Arbuckle stars as Stanley Piper, a stammering young man who is heir to his crotchety old uncle Jeremiah’s millions. Stanley has fallen in in love with Phyllis, his uncle’s nurse, but Jeremiah fears that she is only after his impending fortune. Determined to keep his nephew away from all such opportunistic women, he sends Stanley off on a fishing trip to Catalina Island where he finds a bevy of flirtatious females. “Leap Year” was the last film Roscoe Arbuckle completed before being accused of the rape and murder of actress Virginia Rappe. Although he was later cleared of all charges, the scandal ended his on-screen career because film companies were reluctant to give him any major roles. The film was not released in the U.S. until 1981. Ben Model will provide live musical accompaniment for the program, which will include two comedy shorts.
Saturday, March 7 (7:30 p.m.)
“The Patent Leather Kid” (First National, 1927)
A cocky New York prizefighter (Richard Barthelmess), nicknamed “The Patent Leather Kid” for his slicked-down hairstyle, is disinterested in the war effort when America enters the Great War in Europe. His contempt for the subject only deepens when his girlfriend (Molly O'Day) leaves him to entertain the troops overseas. When he is drafted and fighting on the battlefields of France, his attitude changes and he begins to pull together with his buddies, eventually performing a conspicuous act of bravery. Made at the height of his popularity, Barthelmess was nominated for an Oscar in the first year of the Academy Awards for this silent film.
Thursday, March 12 (7:30 p.m.)
“The Girl Next Door” (20th Century-Fox, 1953)
When widowed cartoonist Bill Carter (Dan Dailey) falls in love with his beautiful new neighbor, Broadway star Jeannie Laird (June Haver), it causes a rift with his 10-year-old son, Joe (Billy Gray). Threatened by a new woman in his father’s life, Joe refuses to accept Jeannie and begins a mischievous campaign to keep her away. This lighthearted Technicolor musical, directed by Richard Sale, features an extended animated cartoon sequence and 10 songs by Josef Myrow and Mack Gordon. The film also stars popular singer-comedian Dennis Day.
Friday, March 13 (7:30 p.m.)
“Fast Times at Ridgemont High” (Universal, 1982, R-rated *)
Among the best teen comedies, this 1980s cultural icon combines a sympathetic treatment of adolescence with hilarious performances. Directed by Amy Heckerling, the film was based on a script by 22-year old Rolling Stone magazine writer (and later film director) Cameron Crowe, who spent nine months undercover as a high school student. The cast contains an appealing mix of soon-to-be-famous young talent (Jennifer Jason Leigh, Judge Reinhold) confronting their raging hormones as they hang out at the mall and endure jobs in fast-food restaurants. Most memorable in the cast is Sean Penn as the spaced out surfer dude Jeff Spicoli. The film also stars Robert Romanus, Brian Backer, Phoebe Cates and Ray Walston. “Fast Times at Ridgemont High” was selected for preservation in The National Film Registry in 2005.
* No one under the age of 17 will be admitted without a parent or guardian.
Saturday, March 14 (2 p.m.)
“The Grapes of Wrath” (20th Century-Fox, 1940)
The Joad family of impoverished farmers from the Dust Bowl of Oklahoma makes a harrowing journey to the promised land of California, only to find the good life they have hoped for is out of their reach. John Ford won an Academy Award as best director for this uncompromising adaptation of John Steinbeck’s novel. The film was nominated for an additional six Oscars, including best picture. Jane Darwell won for best supporting actress. After viewing the film, Steinbeck said Henry Fonda’s performance as Tom Joad made him “believe my own words.” The ensemble cast includes John Carradine, Charley Grapewin, Russell Simpson and John Qualen. The film was one of the first added to the National Film Registry in its inaugural year of 1989.
Thursday, March 19 (7:30 p.m.)
“Public Broadcast Laboratory” (1968)
Public Broadcast Laboratory (PBL) was the first regularly scheduled educational television program aired nationwide, shown on National Educational Television (NET) stations. It premiered in 1967, offering incisive reporting, examinations of the arts and sciences, live dramas, strong opinion and probing commentary. In 1994, PBS donated its archives to the Library of Congress, which included 53 episodes of PBL, most of which are on two-inch videotape, an early analog format. This program, curated by the Library of Congress’ Video Preservation Lab, will feature rare clips from PBL, most of which have not been seen since their original broadcast. Included are a report on the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr., coverage of the Brigade Women’s March on Washington protesting the war in Vietnam, California Gov. Ronald Reagan visiting a fraternity house at Yale University, and Johnny Cash singing a duet with Bob Dylan.
Friday, March 20 (7:30 p.m.)
“All Fall Down” (MGM, 1962)
John Frankenheimer directed this adaptation of James Leo Herlihy’s novel about Berry-Berry Willart (Warren Beatty), a handsome, hedonistic young drifter who lives off the women he seduces, frequently ending up in jail. Clinton (Brandon deWilde) idolizes his older brother until he witnesses Berry-Berry’s cruel treatment of Echo (Eva Marie Saint), a family friend and spinster who falls in love with the scoundrel. For her performances in “All Fall Down” and Frankenheimer’s “The Manchurian Candidate,” which was released the same year, Angela Lansbury (who played a destructively manipulative mother in both films) won the year’s National Board of Review Award for best supporting actress. Karl Malden plays her husband and Beatty’s father.
Saturday, March 21 (1 p.m.)
“Night at the Museum 2: Battle of the Smithsonian” (20th Century Fox, 2009)
Shawn Levy returned as director for this sequel to his 2006 hit comedy “Night at the Museum.” Ben Stiller repeats his role as Larry Daley, a former night watchman at the American Museum of Natural History. Now a wealthy and successful CEO of Daley Enterprises, Larry is called upon to rescue his living, breathing exhibit friends Jedediah (Owen Wilson) and Octavius (Steve Coogan), who have been shipped for storage. Headlining the all-star cast as other museum exhibits are Robin Williams (Teddy Roosevelt), Amy Adams (Amelia Earhart), Hank Azaria (Pharaoh Kahmunrah) and Christopher Guest (Ivan the Terrible).
Thursday, March 26 (7:30 p.m.)
“The Catered Affair” (MGM, 1956)
Bette Davis stars as Agnes Hurley, the wife of a Bronx taxi driver (Ernest Borgnine) who wants to give her daughter Jane an elaborate wedding, despite the fact that the family cannot afford it, the daughter does not want it and her husband was planning to use the money to become self-employed. Directed by Richard Brooks with a script by Gore Vidal based on Paddy Chayefsky’s television play, the drama also stars Debbie Reynolds as Jane and Rod Taylor as her fiancé Ralph. In later years, Davis would consider the film one of her proudest achievements.
Friday, March 27 (7:30 p.m.)
RKO Western Double Feature starring Harry Carey Sr.
“Powdersmoke Range” (RKO, 1935)
Three cowboys buy a ranch only to find their legal papers are missing and their cattle have been rustled. The culprit is a greedy political boss who takes umbrage to their presence in his territory and hires a professional gunslinger. Harry Carey, Hoot Gibson and Guinn “Big Boy” Williams portray the victimized ranch owners with Sam Hardy and Tom Tyler as the bad guys. Touted as “the Barnum and Bailey of Westerns,'” this was the first film based on William Colt MacDonald’s “Three Mesquiteers” characters. It also boasts appearances by 13 former silent-screen cowboy heroes, including Bob Steele, Art Mix, Buffalo Bill Jr., Franklyn Farnum and William Farnum.
“The Law West of the Tombstone” (RKO, 1938)
Combining the folklore of Judge Roy Bean, Billy the Kid and the Clanton Gang at the O.K. Corral, this lively Western stars Harry Carey as Bill Barker, a notorious liar who talks the townspeople of Martinez into making him both mayor and judge. With the help of outlaw the Tonto Kid (Tim Holt), Barker fends off the troublesome McQuinn Brothers. Along the way, he meets his grown daughter Nitta, who believes her father died a hero at Gettysburg. She falls in love with the Tonto Kid. Co-starring in this oater are Evelyn Brent, Paul Guilfoyle and Ward Bond.
Saturday, March 28 (7:30 p.m.)
“The Mark of Zorro” (United Artists, 1920)
Douglas Fairbanks Sr. changed his screen persona from a cheerful romantic comedian to what became the prototype for a new kind of hero, the swashbuckling adventurer, with “The Mark of Zorro,” which he also produced and co-wrote. Based on a short story by Johnston McCulley, “The Curse of Capistrano,” this was the first time the masked hero Zorro had appeared on-screen. Set in California in the early 19th century, the story opens as Don Diego Vega (Fairbanks) returns from Spain to find his family being menaced by a corrupt governor and his henchmen. While Don Diego appears on the surface to be an effete dilettante, his behavior is really an elaborate ruse. In reality, he is Zorro, a master swordsman who has dedicated his life to fighting evil tyrants. Directed by Fred Niblo, this silent classic also stars Marguerite De La Motte and Noah Beery. Making its Packard Campus Theater debut, the Peacherine Ragtime Society Orchestra will provide live musical accompaniment based on the original 1920 theater orchestra score compiled for the film by James C. Bradford. The orchestra is a direct recreation of the standard “11-and-piano” theater orchestra of the early 1900s. The group uses original period instruments, consisting of five strings, two woodwinds, three brass instruments, percussion and a conductor (Andrew Greene) doubling as a pianist.