CHASING TRANE editor/co-producer Peter Lynch will participate in Q&A’s after the 7:30 PM screening on Friday, April 21 and the 4:50 show on Sunday, April 23 at the Playhouse 7. Producer Sig Sigworth will participate in a Q&A after the 7:30 PM screening at the Playhouse on Saturday, April 22. CHASING TRANE director John Scheinfeld will participate in Q&A’s at the NoHo after the first evening screenings and a Sunday matinee show Friday-Sunday, April 28-30, exact times TBD.
The following post is by food historian Linda Civitello:
Terence Davies’ masterpiece, A Quiet Passion, has a scene where Emily Dickinson bakes bread and later is informed that it won a prize. This is true. In 1856, Dickinson’s Brown Bread won second prize at a local fair. One of the judges was her sister Lavinia—“Vinnie”—played by Jennifer Ehle, who was Elizabeth Bennet in the mini-series Pride and Prejudice, and the miscalculating intelligence agent in Zero Dark Thirty. Dickinson’s prize-winning bread was made from rye and cornmeal because wheat did not grow well in New England. The bread, like New Englanders such as Dickinson’s father, played by Keith Carradine, was solid with a thick, hard crust; leftovers were used to scrub walls. This staple bread nourished New Englanders until the end of the 19th century.
Emily Dickinson also nourished herself with language: “He ate and drank the precious words, / His spirit grew robust.” Hunger and thirst are recurring metaphors that reflect Dickinson’s profound loneliness and awareness of her position on the fringes of society. Often, she is nose-pressed-against-the-glass observing others at the banquet of life while she gets only crumbs: “God gave a Loaf to every Bird— / But just a Crumb—to Me—”. She also takes a sour grapes attitude toward society and belonging, and especially toward success: “Fame is a fickle food / Upon a shifting plate.” However, hope is not just “the thing with feathers,” but “Hope is a subtle glutton,” too.
Although Dickinson’s poetry uses food metaphorically, almost one-third of her letters—approximately 300—deal with real food. Even if Dickinson did not leave the house, she sent her desserts out into the world. Children were delighted when she lowered a basket of little oval loaves of gingerbread out the window. Dickinson’s delicious “Cocoanut” Cake—that was the spelling at the time—is a modern pound cake. What makes it modern is that it is leavened with saleratus (aka baking soda) and cream of tartar, an early baking powder. What makes it Emily’s is that on the back of the recipe, she wrote a poem, “The Things that never can come back, are several.”
Cynthia Nixon’s penetrating Emily Dickinson in A Quiet Passion is the polar opposite of Julie Harris’s tremulous, teary hostess serving Black Cake—a spice cake loaded with raisins—to visitors in the 1976 play The Belle of Amherst. In A Quiet Passion, Davies cannot show Dickinson baking bread or making cake with real-life frequency. What Davies does do is capture the essence of Dickinson’s complex persona and life. Davies’ genius shows Dickinson’s genius: her intensity, her originality, her gift—and his—for bringing forth a universe of poetry and beauty where others see only the mundane, or cannot bear to look at all.
Linda Civitello is a food historian. She is the author of Baking Powder Wars: The Cutthroat Food Fight That Revolutionized Cooking, and the award-winning Cuisine & Culture: a History of Food and People. She will be speaking about Emily Dickinson and food later this year at the Emily Dickinson Museum in Amherst, Massachusetts.
To learn more about Emily Dickinson:
Emily Dickinson is the author chosen for the weeks-long 2017 Los Angeles “Big Read” program. On Saturday, April 29, the Washington Irving Library, 4117 Washington Boulevard, will host a Poets’ Panel, open mic reading, and a poetry workshop on Dickinson. Linda Civitello will speak briefly about Dickinson, and present desserts she made using Dickinson’s recipes and heirloom flour.
The Collected Poems of Emily Dickinson. Introduction and Notes by Rachel Wetzsteon. The hundreds of poems in this collection are organized thematically: Life, Nature, Love, Time and Eternity, The Single Hound.
For children: Emily Dickinson in the Poetry for Young People series edited by Frances Schoonmaker Bolin, illustrated by Chi Chung, from Sterling Children’s Books.
The Dickinson letters: http://www.emilydickinson.org/
The Madwoman in the Attic: The Woman Writer and the Nineteenth-Century Literary Imagination is the pioneering 1979 book of feminist literary criticism by Sandra M. Gilbert and Susan Gubar. The lengthy final essay is on Emily Dickinson. The book’s title is an allusion to one of the writers Dickinson admired, Charlotte Brontë. The poem that Dickinson wrote when Bronte died ends, “Oh, what an afternoon for heaven, / When Brontë entered there!”
Sandra M. Gilbert is also a poet. Her homage to Dickinson is in the title poem in her poetry collection Emily’s Bread, and in the final section and final poem, both entitled “The Emily Dickinson Black Cake Walk.”
Miss Emily. This 2015 novel by the award-winning Irish writer Nuala O’Connor is an intimate fictional portrait of daily life in the Dickinson household. Told in the first person, it shifts back and forth between Emily and the family’s Irish maid, Ada.
The American Frugal Housewife by Lydia Maria Child. This cookbook, first published in 1832, was used in the Dickinson household.
The Emily Dickinson Museum: https://www.emilydickinsonmuseum.org/
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 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.
The results of Sunday’s Oscars were pretty ho-hum right up until somewhere around the 245th minute, when we all witnessed the most embarrassing accounting error of all time. Apparently the gentleman from PricewaterhouseCoopers was more focused on his star-struck tweeting than making sure he gave Warren Beatty the right envelope. However, let’s not let this snafu obscure the fact that the Academy surprised everyone and honored a genuinely marvelous film, Moonlight, only the second Best Picture Winner about LGBTQ people (the first was Midnight Cowboy) and the first with an all-African American cast.
Anyway, in our little Oscar contest, the winner was the only one with 20 correct, so they stood alone at the top. For the 2nd-5th place winners, 24 people correctly guessed 18 categories – and even with the Tie-Break question about the show’s running time there were still multiple ties.
Interestingly, for Best Picture, our winner picked La La Land – which for about two minutes was the correct answer – but they still beat their competition by two answers. Among the winners, the difficult categories were Best Picture (Moonlight or La La Land), Best Actor (Denzel Washington or Casey Affleck), Best Sound Mixing (La La Land or Hacksaw Ridge), and Best Live Action Short.
1st Place) Mariano A. of Beverly Hills.
18 Correct – 1 minute off official time
Tie 2nd) Jen M. of Pasadena.
Tie 2nd) Marina O. of Los Angeles.
18 Correct – 6 minutes off official time
3rd Place) Martha C. of Valley Village.
18 Correct – 8 minutes off official time
Tie 4th) Tristan K. of West Hollywood.
Tie 4th) Cory G. of Los Angeles.
Tie 4th) Jacob W. of Los Angeles.
18 Correct – 9 minutes off official time
5th Place) Rachel S. of West Hollywood.
We are having so much fun with our American repertory film series Anniversary Classics, which we began with film critic Stephen Farber two years ago, that we are pleased to announce a companion series: Anniversary Classics Abroad. We will be screening great foreign films on the third Wednesday of every month at three venues simultaneously: the Royal in West L.A., the Town Center in Encino, and the Playhouse 7 in Pasadena. We are launching the Abroad program with 30th anniversary screenings of Bille August’s award-winning Danish film, Pelle the Conqueror (1987) at 7 PM on March 15. The film won the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film of 1988 and also won the Palme d’Or in Cannes that same year. Master Swedish actor Max von Sydow received his first Oscar nomination for his performance in the film.
The beautifully crafted film is adapted from a popular Danish novel by Martin Andersen Nexo, published in 1908. It tells the story of a widower and his young son who journey from Sweden to Denmark in the 1850s in search of work. There they encounter prejudice and harsh working conditions; the story clearly takes on renewed urgency in light of rising anti-immigrant bias in Europe as well as the United States. August cast newcomer Pelle Hvenegaard in the title role.
In Newsweek, David Ansen wrote, “We are engrossed by the serene confidence of the storytelling, by August’s painterly eye, by von Sydow’s and Hvenegaard’s touching performances.” TIME Magazine’s Richard Schickel wrote, “Bille August’s gifts for austere, striking imagery and for the short, perfectly shaped scene impart to this film an epic richness, range and energy.” The film helped to catapult August to the front ranks of international directors. He went on to make several films in the U.S. as well as Europe, and Ingmar Bergman chose August to direct his autobiographical screenplay, The Best Intentions.
“The von Sydow performance is in a category by itself. It is another highlight in an already extraordinary career, and quite unlike anything that American audiences have seen him do to date.” – Vincent Canby, New York Times
“In Bille August’s Pelle the Conqueror, Max von Sydow is so astoundingly evocative that he makes your bones ache.” – Hal Hinson, Washington Post
The subsequent films in our Anniversary Classics Abroad series are:
Wednesday, April 19: Yojimbo (1962). Akira Kurosawa’s energetic, tongue-in-cheek samurai Western had an enormous influence on filmmakers all over the world. Toshiro Mifune stars as the amoral swordsman who strides into town and manipulates the opposing factions in a turf war.
Wednesday, May 17: Divorce Italian Style (1962). This Oscar-winning film from director Pietro Germi is a ferocious black comic dissection of Sicilian mores. The picture helped to cement Marcello Mastroianni’s position as a rising international superstar.
Wednesday, June 21: Smiles of a Summer Night (1957). To coincide with the summer solstice, we present Ingmar Bergman’s elegant romantic comedy set on a Swedish estate on the longest night of the year. Eva Dahlbeck, Harriet Andersson, and Gunnar Bjornstrand star in the film that Pauline Kael called an “exquisite carnal comedy.” The film later inspired Stephen Sondheim’s musical, A Little Night Music.
Again, we will show all Anniversary Classics Abroad films on the third Wednesday of each month at three venues, the Royal, Playhouse, and Town Center, at 7 PM. Come experience these classics of world cinema as they were intended to be experienced, on a big screen in a dark auditorium full of fellow cinephiles.
LOVESONG director/co-writer So Yong Kim will participate in a Q&A following the 3:10 PM screening at the Playhouse 7 on Sunday, March 5. Her husband and co-writer, Bradley Rust Gray, will moderate.