Purchase a ticket to #TogetherTogether at Laemmle starting April 23 and see an exclusive pre-recorded intro and Q&A with Ed Helms, Patti Harrison, and writer-director Nikole Beckwith on the big screen! Get your tickets today.
Laemmle Theatres and the Anniversary Classics Series invite you to celebrate the publication of Stephen Farber and Michael McClellan’s new book, Cinema ’62: The Greatest Year at the Movies, with screenings of one of the most memorable movies from 1962, John Frankenheimer’s The Manchurian Candidate.
The film will be shown on March 26 at the Playhouse in Pasadena (co-sponsored by Vroman’s Bookstore) and on April 1 at the Royal in West L.A. The authors will introduce both screenings and will sell and sign their book before and after the screenings. Special guests may appear at these screenings.
The Manchurian Candidate was a hit in 1962 and remains one of the most highly acclaimed of all political thrillers. In 1994 it was selected for the National Film Registry of the Library of Congress, an honor reserved for films of “historical, cultural, or aesthetic significance.”
This story of a diabolical plot to engineer a Russian takeover of the White House was provocative in 1962 and seems frighteningly prescient and startlingly relevant in the aftermath of the 2016 election. As Frankenheimer said in a prophetic interview a few years before his death, “I think our society is brainwashed by television commercials, by advertising, by politicians, by a censored press… More and more I think that our society is becoming manipulated and controlled.”
The film was adapted from Richard Condon’s novel by screenwriter George Axelrod, who also wrote such films as The Seven-Year Itch and Breakfast at Tiffany’s. It tells the chilling story of a soldier in the Korean War, played by Laurence Harvey, who is captured and brainwashed by Russian and Chinese Communists into becoming an assassin in the employ of the Soviet government. Frank Sinatra plays a fellow soldier trying to halt the assassination plot. Angela Lansbury was nominated for an Academy Award for her portrayal of Harvey’s manipulative mother, who plays a crucial role in the conspiracy.
In addition to its achievements as a political thriller, the film was one of the first to satirize the anti-Communist hysteria that had gripped the country and divided the Hollywood community during the 1950s. James Gregory plays Lansbury’s husband, a U.S. Senator modeled on Joseph McCarthy. As Frankenheimer told one reporter, “This country was just recovering from the McCarthy era and nothing had ever been filmed about it. I wanted to do a picture that showed how ludicrous the whole McCarthy Far Right syndrome was and how dangerous the Far Left syndrome is. It really dealt with the whole idea of fanaticism, the Far Right and the Far Left being exactly the same thing.”
As a result of these controversial themes, the film was attacked by both right-wing and left-wing pundits at the time of its release. But the reviews were mainly positive. As Variety wrote, “Every once in a rare while a film comes along that works in all departments…Such is The Manchurian Candidate.” The New York Times’ Bosley Crowther had high praise for John Frankenheimer’s direction, which he called “so exciting in the style of Orson Welles when he was making Citizen Kane.”
When the film was re-released in 1987, reviews were even more ecstatic, and it has continued to resonate. Roger Ebert called it “a work as alive and smart as when it was first released.” Pauline Kael said, “The picture plays some wonderful, crazy games about the Right and the Left; although it’s a thriller, it may be the most sophisticated political satire ever made in Hollywood.” Writing in TIME magazine in 2007, Richard Corliss said, “Lansbury and Harvey are both sensational in a movie that remains pointed and current. It still touches you like a clammy hand in the dark.” Lansbury’s portrayal of the malevolent Mrs. Iselin was ranked as one of the 25 greatest villains in film history by the American Film Institute. The supporting cast includes Janet Leigh, Henry Silva, Leslie Parrish, and Khigh Dhiegh. Ferris Webster earned an Oscar nomination for his superb editing of the movie’s suspense sequences.
Cinema ’62 provides fascinating anecdotes about this classic thriller and about many of the other masterpieces of this landmark year. Read all about them after you enjoy this innovative, frightening, wickedly funny, and ever-timely highlight from a year full of cinematic wonders.
Farber and McClellan are the co-producers of Laemmle’s Anniversary Classics series. Stephen Farber has written film criticism for many prominent newspapers and magazines and has published four previous books on film. Michael McClellan is the former Senior Vice President/Head Film Buyer for Landmark Theatres.
The Manchurian Candidate screens on March 26 at 7pm in Pasadena and on April 1 at 7pm at the Royal in West L.A. Cinema ’62: The Greatest Year at the Movies will be available for purchase at the screenings. It is also available at retailers like Vroman’s Bookstore and Amazon.com.
Laemmle Theatres and the Anniversary Classics Series present one of the best-loved westerns of all time, Howard Hawks’ 1959 action romp, RIO BRAVO. Actress Angie Dickinson will participate in a pre-show Q&A on February 25th at 7PM.
As many modern critics have observed, the film was a box office hit in its time but wasn’t really taken seriously. Leonard Maltin wrote, “Quintessential Hawks Western, patronized by reviewers at the time of its release, is now regarded as an American classic.”
John Wayne, the star of several Hawks films, led the cast, but the director put together an eclectic group of players. In addition to veterans Walter Brennan and Ward Bond, the director cast singer and comedian Dean Martin, young TV personality and pop singer Ricky Nelson, along with Angie Dickinson in a vivid, star-making turn.
The story by B.H. McCampbell (Hawks’s eldest daughter Barbara) presents a fairly simple tale. Wayne plays a sheriff in a small Texas town who is holding a murderer (Claude Akins) in the town jail until the marshal can move him to a nearby penitentiary. But the killer’s brother, a wealthy rancher with a large gang of confederates, intends to break the prisoner out of jail. Wayne’s character is vastly outnumbered, but he turns to an unlikely posse—a drunken deputy (Martin), a helpless cripple (Brennan), and a young greenhorn (Nelson), along with a visiting lady gambler (Dickinson).
The story is fleshed out by two superb screenwriters who worked frequently with Hawks—Jules Furthman (Only Angels Have Wings, To Have and Have Not, The Big Sleep) and Leigh Brackett (The Big Sleep, Hatari!, El Dorado). Brackett was one of the pioneering female writers of an earlier era, and she went on to work on such classics as The Long Goodbye and The Empire Strikes Back.
Brackett surely contributed to the vitality of Angie Dickinson’s character, Feathers, a tough, sassy woman who more than holds her own in confrontations with Wayne. The Los Angeles Times took special note of Dickinson, saying, “starmaker Howard Hawks has worked some of the same kind of magic as he did with Lauren Bacall in To Have and Have Not.” Indeed, some of the memorable repartee between Bogart and Bacall in that film was recycled effectively in Rio Bravo.
In addition to sharp dialogue and fine performances, the film incorporates several suspenseful and exciting action sequences, masterfully orchestrated by Hawks, cinematographer Russell Harlan (Oscar-nominated for both To Kill a Mockingbird and Hawks’ Hatari! in 1962), and aided by the rousing score of Dimitri Tiomkin (High Noon, The High and the Mighty, Giant).
At the time of its release in 1959, Variety called Rio Bravo “a big, brawling western with enough action and marquee voltage to ensure hefty reception at the box office.” It did strong business and reviews in later years were even more glowing. Writing in The New York Times in 2012, Dave Kehr called it “one of the most purely pleasurable films ever made.” Roger Ebert raved, “To watch Rio Bravo is to see a master craftsman at work. The film is seamless. There is not a shot that is wrong.” The film was added to the National Film Registry of the Library of Congress in 2014.
When we launched our Anniversary Classics series in 2013, Angie Dickinson was our very first guest, appearing at a 50th anniversary screening of Captain Newman, M.D. She joined us again for a 50th anniversary screening of John Boorman’s neo-noir classic, Point Blank, in 2017. Her other films include Ocean’s Eleven, Don Siegel’s The Killers, The Chase (opposite Marlon Brando), Big Bad Mama, and Brian De Palma’s Dressed to Kill. She also made history as the first female star of a TV action series, Police Woman, in the 1970s.
RIO BRAVO screens Tuesday, February 25, at 7PM at the Royal Theater in West L.A.
141 minutes * USA * 1959 * DCP
Laemmle Theatres and the Anniversary Classics Series celebrate the Academy Awards with the 50th anniversary of WOMEN IN LOVE starring Best Actress winner Glenda Jackson.
The film, adapted from the 1920 novel by D.H. Lawrence, was nominated for four Oscars, including Best Director for Ken Russell, Best Adapted Screenplay for Larry Kramer, and Best Cinematography for Billy Williams. Jackson won the first of her two Best Actress Oscars for her performance as a “sexually curious, perversely independent, and emasculating heroine” in the British period drama.
In post-World War I industrial Midlands, England, Glenda Jackson and Jennie Linden are sisters who are courted by the son (Oliver Reed) of a coal mine owner and a school inspector (Alan Bates), respectively. The two couples (Reed and Jackson; Bates and Linden) embark on exploratory love affairs that reveal the sexual politics of the era. Lawrence’s story celebrates women as “strong, independent and complex,” and the film heightens that dynamic as the nonconformist female characters take center stage. Jackson would go onto four additional Oscar nominations and a second Best Actress win (A Touch of Class, 1973) before becoming a member of Parliament in the 1990s; she returned triumphantly to acting at the age of 80 in 2016, and won a Tony two years later.
Director Ken Russell, best known for his “flamboyant and controversial style,” in such subsequent films as The Music Lovers, The Devils, The Who’s Tommy, Lisztomania, and Altered States, is notably more restrained in WOMEN IN LOVE. He did, however, connect with the sexual revolution and bohemian politics of the late 1960s, when the film was made, in notorious scenes such as the nude wrestling match between Reed and Bates, the first display of full-frontal male nudity in a mainstream movie. WOMEN IN LOVE represents his sole Oscar nod for directing.
In 1989 he and Jackson revisited this familiar terrain in his film version of Lawrence’s novel The Rainbow, a prequel to WOMEN IN LOVE, with Jackson appearing briefly in a key supporting role as the mother of her WOMEN IN LOVE character. Screenwriter Larry Kramer, who streamlined Lawrence’s novel in his adaptation, his first feature script, later achieved renown as a novelist, pioneering AIDS activist, and playwright (The Normal Heart). Co-star Alan Bates had been previously nominated as Best Actor for The Fixer in 1968; Billy Williams would collect an Oscar for photographing 1982’s Best Picture winner, Gandhi.
D.H. Lawrence challenged conventional ideas about art, politics, gender, sexual experience, friendship, and marriage in his novels, and Russell and Kramer realized his erotically charged prose on film. Critic J. Hoberman wrote an assessment in the New York Times for the film’s 4K restoration in 2017, calling the film “a robust, entertaining, tastefully vulgar celebration of Lawrence’s philosophy.”
Upon the film’s original release in 1970, Pauline Kael described the film as “a gothic sex fantasy based on themes from D.H. Lawrence’s novel…a highly colored swirl of emotional impressions, bursting with intensity.”
Author Stephen Tapert worked for eight years at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences as a museum researcher. He currently teaches film studies at the New York Film Academy in Los Angeles. There will be a sale and signing of his newly published book, Best Actress: The History of Oscar-Winning Women, after the screening. In collaboration with Creating Conversations Bookstore.
Our 50th Anniversary presentation of WOMEN IN LOVE with film critic Stephen Farber and author Stephen Tapert screens Wednesday, February 5 at 7pm at the Laemmle Royal. Click here for tickets.
129 minutes * Rated R * DCP * 1970
Laemmle Theatres and the Anniversary Classics Series present one of the most delightful comedies of the 1960s, THE WORLD OF HENRY ORIENT, produced by a top-flight group of filmmakers and actors. We will be joined by one of the film’s stars, Paula Prentiss, one of the most gifted comediennes to emerge during that era.
HENRY ORIENT is a rare example of a female-centric movie that takes on added relevance at a time when critics are clamoring for more movies that reflect women’s experiences. The film had its origins in a novel written by Nora Johnson and based partly on her own experiences at a posh girls’ school in Manhattan.
The main characters are two of the girls at the school, played by charming newcomers Tippy Walker and Merrie Spaeth in their film debuts. The two heroines develop a crush on a second-rate pianist, the flamboyant Lothario Henry Orient, played to the hilt by the brilliant Peter Sellers. Johnson admitted that the plot was based in part on her own teenage infatuation with real-life pianist and wit Oscar Levant.
Sellers broke through to full-fledged stardom in 1964. The acclaimed anti-war satire, Stanley Kubrick’s ‘Dr. Strangelove,’ opened early in the year, with Sellers cast in three different roles. In the spring of that year he introduced the character of the bumbling Inspector Clouseau in the comedy classic, ‘The Pink Panther,’ and that film was so successful that he brought back the character in ‘A Shot in the Dark later that year.’
THE WORLD OF HENRY ORIENT premiered as the Easter attraction at Radio City Music Hall, and it was the official American entry at the Cannes Film Festival in May. In addition to Sellers and Prentiss, the adult cast included Angela Lansbury as Walker’s imperious mother, Tom Bosley (a Broadway veteran who would go on to win new audiences in popular TV series like ‘Happy Days’ and Lansbury’s ‘Murder, She Wrote’), Phyllis Thaxter, and Bibi Osterwald.
The behind-the-scenes talent was equally impressive. Nora Johnson wrote the screenplay with her father, acclaimed writer-director Nunnally Johnson, whose credits include the Oscar-winning ‘The Grapes of Wrath,’ ‘Roxie Hart,’ ‘The Three Faces of Eve,’ and ‘The Dirty Dozen.’ HENRY ORIENT was the first film produced by Jerome Hellman, who won an Academy Award five years later for producing ‘Midnight Cowboy.’ The picture was the third directed by George Roy Hill, who went on to make ‘Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid,’ ‘The Sting’ (Oscar winner for Best Picture and Best Director), ‘A Little Romance,’ and ‘The World According to Garp.’
Cinematographers Boris Kaufman (an Oscar winner for ‘On the Waterfront’) and Arthur J. Ornitz (‘A Thousand Clowns,’ ‘Serpico’) brought lyricism to their depiction of Manhattan, and the great composer Elmer Bernstein (‘The Magnificent Seven,’ ‘To Kill a Mockingbird,’ ‘The Great Escape,’ ‘True Grit,’ ‘Airplane!,’ and ‘Far from Heaven’) contributed one of his most memorable scores.
All of this talent impressed the critics. The New York Times’ Bosley Crowther hailed “one of the most joyous and comforting movies about teenagers that we’ve had in a long time…a juicily tart and sassy go-round.” Time magazine called it “bright, breezy, and brimming with fun.”
The picture was named one of the year’s ten best by the National Board of Review. It was nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Comedy or Musical of the Year, and it also received a nomination from the Writers Guild of America as Best Written American Comedy.
Over the years the movie has turned into a cult favorite. Writing in The New Yorker in 2012, almost 50 years after the film’s release, John Colapinto called HENRY ORIENT “one of the most enduringly funny and moving American movies ever made.” Leonard Maltin described it as a “marvelous comedy of two teenage girls who idolize eccentric pianist Sellers and follow him around N.Y.C.”
Prentiss plays one of the women pursued by Sellers, whose trysts are constantly interrupted by the two girls. Prentiss made her screen debut in the enormously successful spring break comedy, ‘Where the Boys Are,’ in 1960. She went on to star with Rock Hudson in Howard Hawks’ ‘Man’s Favorite Sport,’ and she appeared with Sellers again in ‘What’s New Pussycat?’ She also co-starred in such films as ‘In Harm’s Way,’ Mike Nichols’ ‘Catch 22,’ ‘The Parallax View,’ and the chilling feminist thriller ‘The Stepford Wives.’ In the late ’60s she starred with her husband, Richard Benjamin, in the acclaimed TV sitcom ‘He & She.’
Our 55th anniversary screening of THE WORLD OF HENRY ORIENT with co-star Paula Prentiss in-person, screens Tuesday, January 28, at 7pm at the Royal in West L.A. Click here for tickets.
TEMBLORES Juan Pablo Olyslager will participate in a Q&A following the 7:20 pm show on Friday, 12/6.