The following is a guest post by Jenny Paxson, an Administrative Assistant at the Packard Campus.
More treats from June’s guest programmer Larry Smith.
Thursday, June 18 (7:30 p.m.)
Animal Crackers (Paramount, 1930)
The legendary family comedy act known as the Marx Brothers were stars in vaudeville and on Broadway before making their first film, The Cocoanuts, which was based on their stage hit, in 1929. In fact, while they were shooting that screen adaptation at Paramount’s Astoria Studio in Queens, the brothers spent their evenings performing Animal Crackers on Broadway. In this case, the story (which has to do with a stolen painting) is not the thing; instead it’s numbers like “Hooray for Captain Spaulding,” comedy gags, and countless hilarious one-liners such as “One morning I shot an elephant in my pajamas. How he got in my pajamas, I don’t know.” Victor Heerman directed (or at least tried to direct) Groucho, Harpo, Chico, and Zeppo Marx, along with the stalwart Margaret Dumont and the pert Lillian Roth. Tonight’s print is courtesy of UCLA Film and Television Archive.
Friday, June 19 (7:30 p.m.)
Double Indemnity (Paramount, 1944)
A seductive housewife (Barbara Stanwyck) lures an insurance salesman (Fred MacMurray) into murder while the salesman’s partner (Edward G. Robinson) tries to untangle their web of deception. Raymond Chandler adapted the script from a novella that was based on a 1927 murder in which Ruth Snyder persuaded her boyfriend, Judd Gray, to kill her husband Albert after having him take out a big insurance policy – with a double-indemnity clause. Directed by Billy Wilder, Double Indemnity is often cited as a classic film noir that set the standard for the films that followed in that genre. Nominated for seven Academy Awards including best picture, best director, best actress for Stanwyck and best screenplay, it was named to the National Film Registry in 1992.
Saturday, June 20 (7:30 p.m.)
Mad About Music (Universal, 1938)
Young Deanna Durbin saved Universal Studio from bankruptcy with a winning smile, an operatic singing voice and a can-do attitude. Her first picture, Three Smart Girls (1936), made when she was 14, was an unexpected box office smash and a string of subsequent hits made Durbin Hollywood’s highest paid female star and an honorary Academy Award winner. In this, her third picture, Durbin plays Gloria, the daughter of a famous Hollywood movie star (Gail Patrick), who is sent to an exclusive Swiss boarding school. Gloria invents an exciting father and when her schoolmates doubt his existence, she has to produce him. Mad About Music received Academy Award nominations for Best Art Direction, Best Cinematography, Best Music, and Best Original Story. Directed by Norman Taurog, the musical also stars Herbert Marshall. Songs by Jimmy McHugh and Harold Adamson include the contagious “I Love to Whistle,” “Chapel Bells,” and “A Serenade to the Stars.” Tonight’s print is courtesy of Universal.
For more information on our programs, please visit the web site at www.loc.gov/avconservation/theater/.