SUNKEN ROADS filmmaker Charlotte Juergens will participate in a Q&A at the Royal on Saturday, November 6, after the 7:30 PM show.
SUNKEN ROADS filmmaker Charlotte Juergens will participate in a Q&A at the Royal on Saturday, November 6, after the 7:30 PM show.
FINDING KENDRICK JOHNSON director Jason Pollock and executive producer Jenifer Lewis will participate in a Q&A at the NoHo following the 7:15 PM screening on Friday, October 29.
Laemmle Theatres and the Anniversary Classics Series present the classic 1946 detective mystery THE BIG SLEEP starring Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall in a series of three screenings at different locations: August 31 (Royal in West Los Angeles), September 1 (Playhouse in Pasadena), and September 2 (Newhall in Santa Clarita).
THE BIG SLEEP is an engrossing mystery thriller that has defied classification since its premiere in 1946. Although it is now considered a cornerstone of film noir, critics and journalists through the years have also described it as a black comedy and even a “screwball love story.” Deftly directed by Howard Hawks and written by William Faulkner, Leigh Brackett and Jules Furthman adapting Raymond Chandler’s first novel, it is the second teaming of Bogart with his wife Lauren Bacall, after the two created a screen sensation in Hawk’s To Have and Have Not in 1944. The film is noted for its convoluted plot (just try to follow it), partially because several scenes were re-written and re-shot for the second, final release in 1946. (A 1945 version was shown to U.S. troops overseas at the end of WWII.) The 1946 official release was added to the National Film Registry in 1997, and it is this version that we will present.
Bogart’s turn as shrewd shamus Philip Marlowe solidified his reputation, and Chandler praised him as “so much better than any other tough-guy actor.” His verbal interplay with Bacall flirted with contemporary screen censorship, as the duo wove the mystique of “Bogie and Bacall.” Critics of the day were as baffled by the plot as audiences, but as Leonard Maltin has pointed out, the movie is “so incredibly entertaining that no one has ever cared.” That high entertainment quotient stems from Hawk’s sharp direction, the biting and witty script, actors at the top of their game (Dorothy Malone, Martha Vickers, and Elisha Cook Jr. among them), atmospheric black-and-white cinematography by Sid Hickox, and a noteworthy music score by Steiner.
Steven C. Smith, a four-time Emmy-nominated journalist and producer of more than 200 documentaries about music and cinema, will offer a special introduction and discuss the contribution of the film’s composer, Max Steiner, to the success and enduring appeal of the film at the Royal and Playhouse screenings. His recent book, Music by Max Steiner: The Epic Life of Hollywood’s Most Influential Composer, has been acclaimed as the definitive biography of Steiner and a major contribution to film history study. The book will be available for sale and signing by the author at his two appearances.
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 a return to the big screen of one of the cinematic crown jewels from 1962, To Kill a Mockingbird. The film will be shown as a series of one night-only screenings at 7 PM the week of June 7-10 at four Laemmle locations, the Royal, Playhouse, NoHo and Newhall. The authors will introduce all screenings and sign their book, which will be on sale at the events. Acclaimed filmmaker Cecilia Peck, daughter of Gregory Peck, will join the discussion at the Royal screening on June 7.
A box-office smash in its day, To Kill a Mockingbird remains one of the most memorable films in Hollywood history. In 1995 it was selected for the National Film Registry of the Library of Congress, reserved for films of “historical, cultural, or aesthetic significance.” The film was faithfully adapted by playwright Horton Foote from Harper Lee’s beloved, Pulitzer Prize-winning novel about childhood memories in the segregated South of the 1930s. The film version has become so intertwined with the book in the national consciousness that they have blended as “an inescapable part of our cultural DNA.”
Directed by Robert Mulligan and produced by Alan Pakula, the film gave Gregory Peck the iconic role of a lifetime, that of Atticus Finch, the small-town lawyer who heroically defends a black man (Brock Peters as Tom Robinson) accused of raping a white woman, invoking the ire of the bigoted white community. Peck’s performance resonated so strongly that when the American Film Institute conducted a poll of all-time screen heroes, his portrayal of Finch was voted number one, ahead of such screen favorites as Han Solo and James Bond. Peck closely identified with the themes of parenting two young children, and those of social and racial justice at the height of the Civil Rights era. He was awarded a very popular Best Actor Oscar in one of the most competitive Oscar races of the twentieth century.
Among the film’s eight total nominations (including Best Picture and Director) is one for Supporting Actress, which went to screen newcomer Mary Badham as Scout, the impressionable six-year-old daughter of Atticus, and it is through her eyes the story unfolds. Her remarkable performance conveys all the wonderment and innocence of childhood imagination, and she is ably joined by Philip Alford as her brother Jem and John Megna as Dill (a surrogate for Lee’s friend Truman Capote). The rest of the stellar cast includes Colin Wilcox, Frank Overton, Rosemary Harris, Estelle Evans, James Anderson, and in the pivotal role of the mentally damaged “Boo” Radley, Robert Duvall in his screen debut.
The transformation of childhood memory into black-and-white screen reality was achieved by the superb craftsmanship of cinematographer Russell Harlan and Oscar winning production design of Alexander Golitzen, Henry Bumstead, and set decoration by Oliver Emert. Elmer Bernstein’s exquisite score also enhances the film’s rich atmosphere and mood. Harper Lee was involved in the film’s preparation and was “very proud and very grateful” for the fidelity of the finished film.
The film received widespread praise, ranging from such varied sources as the mainstream press, presidential adviser and journalist Arthur Schlesinger Jr., Walt Disney, and numerous pop culture publications. Often considered a role model, Atticus Finch is understandably not always seen as an uncomplicated hero. But such reassessments have not diminished the popularity and appeal of To Kill a Mockingbird, which has been elevated to the level of American folklore. Witness the recent PBS poll of millions of viewers who voted it America’s most beloved novel, and Aaron Sorkin’s revisionist stage version that was sold out for the entirety of its two-year, pandemic-shortened Broadway run.
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