ASK FOR JANE Q&A with star Cody Horn following the 7:00 pm show on Friday, 6/28.
ASK FOR JANE Q&A with star Cody Horn following the 7:00 pm show on Friday, 6/28.
INTO THE MIRROR Q&A’s with star/writer Jamie Bacon and star/co writer Charles Streeter following the 9:45 pm show on Friday, 6/21 and Saturday 6/22.
SAY MY NAME director Jay Stern and producer/actor Lisa Brenner will participate in a Q&A moderated by comedian Liam McEneaney following the 7:30 pm show on Friday, June 14.
KILLER UNICORN Q&A’s after every show details are as follows.
6/14, 6/15, 6/16 participants are:
Jose Alvarez (writer/producer)
Drew Bolton ( Director)
Monica Garcia Bradley (plays Coke)
Markus Kelle (plays Madame Mortimer)
Isis vermouth (plays Party Host)
On the first night only (6/14) added participants are:
Tyler Stone (composer)
Biblegirl666 (plays Jess Jizz)
Biblegirl666 will introduce the 7:30 pm show on 6/14, and Isis Vermouth will introduce the following showings on 6/15-6/16.
Laemmle Theatres and the Anniversary Classics Series present a screening of one of the most memorable films of the 70s, the neo-noir mystery thriller, CHINATOWN. Nominated for 11 Academy Awards in 1974 (including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor Jack Nicholson and Best Actress Faye Dunaway), the film won the Oscar for the original screenplay by Robert Towne. Although it was set in a beautifully recreated 1930s universe, the film reflected the bitter cynicism and disillusionment of the Vietnam and Watergate era.
Towne was a Los Angeles native, and he had long been fascinated by the history of the city, where the sun-dappled settings hid tales of greed and corruption. The inspiration for the story was the water wars that had helped to shape the modern life of the city. These struggles over the city’s natural resources had taken place in the first decade of the 20th century; Towne moved the setting up to the 1930s, partly in order to combine this scorching social commentary with the spirit of classic detective novels penned by authors like Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler.
Nicholson plays J.J. Gittes, a private eye who specializes in sordid cases of marital infidelity. But he gets himself into deeper territory when an investigation into a civic leader’s extramarital affair leads to a discovery of a massive conspiracy by big business interests to seize control of the city’s desperately needed water supply. Gittes’s sleuthing also leads him to uncover shocking cases of sexual abuse among the city’s upper crust. Dunaway plays a variation on the classic femme fatale of noir cinema, a beautiful heiress who is commanding on the surface but is secretly and tragically damaged by events in her past. John Huston plays her corrupt father, and the supporting cast includes John Hillerman, Perry Lopez, Diane Ladd, Burt Young, Bruce Glover, and James Hong.
Robert Evans, the successful head of Paramount Studios at the time, backed Towne’s screenplay and decided to make the film his first venture as a producer. When Evans took over as head of the studio in the 60s, one of his early successes was an adaptation of Ira Levin’s best-selling novel, Rosemary’s Baby, which became the first American movie of European director Roman Polanski. That film was a smash hit, and Evans hired Polanski again to direct Chinatown. Polanski had been reluctant to work in Hollywood since the murder of his pregnant wife, Sharon Tate, by the notorious Manson family in 1969. But Evans persisted, and Polanski brought his knowledge of the underside of Hollywood to his depiction of the city’s past, even changing the ending of Towne’s screenplay to reflect his own deep pessimism.
The film’s technical team—including cinematographer John Alonzo, production designer Richard Sylbert, and costume designer Anthea Sylbert—helped to realize the writer and director’s vision of decay beneath the elegant surfaces of Southern California. Jerry Goldsmith’s sultry score, highlighted by a melancholy trumpet solo, clinched the mournful mood.
Variety praised the achievement: “Roman Polanski’s American made film, his first since Rosemary’s Baby, shows him again in total command of talent and physical filmmaking elements.” Derek Malcom of the London Evening Standard wrote, “Polanski’s telling of his tale of corruption in LA is masterly—thrilling, humorous and disturbing at the same time—and brilliantly played by John Huston and Faye Dunaway as well as Nicholson.” The film was added to the National Film Registry of the Library of Congress in 1991.
Our panel to discuss the film will include actor Bruce Glover (Hard Times, Walking Tall, Diamonds Are Forever); assistant director Hawk Koch (who went on to produce such films as Heaven Can Wait, The Idolmaker, The Pope of Greenwich Village, Wayne’s World, and Primal Fear and later served as president of the Motion Picture Academy); and author Sam Wasson (who wrote the biography of Bob Fosse that served as the basis of the highly acclaimed miniseries, Fosse/Verdon, and is writing a new book on the seminal films of the 70s).
CHINATOWN screens Thursday, June 27 at 7PM at the Royal Theatre in West LA. Click here for tickets.
PAPI CHULO stars Alejandro Patiño and Wendi McLendon-Covey will participate in a Q&A following the 4:40 pm show on Saturday, 6/15.
CHANGELAND director Seth Green, actor Breckin Meyer and producer Corey Moosa will participate in a Q&A following the 4:10 pm show on Sunday, 6/9.
Laemmle Theatres and the Anniversary Classics Series present a 60th anniversary screening of one of the most influential of all British films, the Oscar-winning ROOM AT THE TOP. The film was one of the five nominees for Best Picture of 1959, and also earned nominations for director Jack Clayton, actor Laurence Harvey, and supporting actress Hermione Baddeley. Surprising some of the pundits, Simone Signoret was named Best Actress of the Year, besting Hollywood favorites Audrey Hepburn, Elizabeth Taylor, and Katharine Hepburn. The film also won the Oscar for best adapted screenplay.
Neil Paterson adapted the acclaimed novel by John Braine that told the story of a young working-class upstart who aims to defy the British class system and rise to the top ranks of society. The novel had evoked comparisons to Theodore Dreiser’s classic novel of ambition and murder An American Tragedy, which was turned into George Stevens’ award-winning 1951 film ‘A Place in the Sun.’ In the story that Braine and Paterson told, Harvey plays Joe Lampton, who decides that the best way to the executive suite is to seduce the boss’s daughter, played by Heather Sears. Complications arise when he meets an unhappily married older woman, played by Signoret, and falls in love with her. But he is reluctant to allow romance to jeopardize his larger game plan. The cast also includes Donald Wolfit as the tycoon and Donald Houston as Joe’s friend and roommate. Esteemed cinematographer Freddie Francis (‘Sons and Lovers,’ ‘The Elephant Man,’ ‘Glory’) contributed vivid black-and-white photography.
At the time, the film was considered groundbreaking in part because of its adult language and themes. As the Los Angeles Times noted, the film was “laced with earthy dialogue and a very frank approach to sex.” It received an X rating on its initial release in England. Outstanding reviews complemented the sexual explicitness to make the movie one of the first major arthouse hits in America. As Pauline Kael wrote, “The movie helped bring American adults back into the theatres… mostly because of the superb love scenes between Harvey and Simone Signoret. She’s magnificent.” The New Republic’s Stanley Kauffmann concurred:“Miss Signoret is so heartbreakingly effective in the role that it is now inconceivable without her,” and he concluded his review by writing, “as a drama of human drives and torments told with maturity and penetration, it is a rare event among English-language films.”
Joining film critic Stephen Farber for a discussion after the screening will be renowned cultural critic Edward Goldman, who has been the host of KCRW’s popular Art Talk program for more than 30 years. Goldman also contributes weekly art reports to the Huffington Post, and he has written for many other publications. He first discovered foreign films (including several starring Simone Signoret) while he was growing up in Russia; one of his early jobs was at the Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg.
Our 60th anniversary screening of ROOM AT THE TOP (1959) featuring a Q&A with KCRW art critic Edward Goldman and film critic Stephen Farber screens Thursday, June 13, at 7pm at the Laemmle Royal in West LA. Click here for tickets.