The following is a guest post by Jenny Paxson of the Packard Campus.
Thursday, April 20 (7:30 p.m.)
The Ninth Configuration (Warner Bros., 1980, R-rated *)
William Peter Blatty (“The Exorcist”) wrote, produced, and directed this comedy-horror thriller based on his novel Twinkle, Twinkle, ‘Killer’ Kane. A new commanding officer (Stacy Keach) arrives at a remote castle serving as a facility for U.S. soldiers who have mental problems, or have gone AWOL. He attempts to rehabilitate them by allowing them to live out their crazy fantasies while combating his own long-suppressed insanity. Leonard Maltin described the movie as “hilarious yet thought-provoking, with endlessly quotable dialogue and an amazing barroom fight scene.” The film also stars Scott Wilson, Jason Miller, Ed Flanders and Neville Brand. *No one under the age of 17 will be admitted without a parent or guardian.
Friday, April 21 (7:30 p.m.)
Cruel & Unusual Comedy – the Best of the MoMA Series (1910s-1920s)
Since 2009, the Museum of Modern Art has presented five editions of Cruel and Unusual Comedy, a series that explores the vast subconscious of American silent slapstick comedy. These unruly and unpretentious shorts, made to be instantly consumed and forgotten, explore a wide range of discomforting social, cultural, political, and aesthetic topics that include ethnic stereotypes, domestic abuse, sexual identity, violence, and even the plague of Chaplin imitators. Film historians Ben Model and Steve Massa, working with MoMA curators Dave Kehr and Ron Magliozzi, have drawn on the Museum’s extensive holdings of hundreds and hundreds of silent comedies. The majority of films to be screened are archival rarities, many preserved from the only known copies. Among the featured comics are enduring favorites like Harold Lloyd in his early Lonesome Luke’s Wild Women (1917) and lesser-known figures such as Al St. John in Red Pepper (1925).
Saturday, April 22 (7:30 p.m.)
Silent Comedians Talk! (1930s-1940s)
By the late 1920s, silent film comedy had evolved to a high art, reaching its peak in the features of Chaplin, Keaton, Harold Lloyd, and Harry Langdon, in addition to shorts with Laurel and Hardy, Charley Chase, and Max Davidson. Overnight the wide-spread adoption of sound made their hard-earned artistry obsolete, and left them to scramble to adapt their comedy styles to the talking pictures’ new technology and pacing. Chaplin, the richest and most independent, could ignore the change and continue making silents, while others such as Harold Lloyd eagerly jumped into the new medium. Steve Massa and Ben Model will present the program which will include popular favorites like Laurel & Hardy and Charley Chase.
For more information on our programs, please visit the website at: www.loc.gov/avconservation/theater/.