The following is a guest post by Jenny Paxson, an Administrative Assistant at the Packard Campus.
Thursday, March 26 (7:30 p.m.)
The Catered Affair (MGM, 1956)
Bette Davis stars as Agnes Hurley, the wife of a Bronx taxi driver (Ernest Borgnine) who wants to give her daughter Jane an elaborate wedding, despite the fact that the family cannot afford it, the daughter does not want it and her husband was planning to use the money to become self-employed. Directed by Richard Brooks with a script by Gore Vidal based on Paddy Chayefsky’s television play, the drama also stars Debbie Reynolds as Jane and Rod Taylor as her fiancé Ralph. In later years, Davis would consider the film one of her proudest achievements.
Friday, March 27 (7:30 p.m.)
RKO Western Double Feature starring Harry Carey Sr.
Powdersmoke Range (RKO, 1935)
Three cowboys buy a ranch only to find their legal papers are missing and their cattle have been rustled. The culprit is a greedy political boss who takes umbrage to their presence in his territory and hires a professional gunslinger. Harry Carey, Hoot Gibson and Guinn “Big Boy” Williams portray the victimized ranch owners with Sam Hardy and Tom Tyler as the bad guys. Touted as “the Barnum and Bailey of Westerns,” this was the first film based on William Colt MacDonald’s Three Mesquiteers characters. It also boasts appearances by 13 former silent screen cowboy heroes including Bob Steele, Art Mix, Buffalo Bill Jr., Franklyn Farnum and William Farnum.
The Law West of the Tombstone (RKO, 1938)
Combining the folk lore of Judge Roy Bean, Billy the Kid and the Clanton Gang at the O.K. Corral, this lively Western stars Harry Carey as Bill Barker, a notorious liar who talks the townspeople of Martinez into making him both mayor and judge. With the help of outlaw the Tonto Kid (Tim Holt), Barker fends off the troublesome McQuinn Brothers. Along the way, he meets his grown daughter Nitta, who believes her father died a hero at Gettysburg. Of course, she falls in love with the Tonto Kid. Costarring in this oater are Evelyn Brent, Paul Guilfoyle and Ward Bond.
Saturday, March 28 (7:30 p.m.)
The Mark of Zorro (United Artists, 1920)
Douglas Fairbanks Sr. changed his screen persona from a cheerful romantic comedian to what became the prototype for a new kind of hero – the swashbuckling adventurer – with The Mark of Zorro, which he also produced and co-wrote. Based on a short story by Johnston McCulley, “The Curse of Capistrano,” this was the first time the masked hero Zorro had appeared on screen. Set in California in the early 19th century, the story opens as Don Diego Vega (Fairbanks) returns from Spain to find his family being menaced by a corrupt governor and his henchmen. While Don Diego appears on the surface to be an effete dilettante, his behavior is really an elaborate ruse. In reality, he is Zorro, a master swordsman who has dedicated his life to fighting evil tyrants. Directed by Fred Niblo, this silent classic also stars Marguerite De La Motte and Noah Beery. Making its Packard Campus Theater debut, the Peacherine Ragtime Society Orchestra will provide live musical accompaniment based on the original 1920 theater orchestra score compiled for the film by James C. Bradford. The orchestra is a direct recreation of the standard “11-and-piano” theater orchestra of the early 1900s. The group uses original period instruments, consisting of five strings, two woodwinds, three brass instruments, percussion and a conductor (Andrew Greene) doubling as a pianist.
For more information on our programs, please visit the web site at www.loc.gov/avconservation/theater/.