The following is a guest post by Jenny Paxson of the Packard Campus.
Thursday, March 8 (7:00 p.m.)
Laura (20th Century-Fox, 1944)
Otto Preminger directed this haunting film noir about a police detective who falls in love with the woman whose murder he’s investigating. Dana Andrews and Gene Tierney star in this classic mystery, which was selected for the National Film Registry in 1999. Laura will be introduced by film historian and author David Bordwell, who is the current Chair in Modern Culture of the John W. Kluge Center at the Library of Congress.
Thursday, March 9 (7:30 p.m.)
Rambling Rose (New Line Cinema, 1991, R-rated *)
Laura Dern stars as Rose, a congenitally amoral but basically goodhearted young woman, who is taken in by the Hillyers, a progressive Georgia family, as a domestic servant during the Great Depression where she proceeds to shake up the household and the narrow-minded town. Martha Coolidge directed the film that was based on a novel by the screenwriter Calder Willingham. Laura Dern and Diane Ladd (who plays Mrs. Hillyer), daughter and mother in real life, were Oscar nominated for Best Actress and Best Supporting Actress. The film, which also features Robert Duvall and Lukas Haas in the cast, won three Independent Spirit Awards for Best Picture, Best Director and Best Supporting Actress for Diane Ladd. *No one under the age of 17 will be admitted without a parent or guardian.
Friday, March 10 (7:30 p.m.)
The Hitch-Hiker (RKO, 1953)
Among the original “tough dames” of ‘30s and ‘40s movies, actress Ida Lupino later moved behind the camera to become one of the industry’s few prominent female directors. After a series of films about social issues often categorized as “women’s pictures” (Never Fear, Outrage), Lupino took a hard turn with this gritty, hard-boiled tale based on real-life serial killer William Cook in which two men (Edmond O’Brien and Frank Lovejoy) make the mistake of picking up a tormented hitch-hiker (William Talman). Upon its release in 1953, the film earned Lupino strong reviews and prompted the occasional comparison to Hitchcock’s style. “The Hitch-Hiker” was added to the National Film Registry in 1998.
The Actress (MGM, 1953)
Ruth Gordon (Best Supporting Actress Oscar winner in 1969 for Rosemary’s Baby) wrote the screenplay for this autobiographical comedy/drama based on her stage play “Years Ago.” Directed by George Cukor, it stars Jean Simmons as the 17 year-old Ruth Gordon Jones who is determined to go to New York and become a famous actress. In a series of vignettes, we see Ruth interact with her obstinate father (Spencer Tracy), her soft-spoken mother (Teresa Wright), who tries to keep peace in the family, and her gawky college boyfriend (Anthony Perkins in his film debut.) Gordon was nominated for a Writers Guild Award for her script and Tracy won a Golden Globe Award for Best Actor.
Saturday, March 11 (7:30 p.m.)
Fast Times at Ridgemont High (Universal, 1982, R-rated *)
Among the best teen comedies ever, this 1980s cultural icon combines a sympathetic treatment of adolescence with hilarious performances. Directed by Amy Heckerling, the film was based on a script by 22-year old Rolling Stone magazine writer (and later film director) Cameron Crowe, who spent nine months undercover as a high school student. The cast contains an appealing mix of soon-to-be-famous young talent (Jennifer Jason Leigh, Judge Reinhold) confronting their raging hormones as they hang out at the mall and endure jobs in fast-food restaurants. Most memorable in the cast is Sean Penn as the spaced out surfer dude Jeff Spicoli. The film also stars Robert Romanus, Brian Backer, Phoebe Cates and Ray Walston. Fast Times at Ridgemont High was selected for preservation in The National Film Registry in 2005. *No one under the age of 17 will be admitted without a parent or guardian.
For more information on our programs, please visit the website at: www.loc.gov/avconservation/theater/.