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Now Playing at the Packard Campus Theater (February 5-7, 2015)

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The following is a guest post by Jenny Paxson, an Administrative Assistant at the Packard Campus.

This month, the Packard Campus Theater celebrates the National Film Registry, those films deemed by the Librarian of Congress in consultation with the National Film Preservation Board to be of special cultural, historical, or aesthetic significance.

Thursday, Feb. 5 (7:30 p.m.)
Into the Arms of Strangers: Stories of the Kindertransport
(Warner Bros., 2000)
Just prior to World War II, a rescue operation aided the youngest victims of Nazi terror when 10,000 children were sent from their homes and families to live with foster families and in group homes in Great Britain. This Oscar-winning film was directed by Mark Jonathan Harris, writer and director of another Oscar winner, The Long Way Home, and was produced by Deborah Oppenheimer, whose mother was among the children evacuated. The film examines the bond between parent and child, uncovering the anguish of the parents who reluctantly acknowledged they could no longer protect their children, but through their love saw a chance to protect them, by proxy if not proximity. Interviews with the surviving children reveal feelings of abandonment and estrangement that often took years to overcome. Narrated by Judi Dench, the documentary was added to the National Film Registry in December 2014.

Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (Paramount, 1986)

Friday, Feb. 6 (7:30 p.m.)
Ferris Bueller’s Day Off
(Paramount, 1986)
The late John Hughes, the king of both 1980s family comedy and teen angst, achieved a career high-point with this funny, heartfelt tale of a teenage wiseacre (Matthew Broderick) whose day playing hooky leads not only to a host of comic misadventures but also, ultimately, to self-realization for him and his friends. Hughes’ manner of depicting late-20th-century youth–their outward and inner lives–finds a successful vehicle in the “everyman” appeal of lead Broderick, whose conning of his parents is really an honest and earnest attempt to help his best friend. Alan Ruck, Mia Sara, Jennifer Grey and Jeffrey Jones co-starred in the film. This 2014 addition is Hughes’ first film on the National Film Registry.

A Star is Born (Warner Bros., 1954);

Saturday, Feb. 7 (7:30 p.m.)
A Star is Born
(Warner Bros., 1954)
Conceived as a comeback role for a troubled Judy Garland, who hadn’t appeared in a film in four years, this powerful musical remake of the 1937 hit A Star is Born showcased her singing, dancing and acting talents as never before. James Mason costars as the alcoholic, self-destructive actor Norman Maine who takes small-time cabaret girl Esther Blodgett (Garland) under his wing, changes her name to Vicki Lester and coaches her to movie stardom as his own career is fading. Directed by George Cukor with an insightful script by Moss Hart and memorable songs by Harold Arlen and Ira Gershwin, the film was critically acclaimed, but performed poorly at the box office. Motion picture exhibitors complained about the original 181-minute length of the film, so Warner Bros. cut 27 minutes, including two musical numbers and some development scenes. The 1983 restored version, featuring most of the deleted material, will be screened. Some of the missing footage had to be reconstructed using “pan and scan” of production stills, accompanied by the restored dialogue. The film earned six Oscar nominations, including best leading actor for Mason and best leading actress for Garland. It was selected for preservation in the National Film Registry in 2000.


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