The following is a guest post by Jenny Paxson, an Administrative Assistant at the Packard Campus. Please note that the program originally scheduled for September 9 (Verdi and the Silent Film) has been postponed.
More treats from September guest programmer Rachel Parker.
Wednesday, September 9 (7:30 p.m.)
Monte Carlo — silent version (Paramount, 1930)
Ernest Lubitsch’s second sound film, Monte Carlo, was a charming musical adaptation of the Booth Tarkington novel Monsieur Beaucaire starring Jeanette MacDonald as a flighty countess and Jack Buchanan as her ardent, rather sneaky suitor. It was one of a series of well-regarded musicals Lubitsch directed in the early sound era (The Love Parade and The Smiling Lieutenant bookended Monte Carlo) and cemented his reputation as one of Hollywood’s finest craftsmen, even as his reputation in Europe remained undiminished since his emigration from Germany in 1922. It was the occasional practice in the early days of talkies to create both sound and silent versions of select titles, mainly because the other options for foreign distribution – dubbing into English or adding subtitles – were more expensive. Surprisingly, this was the case with Monte Carlo, despite it being a musical. This previously unknown silent version was recently preserved by our film lab, and will be accompanied by Makia Matsumura. (This is replacing the previously announced “Verdi and the Silent Film.”) 90 min.
Thursday, September 10 (7:30 p.m.)
Sea of Love (Universal, 1989, R-rated*)
Al Pacino stars as burned-out NYPD Detective Frank Keller who is on the hunt for a serial killer known for using personal ads in singles magazines to attract his victims. Keller teams up with another detective (John Goodman) and they place an ad as bait, which attracts the tough and beautiful Helen Cruger (Ellen Barkin). Keller falls hard for Helen, who soon becomes the top suspect in the case. Film critic Roger Ebert wrote that this atmospheric thriller directed by Harold Becker “had an ingeniously constructed story that depends for its suspense on the question: What happens when you fall in love with a person who may be quite prepared to murder you?” *No one under the age of 17 will be admitted without a parent or guardian. 113 min.
Friday, September 11 (7:30 p.m.)
Suddenly (United Artists, 1954)
An ex-soldier-turned-assassin (Frank Sinatra) and his two henchmen take over a house in the suburban town of Suddenly, California where they terrorize the inhabitants and plot to assassinate the President of the United States. Lewis Allen directed this white-knuckle thriller that was written by Richard Sale. Sinatra garnered great reviews for his portrayal of a thoroughly detestable character, as did Nancy Gates as a widowed pacifist and Sterling Hayden as the local Sheriff. Due to the similarities between Sinatra’s character and Lee Harvey Oswald, Suddenly was withdrawn from local TV packages for several years after the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. 75 min.
Beast From Haunted Cave (Allied Artists, 1959)
Monte Hellman (best known for the cult film Two-Lane Blacktop) made his directorial debut when he was selected by famed cult movie Director/Producer Roger Corman himself to helm this low-budget horror/heist film which pits run-away robbers against a mysterious, spiderlike monster. Shot by Corman’s production crew in the Black Hills of South Dakota, the cast includes Michael Forest, Sheila Carol and Richard Sinatra (Frank’s nephew) who enjoyed a brief career in a few films and on television. The Monster was created and played by actor Chris Robinson who later starred on the daytime drama General Hospital. 75 min.
Saturday, September 12 (2 p.m.)
The Last Unicorn (Rankin/Bass, 1982)
This animated fantasy film was based on the children’s novel of the same name by Peter S. Beagle, who also wrote the screenplay. Mia Farrow voices the title role in the story of a unicorn who, upon learning that she is the last of her species in the world, goes on a quest to find out what has happened to the others of her kind. The film includes the voices of Alan Arkin, Jeff Bridges, Angela Lansbury and Christopher Lee with a musical score and songs composed by Jimmy Webb. New York Times critic Janet Maslin called the film “an unusual children’s film in many respects, the chief one being that it is unusually good. It features a cast that would do any live-action film proud, a visual style noticeably different from that of other children’s fare, and a story filled with genuine sweetness and mystery.” 92 min.
Saturday, September 12 (7:30 p.m.)
Last of the Mohicans (20th Century-Fox, 1992, R-rated*)
Daniel Day-Lewis stars as rugged frontiersman Hawkeye, a white man who was adopted and raised by a Mohican father. He saves two newly arrived English settlers — the Munro sisters — from a Huron ambush, and ends up in the midst of the battle between the British and the French for control of the American colonies. This historic epic directed by Michael Mann and based on James Fenimore Cooper’s novel was met with nearly universal praise from critics. Filmed mostly in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina, Cinematographer Dante Spinotti earned a BAFTA for his work. The first-rate production also stars Madeleine Stowe as the Munro sister who wins Hawkeye’s heart and Wes Studi as the Huron warrior who has a score to settle with her father, with music by Trevor Jones and Randy Edelman. *No one under the age of 17 will be admitted without a parent or guardian. 112 min.
For more information on our programs, please visit the web site at www.loc.gov/avconservation/theater/.