The following is a guest post by Jenny Paxson, an Administrative Assistant at the Packard Campus.
Thursday, August 18 (7:30 p.m.)
Gosford Park (USA Films, 2001 – R-rated *)
A weekend hunting party at the home of Sir William McCordle (Michael Gambon) turns into a murder mystery when the host is found dead. This witty whodunit directed by Robert Altman (M*A*S*H, Nashville) and written by Julian Fellowes, follows the subsequent investigation from the perspectives of the guests and their servants. The film stars a large ensemble cast which includes Bob Balaban, Alan Bates, Stephen Fry, Derek Jacobi, Helen Mirren, Maggie Smith, Kristin Scott Thomas, and Emily Watson. Gosford Park was nominated for seven Academy Awards, with Julian Fellowes winning for best original screenplay. The tremendously popular British-American television series Downton Abbey, created and written by Fellowes, was originally planned as a spin-off of Gosford Park, but instead was developed as a stand-alone series inspired by the film, set decades earlier. 131 minutes.*No one under the age of 17 will be admitted without a parent or guardian.
Friday, August 19 (7:30 p.m.)
Popeye (Paramount, 1980)
This live-action film adaptation of E. C. Segar’s Popeye comic strip was directed by Robert Altman and stars Robin Williams as Popeye, the Sailor Man, and Shelley Duvall as Olive Oyl. Jules Feiffer’s screenplay finds the super-strong Popeye washed ashore in the seaside town of Sweethaven where he meets Olive, the girl of his dreams, but must contend with her fiancé, Bluto (Paul L. Smith), before winning her heart. While the film received mixed reviews, critic Roger Ebert gave it high praise, stating that “Altman takes one of the most artificial and limiting of art forms — the comic strip — and raises it to the level of high comedy and high spirits.” Popeye will be introduced by film historian and preservationist Bruce Lawton who recently donated clips and outtakes from the film to the Library of Congress from his personal collection. 114 minutes.
Saturday, August 20 (2 p.m.)
The Pirates of Penzance (Universal, 1983)
The original Broadway cast reprised their roles in this film adaptation of Joseph Papp’s 1980 production of Gilbert and Sullivan’s enduring and wildly popular comic opera. The tale has orphan, Frederic (Rex Smith), upon turning 21, leaving the band of pirates who has raised him. He soon meets some young maidens, the daughters of Major-General Stanley, and quickly falls in love with one of them, Mabel (Grammy Award-winner Linda Ronstadt). But the Pirate King (Kevin Kline) is not about to let Frederic go straight so easily. Angela Lansbury plays Fredric’s nursemaid, Ruth. Written and directed by Wilford Leach, the film received mostly positive reviews with Variety calling it “a delight.” 112 minutes.
Saturday, August 20 (7:30 p.m.)
Topsy-Turvy (USA Films, 1999 – R-rated *)
According to esteemed British film critic Philip French, “Topsy-Turvy is not a conventional biographical film. … [It] is an opulently mounted, warm-hearted celebration of two great artists and of a dedicated group of actors, backstage personnel and front-of-house figures working together.” The two great artists in question are Sir Arthur Sullivan (Allan Corduner) and W. S. Gilbert (Jim Broadbent) who collaborated on 14 delightful and enduring comic operas between 1871 and 1896. Mike Leigh directed this portrayal of the team at a time when, after their latest play is critically panned, they consider parting ways–until inspiration strikes and they begin writing their greatest masterpiece, The Mikado. Several numbers from the operetta are featured in the film with all of the actors (including Timothy Spall who plays the Mikado) and Shirley Henderson (as Yum Yum) doing their own singing. An artistic and critical success, the film received Academy Awards for Best Costume Design and Best Makeup, and was nominated for Best Art Direction and Best Original Screenplay. 154 minutes.*No one under the age of 17 will be admitted without a parent or guardian.
For more information on our programs, please visit the website at: www.loc.gov/avconservation/theater/.