special screenings Articles
Genre: Comedy Drama
Director: Wesley Ruggles (I'm No Angel)
Starring: Clark Gable, Carole Lombard, Dorothy Mackaill, Grant Mitchell, Elizabeth PattersonIn Brief: Clark Gable plays a gambler hiding out from the law in some upstate New York podunk town where he meets Carole Lombard, a bored, romance-starved librarian. She's interested but wary. He's determined — so determined that he agrees to marry her on a bet. Complications ensue in this pleasant comedy made several years before the two stars would become the Mr. and Mrs. Hollywood of legend. But the chemistry, or at least flashes of it, are already there.
Genre: Neo-Noir Crime Thriller
Director: Jean-Pierre Melville
Starring: Alain Delon, François Périer, Nathalie Delon, Cathy Rosier, Jacques LeroyIn Brief: Jean-Pierre Melville's elegantly stylish, yet icy neo-noir thriller, Le Samouraï, holds up pretty nicely after 46 years, but it probably hasn't the same impact today that it originally did. Though it helped to set the standard for future neo-noirs, the film is curiously distinctive in many instances — especially in the casting of the striking Alain Delon as its hitman star. Fascinating but largely expressionless, Delon keeps the movie slightly at arm's length, which may be the idea.
Genre: Romantic Melodrama
Director: Jean Renoir
Starring: Catherine Hessling, Charlotte Clasis, Pierre Champagne, Maurice TouzéIn Brief: Jean Renoir's debut film seems first and foremost intended to show off the charms and beauty of Renoir's star (and then-wife) Catherine Hessling. It's less a story than just a series of melodramatic events in which to drop Mrs. Renoir, and as such it's a pretty patchy affair. However, there's enough of the fledgling filmmaker to more than maintain interest, including a very strange and atypical nightmare sequence.
Director: Brian De Palma
Starring: Michael Caine, Angie Dickinson, Nancy Allen, Keith Gordon, Dennis FranzIn Brief: After the somewhat tepid response to The Fury, Brian De Palma went out of his way to court controversy with this splattery — and more than a little sleazy — 1980 thriller. And however you feel about it, the flick certainly worked to draw audiences with its sex, nudity and over-the-top violence. Designed as a mystery (even if not a very good one), the film succeeds mostly by virtue of De Palma's nonstop stylishness.
Genre: Suspense Thriller
Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Starring: Cary Grant, Eva Marie Saint, James Mason, Jessie Royce Landis, Leo G. Carroll, Martin LandauIn Brief: Alfred Hitchcock's final film of the 1950s marked his last collaboration with star Cary Grant. It's also the director's ultimate movie about an innocent man on the run for a crime he didn't commit — and is by far the most elaborate variation on that concept. Whether or not North by Northwest is the best of those films is very much a subjective call, but there's no denying that it's big, glossy entertainment — easily the most action-driven of Hitchcock's career — with classic set-pieces aplenty, perfect leads, a thrilling Bernard Herrmann musical score and "Master of Suspense" Hitch at the top of his later-era game.
Director: Fritz Lang
Starring: Peter Lorre, Otto Wernicke, Theodor Loos, Ellen WidmannIn Brief: Fritz Lang's first talkie, M, not only introduced the great filmmaker to sound, but introduced the world to the remarkable Peter Lorre. For both, the film is rightly famous, but there's more to admire in this exceptional work than just its historic significance. Both the film's story — involving the police and the criminal underworld searching for a serial child murderer — and the manner in which Lang presents the material still pack a punch more than 80 years later.
Genre: Suspense Thriller
Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Starring: Farley Granger, Robert Walker, Ruth Roman, Leo G. Carroll, Patricia HitchcockIn Brief: One of Alfred Hitchcock's most convoluted and perverse thrillers, Strangers on a Train — with its dark humor, unusual plot and technical panache — has held up better than many of the director's bigger and more famous films. What it lacks in big stars, it more than makes up for by being every inch a director's film — one where you marvel at the creativity on display.
Director: T. Hayes Hunter
Starring: Boris Karloff, Cedric Hardwicke, Ernest Thesiger, Dorothy Hyson, Anthony Bushell, Ralph RichardsonIn Brief: Long considered to be a lost film, The Ghoul is back in circulation and not merely the curio you might expect a 1933 British picture to be. It's a full-fledged classic of the horror genre from its richest era. Set in the creepiest old, dark house imaginable, filled with a first-rate cast and directed with great skill by its little-known director, this yarn about an Egyptologist (Karloff) coming back from the dead can now take its rightful place with the great Hollywood horrors of the 1930s.
Director: Whit Stillman (Damsels in Distress)
Starring: Taylor Nichols, Chris Eigeman, Tushka Bergen, Mira SorvinoIn Brief: Whit Stillman's sophomore effort finds two Americans — an uptight businessman and his troublesome cousin — having their innate sense of entitlement tested in Barcelona. Similar in tone but more focused than his earlier film, Barcelona is dryly funny and thought-provoking entertainment.
Director: Lindsay Anderson (O Lucky Man!)
Starring: Malcolm McDowell, David Wood, Richard Warwick, Christine NoonanIn Brief: Lindsay Anderson's landmark film If.... shook up world cinema, made a star of fairly obscure TV actor Malcolm McDowell and set Anderson on the road to creating his famous trilogy (If...., O Lucky Man!, Britannia Hospital). That's a pretty impressive accomplishment, but his tale of the resentment at an English boys school — for Anderson, a microcosm of British society — turning into open revolt captured the imagination as few films had done. It remains a powerful and disturbing film to this day.
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