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Sunday, July 31, 2016

August Classic Film Screenings in Greater Boston

While my cinema highlight of the month will no doubt be the very special film festival of rare silents and early talkies in Rome, NY, (check out the Capitolfest website HERE), there will be again an abundance of big screen offerings locally.  I hope to take in a few.  Anyone want to join me?

Harvard Film Archive (HFA)
Great news!  Rouben Mamoulian - Reconsidered opens this month.  The HFA promises 'beautiful prints and recent preservations' to be focus of this complete retrospective of the talented studio-era director. Mamoulian worked with the best of the best, and excelled in many genres, although only directed a total of 16 films starting in the early 1930s.  His career included the stage as well, and he brought a theatrical sensibility combined with a love of and talent for technological innovations to his films.
Rouben Mamoulian
Fri Aug 12 7 PM APPLAUSE (1929)  Mamoulian's first film, an early sound musical featuring a back-stage drama.

Fri Aug 19 7 PM DR. JEKYLL AND MR. HYDE (1931) This lauded film version of the classic horror film features Fredric March stunning in the lead roles, and Miriam Hopkins in a vulnerable role, with juicy elements of the 'pre-code' era.

Fri Aug 19 9 PM SUMMER HOLIDAY (1948) A 'sunny musical' starring Mickey Rooney, based on a play by Eugene O'Neill ('Ah, Wilderness!')

Sat Aug 20 7 PM LOVE ME TONIGHT (1932) Film version of the Rodgers & Hart musical, starring musical pros Jeanette MacDonald & Maurice Chevalier, with young pre-superstar Myrna Loy in a supporting role.

Sat Aug 20 9 PM THE GAY DESPERADO (1936).  This one sounds interesting a 'musical-gangster-comedy' set in Mexico. Starring Ida Lupino, Nino Martini & Leo Carrillo.

Sun Aug 21 5 PM BECKY SHARP (1935).  Film version of Thackeray's 'Vanity Fair', starring Miriam Hopkins in the lead role.  Said to be the first feature film using three-color Technicolor process.

Sun Aug 21 7 PM RINGS ON HER FINGERS (1942).  Great cast here: Henry Fonda, Gene Tierney, and terrific character actor Laird Cregar.  It's Mamoulian's only screwball comedy.

Fri Aug 26 7 PM GOLDEN BOY (1939).  Those interested in seeing William Holden's first starring role will not be disappointed with this melodramatic tale of a boxer, based on a play by Clifford Odets.

Fri Aug 26 9 PM CITY STREETS (1931).  Gary Cooper & Sylvia Sidney star in this gangster drama.  I'll have had a heavy dose of Cooper at Capitolfest, so I may just need this fix a week later.
Gary Cooper & Sylvia Sidney
CITY STREETS (photo from HFA)

Sat Aug 27 7 PM QUEEN CHRISTINA (1933).  Greta Garbo stars with former lover and silent star John Gilbert in this romantic period piece.

Sat Aug 27 9 PM WE LIVE AGAIN (1934). Another romantic period piece, this time in Russia, with Anna Sten & Fredric March.

Sun Aug 28 4:30 PM
SILK STOCKINGS (1957).  Mamoulian's last film and Fred Astaire's last dance film, also starring Cyd Charisse.

Sun Aug 28 7 PM
THE MARK OF ZORRO (1940).  With Tyrone Power.  What else needs to be said?
Ty Power as Zorro. (photo from HFA)

Mon Aug 29 7 PM  HIGH, WIDE AND HANDSOME (1937).  Randolph Scott, Irene Dunne and Dorothy Lamour star in this musical dose of Americana, seen as a follow up to SHOWBOAT.

The Robert Aldrich retrospective continues as well in August, and here are what remain in the program:

Aug 18, 7 PM  KISS ME DEADLY (1955) closes the retrospective.  It also opened it, on June 3.  I attended that one; well worth watching this classic later noir on the big screen.

Fri Aug 5 9:30 PM:  THE ANGRY HILLS (1959) with Robert Mitchum.

Sun Aug 7 4 PM: THE FRISCO KID (1979) with Gene Wilder & Harrison Ford.

Sun Aug 7 7 PM: EMPEROR OF THE NORTH (1973) with Lee Marvin, Keith Carradine, & Ernest Borgnine.

Mon Aug 8 7 PM:  VERA CRUZ (1954) ahead of its time leaning toward a revisionist Western tone, with Gary Cooper & Burt Lancaster.

Sat Aug 13 7 PM:  WHATEVER HAPPENED TO BABY JANE, the classic schlocky thriller with Bette Davis & Joan Crawford.

Sat Aug 13 9:30 PM:  THE BIG KNIFE (1955) with Jack Palance & Ida Lupino.

Sun Aug 14 5 PM:  THE BIG NIGHT (1953).  This one was directed by Joseph Losey, but assisted by Aldrich.  Starring John Barrymore Jr., Preston Foster, & Joan Lorring.  The HFA site mentions it as an 'unsung gem', a modern-day Hamlet story, and includes Aldrich himself in a cameo.

Sun Aug 14 7 PM
: HUSH ...HUSH SWEET CHARLOTTE (1964) a sort-of follow up to BABY JANE, this one pairing Olivia de Havilland with Bette Davis & Joseph Cotten.

The Coolidge Corner Theatre
On tap in their fun 'Big Screen Classics' we have THE GOOD, THE BAD & THE UGLY kicking off the month of August.  I need to see this, as one of the most iconic 'revisionist Westerns,' although the way my week is shaping up I doubt I will make it.  It's showing on TCM soon so I'll set my DVR.
Monday Aug 1, 7 PM:

Monday Aug 22, 7 PM:  Federico Fellini's 8 1/2 (1963)-- I'm super excited about this one, as I haven't yet seen it; "One of the greatest films ever made about film."  Starring the charismatic Marcello Mastroianni and Claudia Cardinale.

Museum of Fine Arts Boston
Jules Dassin (right) is in trouble in his heist film RIFIFI
The MFA has a nice theater open to the public, and features classics, foreign films and often hosts film festivals.  Next month they have scheduled several screenings of a new digital release of the French film noir classic  RIFIFI, by blacklisted Hollywood director and actor Jules Dassin, who has a minor role in the film.  It's a terrific one!  Sun Aug 7, 11:30 AM; Thurs Aug 11, 5:00 PM, Sat Aug 13 2:00 PM

How cool is Paul Newman in COOL HAND LUKE?
Somerville Theatre
The Somerville has a fun Thursday evening series in August called "Play it Cool", featuring some of the best of Steve McQueen, Paul Newman, and their partners in cool from the 1960s and 70s, in 35 mm prints. For a mere $10, you get two films. Almost like it was in the good old days!

Aug 4 starting at 7:30 PM it's Paul Newman night:  COOL HAND LUKE & CAT ON A HOT TIN ROOF (1958)

Aug 11, 7:30 PM: In GET CARTER (1971) & POINT BLANK (1967), we get Lee Marvin & Michael Caine.

Aug 18, 7:30 PM: OCEAN'S 11 (1960), with Rat Packers Frank Sinatra & Dean Martin, & THE THOMAS CROWN AFFAIR, with Steve McQueen & Faye Dunaway.

Brattle Theatre
Kudos to the Brattle for continuing their year-long celebration of Film Noir with the 6th part in the series focusing on FEMMES FATALE.  Double features presented both Mondays and Tuesdays as follows, with 'femmes fatale' highlighted:
DETOUR -- Tom Neal and Ann Savage.

Aug 1 & 2
 Peggy Cummins GUN CRAZY (1950).  This movie is all kinds of crazy.  Also with John Dall.

Claire Trevor BORN TO KILL (1946) Also with Lawrence Tierney.

Aug 8 & 9
Lizabeth Scott DEAD RECKONING (1949) Also with Humphrey Bogart.

Lizabeth Scott TOO LATE FOR TEARS (1946) Also with Dan Duryea and Burt Lancaster.  This is a recent restoration by the Film Noir Foundation--an excellent one.

Aug 15 & 16
Barbara Stanwyck: DOUBLE INDEMNITY (1944).  Considered by many to be the top of the genre, in the very least, top of the early noir era.  Also with Fred MacMurray and Edward G. Robinson.
Ann Savage DETOUR A 'poverty row' noir that is held up as a good example of what innovative direction (Edgar Ulmer) and inspired acting can do with a low budget.  Also with Tom Neal.

Aug 22 & 23
Rita Hayworth GILDA Also with Glenn Ford.  See it for Rita Hayworth's luscious hair and her 'Put the Blame on Mame' musical number.
Rita Hayworth THE LADY FROM SHANGHAI Also with Orson Welles.  Welles directed his then-wife Rita in this superior noir.  Rita's hair here is controversially blond and short, compared with her long red locks in GILDA.

Aug 29 & 30
Gene Tierney LEAVE HER TO HEAVEN  Lovely Gene Tierney isn't such a lovely person in this noir melodrama.
Rosamund Pike GONE GIRL  This neo-noir was a big hit in 2014.  Also with Ben Affleck and Neil Patrick Harris.


  1. I love "Ah, Wilderness" and I love musicals, and "Summer Holiday" has songs by Harry Warren, so how could it go wrong? It does. Sadly and horribly. Despite the strong cast it just does not retain what made the play so great. Apparently, Warren wanted to make the piece more of a sung story, but that was too innovative for MGM.

    Would you call Claire Trevor a true femme fatale in "Born to Kill". She doesn't so much as drag down the male protagonist as destroy herself in her own evil. Either way, that movie is a dandy!

    1. Thanks for the tips! I'm not a big fan of musicals I must say (I may come around some day). As a result I wouldn't seek this one out; probably less so now that I know it's not a great one.

      Not sure about Claire Trevor in 'Born to Kill' -- haven't seen it. I wish I could get there this week, but it sounds like an interesting one that I'll add to my list. I really enjoy Claire Trevor as an actress, in any case.

  2. I'm utterly amazed at the wonderful choice you have. Oh, how I envy you!
    Good for Boston ! Wish I could jet over from Scotland ! So many to choose from, I would hardly know where to start. Stand-outs for me would be HIGH WIDE AND HANDSOME, KISS ME DEADLY, DOUBLE INDEMNITY, DETOUR,
    Vienna (. Vienna's Classic Hollywood)

    1. Hi Vienna, yes we have terrific choices here. I admit to being overwhelmed by the August listings. September there were a bit fewer overall, plus I decided to focus on just a few offerings. But still too many to get to all of them! I would be happy to accompany you to some films if you did jet over! I spent a semester in Scotland in college and have fond memories. :-)

  3. Dear Jocelyn,

    Greetings from the Pure Entertainment Preservation Society! This is a fine article. I saw that you mentioned "Love Me Tonight" with Jeanette MacDonald, so I would like to invite you to join PEPS's upcoming blogathon.

    I, Rebekah Brannan, have not participated much in the blog world in the past, but I intend to become more involved now.

    I would like very much for you to participate in my upcoming blogathon, The Singing Sweethearts Blogathon, which will be my first real participation in PEPS. This blogathon, which will be hosted around Valentine’s Day, is celebrating the famous singing team Jeanette MacDonald and Nelson Eddy.

    You can read the rules of the blogathon at: If you want to join, please comment and tell me your topic, if you have chosen one. I hope you’ll join me in honoring this brilliant team and the holiday of love!

    Rebekah Brannan