December 12, 2017 Classic Columbia Pictures Featured at the Packard Campus Theater

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The Library of Congress Packard Campus Theater will pay tribute to Columbia Pictures’ centennial year with screenings of features dating from the studio’s first picture release, “Submarine,” directed by Frank Capra, to the British Cold War spy spoof “Our Man in Havana” (1959) the starring Alec Guinness. Also, the January lineup dedicates the final week of screenings to famed director Capra, with “It Happened One Night” and “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington,” both titles included in the National Film Registry.

Columbia holds some of the most distinctive film noirs in the history of the genre and three of them will be featured the first week: rarely seen “711 Ocean Drive” starring Edmond O’Brien; “Dead Reckoning,” with Humphrey Bogart and Lizabeth Scott; and “Gilda,” featuring Rita Hayworth and Glenn Ford, which was added to the National Film Registry in 2013. Several of the features will be preceded by short subjects released by Columbia, ranging from popular big bands of the 1940s to comedies starring The Three Stooges and Charley Chase.

Columbia Pictures began as CBC Film Sales Corporation in 1918. Founded by Harry Cohn, his brother Jack Cohn and Joe Brandt, it took on the Columbia Pictures name in 1924. A minor player in Hollywood in the early years, the studio gained prestige in the late 1920s, largely due to a successful association with Capra, and is now one of the leading film studios in the world.

The largest nitrate film collection held by the Library of Congress is that of Columbia Pictures, consisting of 35,366 reels. The collection was acquired in 1967, when the American Film Institute (AFI) focused attention on film preservation and actively sought motion picture materials in need of preservation. Thousands of titles have come to the Library from AFI as gifts. The majority of them are original nitrate negatives and masters from major studios such as Columbia, RKO and Universal.

The Motion Picture, Broadcasting and Recorded Sound Division of the Library of Congress (MBRS) oversee the largest collections of motion pictures in the world. Acquired primarily through copyright deposit, exchange, gift and purchase, the collection spans the entire history of the cinema.

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 unless otherwise noted. For general Packard Campus Theater information, call (540) 827-1079, ext. 7-9994, or (202) 707-9994. For further information on the theater and film series, visit 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 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 ( 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 (, the National Recording Preservation Board ( 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; access the official site for U.S. federal legislative information at; and register creative works of authorship at

Library of Congress Packard Campus Theater Schedule

Thursday, Jan. 4 (7:30 p.m.)
“711 Ocean Drive” (Columbia, 1950)
Edmond O’Brien stars as Mal Granger, a telephone company lineman and electronics expert with a weakness for gambling. He is recruited by crime boss Vince Walters, played by Barry Kelley, to create a vast illegal wire service for betting on horses and then takes over operations when Walters dies. O’Brien’s character soon finds himself caught in a murderous web with a ruthless gangster. Joseph M. Newman directed this film-noir thriller that features Joanne Dru and Otto Kruger in supporting roles. At the beginning of the film, a title card states, “Because of the disclosures made in this film, powerful underworld interests tried to halt production with threats of violence and reprisal.” Two Columbia short subjects from 1950 will also be on the program: “Cavalcade of Broadway: Village Barn,” featuring Dick Thomas and His Santa Fe Rangers, and the Three Stooges in “Dopey Dicks.”

Friday, Jan. 5 (7:30 p.m.)
“Dead Reckoning” (Columbia, 1947)
Humphrey Bogart stars as Rip Murdock, a paratrooper captain recently back from the war who learns that he is to receive a Congressional Medal of Honor, along with his buddy Johnny Drake, played by William Prince. But Johnny inexplicably panics and leaps off the train enroute to Washington, triggering Rip to go AWOL and track him down. Rip soon becomes enmeshed in the mysteries of Johnny’s past, including his relationship with the duplicitous Coral “Dusty” Chandler, played by Lizabeth Scott. John Cromwell directed this energetic film noir that is told mostly in flashback. Two 1947 shorts will precede the feature: “Thrills of Music: Ray Anthony and His Orchestra” and the Columbia all-star comedy “Bride and Gloom.”

Saturday, Jan. 6 (7:30 p.m.)
“Gilda” (Columbia, 1946)
Rita Hayworth, who had risen through the ranks to become one of America’s most popular actresses, also became a leading pinup girl with U.S. soldiers overseas, who voted her the leading “Back Home Glamour Girl.” Columbia Pictures chief Harry Cohn assigned producer Virginia Van Upp to come up with a suitable project for his leading star in her first post-war picture. Johnny Farrell, played by Glenn Ford, has made a new friend in Ballin Mundson, played by George Macready, and soon takes over operations of his South American casino, when he is disturbed to meet the owner’s vivacious and dangerous new wife Gilda, played by Hayworth. This highly charged emotional triangle was still being written when production began. Hayworth would be forever identified with “Gilda” and the strapless black satin gown she wore for the iconic “Put the Blame on Mame” number in the film. The film was added to the National Film Registry in 2013. The short subject “Thrills of Music: Ray McKinley and His Orchestra” will precede the feature.

Thursday, Jan. 11 (7:30 p.m.)
“The Talk of the Town” (Columbia, 1942)
While school teacher Nora Shelley, played by Jean Arthur, is preparing her summer rental house for a strait-laced law professor, played by Ronald Colman, she discovers escaped political prisoner and former classmate Leopold Dilg, played by Cary Grant, hiding out in the attic. Nora passes Dilg off as her gardener, and the two men become good friends as well as romantic rivals for Nora’s affection. Producer/director George Stevens left audiences guessing until the last minute whether Arthur’s character would choose Grant or Colman and in fact filmed two endings, leaving the outcome up to preview audiences. This clever film about romance and justice exemplified the trend toward “social themed” films that arose in the 1940s. “The Talk of the Town” earned seven Academy Award nominations, including best picture. A “Screen Snapshots” short subject from 1942 will precede the feature. 

Thursday, Jan. 18 (7:30 p.m.)
“Our Man in Havana” (Columbia, 1959)
In pre-revolutionary Cuba, Noël Coward’s character Hawthorne, of the British Secret Intelligence Service, recruits a reluctant vacuum cleaner salesman, James Wormold, played by Alec Guinness, to be their Havana operative. The bemused Wormold’s M.O. is to fabricate secrets rather than find them. But much to his surprise, all of the invented information begins to come true. Directed by Carol Reed with a screenplay by Graham Greene adapted from his novel, this comedy thriller features an outstanding supporting cast that includes Ralph Richardson, Burl Ives, Maureen O’Hara and Ernie Kovacs. Shooting in Cuba was scheduled to begin in early 1959 but was paused by Fidel Castro’s communist revolution. Columbia’s executives were concerned about sending a film company into the unstable country, but Greene assured them that his friendship with Castro would guarantee their safety. The new regime asked for a few script changes, but the filming proceeded without incident.

Friday, Jan. 19 (7:30 p.m.)
“It Should Happen to You” (Columbia, 1954)
Judy Holliday stars as Gladys Glover, a down-on-her luck model in New York City with a craving for fame. Gladys uses her life savings to have her name painted in huge letters on a billboard in Columbus Circle. The stunt works and she becomes famous for being famous, resulting in romantic troubles with her boyfriend Pete, played by Jack Lemmon in his screen debut, and the dubious attention of playboy Evan Adams III, played by Peter Lawford. George Cukor directed this romantic comedy-satire that was scripted by Garson Kanin, making this the fourth film collaboration of the star, director and writer, following “Adam’s “Rib, “The Marrying Kind” and “The Marrying Kind,” which won Holliday a best actress Oscar,

Saturday, Jan. 20 (2 p.m.)
“The 7th Voyage of Sinbad” (Columbia, 1958)
Special-effects master Ray Harryhausen provides the hero, Kerwin Mathews, with a villainous magician, played by Torin Thatcher, and fantastic antagonists, including a genie, giant cyclops, fire-breathing dragons and a sword-wielding animated skeleton — all in Technicolor. A princess, played by Kathryn Grant, is shrunk down to a mere few inches by the evil magician. Harryhausen’s stop-motion model animation, known as “Dynamation,” blended live-action sequences, and a thrilling score by Bernard Herrmann makes this one of the finest fantasy films of all time. “The 7th Voyage of Sinbad” was added to the National Film Registry in 2008.

Saturday, Jan. 20 (7:30 p.m.)
Western Double Feature
“The Last Horseman” (Columbia, 1944)
Lucky Rawlins, played by Russell Hayden, foreman of the Bar W ranch, finds himself cheated out of a check for $12,000, the proceeds from a cattle drive. The culprit is the local banker, Cash Watson, played by John Maxwell, who has learned that the railroad is interested in buying up the local ranches, It’s up to Lucky to expose his dastardly deed. Dub Taylor appears as Lucky’s sidekick Cannonball Taylor, a character he played in nearly 50 Westerns. Western Swing group Bob Wills and His Texas Playboys appear as musicians and cowboys and perform several songs in the film, including Wills’ “Dreamy-Eyes Waltz.”

“Texas Panhandle” (Columbia, 1945)
Steve Buckner, played by Charles Starrett, is suspended from the Secret Service pending investigation of his rumored activities as the Durango Kid. So, he heads west to the Texas Panhandle, where he learns renegades have attacked settler wagon trains and have stolen government gold. As the Durango Kid, Steve uncovers the facts and brings the bad guys to justice. Western Swing group Spade Cooley and his band, along with Carolina Cotton, the yodeling blonde bombshell, perform several tunes in the film.

Thursday, Jan. 25 (7:30 p.m.)
“It Happened One Night” (Columbia, 1934)
In this screwball comedy from director Frank Capra, spoiled socialite Ellie Andrews, played by Claudette Colbert, eloped without her family’s approval and consequently finds herself stuck with out-of-work journalist Peter Warne, played by Clark Gable, on her journey back to her new husband. Based on a short story called “Night Bus” by Samuel Hopkins Adams, “It Happened One Night” faced a difficult start, with actor after actor rejecting the lead roles. Eventually, Colbert took on the role of Ellie and Gable played Peter. The film performed well in smaller towns and built up word of mouth until it became a smash hit, ending up winning every Oscar for which it was nominated, including best picture, best actor, best actress, best director and best writing (adaptation), marking the first time in history that one film swept the top five Oscar categories. “It Happened One Night” was also Columbia Pictures' first best picture Academy Award win. It was added to the National Film Registry in 1993. Two short subjects from 1934 will be shown before the feature: the Andy Clyde comedy “In the Doghouse” and a “Screen Snapshots.”

Friday, Jan. 26 (7:30 p.m.)
“Submarine” (Columbia, 1928)
Jack Dorgan, played by Jack Holt, and Bob Mason, played by Ralph Graves, are Navy buddies who have a falling out when Bob falls for Jack’s wife, Bessie, played by Dorothy Revier. While on maneuvers, Bob’s submarine collides with a destroyer and sinks to the ocean floor, entombing the crew alive, but with little oxygen. Top diver Jack wavers when summoned to rescue his rival. Frank Capra, who was known for small comedies at this time, was asked to take over direction of this first “A” picture production for Columbia Pictures when studio head Harry Cohn was unhappy with the dailies shot by Irvin Willat. The 1921 Hallroom Boys comedy short “Their Dizzy Finish” will be shown before the feature. Ben Model will provide live musical accompaniment.

Saturday, Jan.27 (7:30 p.m.)
“Mr. Smith Goes to Washington” (Columbia, 1939)
This engaging slice of Americana directed by Frank Capra stars Jimmy Stewart as Jefferson Smith, a greenhorn junior senator disheartened by the corruption he finds in Washington. Bolstered by support from his at-first cynical assistant Jean Arthur and reporter Thomas Mitchell, Stewart’s Mr. Smith fights back on behalf of his home state constituents. The stellar supporting cast includes Edward Arnold as a corrupt political boss, Beulah Bondi as Jefferson Smith’s mother and Claude Rains as his state’s beloved senior senator, Joseph Paine. The film was nominated for nine Academy Awards, including best picture, best director, best actor for Stewart and best supporting actor for Rains. The film was added to the National Film Registry in 1989. Also on the program, the Charley Chase comedy “Rattling Romeo.”


PR 17-180
ISSN 0731-3527