August 15, 2016 Library's September Screenings Showcase Short Films
Press Contact: Sheryl Cannady (202) 707-6456
Public Contact: Rob Stone (202) 707-0851
In the early days of the film industry, short motion pictures, lasting the length of a single film reel (approximately 10-12 minutes), were shown to enthusiastic audiences by such film pioneers as the Edison Company in the U.S. and Georges Méliès in France. As feature-length films became more popular, short subjects—now sometimes two reels in length—continued to have their place on the program in movie theaters. Many directors and actors have worked in comedy, drama, musical and animated shorts, as well as features.
In September, at least one short will precede each feature film that shares a director or a featured actor. Dating from 1912-2000, the short subjects include silent comedies and dramas starring Harold Lloyd, Buster Keaton and Norma Talmadge; musicals featuring Bing Crosby and Jan Garber and His Orchestra; and two Pixar computer-animated shorts that are on the National Film Registry, "Luxo Jr." and "Tin Toy." For more information on the National Film Registry, visit loc.gov/film/filmnfr.html.
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-served basis. For general Packard Campus Theater information, call (540) 827-1079 ext. 79994 or (202) 707-9994. 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.
The Library of Congress is the world’s largest library, offering access to the creative record of the United States—and extensive materials from around the world—both on site and online. It is the main research arm of the U.S. Congress and the home of the U.S. Copyright Office. Explore collections, reference services and other programs and plan a visit at loc.gov, access the official site for U.S. federal legislative information at congress.gov, and register creative works of authorship at copyright.gov.
Library of Congress Packard Campus Theater Schedule
Friday, Sept. 9 (7:30 p.m.)
"The Malpass Brothers Live in Concert"
Christopher and Taylor Malpass’ smooth vocals convey the deep respect they pay to legends who have paved the way. The Malpass Brothers toured with the late Don Helms, former steel guitarist for Hank Williams. The group has also opened for music legend Merle Haggard on multiple tours and appeared on stages from the Shetland Islands and Ryman Auditorium to Merlefest. Gifted musicians and songwriters, the brothers have shared billing with such artists as Ray Price, Willie Nelson, Doyle Lawson, Rhonda Vincent, Marty Stuart and Doc Watson. The brothers most recent self-titled recording, produced by bluegrass legend Doyle Lawson, was released by Crossroads’ Organic Records in 2015. To reserve seats for this concert, call (540) 827-1079 ext. 79994 or (202) 707-9994 Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Saturday, Sept. 10 (2 p.m.)
"A Bug’s Life" (Pixar, 1998)
John Lasseter, director of the first-ever computer-animated feature, "Toy Story" (Pixar, 1995), followed that smash hit with this story that was inspired by Aesop’s fable "The Ant and the Grasshopper." Misfit ant Flik (voiced by David Foley) is looking for some tough warriors to save his colony from greedy grasshoppers, but ends up recruiting a group of bugs that turn out to be an inept circus troupe. The original score for the film by Randy Newman won a Grammy and was nominated for an Academy Award. Also in the all-star voice cast are Kevin Spacey, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Phyllis Diller, David Hyde Pierce and Madeline Kahn. "Luxo Jr." (1986) and Oscar-winning "Tin Toy" (1988)—two computer-animated short films directed by Lasseter and released by Pixar—will be shown before the feature. Both shorts are on the National Film Registry.
Saturday, Sept. 10 (7:30 p.m.)
"Safety Last!" (Hal Roach/Pathé Exchange, 1923)
Perhaps the most recognizable image in silent comedy comes from "Safety Last!"—a man dangling from a clock. Harold Lloyd, bolstered by his success with a few early "thrill" shorts and inspired by a popular stunt performer known as "the human fly," was eager to make a feature-length film that would give audiences the same excitement. In the film, Lloyd’s country boy seeks fame and fortune in the big city and ends up as an unwitting daredevil forced to scale a tall building. Lloyd risked danger with his antics, thus delivering on his recipe for a successful thrill picture: "a laugh, a scream and a laugh." Fred Newmeyer and Sam Taylor directed this comedy, which also features Lloyd’s wife and frequent co-star Mildred Davis. "Safety Last!" was selected for the National Film Registry in 1994. Two Harold Lloyd comedy shorts, "Peculiar Patient’s Pranks" (1915) and "Ring up the Curtain" (1919), will be shown before the feature. Andrew Simpson will provide live musical accompaniment.
Friday, Sept. 16 (7:30 p.m.)
"Videodrome" (Universal, 1983, R-rated *)
David Cronenberg wrote and directed this sci-fi horror thriller, starring James Woods as Max Renn, the president of a Toronto UHF television station that specializes in sensationalistic programming. Horrified but perversely intrigued when he stumbles upon a broadcast signal featuring extreme violence and torture, Renn sets out to find the truth behind the program. Sonja Smits and Deborah Harry are also featured in the cast. "Camera" (2000), a six-minute short film written and directed by Cronenberg, will precede the feature. The short was made for the 25th anniversary of the Toronto International Film Festival.
*No one under the age of 17 will be admitted without a parent or guardian.
Saturday, Sept. 17 (7:30 p.m.)
"Going My Way" (Paramount, 1944)
Bing Crosby stars as Father Chuck O’Malley, a kindhearted Catholic priest whose upbeat personality, musical gifts and acts of compassion rejuvenate his parish when he takes it over from an established old veteran (played by Barry Fitzgerald). Crosby sings seven songs in the film including the Oscar-winning "Swinging on a Star." The highest-grossing motion picture of 1944, "Going My Way" was nominated for a total of 10 Academy Awards, winning seven, including best picture. Produced, directed and story by Leo McCarey, the musical comedy was added to the National Film Registry in 2004. "I Surrender Dear" (1931), a comedy short directed by Mack Sennett and starring Bing Crosby (who sings his hit song of the same name) will be shown before the feature.
Sunday, Sept. 18 (2 p.m.)
"The Golden Age of Comedy" (Distributors Corporation of America, 1957)
Robert Youngson was responsible for reacquainting movie audiences with the work of the great silent comedians with a series of compilation films he made between 1957 and 1970. Youngson had previously produced several award-winning short documentaries, and "The Golden Age of Comedy" was the first compilation of its kind in feature-length form. While many past greats are spotlighted in the film, the true "stars" are Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy. The rest of the film offers choice comic bits from such performers as Ben Turpin, Billy Bevan, Will Rogers, Charley Chase, Harry Langdon and Carole Lombard. The feature will be preceded by two of Youngson’s earlier comedy compilations, the 20-minute shorts "When the Talkies Were Young" (1955) and "This Was Yesterday" (1954).
Thursday, Sept. 22 (7:30 p.m.)
"Rafter Romance" (RKO, 1933)
William Seiter directed this romantic comedy that stars Ginger Rogers as Mary, an underpaid New York working girl having trouble paying the rent on her Greenwich Village apartment. Her landlord comes up with a solution—that she share a loft in shifts with Jack (Norman Foster), a struggling artist who works as a night watchman. Though they never see each other, Mary develops a pronounced dislike for Jack until she meets him. Matters get more complicated by the presence of Robert Benchley as Mary’s boss, a lecherous, bumbling executive. Benchley was known for writing and starring in a number of short-subject comedies both at MGM and Paramount. Two of them, "The Witness" (1942) and "The Courtship of the Newt" (1938), will be shown before the feature.
Friday, Sept. 23 (7:30 p.m.)
"Steamboat Bill, Jr." (United Artists, 1928)
Buster Keaton plays the mild-mannered son of a steamboat captain caught in a bitter rivalry between his father and another Mississippi riverboat owner. Though uncredited, Keaton co-wrote and co-directed the film, which was the last he made for his own independent company. Ernest Torrence, Tom McGuire and Marion Byron are featured in the cast. Three of Buster Keaton’s short comedies will be shown before the feature, "The Boat" (1921), "The Blacksmith" (1922) and "One Week" (1920), which was added to the National Film Registry in 2008. Ben Model will provide live musical accompaniment.
Saturday, Sept. 24 (2 p.m.)
"Kiki" (First National Pictures, 1926)
One of the most famous actresses of the silent era, the elegant and glamorous Norma Talmadge, was known primarily for dramatic roles. Only a few of her films survived that period, but this Library of Congress restoration of a sparkling French showbiz farce displays Talmadge’s talent for comedy. As the title character Kiki, a high-spirited Parisian, she is determined to become a chorus girl and win the heart of the Follies manager Victor Renal (Ronald Colman)—even if it means performing some rather unladylike stunts. Two one-reel Vitagraph dramas starring Norma Talmadge will precede the feature: "His Official Appointment" (1912) and "Under the Daisies; or, As a Tale That Is Told" (1913). Ben Model will provide live musical accompaniment for the program.
Saturday, Sept. 24 (7:30 p.m.)
"Being There" (United Artists, 1979)
Peter Sellers stars as Chance, a simple-minded gardener whose only contact with the outside world is through television. When his millionaire employer dies, Chance is set adrift on the streets of Washington, D.C. where he soon becomes identified as "Chauncey Gardner," whose simple adages are interpreted as profound insights. Hal Ashby ("Harold and Maude") directed this provocative satire with an understatement to match the subtlety and precision of Sellers’ Academy Award-nominated performance. Shirley MacLaine and Melvyn Douglas (Oscar winner for best actor in a supporting role), also star in the film. "Being There" was added to the National Film Registry in 2015. "The Case of the Mukkinese Battle-Horn" (1956), an outrageous 30-minute British comedy short, will precede the feature. It stars Peter Sellers and Spike Milligan, both veterans of "The Goon Show."
Friday, Sept. 30 (7:30 p.m.)
"How to Marry a Millionaire" (20th Century-Fox, 1953)
Resourceful Schatze Page (Lauren Bacall), spunky Loco Dempsey (Betty Grable), and ditzy Pola Debevoise (Marilyn Monroe) pool their resources to rent a luxurious New York penthouse for a month with a plan to trap rich, eligible bachelors. William Powell, Rory Calhoun, David Wayne, Alex D’Arcy, Fred Clark and Cameron Mitchell round out the ensemble cast as prospective "catches" for the three women. Written and produced by Nunnaly Johnson, "How to Marry a Millionaire" was the first film ever photographed in the CinemaScope wide-screen process, although it was the second Cinemascope film to be released, after "The Robe." Jean Negulesco directed this romantic comedy, which was nominated for the BAFTA Award for best film of the year. Negulesco made his reputation at Warner Brothers by directing short subjects, two of which will be screened before the feature—"At the Stroke of Twelve" (1941), based on a short story by Damon Runyon, and "Jan Garber and His Orchestra" (1941).