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Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Feb '17 Classic Film Screenings in Greater Boston

It's now truly the deep dark winter despite the fact that days are slowly and visibly getting longer.  To brighten those days, there are a number of tempting offerings of classic film on the big screen.

The Brattle Theatre
The Brattle gets the prize this month for arguably the greatest number and diversity of its classic film screenings.

Weds Feb 8: A 'special event' screening of Peter Bogdanovich's 1968 film Targets.  This stars Boris Karloff as a B-movie star dealing with an encounter with a mass-murderer in a drive in (!).  I've not seen this one, but being familiar with Karloff's early work as Frankenstein's monster and most recently, the night club owner in Night World, I would enjoy seeing him in his late career.  The film will be introduced live by musician and writer John Darnielle, whose novel Universal Harvester references the film.
Boris Karloff (left) and Peter Bogdanovich, who wrote, directed,
and acted in Targets from 1968
St. Valentine is appropriately celebrated the week of Feb 10-15 with the 'Great Romances' series. A few old favorites should be savored:

Sun, Feb 10:  Roman Holiday (1953) with two of the most gorgeous and equally talented people in 1950s Hollywood, Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck.  This film is paired in a double feature with The Philadelphia Story (1940), with more gorgeousness and talent in Katharine Hepburn (no relation), James Stewart and, ahem, Cary Grant.  I say this is about a 'perfect dose' of classic Hollywood confection in one day.  Both are romantic comedies bursting with joy, fun and wit.  Both films are 35mm prints.

Tues Feb 14 & Weds Feb 15Casablanca (1942)  Here's looking at you; happy 75th birthday to this cinema icon.  I spoke too soon about Hollywood perfection -- many would argue this is it.  At least it has the most perfect ending in all film.  Humphrey Bogart, Ingrid Bergman, and Paul Henreid star, along with an exceptional supporting cast, in this tale of romance and resistance in German occupied Morocco during WWII.
Humphrey Bogart, Claude Rains, Paul Henreid, and Ingrid Bergman
discuss politics and love in Casablanca
The Coolidge Corner Theatre
Mon Feb 13  The Lady Eve (1941).  Of course, it's another romantic film, this time starring Barbara Stanwyck as a con artist trying to make a play for naive Henry Fonda aboard a cruise ship, but then things go in all kinds of unexpected directions.  Charles Coburn is great as Stanwyck's partner in crime!
Barbara Stanwyck gets a little help from Henry Fonda

The Museum of Fine Arts (Boston)
This is the first time I've featured this venue in my blog, but they occasionally show classics amongst their film series.  This month is devoted to a retrospective of the great director Stanley Kubrick, who got his start in the 1950s but directed all the way to the late 1990s, his last feature being Eyes Wide Shut.  However, he only directed 16 films, and all of them are screening.  The Kubrick retrospective is apparently an annual event.  The series start tomorrow, Feb 1, and goes through Feb 25.  I noted:

Thurs Feb 2 and Fri Feb 10Killer's Kiss (1955), a tidy noir (67 minutes) also written by Kubrick, about a washed up boxer.  I've not seen it, and it's a lesser known Kubrick, so worth checking out.

Thurs Feb 23 and Sat Feb 25: Barry Lyndon (1975).  It's not from the classic era, but I LOVE this film.  It's a sumptuously shot and terrifically acted period drama starring Ryan O'Neal as an opportunist who tries to work his way into the upper echelons of society at the expense of others.
A scene from Barry Lyndon
Those who missed out celebrating the 100th birthday of Kirk Douglas could make up for that by attending either Paths of Glory (1957) on Sun Feb 5th and Thurs Feb 9, or Spartacus (1960) on Weds Feb 15.


  1. I think you'll be impressed with Targets. Much is done on a minuscule budget. I was less impressed with Killer's Kiss. Interesting camera work, but for a film running slightly over an hour, the story drags.

    1. Thanks for your perspective. I hope to get to TARGETS, although it conflicts with a professional event. Decisions, decisions! KILLER'S KISS may be more likely because I'm free on the 10th. I'll moderate my expectations ;-)