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Thursday, June 30, 2016

July Classic Film Screenings in Greater Boston

Another month and another feast of offerings for the classic film fan in Greater Boston.  Two very special silent film screening events are coming up, and some fun flicks to enhance your summer's entertainment quotient.  Check them out and support your local cinemas!

Coolidge Corner Cinema
July 6 & 7:  Silent film fans should consider coming out to see the Fritz Lang sci-fi classic METROPOLIS (1927) with live musical accompaniment from our own Cambridge-based Alloy Orchestra.  In what is a first in the 'The Sounds of Silents' program, there will be two screenings on back-to-back days Weds & Thurs July 6 & 7 at 7:00.  The Alloy Orchestra was launched at the Coolidge in 1991 with this same film, so these screenings represent a special 25th anniversary celebration for the group.  The film is the newest "complete" version of the film, which premiered in 2010.  The Alloy Orchestra has a unique percussive and electronic sound to their specially-composed scores.  For those new to the film, it's a visual feast - the first full length sci-film ever made.

A video clip of the Alloy Orchestra rehearsing their METROPOLIS score can be seen here:

July 18, 7 PM:  THE HUSTLER (1961) is next up in the Big Screen Classics series.  I've never seen this Robert Rossen film starring Paul Newman, Jackie Gleason, Piper Laurie, and George C. Scott, but all indications are that it's a tremendously-written and compelling drama.  All the stars were nominated for Oscars in the main categories, as was director Rossen and the film for Best Picture.  The only Oscars it DID win were in the cinematography and art direction, which tells me it does need to be seen on the big screen!

Somerville Theater
July 10, 2 PM. The Somerville has a special silent film screening event of its own in July as part of the 'Silents Please' series -- a double feature of W.C. Fields' rarely screened silent comedies in 35 mm:  SO'S YOUR OLD MAN (1926), directed by Gregory La Cava, and IT'S THE OLD ARMY GAME (1926, also with silent screen goddess Louise Brooks).  A special guest will be Dr. Harriet Fields, granddaughter of the actor. (!) I've not seen much W.C. Fields, and none of his silents, and this represents a terrific opportunity.  Both films are shown in 35mm with live piano accompaniment by Somerville regular Jeff Rapsis.

July 28 7:30 PM:  The Somerville will need seatbelts for patrons on this day as Steve McQueen rides in in BULLITT (1968), THE GETAWAY (1972).  Both are 35 mm prints from Warner Archive.  For those who haven't experienced the phenomenon that was McQueen in the second half of the 20th century, this is a way to correct that.

Brattle Theatre
July 4:, 12:00 PM & 8:00 PM  On the holiday, The Brattle will screen the summer classic JAWS (1975), one of the first in the emerging blockbuster category of films and director Steven Spielberg's first huge hit.  It will also screen at the Somerville in August.  I wonder if our proximity to the ocean here makes this such a popular one year after year?  Regardless, if you've never seen it on the big screen you shouldn't miss it.

Jane Greer & Kirk Douglas in OUT OF THE PAST
MORE NOIR!!  The theatre just announced that the 75 Years of Film Noir festival continues with another installment with a focus on the 'femme fatale'.   Here is the list of femmes fatale along with the film and the screening date:

July 11 & 12 Jean Simmons ANGEL FACE (1952).  Also with Herbert Marshall, a fave.
Jane Greer OUT OF THE PAST (1946) Also with Robert Mitchum & Kirk Douglas. This one is spectacular.

July 18 & 19
Yvonne de Carlo CRISS CROSS (1949) Also with Burt Lancaster.
Ava Gardner THE KILLERS (1946) Also with Edmond O'Brien and Burt Lancaster.

July 26

Joan Bennett THE WOMAN IN THE WINDOW (1945) Also with Edward G. Robinson
Joan Bennett THE WOMAN ON THE BEACH (1947). Also with Robert Ryan.

Harvard Film Archive
The programming at the HFA is always exciting.  In July, the complete Robert Aldrich retrospective (...All the Marbles) continues.  What's particularly cool about the program is that it features films that are not only directed by Aldrich, but those in which he served as an assistant or in another capacity.  In addition the HFA has included episodes of the TV series 'Four Star Playhouse' that Aldrich directed, which included several major stars.   In total, the list is too long to completely reproduce here, but check the link above for the full list.  I'm particularly excited about seeing:

July 9, 7:00 PM:  AUTUMN LEAVES (1957), in 35 mm, starring Joan Crawford, Vera Miles, and Lorne Greene.  It's a "late Hollywood melodrama, lurid, strange and overheated," and said to be Aldrich's first foray into the 'women's picture', which would culminate with WHATEVER HAPPENED TO BABY JANE?" Whew!

July 31 4:30 PM:  THE SOUTHERNER (1945), in 35 mm. This one was directed by the great French director Jean Renoir, but Aldrich served as assistant director.  It's starring Zachary Scott and Betty Field, and is totally new to me.  There is a chance I'll be at Woods Hole for their annual Film Festival, but if not, I will be here!


  1. "Autumn Leaves" made me a Joan Crawford believer. She went from movie star to actress in my eyes.

    I think you will find "The Southerner" compelling. Interesting to compare Beulah Bondi's cranky grandmother to some of her more kindly women.

    I've tried to get my husband to watch "Criss Cross" twice - 25 years apart - and both times he fell asleep! There's something wrong with that guy.

    1. Good to have your recommendations. Love Beulah Bondi! That's funny about your husband and CRISS CROSS -- what a memory across 25 years :-) The one thing about noir I've found -- the plots are often so convoluted, if you lose it early, you're sunk!