PUZZLE director Marc Turtletaub will participate in Q&A’s at the Town Center on Friday, August 3 after the 4:10 and 7 PM screenings and at the Playhouse on Saturday, August 4 after the 4 and 7 PM screenings.
NIGHT COMES ON co-screenwriter Angelica Nwandu, founder of The Shade Room, will introduce and participate in a Q&A after the 7:45 PM screening at the NoHo on Friday, August 3. Producer Datari Turner will moderate.
Laemmle Theatres and the Anniversary Classics Series present the 60th anniversary of AUNTIE MAME (1958), the hilarious film version of the best-selling novel by Patrick Dennis (Edward Everett Tanner III) based on his madcap, eccentric aunt, and starring Rosalind Russell in her signature role.
The book became a hit Broadway play in 1956, adapted by Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee. For the film version, acclaimed screenwriters Betty Comden and Adolph Green (Singin’ in the Rain, The Bandwagon) fashioned a witty script from the same source material. The film was a box office bonanza, the second highest grossing movie released that year.
The story focuses on Mame Dennis, a wealthy Manhattan sybarite with a social conscience, who takes charge of her orphaned ten-year-old nephew Patrick in 1928. Their adventures through the next two decades exposes Patrick to bohemian characters and lifestyles that clash with the upper class conventions, prejudices and pretensions of the era.
Mame’s financial wipeout in the Wall Street Crash of 1929 only adds to the merriment as she resourcefully pursues her life’s philosophy, “Life is a banquet, and most poor suckers are starving to death!” Directed by Morton Da Costa (The Music Man), who brought the same touches he used for the stage version (blackouts, fadeouts) to the film for a tone of heightened theatricality.
The movie version garnered six Academy Award nominations, including best picture, best actress (Russell) and best supporting actress (Peggy Cass), both of whom had originated their parts on Broadway. Other nominations went to Harry Stradling’s bright color cinematography, Malcolm Bert’s and George James Hopkin’s lavish art direction-set decoration, and William Ziegler’s film editing.
Rosalind Russell, the celebrated comedienne and dramatic actress (The Women, His Girl Friday, My Sister Eileen, Picnic, Gypsy), had the role of a lifetime with Auntie Mame, and she made the most of it, resulting in her greatest career triumph. She is ably supported by a game and skilled cast, including Broadway holdovers (Peggy Cass, Jan Handzlik, Yuki Shimoda) and Hollywood players (Roger Smith, Coral Browne, Fred Clark, Joanna Barnes, Pippa Scott, Patric Knowles, Lee Patrick).
Critical consensus felt that the character could have easily been overbearing in the wrong hands, but Russell and company overcame any reservations. Bosley Crowther of The New York Times offered high praise for Russell, “Lets herself go with even more gushiness and grandeur of gesture than she did on the stage,” he said, also noting the warmth and heart she brought to the part. Variety cheered the “handsome and slick production… hilarious and human in equal measure.”
Crowther’s opening line of his highly favorable review in 1958 indicates the appeal of the film, which has never dated. As he stated, “Hurricanes may be out of season, but one blew into the (Radio City) Music Hall yesterday…this full movie version of the stage play with Rosalind Russell again at the center of it, does sure enough generate gales of laughter as it sweeps across the screen.”
Come see AUNTIE MAME once again on the big screen, showing at the Ahrya Fine Arts theatre on Saturday, August 4 at 7:30pm. Before the screening there will be a Q&A with co-star Pippa Scott (The Searchers, Petulia), one of the last remaining survivors of the cast. Click here for tickets.
About the film:
Milford Graves has performed internationally since 1964, both as a soloist and in ensembles with such legends as Albert Ayler, Giuseppi Logan and Sonny Sharrock. He is a founding pioneer of avant-garde jazz, and he remains one of the most influential living figures in the evolution of the form.
The film draws the viewer through the artist’s lush garden and ornate home, into the martial arts dojo in his backyard and the laboratory in his basement – all of this just blocks from where he grew up in the housing projects of South Jamaica, Queens – to form “a beautiful and carefully constructed portrait of a uniquely talented human being.” (Screen Anarchy)
Laemmle Theatres and the Anniversary Classics Series present a 65th anniversary screening of one of the most beloved romantic films of all time, William Wyler’s ROMAN HOLIDAY. In fact, when the American Film Institute conducted a poll surveying the greatest movie romances, Roman Holiday ranked #4, right behind such classics as Casablanca and Gone With the Wind.
The film was nominated for 10 Academy Awards in 1953, and, in her first major screen role, Audrey Hepburn won the Oscar for best actress, launching one of the most dazzling careers of the next two decades. Future Oscar winner Gregory Peck co-stars.
After World War II, many Hollywood productions began to take advantage of overseas locations that obviously had not been available when the war was raging. Roman Holiday was filmed in its entirety in the Eternal City, with memorable scenes taking place at the Colosseum, the Trevi Fountain, and other iconic locales, with interiors shot at burgeoning Cinecitta Studios.
The story concerns a young European princess who, while visiting Rome, decides to flee her official responsibilities and explore the city on her own. She meets a reporter, played by Peck, and he becomes first her guide and then her romantic partner. Peck has an ulterior motive because when he learns her identity he imagines landing an exclusive inside story that will turn his colleagues green with envy. When the two begin to fall for one another, however, he begins to question his journalistic mission. Can the princess and the commoner overcome all the forces conspiring to keep them apart? That question is left unanswered until the memorable, bittersweet finale.
Dalton Trumbo provided the Oscar-winning original story, but because he was blacklisted during the 1950s, his name could not appear on the film, which was credited to Ian McLellan Hunter and John Dighton. In 1993, 40 years after the film’s premiere, Trumbo’s widow finally received the statuette. Wyler had already won two Oscars for directing Mrs. Miniver and The Best Years of Our Lives, and he would win a third a few years later for Ben-Hur. He received a nomination for his work on Roman Holiday, and with 12 nominations over the course of his career, he has a record that has not been matched by any other director and probably never will be equaled.
The critics were enchanted by the film in 1953, and reviews have remained rapturous over the years. Pauline Kael wrote, “This is the picture that made Audrey Hepburn a movie star… (Wyler’s) calm, elegant style prepares the scenes and builds the character until she has the audience in thrall, and when she smiles we’re all goners.”
The Boston Globe’s Ty Burr praised “a classic of romantic wish fulfillment.” And in England, The Observer’s Philip French commented aptly, “Only the big screen can do justice to its scintillating monochrome images.”
Franz Planer and Henri Alekan were cinematographers, and Georges Auric and Victor Young provided the music. Edith Head designed the Oscar-winning costumes. Eddie Albert, Harcourt Williams, and Margaret Rawlings co-star. The film was added to the National Film Registry in 1999.
Catherine Wyler has produced documentaries for PBS and other companies. She also produced the narrative feature Memphis Belle, which was inspired by a documentary that her father directed during World War II. She will participate in a Q&A at the screening.
Join us for this 65th anniversary screening on Sunday, July 22, at 4pm at the Ahrya Fine Arts in Beverly Hills. Click here for tickets.
Please note: Eastbound Wilshire Blvd. will be closed in front of the Fine Arts on the day of this screening. The sidewalk will remain open. For passenger drop-off we suggest using Le Doux Road or Stanley Drive. Plenty of parking is available along La Cienega and at nearby lots.
There will be Q&As with DAMASCUS COVER book author Howard Kaplan and film director Daniel Berk at the Laemmle Royal in West LA on Friday, July 20th following the 7pm show, and on Sunday, July 22 after the 4:10pm show.
About the film:
Ari Ben-Zion, haunted by the death of his son, is assigned by the Mossad to smuggle a chemical weapons scientist out of Syria. Within days his mission goes wrong. To survive Ari reaches out to a deep cover agent code named the Angel. He soon discovers that he is a pawn in a much bigger plan.
Q&A with PATH OF BLOOD Executive Producer Mark Boal after the 7:30PM show on Saturday, July 21 at the Music Hall in Beverly Hills. Boal is the Academy Award-Winning Writer and Producer of The Hurt Locker and Zero Dark Thirty.
Directed by acclaimed filmmaker Jonathan Hacker and based on his book of the same title, PATH OF BLOOD depicts Islamist terrorism as it has never been seen before. Drawn from a hoard of jihadi home-movie footage that was captured by Saudi security services, this is the story of Muslim terrorists targeting Muslim civilians and brought to justice by Muslim security agents.
ROBIN WILLIAMS: COME INSIDE MY MIND soundtrack composer Adam Dorn will participate in a Q&A at the Playhouse after the 7 PM screening on Saturday, July 14.