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Now Playing at the Packard Campus Theater (October 21-22, 2016)

The following is a guest post by Jenny Paxson of the Packard Campus.

Friday, October 21 (7:30 p.m.)
Pioneers of African American Cinema
To commemorate the recent release of Pioneers of African-American Cinema, a 5-Disc Blu-ray and DVD set by KinoLorber and the Library of Congress, the newly-restored digital restoration of Oscar Micheaux’s Within Our Gates (Micheaux Book & Film Company, 1920) will be screened. Micheaux wrote, produced and directed this groundbreaking motion picture, the earliest surviving feature film directed by an African American, which is considered one of the first of a genre that would become known as “race films.” Many critics have seen Within Our Gates as Micheaux’s response to D.W. Griffith’s Birth of a Nation, in which African Americans were depicted as generally negative stereotypes, as they were in almost all films of the day. Despite Micheaux’s limited budget and limited production values, it still effectively confronted racism head on with its story of a teacher (Evelyn Preer) determined to start a school for poor black children. Contemporary viewers may find it difficult to defend Micheaux’s balancing act between authenticity and acceptability to white audiences, but that’s what he believed was necessary simply to get the film made. Within Our Gates was added to the National Film Registry in 1992. Music for the film on the Blu-ray release was composed by electronic and experimental hip hop musician Paul D. Miller, a.k.a. DJ Spooky, who will introduce the program. Two short films also featured in the collection will precede the feature: Verdict Not Guilty (1934), made by self-taught filmmakers James and Eloyce Gist, and the recently-rediscovered comedy Hot Biskits (1931), the earliest known film directed by Spencer Williams.


Son of Frankenstein (Universal, 1939)

Saturday, October 22 (7:30 p.m.)
Son of Frankenstein (Universal, 1939)
Boris Karloff made his final appearance as the man-made monster in this third installment of Universal Studio’s lucrative Frankenstein series, following Frankenstein in 1931 and The Bride of Frankenstein in 1935. Director Rowland V. Lee, best known for sweeping costumes dramas, helped to resuscitate the studio’s sagging horror genre by insisting on a much bigger budget than was originally allotted and hiring a stellar cast including Basil Rathbone in the title role and Bela Lugosi, in what is considered by many his finest performance, as the grave robber Ygor. Lionel Atwill as the affected one-armed police inspector was the inspiration for the role of Inspector Kemp played by Kenneth Mars in Mel Brooks’ Young Frankenstein (1974). The imposing sets designed by studio art director Jack Otterson enhanced the eerie feel of the film which proved to be a big hit, bolstering Universal’s profits.

 For more information on our programs, please visit the website at: www.loc.gov/avconservation/theater/.

Now Playing at the Packard Campus Theater (October 14-15, 2016)

The following is a guest post by Jenny Paxson of the Packard Campus. Friday, October 14 (7:30 p.m.) The Mad Miss Manton (RKO, 1938) Three years before Barbara Stanwyck and Henry Fonda starred together in Preston Sturges’ screwball masterpiece The Lady Eve, they made this delightful and underappreciated entry in the comedy-mystery subgenre, called by […]

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The following is a guest post by David Jackson, Archivist, Bob Hope Collection, and Matt Barton, Curator, Recorded Sound. “This chronicle of suffering and destruction is not presented in defense of an enemy. It is broadcast as a warning that what happened to the people of Hiroshima, a year ago, could next happen anywhere.” So […]

Mystery Photos #9: Portraits of an Unknown Woman

We continue with our collection of unlabeled, unidentified movie and TV stills and we hope you can help us.  Below are shots of various ladies and, if you think you know who they are, please post in the “comments” section below.  For a better, bigger look at the photos, please “click” on the image.  As […]

Now Playing at the Packard Campus Theater (Sept. 30-Oct. 1, 2016)

The following is a guest post by Jenny Paxson of the Packard Campus. Friday, September 30 (7:30 p.m.) How to Marry a Millionaire (20th Century-Fox, 1953) Resourceful Schatze Page (Lauren Bacall), spunky Loco Dempsey (Betty Grable), and ditzy Pola Debevoise (Marilyn Monroe) pool their resources to rent a luxurious New York penthouse for a month […]

Mystery Photos #7: International Unknowns

It is week number seven for the Library of Congress’s collection of “mystery stills.”  This week we focus on six stills that seem to belong to productions made outside of–but probably shown in–the US As always, please feel free to post thoughts or guesses in the “Comments” section below.  As images are positively ID’ed, we’ll update this blog […]