Oscar-winner Kim Basinger will participate in a Q&A after the May 9, 35 mm screening of L.A. CONFIDENTIAL at the Fine Arts.
Oscar-winner Kim Basinger will participate in a Q&A after the May 9, 35 mm screening of L.A. CONFIDENTIAL at the Fine Arts.
Laemmle Theatres and the Anniversary Classics Series present two acclaimed courtroom dramas celebrating their 60th anniversaries as the second attraction in the popular Twofer Tuesdays program. 12 ANGRY MEN and WITNESS FOR THE PROSECUTION, both 1957 Academy Award nominees for Best Picture, will be paired as a double bill (two movies, one admission price) on May 2nd at the Ahrya Fine Arts, NoHo 7, and Pasadena Playhouse 7. Presented on Blu-ray.
Click here to buy tickets to the 5:15PM show of 12 ANGRY MEN, admission to the 7:15pm WITNESS FOR THE PROSECUTION is included. Click here to get tickets to the 7:15PM show of WITNESS FOR THE PROSECUTION, admission to the 9:35pm 12 ANGRY MEN is included.
12 ANGRY MEN, about the deliberations of 12 jurors in a murder trial, was adapted by Reginald Rose from his 1954 teleplay, and directed by Sidney Lumet (Serpico, Dog Day Afternoon, Network) as his film debut. Henry Fonda, who also produced, heads a formidable cast of award-winning actors including Lee J. Cobb, Ed Begley, Jack Warden, E. G. Marshall, and Jack Klugman. Both Lumet and Rose were Oscar nominated for their work.
The film, as timely as ever, challenges an audience to confront ethnic and social prejudices in considering innocence or guilt based on reasonable doubt.
Roger Ebert called it “a masterpiece of stylized realism,” enhanced by the expert black-and-white photography of Boris Kaufman, making the most of its one set in the jury room. Ebert further opined, “In its ingenuity, in the way it balances one piece of evidence against another that seems contradictory, 12 Angry Men is as meticulous as an Agatha Christie thriller.” The movie was added to the National Film Registry in 2007.
WITNESS FOR THE PROSECUTION, based on an Agatha Christie play, is a spellbinding courtroom thriller about a murder suspect (Tyrone Power) defended by a wily barrister (Charles Laughton) against the testimony of the suspect’s wife (Marlene Dietrich).
Billy Wilder, collaborating with writers Harry Kurnitz and Larry Marcus, strengthened the characterizations and added a surprise twist at the end, heightening the suspense throughout.
Laughton received one of the film’s six Oscar nominations as Best Actor for his delightfully animated portrayal. Elsa Lanchester as the barrister’s no-nonsense nurse afforded comic relief and copped a supporting actress nod. Wilder nabbed the sixth of his eight career directing nominations.
The film was a critical and commercial hit, with Bosley Crowther of The New York Times applauding “Wilder’s splendid staging of some splintering courtroom scenes and a first-rate theatrical performance by Charles Laughton.”
Audiences at the time were aghast and delighted by the film’s wicked surprise ending, which they were urged to keep secret. Even the film’s cast did not know the ending until the last day of shooting. Both films were later cited in the all-time top ten of the AFI’s Courtroom Dramas category.
The Twofer Tuesdays double feature of 12 ANGRY MEN (shows at 5:15 pm and 9:35 pm) and WITNESS FOR THE PROSECUTION (shows at 7:15 pm) plays May 2 at three Laemmle locations: Ahrya Fine Arts, NoHo 7, and Pasadena Playhouse 7.
Kurosawa’s YOJIMBO (1962) screens Wednesday, April 19, at 7PM in West LA, Encino, and Pasadena. Presented on Blu-ray. Click here for tickets.
Laemmle Theatres and Anniversary Classics Abroad present a 55th anniversary screening of Akira Kurosawa’s YOJIMBO, a vivid tongue-in-cheek samurai Western. Kurosawa’s favorite actor, Toshiro Mifune, plays an amoral samurai in 19th century Japan. In a setup reminiscent of many classic Westerns (Shane in particular), Mifune’s Sanjuro strides into town and tries to reconcile a battle between two warring factions. But in this case both of the gangs are equally corrupt, and our hero is no more upright. He eventually wreaks havoc on all the combatants. The swordfights have visceral force, and the violence is always leavened with humor. As Pauline Kael wrote, “Yojimbo is a glorious comedy-satire of force… explosively comic and exhilarating.”
The film also proved to be enormously influential to a later generation of filmmakers. It inspired another perfectly amoral Western, Sergio Leone’s A Fistful of Dollars, in which Clint Eastwood’s The Man With No Name became the spaghetti Western equivalent of the cheeky samurai killer. Later directors Walter Hill and Quentin Tarantino also cited Yojimbo as an influence.
YOJIMBO is the second installment in our Anniversary Classics Abroad series, presented on the third Wednesday of each month. The series continues with Pietro Germi’s DIVORCE ITALIAN STYLE on May 17 and Ingmar Bergman’s SMILES OF A SUMMER NIGHT on June 21.
Laemmle Theatres and the Anniversary Classics Series present a 45th anniversary screening of THE RULING CLASS starring Peter O’Toole followed by a Q&A with director Peter Medak on Tuesday, April 25th at 7 PM at the Royal Theatre in West Los Angeles. Presented on DVD. Click here for tickets.
This biting black comedy, in the tradition of such British classics as Kind Hearts and Coronets, focuses on a fierce battle for succession within an aristocratic family. Peter O’Toole plays a paranoid schizophrenic nobleman who believes himself to be Jesus Christ. When he is elevated to a top position, his relatives scheme to have him declared insane. O’Toole called the film, adapted from Peter Barnes’ play, “a comedy with tragic relief.” In addition to O’Toole, who earned an Oscar nomination for his vibrant performance, the cast of superb British thespians includes Alastair Sim, Arthur Lowe, Harry Andrews, Coral Browne, and Caroline Seymour.
Leonard Maltin called the film a “hilarious, irreverent black comedy…overflowing with crazy ideas, people bursting into song, boisterously funny characterizations, and one-and-only Sim as befuddled bishop.” Time magazine’s Jay Cocks had high praise for the film’s star: “Funny, disturbing, finally devastating, O’Toole finds his way into the workings of madness.” Over the years since its release, the film has turned into a cult classic.
Peter Medak directed such films as Negatives with Glenda Jackson, A Day in the Death of Joe Egg with Alan Bates and Janet Suzman, The Changeling with George C. Scott, the popular spoof, Zorro: The Gay Blade, and two acclaimed British crime stories, The Krays and Let Him Have It.
Laemmle Theatres and the Anniversary Classics Series present Twofer Tuesdays, a classic movie double bill that will screen on the first Tuesday of each month as a recurring event at three Laemmle locations.
Our first attraction celebrates Hollywood legend Bette Davis in one of her most beloved roles, NOW, VOYAGER (1942), on its 75 th anniversary. As a bonus feature, we are pairing it with MARKED WOMAN (1937; 80th anniversary) starring Davis and Humphrey Bogart. Both movies will show as a double feature (two movies, one admission price) at the Ahrya Fine Arts in Beverly Hills, NoHo 7 in North Hollywood, and Playhouse 7 in Pasadena.
Click here to buy tickets to the 5PM show of MARKED WOMAN, admission to the 7:15pm NOW, VOYAGER is included. Click here to get tickets to the 7:15PM show of NOW, VOYAGER, admission to the 9:45pm MARKED WOMAN is included.
NOW, VOYAGER is considered a consummate “woman’s film,” a genre that was Davis’ forte in her heyday in Hollywood’s Golden Age of the 1930s and 40s, an era that she ruled as a top box office star.
The plush melodrama, based on a novel by Olive Higgins Prouty (author of “Stella Dallas,” another classic tale of a self-sacrificing, independent woman), was adapted by Casey Robinson (Dark Victory) and directed by Irving Rapper (Deception).
The film was nominated for 3 Academy Awards, including Davis as Best Actress as a repressed spinster who emerges from her shell in one of the screen’s most dramatic makeovers.
Co-starring Paul Henreid as her suave romantic partner, Oscar nominee Gladys Cooper (Supporting Actress) as her domineering mother and Claude Rains (one of Davis’ favorite actors), as a paternal psychiatrist; the film was a huge commercial hit, the biggest box office success for Davis in that period.
In “The Essentials: 52 Must-See Movies and Why They Matter,” author Jeremy Arnold calls it “a movie that has stood the test of time for its high entertainment value, romanticism, and subversive theme of female empowerment.”
Featuring a lushly romantic Oscar-winning score by Max Steiner, and with one of the most memorable closing lines in movie history, Now, Voyager was added to the National Film Registry in 2007.
Our bonus feature, MARKED WOMAN stars Davis as a nightclub “hostess” who becomes the target of a vengeful mobster (Eduardo Ciannelli), who in turn is prosecuted by a crusading district attorney (Humphrey Bogart). Co-written by Robert Rossen (All the King’s Men, The Hustler) and Abem Finkel (Jezebel, Sergeant York), and directed by Lloyd Bacon (42 nd Street), the movie is notable for its “torn from the headlines” realism that characterized Warner Bros. style in the 1930s.
Because of the censorious Production Code, the brothel employing Davis’ character was disguised as a clip joint. Davis’ assured performance and the film’s success contributed to her rise as queen of the Warner’s lot, a position she held for the next decade.
The Twofer Tuesdays double feature of NOW, VOYAGER and MARKED WOMAN plays April 4 at three locations: Ahrya Fine Arts, NoHo 7, and Pasadena Playhouse 7. Special Introduction by film historian Jeremy Arnold at the Ahrya Fine Arts only.
NOW, VOYAGER plays at 7:15 pm; MARKED WOMAN at 5:00 pm and 9:45 pm.
Laemmle Theatres and the Anniversary Classics Series present a 45th anniversary screening of AVANTI! (1972) followed by a Q&A with co-stars Juliet Mills and Clive Revill on Wednesday, March 29, at 7 PM at the Royal Theatre in West Los Angeles. Click here for tickets.
Six-time Oscar winner Billy Wilder made one of his most underrated movies, Avanti!, in 1972. The film’s stature has risen dramatically in recent years. In his 1999 book, Conversations with Wilder, Oscar-winning writer-director Cameron Crowe declared, “The prize of Wilder’s later-period work, Avanti! is a melancholy classic.”
To make the film, Wilder reteamed with his favorite actor, Jack Lemmon (the star of Some Like It Hot and The Apartment), and Crowe declared, “The picture was a new peak in the collaboration of Wilder and the actor most tuned to his nuances.”
Lemmon plays a crass businessman who travels to Italy to claim the body of his father, who was killed in an automobile accident while on vacation. There he learns that his father was carrying on a long extra-marital affair with an Englishwoman, who died with him in the accident. He meets the woman’s daughter, played by Juliet Mills, and it seems that history may repeat itself as Lemmon and Mills fall in love. As Crowe wrote, Mills “is a wonderful foil for Lemmon.”
The uproarious and poignant film represents a sly reworking of one of Wilder’s favorite themes, the encounter of an innocent American and more worldly Europeans. It was a subject that Wilder first explored in his Oscar-nominated screenplay for Hold Back the Dawn in 1941, and he revisited this terrain in such other films as A Foreign Affair, Sabrina, Love in the Afternoon, and One Two Three. Avanti! was filmed on glorious Italian locations that gave added richness to the director’s exploration of the innocent abroad.
Clive Revill and Edward Andrews co-star in the film, which was written by Wilder and his long-time collaborator, I.A.L. Diamond. Luigi Kuveiller was the cinematographer, and the production designer was Ferdinando Scarfiotti, the Oscar-winning designer of The Last Emperor, The Conformist, and Death in Venice. Leonard Maltin called Avanti! a “sadly underrated comedy… lovely scenery, wonderful performances by all.” The film was nominated for six Golden Globes.
Juliet Mills is a member of one of the most distinguished British acting families. Her father, John Mills, was an Oscar winner as well as a lion of the theater. Her younger sister, Hayley Mills, the star of Disney classics Pollyanna and The Parent Trap, has also enjoyed a long career. Juliet has distinguished herself on stage, on screen, and on television. She was nominated for a Golden Globe for her performance in Avanti! and for her role on the hit television series, Nanny and the Professor. She won an Emmy for her performance in the miniseries, QB VII, and she was nominated for a Tony for her performance in Peter Shaffer’s first Broadway play, Five Finger Exercise.
Clive Revill was nominated for a Golden Globe for his delightful performance as the beleaguered hotel manager in Avanti! He has also had a stellar career in film, theater, and television. He earned a Tony nomination for his performance as Fagin in the original Broadway production of Lionel Bart’s Oliver. He co-starred in another Billy Wilder movie, The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes, and also appeared in Modesty Blaise, The Assassination Bureau, and The Legend of Hell House. His television roles include the miniseries Centennial and such series as Columbo and Star Trek: The Next Generation.
Laemmle Theatres and the Anniversary Classics Series present a 50th anniversary screening of IN COLD BLOOD (1967), followed by a Q&A with actor Scott Wilson on March 22 at 7:00 PM at the Royal Theater in West Los Angeles. Click here for tickets.
In Cold Blood, the film version of Truman Capote’s immensely popular “nonfiction novel,” was nominated for four top Oscars in 1967. Richard Brooks received two nominations, for Best Director and Best Adapted Screenplay, and the film was also nominated for Conrad Hall’s striking cinematography and Quincy Jones’ memorable score.
In his best-selling book, Capote chronicled the events leading up to and following the senseless murders of a family of four in Holcomb, Kansas in 1959. He drew a pointed contrast between the prosperous, all-American Clutter family and the two social outsiders, Perry Smith and Richard Hickok, who committed the murders.
In adapting the book, Brooks (the Oscar-winning writer-director of such films as The Blackboard Jungle, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Elmer Gantry, and Sweet Bird of Youth) resolved to be as faithful as possible to Capote’s chronicle, even filming in many of the actual locations where the events took place. With Capote’s encouragement, Brooks cast unknown actors as the two killers, and the performances of Robert Blake as Smith and Scott Wilson as Hickok earned critical raves. More established actors John Forsythe, Paul Stewart, and Will Geer filled out the supporting cast. Brooks also bucked the industry practice and decided to shoot the film in black-and-white at a time when color cinematography had become virtually mandatory for big-studio films.
Reviews at the time were largely positive. The Saturday Review’s Arthur Knight declared the film to be “one of the finest pictures of the year, and possibly of the decade.” Its reputation has not diminished. In an article in The Wall Street Journal in January of 2017, critic Peter Cowie called the film “a classic of American cinema” and added, “In Cold Blood retains its relevance today, even as random shootings continue to appall.”
Scott Wilson made his film debut earlier in 1967, in the Oscar-winning In the Heat of the Night. In Cold Blood was only his second movie. He went on to co-star in John Frankenheimer’s The Gypsy Moths, the Robert Redford version of The Great Gatsby, Philip Kaufman’s The Right Stuff, The New Centurions, The Ninth Configuration, and more recent appearances in Dead Man Walking, The Last Samurai, Monster, and Junebug. He also is known for his roles in the popular TV series CSI and The Walking Dead.
Laemmle Theatres and the Anniversary Classics Series present a 55th anniversary screening of the cult classic What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? (1962), starring Bette Davis and Joan Crawford, on March 11 at 7:30 PM at the Ahrya Fine Arts theater in Beverly Hills. Click here for tickets.
The new FX miniseries “Feud,” about the rivalry between Davis and Crawford while shooting the movie, will begin airing on March 5. This special anniversary screening will coincide with all the attention that juicy miniseries will surely receive. And there are undeniable parallels between Hollywood in 1962 and 2017. Feud’s lead actresses, Susan Sarandon and Jessica Lange, probably face some of the same prejudice against aging actresses that plagued Davis and Crawford 55 years ago.
Baby Jane, a surprise box office smash, was nominated for 5 Academy Awards, including Bette Davis as Best Actress. It won the Oscar for black-and white costume design, and among its other nominations were newcomer Victor Buono (supporting actor) in his screen debut, and veteran cinematographer Ernest Haller (Oscar winner for Gone With the Wind).
Baby Jane is now regarded notoriously as a “camp classic,” and for teaming Hollywood legends Davis and Crawford who were at low points in their movie careers in 1962. There were very few good roles for aging actresses in that era, and studio disinterest forced the faded movie queens to seek unorthodox parts. The Henry Farrell novel about the psychological rivalry between two reclusive sisters, former actresses holed up in Hollywood obscurity seemed tailor-made.
Producer-Director Robert Aldrich hired Lukas Heller to write the screenplay, and the expert mix of black comedy and suspense, along with powerful acting by the cast, made the film a worldwide success. It revived the careers of both Davis and Crawford, restoring their places in the Hollywood pantheon, and spawned a genre of Grand Dame Guignol that gave other older actresses roles for the next decade.
Part of the appeal of the film was the alleged off-screen rivalry between Davis and Crawford, and that feud sparked great interest by both the stars’ fans and the press.
Show, the 60s magazine of the arts, salivated at the prospect: “For fans who are getting on, there is one certain treat in store. Bette Davis and Joan Crawford will be together in What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?, a melodrama about the murderous rivalry between two sisters, onetime film stars. Or is it perhaps Joan Crawford and Bette Davis?”
Among divided critical reception at the time, the Chicago Daily News saw “…the outlines of a modern Greek tragedy. Yet it is great fun, too, because this is pure cinema drama set in a real house of horrors.”
Whether seen as a “campy thriller” or a well-crafted domestic film noir, the movie’s appeal has lasted to this day. The FX series “Feud” testifies to its impact.
We will screen What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? with a trivia contest and special introduction on the movie’s backstory and enduring legacy. Shows Saturday March 11 (7:30 PM) at the Ahrya Fine Arts in Beverly Hills. Click here for tickets.