Winter Spring Film Series 2012: Mad About Mad Men
The Apartment (1960) Written and Directed by Billy Wilder. Jack Lemmon, Shirley MacLaine, Fred MacMurray (125 min).
Office peon CC Baxter attempts to scale the corporate ladder by lending out his apartment for executive hanky panky. Oscar’s Best Picture of 1960 is one of Wilder’s sardonic farces, delicately poised between comedy and melancholy. “It’s an early premonition of our modern cubicle politics, and it stings like hell” (Entertainment Weekly). Film Notes.
Last Year at Marienbad (1961) Directed by Alain Resnais. Delphine Seyrig, Giorgio Albertazzi, Sacha Pitoeff (94 min).
Did A really rendezvous with X in a sumptuous rococo chateau? Penned by existentialist Alain Robbe-Grillet, the film unfolds and refolds, as Seyrig, in Chanel chic, glides to an ominous organ score. “Hopelessly retro, eternally avant garde, and one of the most influential movies ever made” (J Hoberman, Village Voice). New 35mm print. Film Notes.
The Best of Everything (1959) Directed by Jean Negulesco . Hope Lange, Diane Baker, Stephen Boyd, Suzy Parker, Joan Crawford (121 min).
A publishing house typing pool seethes with the aspirations of a cadre of working girls, marking time until they marry Mr. Right. Caroline (Lange) battles career yearnings, fearful she will morph into scary spinster editor Joan Crawford. The urban answer to Peyton Place, it’s the original Sex in the City. Fox Archive Print. Film Notes.
La Dolce Vita (1960) Written and directed by Federico Fellini. Marcello Mastroianni, Anita Ekberg, Anouk Aimeé (174 min) New 35mm print.
An intellectual slumming as a tabloid gossip wallows in the moral uncertainty of post war Rome’s “sweet life” in 13 scandalous tableaux. “Has not lost the power to fascinate, stimulate and provoke, and it remains a work of moral force and a visual delight” (Phillip French The Guardian). New 35 mm print. Film notes for La Dolce Vita.
Conniving J. Pierpont Finch rises from lowly window washer to the executive suite in this musical satire of corporate America. Devilish Morse (Mad Men’s Bertram Cooper) recreated his Tony Award winning stage role in Frank Loesser’s 1962 Tony winning Best Musical; which also won a Pulitzer Prize. Introduced by Nick Meglin, author and former editor of Mad Magazine.
La Peau Douce (The Soft Skin) (1964) Written and directed by François Truffaut. Jean Desailly, Françoise Dorléac, Nelly Benedetti (119 min).
A married literary critic falls for a gorgeous airline hostess and their affair triggers a Hitchcockian maelstrom of jealousy and revenge. Dorléac, Catherine Deneuve’s sister, shimmers in this jewel of her too short career. “A masterwork of erotic frenzy” (Richard Brody The New Yorker.) Introduced by NCSU Film Studies professor Devin Orgeron. New 35mm print.
Celluloid Salesman from the AV Geeks Archive.
Skip Elsheimer, visionary collector of 24,000 16mm educational and industrial movies brings a typically inspired kaleidoscope of edutainment focusing on the post-war Madison Ave advertising world. Watch sly marketers use the classroom to mold a generation of consumers. NCSU Film Studies professors Marsha and Devin Orgeron join him with their new book, Learning with the Lights Off.
Masculin Feminin (1966) Written and directed by Jean Luc Godard. Jean Pierre Léaud, Chantal Goya, Marlène Jobert (110 min).
The children of Marx and Coca Cola, a serious young intellectual and an aspiring pop chanteuse tirelessly argue/flirt about revolution, sex and commodified culture. “A masterpiece! Who wouldn’t want to live in the supercool, girl-pop world of Godard’s freshest comedy?” (Time Out New York) Introduced by Independent Weekly Culture Editor David Fellerath. New 35mm print.
The Mollycoddle (1920) Directed by Victor Fleming. Douglas Fairbanks, Ruth Renick, Wallace Beery (86 min).
Vitaphone Varieties (1927-1929)
The Match King (1932) Directed by William Keighley and Howard Bretherton. Warren William, Lili Damita, Glenda Farrell (78 min).
Wolfish Williams plays an industrialist who corners safety match production with epic financial shenanigans. “Torn From Today’s Headlines ” it could easily be torn from ours, as well. “Williams’ Paul Knoll is an amoral dynamo, crushing competition and human souls with equal gusto” ( Michael Mashon BFI London Film Festival Guide). Library of Congress archive print. Film Notes for The Match King.
BUtterfield 8 (1960) Directed by Daniel Mann. Elizabeth Taylor, Lawrence Harvey, Eddie Fisher (109 min).
Lover Come Back (1961) Directed by Delbert Mann. Doris Day, Rock Hudson, Tony Randall (107 min).
Down With Love (2003) Directed by Peyton Reed. Ewan McGregor, Renee Zellerger, David Hyde Pierce, Tony Randall (101 min).
Barbara Novak, an ambitious career gal in 1962 NYC seeks to prove that women can have carefree sex, just like roué Catcher Block. Raleigh’s Reed crafts a bubbly Technicolor love letter to comedies like Lover Come Back, and Sex and the Single Girl. “I love this film” (Richard Roeper Ebert and Roper) Fox Archive Print. Film notes for DWL.
The Ipcress File (1965) Directed by Sidney J. Furie. Michael Caine, Nigel Green, Sue Lloyd (109 min)
OSS 117: Cairo Nest of Spies (2006) Written and Directed by Michel Hazanavicius. Jean Dujardin, Berenice Bejo (99 min).
Dujardin (Oscar's Best Actor for The Artist) is hilarious natty as Bond-ish OSS 117, a spy who doesn’t smoke, can’t hold his liquor, and doesn’t care much for the ladies, either. Hazanavicius has a keen eye, and a point: meddling colonialist agents contributed to today’s global mess. “A deadpan, borderline brilliant satire of postwar spy movies” (Salon.com). Film Notes for OSS 117.
Nine to Five (1980) Written and Directed by Colin Higgins. Jane Fonda, Lily Tomlin, Dolly Parton, Dabney Colman (110 min).
“A Secretary is Not a Toy” opined How to Succeed … and finally, secretaries wreak revenge as feminism changes offices forever. Tomlin as a veteran, Fonda, the new “girl”, and Parton, the innocent accused of being the office tramp make a crack comic team. “This picture is a lot of fun” (Variety). Fox Archive Print. Film notes for Nine to Five.
Thanks to Caitlin Robertson (Fox), Rob Stone (Library of Congress), Todd Weiner (UCLA) Tim Lanza (Douris Corp), Paul Ginsberg (Universal), Eric Di Bernardo (Rialto Pictures) Sara Finklea (Janus Films).