Winter Film Series 2015

Dressed to Impress:

Costume & Character in the Movies

As Laura Boyes celebrates her 15th season as NCMA Film Curator, she highlights the reason she became enamored of the movies in the first place: fabulous costumes.  Some of these films have historical attire (perhaps, seen through the lens of contemporary fashion) others are drool worthy examples of the mode of the day.  Some costumes emphasize comedy, some transformation, some out and out fantasy glamour.  Dashing heroes, elegant heroines and wannabes all dress to impress.  Join them Fridays at the NCMA.


January 9:

The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938) Directed by Michael Curtiz. Errol Flynn, Olivia de Havilland, Basil Rathbone (102 min).

Swashbuckling thrills abound as insouciant outlaw Robin Hood challenges Nottingham authority, robbing the rich to give to the poor, an intoxicating Depression era concept.  Nobody has ever beat Flynn’s dash and daring in this timeless Technicolor adventure.   “Made with sublime innocence and breathtaking artistry…this great 1938 film exists in an eternal summer of bravery and romance” (Roger Ebert). Film notes for Robin Hood.

January 16:

On Approval (1944) Written and Directed by Clive Brook. Clive Brook, Beatrice Lillie, Googie Withers, Roland Culver (80 min).

Two unmarried Victorian couples escape to Scotland for a “trial marriage” in this shocking play written in the 1920s. One of stage legend Lillie’s rare screen appearances, with elegant sets and costumes by Cecil Beaton (My Fair Lady) this sparking comedy was a smash hit at the last TCM Film Festival and “feels like a crazy combination of the Marx Brothers and Oscar Wilde” (tcm.com). Film notes for On Approval.

January 23:

The Duellists (1977) Directed by Ridley Scott. Keith Carradine, Harvey Keitel, Albert Finney (100 min).

Scott’s first feature (his 2nd, Alien) was adapted from a Joseph Conrad short story about two Napoleonic soldiers and their 15 years of enmity. Gorgeously shot in authentic locations, it won the 1977 Grand Jury Prize at Cannes, “…indescribable beauty, of landscapes at dawn, of over-crowded, murky interiors, of underlit hallways and brilliantly sunlit gardens...It's marvelous” (NY Times). Film notes for the Duellists.

January 30:

A Thousand and One Nights (1945) Directed by Alfred E. Green.  Cornel Wilde, Evelyn Keyes, Phil Silvers (93 min).
A precursor to tv’s I Dream of Jeannie, Aladdin rubs a magic lamp and unleashes the lovesick genie, Babs.  A lavish Technicolor musical, with bonkers Swing Era Orientalist costumes by Jean Louis, it features Silvers as the hero’s jive talking buddy. ”A strictly bobby-socks version of the story of Aladdin and his lamp has been whipped up… like a bolt out of a Sherman tank” (NY Times). Film notes for A Thousand and One Nights.

February 6:

French Cancan (1955) Directed by Jean Renoir. Jean Gabin, Francoize Arnoul, Maria Felix. (105 min)  In French with English subtitles.

A struggling impresario In 1880s Paris features a notorious dance at his new café, the Moulin Rouge.  A paean to creative collaboration (even between feuding dancers) it is a cinema artist’s tribute to the art of his father, painter Auguste Renoir. “Ultimately, French Cancan has turned out to be the happiest and most exuberant ripple in Renoir’s career as a river of personal expression” (Andrew Sarris). Film notes for French Cancan.

February 13:   

Frenchman’s Creek  (1944) Directed by Mitchell Leisen.  Joan Fontaine, Arturo de Córdova, Basil Rathbone (110 min).

A restless wife, escaping stifling London society and her dissolute husband, flees to the family’s remote Cornwall mansion where she runs away with a dashing buccaneer.  Hotsy totsy for a pirate movie, Fontaine dresses up as a cabin boy and experiments with sexual freedom. “Catch a post-chaise…and check your think-cap at the door if you want a two-hour excursion in fancy-pants cloak-and-sword escape”  (NY Times). Film notes for Frenchman's Creek.

February 20:

Now Voyager (1942) Directed by Irving Rapper. Bette Davis, Paul Henreid, Claude Rains (117 min).

Charlotte, browbeaten by her harpy mother, discovers therapy, a glamorous Orry Kelly wardrobe and thrilling shipboard romance.  Davis makes the tears flow and learns to live her own life, like the Greatest Generation’s version of Eat Pray Love. “In many ways, it’s the definitive women’s film of all time, with a deeply touching performance by Bette Davis” (Janine Basinger). UNCSA Film Archive print. Film Notes for Now Voyager.

February 27:

Cleopatra (1934) Directed by Cecil B. DeMille. Claudette Colbert, Warren William, Henry Wilcoxon (100 min).

A shimmering Art Deco spectacle made for the big screen, DeMille’ canvas dazzles with everything from a series of erotic revels on a barge to a clashing Roman battle.  Colbert slinks in her barely there lame, beads and velvet, delirious Egyptomania courtesy of Travis Banton, “he produced one of the most extravagant wardrobes in the history of the movies” (Dressed by Deborah Landis). Print from the UCLA Film Archive. Film notes for Cleopatra.

March 6:

Trouble in Paradise (1932) Directed by Ernst Lubitsch.  Miriam Hopkins, Kay Francis, Herbert Marshall (83 min).

A gentleman thief and a lady pickpocket join forces to fleece a perfume heiress in this elegant confection, a prime exemplar of “The Lubitsch Touch.” A connoisseur of soigné allure and witty banter, many consider this the sophisticated director’s best film “Never equaled, Trouble in Paradise twinkles like the polestar in the sky” (Village Voice). Film Notes for Trouble in Paradise.

March 13:

Torrent (1926) Directed by Monta Bell.  Greta Garbo, Ricardo Cortez, Gertrude Olmstead (88 min).

Garbo is incandescent in her first American film, as a village lass transformed into a jaded prima donna with a penchant for fur trimmed evening wraps.  Based on a popular novel by Belasco Ibáñez, and drenched with MGM’s glossy romanticism, you’ll see a star blaze to life on screen as an imperious diva struggles with her passion for a mama’s boy with bedroom eyes.  Silent film with live music by David Drazin.  Print from George Eastman House. Film Notes for Torrent.

March 27:

Austenland (2013) Written and Directed by Jerusha Hess.  Keri Russell, JJ Field, Jennifer Coolidge (97 min) PG-13

Pining for Colin Firth’s Mr. Darcy, Jane signs up for some Pride & Prejudice cosplay to jumpstart her romantic fantasies.  This off-kilter rom com is simply delightful. “How much longer before the truth that's universally acknowledged is that young women and their romantic troubles are lighting up screens in ways that the mope-and-disembowel routine of that Wolverine son of a bitch just can't?” (Village Voice). Film notes for Austenland.

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All films are shown in 35mm, and begin Fridays at 8:00 pm

The galleries and Iris Restaurant will be open prior to screenings

Box Office: (919) 715-5923

Tickets: $7.00/$5.00 NCMA Members

Introductions are by Film Curator Laura Boyes unless otherwise noted.

For more information about the NC Museum of Art: ncartmuseum.org

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