September 23, 2016 October Lineup Spotlights Black Pioneer Filmmakers, Halloween Classics
Press Contact: Sheryl Cannady (202) 707-6456
Public Contact: Rob Stone (202) 707-0851
Three films included in “Pioneers of African-American Cinema”—a five-disc Blu-ray and DVD collection of rarely seen cinematic treasures recently released by KinoLorber and the Library of Congress—will be screened at the Library’s Packard Campus Theater in Culpeper, Virginia in October. The Library restored several of the films featured in the disc set.
The evening’s program will showcase the earliest surviving feature film directed by an African-American, Oscar Micheaux’s “Within Our Gates” (1920), which was added to the National Film Registry in 1992. Electronic and experimental hip-hop musician Paul D. Miller (aka DJ Spooky), who composed the score for the film on the Blu-ray release, will introduce the program.
Other National Film Registry titles in the October lineup of free screenings include Mel Brooks’ comedy classic “Young Frankenstein” and “The Hospital,” directed by former National Film Preservation Board member Arthur Hiller who passed away on Aug. 17. For more information on the National Film Registry, visit www.loc.gov/film/filmnfr.html.
In addition to “Young Frankenstein,” other Halloween movies scheduled in October are “The Son of Frankenstein,” starring Boris Karloff in his final performance as the monster; the award-winning “The Bad Seed”; cult classic “Pumpkinhead”; and the stop-action Oscar-winning animation “Curse of the Were-Rabbit,” featuring Wallace and Gromit.
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 ScheduleSaturday, Oct. 1 (2 p.m.)
“The In-Laws” (Warner Bros., 1979)
Alan Arkin stars as a mild-mannered dentist who quickly grows skeptical about his daughter’s future father-in-law Vince (Peter Falk), who claims to be a CIA agent. However, when he’s dragged into a bizarre and dangerous adventure in a banana republic, Arkin fears that either Vince is telling the truth or he is delusional. New York Times critic Janet Maslin wrote in her review, “I found I was laughing so hard at ‘The In-Laws,’ a wonderful new comedy of errors. … I forgot to take any more notes.”
Saturday, Oct. 1 (7:30 p.m.)
“The Hospital” (United Artists, 1971)
Director Arthur Hiller toggles between comedy and tragedy, the real and the surreal, to depict “a microcosm for all the ills of contemporary society.” Paddy Chayefsky (“Marty,” “Network”) won his second of three Academy Awards for best screenplay for this satire set in a Manhattan teaching hospital whose façade and staff both seem to be crumbling, George C. Scott portrays a beleaguered physician, which earned him another Oscar nomination for best actor. The cast also includes Diana Rigg, Barnard Hughes and Richard A. Dysart. “The Hospital” was added to the National Film Registry in 1995.
Friday, Oct. 14 (7:30 p.m.)
“The Mad Miss Manton” (RKO, 1938)
Three years before Barbara Stanwyck and Henry Fonda starred together in Preston Sturges’ screwball masterpiece “The Lady Eve,” they made this delightful entry in the comedy-mystery subgenre. Stanwyck plays the vivacious Park Avenue socialite Melsa Manton who discovers a murder victim while walking her poodles. By the time the police arrive, the body has disappeared. When newspaper editor Peter Ames (Henry Fonda) reports it as yet another in a series of pranks that Manton and her debutante girlfriends pull to gain publicity, she threatens the paper with a libel suit and drags him into the investigation for the murderer. A cartoon and a comedy short will be shown before the feature: “Porky in Egypt” (1938) and the Vitaphone Technicolor musical comedy “Swingtime in the Movies” (1938).
Saturday, Oct. 15 (7:30 p.m.)
“The Missing Link” (Warner Bros., 1927)
Sydney Chaplin, Charlie’s older half-brother, may be best known as Charlie’s business manager, but he was also a well-known stage and screen comedian. In this zany comedy, directed by Charles Reisner, he plays Arthur Wells, a penniless poet who has consented to impersonate a big-game hunter on an African exploration, headed by Lord Dryden and Colonel Braden. They are seeking to discover “the missing link,” despite the fact that Wells has an aversion to animals. Along the way, he falls in love with the Colonel’s daughter Beatrice and befriends a pet chimpanzee. Ben Model will provide live musical accompaniment. The 1915 Syd Chaplin comedy short, “No One to Guide Him,” will be shown before the feature.
Friday, Oct. 21 (7:30 p.m.)
“Pioneers of African-American Cinema”
To commemorate the recent release of “Pioneers of African-American Cinema,” a five-disc Blu-ray and DVD set by KinoLorber and the Library of Congress, the new digital restoration of Oscar Micheaux’s “Within Our Gates” (Micheaux Book & Film Company, 1920) will be screened. Micheaux wrote, produced and directed this groundbreaking motion picture, the earliest surviving feature film directed by an African-American—one of the first of a genre that would become known as “race films.” Many critics see “Within Our Gates” as Micheaux’s response to D.W. Griffith’s “Birth of a Nation,” in which African- Americans were depicted using generally negative stereotypes, a common practice during that period. Despite Micheaux’s limited budget and the film’s limited production values, it still effectively confronted racism head on with its story of a teacher (Evelyn Preer) determined to start a school for poor black children. “Within Our Gates” was added to the National Film Registry in 1992. Music for the film on the Blu-ray release was composed by electronic and experimental hip-hop musician Paul D. Miller (aka DJ Spooky), who will introduce the program. Two short films from the disc will precede the feature: “Verdict Not Guilty” (1934), made by self-taught filmmakers James and Eloyce Gist, and the recently rediscovered comedy “Hot Biskits” (1931), the earliest known film directed by Spencer Williams.
Saturday, Oct. 22 (7:30 p.m.)
“Son of Frankenstein” (Universal, 1939)
Boris Karloff made his final appearance as the man-made monster in this third installment of Universal Studio’s lucrative Frankenstein series, following “Frankenstein” in 1931 and “The Bride of Frankenstein” in 1935. Director Rowland V. Lee, best known for sweeping costumes dramas, helped to resuscitate the studio’s sagging horror genre by insisting on a much bigger budget than was originally allotted and hiring a stellar cast, including Basil Rathbone in the title role and Bela Lugosi, in what is considered by many as his finest performance as the grave robber Ygor. Lionel Atwill as the affected one-armed police inspector was the inspiration for the role of Inspector Kemp played by Kenneth Mars in Mel Brooks’ “Young Frankenstein” (1974). The imposing sets designed by studio art director Jack Otterson enhanced the eerie feel of the film, which proved to be a big hit, bolstering Universal’s profits.
Thursday, Oct. 27 (7:30 p.m.)
“The Bad Seed” (Warner Bros., 1956)
Young Patty McCormack was nominated for an Academy Award for her portrayal of Rhoda, who seems perfect until things don’t go her way. Mervyn LeRoy directed this adaptation of Maxwell Anderson’s Broadway play that questions whether evil can be inherited. Along with McCormack, Nancy Kelly as Rhoda’s mother, Henry Jones and Eileen Heckart recreated their stage roles. Kelly and Heckart also received Oscar nominations for acting. This cult classic also landed an Oscar nomination for Harold Rosson’s cinematography.
Friday, Oct. 28 (7:30 p.m.)
“Pumpkinhead” (United Artists, 1988 R-rated*)
After a tragic accident that leaves his son dead, a man conjures up a towering, vengeful demon called Pumpkinhead to destroy a group of unsuspecting teenagers. Multiple Academy Award-winning special effects artist Stan Winston (“Aliens,” “Terminator 2: Judgment Day,” “Jurassic Park”) made his directorial debut with this stylish horror movie. The film has built up a cult following in the years since its release. Starring Lance Henriksen, John D'Aquino and Kerry Remsen, it was also the film debut of “The Big Bang Theory’s” Mayim Bialik.
* No one under the age of 17 will be admitted without a parent or guardian.
Saturday, Oct. 29 (2 p.m.)
“Curse of the Were-Rabbit” (DreamWorks Animation/Ardman Animations, 2005)
Wallace, a good-natured, eccentric cheese-loving inventor (voiced by veteran actor Peter Sallis), along with his companion Gromit, a silent-yet-loyal and intelligent anthropomorphic dog, run a business ridding gardens of pests. They stumble upon a mystery involving a voracious monster that threatens to ruin the annual veggie-growing contest. This stop-action film won an Academy Award for best animated feature. It is based on the Wallace and Gromit short-film series created by Nick Park, who co-directed the film with Steve Box. The directors have often referred to “Curse of the Were-Rabbit” as the world’s “first vegetarian horror film.” Five years in the making, it features a voice cast including Helena Bonham Carter and Ralph Fiennes.
Saturday, Oct. 29 (7:30 p.m.)
“Young Frankenstein” (20th Century-Fox, 1974)
Mel Brooks followed up his success with “Blazing Saddles” by directing and co-scripting (with the film’s star Gene Wilder) this stylish comedy spoof of the Universal Studios horror franchise. In addition to Wilder, Madeline Kahn also reteamed with Brooks following her unforgettable performance as Lili Von Shtupp in “Blazing Saddles.” The director added Marty Feldman, Peter Boyle, Teri Garr and Kenneth Mars to the cast, creating a formidable comedic ensemble. An important aspect of the movie is its overall look, which captured the feel of the 1930s films with its black-and-white cinematography by Gerald Hirschfeld, vintage costumes by Dorothy Jeakins and gothic set design by Dale Hennesy. “Young Frankenstein” was added to the National Film Registry in 2003.