**Winter Film Series 2002**
All screenings will be Fridays at 8:00 pm, unless otherwise noted.
Yesterday's Tomorrows, or 2001 + 1 Week
Sleeper (1972) Written, directed and starring, with musical direction and clarinet solos by Woody Allen. With Diane Keaton, John Beck, Mary Gregory (88 min). Rated PG.
Miles Monroe, owner of The Happy Carrot Health Food Restaurant, is wrapped in tinfoil after a botched ulcer operation and cryogenically frozen, awakening 200 years later in a world that cares only for the orb, the telescreen and the orgasmatron. Groucho-esque interludes of satire savaging beauty pageants, totalitarian regimes, Blanche DuBois, family dinners, Volkswagons and deep fat alternate with silent comedy sequences paying homage to Chaplin, Keaton, Lloyd and Laurel and Hardy. Film Notes for Sleeper.
Just Imagine (1930) Directed by David Butler. El Brendel, Maureen O'Sullivan, John Garrick (102 min).
What did the future look like from the depths of the Depression? Why, it looked like a science fiction musical! Conked on the head by a golf ball in 1930, El Brendel wakes up in 1980, when people have numbers instead of names, babies are born from vending machines, but alas, Prohibition has NOT been repealed. Teen-aged Maureen O'Sullivan stars, before she became Tarzan's Jane. The songs include "Never Swat a Fly" penned by the authors of "Sweet Georgia Brown." Film Notes for Just Imagine.
Remembering Jack Lemmon
Bell Book and Candle (1958) Directed by Richard Quine. From the play by John van Druten. James Stewart, Kim Novak, Jack Lemmon, Ernie Kovacs, Hermione Gingold, Elsa Lancaster (108 min)
Gillian Holyrod is a witch. She is also sensual, smart and independent. Must she give up her magic for a conventional happy ending? The source for Bewitched and its ilk, Lemmon plays a beatnik warlock in collusion with the brilliant Kovacs. The film takes place in an exquisite 1950s fantasy Manhattan, with mid-century modern decor, Russell Wright china, tribal art, and Kim in stunning black, red and leopard print clothes. "Bell, Book and Candle is an intensely pleasurable film to watch, every image is rich and gorgeous." (Diana Rico). Film Notes for Bell, Book and Candle.
The Odd Couple (1968) Directed by Gene Saks. From the play by Neil Simon. Jack Lemmon, Walter Matthau, John Fiedler, Herb Edelman (105 min.)
"Who hasn't experienced sheer hatred for the sounds his roommate made while he was eating?" --Neil Simon. A comic institution on stage and large and small screen, classically mismated roomies Lemmon and Matthau try to cope with the reality of their divorces while reinacting the pathology of their failed marriages. Deft comic performances, rafts of zingy dialogue and a strong undercurrent of despair keep this classic fresh. Film Notes for The Odd Couple.
Frank Capra Festival
The Winter Film Series is proud to present a series of movies by landmark director Frank Capra. His remarkable films, populist fables of poverty and wealth, success and failure, soul-searching and triumph, cannily reflected 20th century America's idealized self-image. The opening film, a documentary of his creative and personal life will be introduced by the director's son and President of Screen Gems Studio in Wilmington, NC, Frank Capra, Jr. Mr. Capra has had a long professional career as a motion picture producer, and lectures on film at UNC-W.
Please join us for a free screening at 8:00 pm on February 1 of Frank Capra's American Dream (1997, Written and Directed by Kenneth Bowser. Executive Produced by Tom Capra and Frank Capra, Jr. Narrated by Ron Howard, 115 min) and stay for a Q & A with Mr. Capra following the screening. "The film is smart and insightful and it creates a hunger in the viewer to see Capra's movies." (Mick LaSalle).
February 2: Double feature Saturday Matinee at 2:00 pm
The Matinee Idol (1928) Directed by Frank Capra. Bessie Love, Johnnie Walker (55 min). Silent with recorded score.
It's all here, what would later be dubbed "Capracorn." The little people vs. the swells, the laughs, the tears, the sexy rainstorm. A feisty tent show actress is lured to Broadway by cynical impresarios, who think her Civil War melodrama so bad, it's laughably good (shades of The Producers). This film, thought lost until the 1990s, shows what young Capra could do with total creative control; 2 weeks each for writing, shooting, editing. Film notes for The Matinee Idol
Ladies of Leisure (1930) Directed by Frank Capra. Barbara Stanwyck, Ralph Graves (98 min)
Fleeing from different Jazz-Age orgies, "party girl" Stanwyck and frustrated society painter Graves meet on a moonlit shore. Capra was stirred by his leading lady (and discovery) and her heroine's need for respect as well as love. He brought warmth to her wisecracking in this Post-Crash Pygmalion tale. "Halfway through, the audience choked up. Something was happening…a real, beautiful, thrilling wonder had been born." (Photoplay) Film notes for Ladies of Leisure
Feb 3: Double feature Sunday Matinee at 2:00 pm:
The Miracle Woman (1931) Directed by Frank Capra. Barbara Stanwyck, David Manners. (91 min.)
Stanwyck lets 'er rip against the pious hypocrites of her father's church and decides to get famous, get rich and get even. As a big-time evangelist, she can "pull nifties out of the Bible like raisins" but has her own faith challenged by a hunky, blind ex-avaitor. Capra said of her in 1931, "Miss Stanwyck is a natural actress. A primitive emotional. I let her play herself, no one else." Film notes for The Miracle Woman
American Madness (1932) Directed by Frank Capra. Written by Robert Riskin. Walter Huston, Pat O'Brien, Kay Johnson (75 min.)
After the Crash and before the New Deal, Americans were leery of the imploding financial system. Walter Huston (who'd just played the title role in Abraham Lincoln for D.W. Griffith) is folksy banker Tom Dickson, making loans on character rather than collateral. A run on the bank tests his character, as it would later test George Bailey's in It's a Wonderful Life. "The first of the Capra-Riskin rabble-rousers" (Patrick McGilligan). Film notes for American Madness
It Happened One Night (1934) Directed by Frank Capra. Written by Robert Riskin. Clark Gable, Claudette Colbert, Walter Connolly (105 min.)
The film about the runaway heiress and the newspaper reporter that nobody wanted to make crystallized the entire screwball comedy genre. The erotic sparks still fly between Gable and Colbert, even if the democratic leveling of class and economic barriers that galvanized Depression audiences is now taken for granted. "It Happened One Night featured something new to the movies--the private fun and man and a woman could have in a private world of their own making." (Raymond Durgnat) Film notes for It Happened One Night.
Mr. Deeds Goes to Town (1936) Directed by Frank Capra. Written by Robert Riskin. Gary Cooper, Jean Arthur, George Bancroft (115 min.)
A small town boy who writes greeting card verse and chases fire engines comes into $20 million and ponders what a rich man ought to do in the Depression. Dreamy Deeds seems to care more for his tuba than slightly corrupt newshound Babe Bennett, but sanity prevails. "If Mr. Deeds seems Capra's best film, perhaps it is also because it is the only one with both Gary Cooper and Jean Arthur." (Gerald Mast) Film Notes for Mr. Deeds.
February 16: (at 4:00 pm and 9:30 pm) Free!
Moulin Rouge (1952) Directed by John Huston. Jose Ferrer, Zsa, Zsa Gabor, Colette Marchand, Suzanne Flon. (120 min.)
Huston's Moulin Rouge, "light headed and hot blooded," erupts in a dazzle of images sharply evocative of Lautrec's most famous works, and then bogs down in the artist's masochistic fixation on a screeching slut. This fanciful version of Lautrec's life accents the cognac-fueled suffering of a genius although Huston's film brings more passion to lithography than (implied) sex. Sketches in progress show the hand of art director Marcel Vertes, who had once eked out a living forging Lautrecs.
February 16: (at 7:00 pm and midnight) Free!
Moulin Rouge(2001) Directed by Baz Luhrman. Nicole Kidman, Ewan McGregor, Jim Broadbent, John Leguizamo (120 min.) Rated PG-13
Gorgeously eye-popping production design and creative reuse of a mostly 1980s pop score define a film Roger Ebert (who loved it) called "like being trapped in an elevator with the circus." Better described as an IMAX movie directed by Vincente Minnelli, MR01 whips up a frou-frou delirium and then pivots on Nicole's Camille-ish cough. Leguizamo brings his own sly twist to walking on his knees as Toulouse Lautrec. Jaunty lyrics to "Gaiete Parisienne" are the musical highlight, though you'll leave the theater crooning Elton John's "Your Song."
NC Film School Presents:
A special filmmaker event with Director David Gordon Green discussing his work with Film School Dean Dale Pollock and Raleigh News & Observer Film Critic Todd Lothery after the screening.
George Washington (2000) Written and Directed by David Gordon Green. Candace Evanofski, Donald Holden, Curtis Cotton III. (89 min.) Not rated. Some violence but suitable for older childen.
Green's first film after graduating from the School of Filmmaking in Winston-Salem was a leisurely paen to childhood and the hot, slow days of a southern summer. The reviews were amazing. J. Hoberman in the Village Voice called it "the year's most fascinating American indie." Roger Ebert gave it a rave, citing Tim Orr's lush Cinemascope photography as the best of the year, as did Elvis Mitchell of the NY Times, who added the haunting film "could be a fairy tale by Faulkner."
Films from the Library of Congress
Once again, the Winter Film Series is honored to present a series of superb prints courtesy of Mike Mashon and Patrick Lothery from the Library of Congress.
Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948) Written and Directed by John Huston. Humphrey Bogart, Walter Huston, Tim Holt (126 min.)
A trio of American drifters south of the border sniff gold dust and tramp through the parched wilderness in search of a fortune. Bogart is unforgettable as Fred C. Dobbs, a garrulous bum descending into psychosis. John Huston's first film after WWII gave his father the role of his career, minus his dentures, much to the former matinee idol's chagrin. "This film has impressed itself on the heart and mind and soul of anyone who has seen it." (Richard T. Jameson) With: Bugs Bunny Rides Again. Film Notes for Treasure of the Sierra Madre.
Sullivan's Travels (1941) Written and Directed by Preston Sturges. Joel McCrea, Veronica Lake (90 min).
A disillusioned movie director goes hoboing, seeking inspiration for his epic of the dispossessed, O Brother, Where Art Thou? What, he wonders, is the place of laughter in a miserable world? Witty Sturges wrote the most literate scripts in film history, and then directed them himself. McCrea and Lake are "movie star sublime. More sparks fly from their first encounter than most current screen couples can muster in an entire film." (Tim Purtell) With: Swing Cats' Jamboree. Film Notes for Sullivan's Travels.
Employees' Entrance (1932) Directed by Roy del Ruth. Warren William, Loretta Young, Wallace Ford, Alice White (75 min.)
A ruthless department store executive imposes his "smash or be smashed" credo on his Depression-panicked workforce. Sexual harassment is common currency and a little homoerotic subtext links the lives of a striving young couple with their fanatical workaholic boss. With: Baby Rose Marie, the Child Wonder (much later she was "Sally" on the Dick Van Dyke Show) and Stoll, Flynn and Company in The Jazzmania Quintet.
Special Silent Film and Live Music Event with Piano Accompaniment by David Drazin!
The Wedding March (1928) Directed by Erich von Stroheim. Erich von Stroheim, Fay Wray ( min)
The Wedding March is greatest of Erich von Stroheim's perverted valentines to old Vienna. A silent era genius, he was famous for his military and sexual obsessions and his extravagance, shooting hundreds of hours of footage for each film. The Wedding March "allowed Stroheim to act the role of his dreams: an aristocratic rake in the doomed Pre-War Vienna of his youth. It was his greatest wish fulfillment." (Arthur Lennig). This was nineteen-year old Fay Wray's favorite role, soon she'd be King Kong's plaything. With: Baby Peggy and Rough on Romeo.
Almost a Local Premiere:
Rififi (1954) Directed by Jules Dassin. Jean Servais, Carl Mohner, Marie Sabouret and Perlo Vita (Dassin) (116 min). French with English subtitles.
Just One More Heist. Blacklisted American director Dassin exiled himself to France in the 1950s and made this seamy caper film, famous for a meticulous 30-minute, heart-stopping burglary detailed without music or dialogue. "Out of the worst crime novel I have ever read, Jules Dassin has made the best crime film I have ever seen." --Francois Truffaut. A freshly minted 35mm print with tasty new subtitles.
All screenings will be Fridays at 8:00 pm, unless otherwise noted.
Admission: $4.00 general public, $2.00 NC Museum of Art and Cinema, Inc. members. Passes: $25.00, good for ten admissions, $15.00 NCMA and Cinema, Inc. members.
For box office information and a map to the museum: www.ncartmuseum.org
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