The following is a guest post by Jenny Paxson, an Administrative Assistant at the Packard Campus.
Friday, June 24 (7:30 p.m.)
The North Star (RKO, 1943)
Designed to gather sympathy for the Russian people and strengthen American support for the U.S. government’s alliance with the Soviet Union during World War II, Lewis Milestone’s 1943 drama focuses on the people of a tranquil Soviet farming collective in 1941 whose lives are shattered following a violent invasion by the Germans. Scripted by Lillian Hellman, with cinematography by James Wong Howe, the film features a stellar cast including Anne Baxter, Dana Andrews, Walter Huston, Erich von Stroheim, Walter Brennan and, in his film debut, Farley Granger. The North Star was condemned by some as Communist propaganda, but it had its supporters among prominent film critics. Nominated for six Academy Awards, it is a fascinating blend of politics and melodrama. This film is being screened in commemoration of the 75th anniversary of the invasion of the Soviet Union by Germany in June, 1941. 108 minutes.
Saturday, June 25 (2 p.m.)
Ruggles of Red Gap (Paramount, 1935)
Charles Laughton, known for such serious roles as Emperor Nero, King Henry XIII and later as the 1935 Captain Bligh, takes on comedy in this tale of an English manservant won in a poker game by American Charlie Ruggles, a member of Red Gap, Washington’s extremely small social elite. Laughton, in understated valet fashion, worriedly responds: “North America, my lord. Quite an untamed country I understand.” However, once in America, he finds not uncouth backwoodsmen but rather a more egalitarian society that soon has Laughton reciting the Gettysburg Address, catching the American spirit and becoming a successful businessman. Aided by comedy stalwarts ZaSu Pitts, Mary Boland and Roland Young, Laughton really shows his acting range and pulls off comedy perfectly. This film has been rescheduled from January 2016, when it was cancelled due to inclement weather. Ruggles of Red Gap was named to the National Film Registry in 2014.
Saturday, June 25 (7:30 p.m.)
A Streetcar Named Desire (Warner Bros., 1951)
In this outstanding production of Tennessee Williams’ Pulitzer Prize-winning play, and directed by Elia Kazan, Vivien Leigh portrays the fragile schoolteacher, Blanche DuBois, who leaves her hometown under mysterious circumstances to stay with her pregnant sister, Stella (Kim Hunter), in New Orleans. Marlon Brando gave a stand-out performance as Stella’s brutish husband Stanley who resents Blanche’s presence and accuses her of squandering the family inheritance. Nominated for 12 Academy Awards and winner of four, A Streetcar Named Desire was added to the National Film Registry in 1999 and the original soundtrack recording from the film with music composed by Alex North was added to the National Recording Registry in 2015.
For more information on our programs, please visit the website at: www.loc.gov/avconservation/theater/.