The following is a guest post by Rachel Parker, a Processing Technician in the Moving Image Section, and our theater programmer in September.
I am a native of Nashville, Tennessee, and graduated from Chapman University in Orange, California. I arrived at the Packard Campus in 2009 after an internship at the Academy Film Archive, and am a co-coordinator of the Mostly Lost film identification workshop.
I love that human emotions can be manipulated by movies. You can leave a bright, sunny day and see a horror film that leaves you terrified of something you logically know could not exist, much less harm you. Likewise, films can make you laugh or cry over characters you’ve been acquainted with for less time than it takes to bake a cheesecake. I LOVE that. Some of the films that I have chosen tugged at my emotions in ways I did expect (What Dreams May Come), some caught me by complete surprise (Straw Dogs), and some are just films in which I so deeply immersed myself as a child that they might as well have been a blanket (The Last Unicorn). Some feature actors whose ability to disappear into their character I find remarkable (Daniel Day Lewis in Last of the Mohicans and John Goodman in Sea of Love or Arachnophobia) but all are films that I unabashedly enjoy. Instead of choosing my favorite films exclusively, I picked films that I truly want to see on the big screen and hope our audience will enjoy as much as I had selecting them.
Thursday, September 3 (7:30 p.m.)
The Public Enemy (Warner Bros., 1931)
Raw and brutal, this crime saga – an early example of the Gangster genre by Warner Bros., the studio known for its gritty tales of the street – features James Cagney in an incendiary star-making portrayal of a two-bit bootlegger and his rise to the top amid gang warfare. Director William Wellman infuses the film with fierce machismo, witness the now-famous grapefruit-in-the-face scene (the face belongs to Mae Clarke). Jean Harlow as Cagney’s moll gives viewers little indication of the superstar she’d become in a few short years. The Public Enemy was added to the National Film Registry in 1998. 83 minutes, plus a cartoon, Bimbos’s Initiation, and a comedy short, The Pip From Pittsburgh, starring Charley Chase and Thelma Todd.
For more information on our programs, please visit the web site at www.loc.gov/avconservation/theater/.