February 17, 2016 Packard Campus Theater Features Hollywood, Cult and Silent Classics
Harry Potter Film Series Begins in March
Press Contact: Sheryl Cannady (202) 707-6456
Public Contact: Rob Stone (202) 707-0851
Two of the most famous silent films ever made, Fritz Lang’s sci-fi German masterpiece “Metropolis” and Erich von Stroheim’s notorious “Greed,” will be shown in March at the Library of Congress Packard Campus theater in Culpeper, Virginia. “Metropolis,” released in 1984 with a pop rock score by Giorgio Moroder, will be screened as the second half of a double feature along with the 2009 animated French comedy “A Town Called Panic.”
Ben Model will be on hand to provide live musical accompaniment for “Greed,” which will kick off the month’s screenings. He also will provide accompaniment for the newly discovered railroad adventure thriller “The Dixie Flyer,” a big hit at recent film festivals.
Other films in the lineup include such cult classics from the 1980s as Jim Henson’s “Labyrinth,” starring David Bowie, the rock-music action thriller “Streets of Fire” and the black-comedy horror film “Parents.” Disney’s “Darby O’Gill and the Little People” will be shown on St. Patrick’s Day, while a lesser-known Disney live-action feature, “Charley and the Angel,” starring Fred MacMurray, is scheduled for a matinee screening.
Other notable titles in March include the 1940 Academy Award-nominated version of Thornton Wilder’s “Our Town” and Cecil B. DeMille’s Biblical epic “The Ten Commandments,” which was added to the National Film Registry in 1999. George Willeman, nitrate-film-vault leader at the Library’s Packard Campus, served as guest programmer for the month.
As a special treat for spring break, all eight Harry Potter movies will be shown March 28–April 3. Screenings will be held at 7 p.m. each day with an added 2 p.m. matinee on Sunday, April 3. The British-American fantasy films, based on the novels by British author J.K. Rowling, were originally released between 2001 and 2011.
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. Seating at the screenings is on a first-come, first-serve basis. The Packard Campus Theater is located at 19053 Mount Pony Road, Culpeper, Virginia. For general 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 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 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 (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 (loc.gov/film), the National Recording Preservation Board (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 first-established 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 loc.gov.
Library of Congress Packard Campus Theater ScheduleFriday, March 4 (7:30 p.m.)
“Greed” (MGM, 1924)
Based on the novel “McTeague” by Frank Norris, “Greed” chronicles the downfall of gold miner-turned-dentist McTeague (Gibson Gowland) and his wife Trina (ZaSu Pitts) after their lives are destroyed by greed following a lottery win. Critic Roger Ebert wrote, “Erich von Stroheim’s ‘Greed,’ like the Venus de Milo, is acclaimed as a classic despite missing several parts deemed essential by its creator. Its unhappy history is well known. Von Stroheim’s original film was more than nine hours long. After it was cut, cut and cut again, it was released at about 140 minutes, in a version that he disowned—and that inspired a fistfight with Louis B. Mayer. It is this version that is often voted one of the greatest films of all time.” The search for the full-length version of the film has become the film historians’ Holy Grail. “Greed” was added to the National Film Registry in 1991. Ben Model will provide live musical accompaniment.
Saturday, March 5 (2 p.m.)
“The Dixie Flyer” (Rayart Pictures, 1926)
Versatile silent-film leading lady Eva Novak stars as a plucky telegraph operator at the railroad’s farthest outpost who falls in love with handsome railroad worker Cullen Landis in this low-budget action thriller. The “Dixie Flyer” is a fast-moving train and the story, basically one great action sequence after another, focuses on greed-driven efforts to stir up a labor dispute. Novak matches Landis stunt for stunt in, around and on top of moving trains and an out-of-control handcar. The Library of Congress produced this restored print in 2002, which became the surprise hit of at least two film festivals. Two silent short subjects are also on the program: the railroad-related drama “A Mother’s Devotion” (Vitagraph, 1912) and the comedy “The Show” (Vitagraph, 1922), starring Larry Semon and Oliver Hardy. Ben Model will provide live musical accompaniment.
Saturday, March 5 (7:30 p.m.)
“Labyrinth” (Tri-Star Pictures, 1986)
Jim Henson directed this fantasy adventure in which teenaged Sarah’s (Jennifer Connelly) careless wish that goblins would steal her baby brother surprisingly comes true. Jareth, the Goblin King (David Bowie, who, along with Trevor Jones, provides the film’s music) tells Sarah that the only way to get her brother back is to find her way through a devilish labyrinth where she faces a number of horrific challenges and scary creatures produced by Henson’s Creature Shop. Executive-produced by George Lucas, and based upon conceptual designs by Brian Froud, the film was nominated for a BAFTA award for best visual effects.
Thursday, March 10 (7:30 p.m.) – 1980s Cult Faves Double Feature
(Program moved from original March 12 announced date.)
“The Legend of Billie Jean” (Tri-Star Pictures, 1985)
This teen flick/parable is probably best remembered for spawning Pat Benatar’s hit theme song “Invincible,” kicking off Christian Slater’s celluloid career and introducing the world to the voice of Lisa Simpson. “The Legend of Billie Jean,” however, is actually an overlooked ‘80s gem whose working-class, trailer-dwelling, proto-feminist protagonist is a lot more heroic than actress Helen Slater’s previous star turn in “Supergirl.” The best thing about this film is the sympathetic but rarely condescending eye it casts on the poor, harassed but proud folks who live on the wrong side of the tracks in Corpus Christi, Texas. Though unrelated, Helen Slater and Christian Slater slide with equal ease into the roles of siblings Binx and Billie Jean Davy: he as the impetuous little scrapper and she as the goodhearted older sis. The stellar supporting cast includes Keith Gordon as rich Lloyd and comic actress Martha Gehman as Ophelia, the “Billie Jean Gang’s” no-nonsense getaway driver. The most distinctive role, however, belongs to future Simpson’s performer Yeardley Smith, whose foul-mouthed adolescent character, Putter, gets the best laughs.
“Parents” (Vestron Pictures, 1989, R-rated *)
In this dark comedy and parody of 1950s suburban life, a 10-year-old boy begins to suspect that under their normal and proper veneer, his parents (Randy Quaid and Mary Beth Hurt) hold a horrible and bloody secret. Might it have something to do with the Agent Orange-like defoliants Dad creates at Toxico or the unusual dinners that Mom prepares? Actor Bob Balaban takes the director’s reins here to create one of the darkest horror comedies of all time. The film, set in 1958, proceeds like a dream, or rather a suburban nightmare, from which one cannot awake. Eight-year-old Bryan Madorsky, in his only film role, is the one stable element in this otherwise insane world. The cast also features Sandy Dennis, Deborah Rush and Graham Jarvis.
*No one under the age of 17 will be admitted without a parent or guardian.
Friday, March 11 (7:30 p.m.) – Cult Action-Thriller Double Feature, Directed by Walter Hill
“Streets of Fire” (Universal, 1984)
When rock diva Ellen Aim (Diane Lane) is abducted by the leader of the Bombers Raven Shaddock (Willem Dafoe), her manager (Rick Moranis) offers her ex-boyfriend Tom Cody (Michael Pare) $10,000 to find and rescue the singer. Cody teams up with McCoy (Amy Madigan), a tough female ex-soldier, and attacks Shaddock’s stronghold, freeing Ellen from the bikers and destroying their lair. Tom and Ellen now find themselves on the run from the Shaddock and the Bombers. This stylish, futuristic fable is set to an exciting rock-music beat, featuring music by Ry Cooder, Jimmy Iovine, The Blasters, Jim Steinman, Stevie Nicks and The Fixx. While “Streets of Fire” was not successful on its initial release, it has garnered a cult following. This film plays best on the big screen and this a rare opportunity to see it as it was meant to be seen, from one of the few extant 35mm prints made during its 1984 release.
“The Warriors” (Paramount, 1979, R-rated *)
“The Warriors” is considered one of director Walter Hill’s best films, which is based on Sol Yurick’s 1965 novel. In the film, a charismatic leader summons the street gangs of New York City in a bid to join forces and take over the city. When he is killed, the Warriors are falsely blamed and now must fight their way home while every other gang is hunting them down. Hill’s hip, super-stylized action film unfurls in a dystopian near future, when various gangs control New York City. Each gang is responsible for one geographic area and sports a unique moniker (“Warriors,” “Baseball Furies,” “Rogues”), with a costume underscoring its “theme.” Hill sets up the landscape as a massive, violent playground, replete with bridges, vacant subway tunnels, parks, abandoned buildings and more, all ripe for exploration and adventure. Throughout the film, Hill keeps the onscreen violence absurd, exaggerated and unrealistic, downplaying death to an extreme degree. James Remar, Michael Beck and Deborah Van Valkenburgh lead the ensemble cast.
*No one under the age of 17 will be admitted without a parent or guardian.
Saturday, March 12 (7:30 p.m.)
“Love Among the Ruins” (Meyerhar Prod., 2015)
“Love Among the Ruins” is a faux documentary about the miraculous discovery and restoration of a long-lost Italian silent film. More than a parody, the film celebrates the joy of discovering lost art, a rich tradition of filmmaking in Italy, and how a young filmmaker can recreate the artistry of silent film. Michel Hazanavicius, director of the Academy Award Winning film “The Artist” wrote: “I think it’s a wonderfully crafted movie, funny and very sweet at the same time.” Producers Richard Meyer and Susan Harmon will introduce the film and stay for a Q&A after the screening.
Thursday, March 17 (7:30 p.m.)
“Darby O’Gill and the Little People” (Disney/Buena Vista, 1959)
Frisky old storyteller Darby O’Gill (Albert Sharpe) matches wits with the king of the leprechauns and helps play matchmaker for his daughter and Michael McBride (Sean Connery), the strapping lad who has replaced him as caretaker of Lord Fitzpatrick’s estate in a small Irish town. Robert Stevenson directed this family fantasy adventure. Leonard Maltin calls the film “An utter delight, with dazzling special effectss—and some truly terrifying moments along with the whimsy.”
Friday, March 18 (7:30 p.m.)
“Our Town” (United Artists, 1940)
Sam Wood directed this sensitive adaptation of Thornton Wilder’s Pulitzer Prize-winning play “Our Town,” about life in the fictional New Hampshire town of Grover’s Corners in the years 1900 through 1913. Frank Craven, repeating his stage role as the story’s narrator, chronicles the lives of a handful of the town’s citizens. The film features a top-notch cast, including Martha Scott—who was nominated for an Academy Award for best actress—William Holden, Thomas Mitchell, Guy Kibbee, Fay Bainter and Beulah Bondi. The film is supported by an evocative score by Aaron Copland and outstanding production design by William Cameron Menzies. “Our Town” was nominated for five additional Academy Awards, including best picture. The 35 mm, newly restored film print is courtesy of UCLA Film & Television Archive. Also being shown is the 1935 Vitaphone Keystone Kops comedy short “Keystone Hotel.”
Saturday, March 19 (2 p.m.)
“Charley and the Angel” (Disney/Buena Vista, 1973)
Fred MacMurray stars in this inspirational family comedy as Charley Appleby, the owner of a small hardware store during the Great Depression who’s so busy with his business that he’s neglected his family. When a shabby-looking angel (Harry Morgan) appears to tell him that “his number is up,” Charley changes his ways to become a better person in the time that’s left to him. The supporting cast includes Kurt Russell and Cloris Leachman, who was nominated for a Golden Globe Award for best actress in the musical-comedy category. The film, directed by Vincent McEveety, is based on “The Golden Evenings of Summer,” a 1971 novel written by Will Stanton.
Saturday, March 19 (7:30 p.m.)
“The Road to Wellville” (Columbia, 1993, R-rated *)
Based on T.C. Boyle’s novel, “The Road to Wellville” is a fictional look at Dr. John Harvey Kellogg, the figure behind the Battle Creek Sanitarium, breakfast cereal and the health-mania craze that sprang up in the late 19th century. The story centers on Will Lightbody (Matthew Broderick) who has come to the sanitarium with his wife (Bridget Fonda) after she has unwittingly damaged his health with a snake-oil cure for drinking. Along with the Lightbodys is Charles Ossining (John Cusack), who has come to Battle Creek to start a breakfast cereal company of his own along with the dubious Goodloe Bender (Michael Lerner). Add to this mix, the eccentric staff and clientele of the “San,” including the good doctor himself (played with gusto by Sir Anthony Hopkins). Directed by Sir Alan Parker, the cast also includes Dana Carvey, Colm Meaney, John Neville and Camryn Mannheim.
*No one under the age of 17 will be admitted without a parent or guardian.
Friday, March 25 (7:30 p.m.)
“The Ten Commandments” (Paramount, 1956)
Cecil B. DeMille’s last and most successful work is a partial remake of his 1923 silent film. This Biblical epic follows the life of Moses (played by Charlton Heston) from birth and abandonment through manhood, slavery and his trials in leading the Jews out of Egypt. Filmed on location in Egypt, Mount Sinai and the Sinai Peninsula, it was, at the time of its release, the most expensive film ever made as well as the highest-grossing film of 1956. The all-star cast includes Yul Brynner, Anne Baxter, Edward G. Robinson, Yvonne De Carlo, Debra Paget and John Derek. Filmed in Technicolor and VistaVision, the Oscar-winning film features some of the most spectacular special effects of the period. It was nominated for six additional Academy Awards, including best picture. The film was added to the National Film Registry in 1999.
Saturday, March 26 (7:30 p.m.) – Double Feature
“A Town Called Panic” (Zeitgeist Films, 2009)
“A Town Called Panic” (“Panique au village”) tells the story of Indian, Cowboy and Horse, who share a house in the country. It’s Horse’s birthday and his two roomies have forgotten to get him a present. In ordering bricks to build Horse a barbecue, a typing error cause 800 million to be delivered, rather than 80. This is the catalyst for an amazing adventure that literally goes around, in and under the world. In this unique film, all the characters are played by small plastic toys. This fast-paced, animated comedy is fun for the whole family. The film is in French with English subtitles.
“Metropolis” (UFA, 1927-Kino Lorber, 1984)
In 1984, shortly after his musical work in “Flashdance,” “Cat People” and “Scarface” made him very wealthy, composer Giorgio Moroder embarked on a personal project to present a restored and “modernized” version of Fritz Lang’s silent sci-fi epic. Working with the German Archives, Moroder was able to gain access to top-quality materials on “Metropolis” that had not been seen in decades. To try making this silent film acceptable to modern audiences, Moroder enlisted performers such as Pat Benatar, Loverboy, Freddie Mercury and Bonnie Tyler to sing within a new pop-rock score. In addition, color tinting was added and dialogue intertitles redone as subtitles. While the end result didn’t have universal appeal, the approach did prove that silent film could still be a marketable commodity if given a quality presentation. The 35 mm print being screened is believed to be one of the few original surviving release prints.
Monday, March 28 (7 p.m.)
“Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” (Warner Bros., 2001)
In this first installment of the Harry Potter film series, the 11-year old-orphan Harry (Daniel Radcliffe) is rescued from a miserable existence with his abusive uncle and aunt by a mysterious stranger, Rubeus Hagrid, who whisks him off to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. It seems that Harry is actually a wizard, famous in the Wizarding World for surviving an attack by the evil Lord Voldemort, who killed Harry’s parents when Harry was only a baby. At Hogwarts, Harry makes fast friends with Ron Weasley (Rupert Grint) and Hermione Granger (Emma Watson). The three become ensnared in the mystery of the Philosopher’s Stone, which is hidden within the school. Directed by Chris Columbus, the film also stars Richard Harris as Hogwarts Headmaster Albus Dumbledore, Maggie Smith, Robbie Coltrane and Alan Rickman.
Tuesday, March 29 (7 p.m.)
“Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets” (Warner Bros., 2002)
When Harry, Ron and Hermione return to Hogwarts for their second year, the well-hidden Chamber of Secrets deep beneath the school has been opened, unleashing a monster that terrifies Hogwarts denizens. Harry must deal with claims that he is the heir of Salazar Slytherin (creator of the chamber) and also discover the properties of a mysterious diary, only to find himself trapped within the Chamber of Secrets itself. Chris Columbus returns as director and Kenneth Branagh joins the cast as the pompous Gilderoy Lockhart, a celebrity author and Hogwarts’ new Defense against the Dark Arts teacher.
Wednesday, March 30 (7 p.m.)
“Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban” (Warner Bros., 2004)
As Harry, Ron and Hermione return to Hogworts for their third year of wizarding instruction, convicted murderer Sirius Black (Gary Oldman) escapes from Azkaban Prison and the Ministry of Magic entrusts the foul and soulless Dementors of Azkaban to guard Hogwarts from the escaped prisoner. Harry learns more about his past and his connection with Sirius Black and Professor R.J. Lupin (David Thewlis) joins the staff as the latest in a series of Defense against the Dark Arts teachers. Alfonso Cuarón directs and Michael Gambon replaced Richard Harris as Headmaster Albus Dumbledore after Harris’ death in 2002.
Thursday, March 31 (7 p.m.)
“Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire” (Warner Bros., 2005)
During Harry’s fourth year in school, Hogwarts plays host to the highly competitive and dangerous Triwizard Tournament. As expected, the Goblet of Fire chooses a champion from each of three schools of magic to compete against each other. Then curiously, Harry’s name is also produced from the Goblet making him an unprecedented fourth champion, which leads him to a terrifying encounter with Lord Voldemort. Mike Newell directed this fourth feature in the series, which features Brendan Gleeson as the latest teacher of Defense against the Dark Arts.