The following is a guest post by Jenny Paxson of the Packard Campus.
Wednesday, December 7 (7:30 p.m.)
Tora! Tora! Tora! (20th Century-Fox, 1970)
As a follow-up to the highly-regarded war film The Longest Day (1962), depicting the invasion of Normandy, Fox Studios set out to make a dramatization of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941. Seeking an objective and balanced perspective, veteran 20th Century-Fox executive Darryl F. Zanuck developed an American-Japanese co-production allowing for a “point of view from both nations.” Directed by Richard Fleischer, Toshio Masuda and Kinji Fukasaku, the film went to painstaking detail for authenticity, using locations in Hawaii and Japan, vintage aircraft and full-scale replicas of battleships. Production took three years to plan and prepare for the eight months of principal photography. Thought it opened to mixed reviews, the film was acclaimed for its powerful action scenes, and it stands out as one of the most impressive reconstructions of a battle on film. Tora! Tora! Tora! was nominated for five Academy Awards, winning one for Visual Effects. The ensemble cast includes Martin Balsam, Joseph Cotton, So Yamamura, E.G. Marshall, James Whitmore and Jason Robards.
Thursday, December 8 (7:30 p.m.)
The Strange Loves of Martha Ivers (Paramount, 1946)
Kirk Douglas made his movie debut in this gripping film noir directed by Lewis Milestone. As Walter O’Neill, a weak, alcoholic DA, he shares a deadly secret with his callous wife Martha (Barbara Stanwyck)
–a secret which they fear will come out when a childhood friend (Van Heflin) arrives in town. Variety called the film: “… a forthright, uncompromising presentation of evil, greedy people and human weaknesses. Characters are sharply drawn and Lewis Milestone’s direction punches home the melodrama for full suspense and excitement.” The film is based on the short story Love Lies Bleeding by John Patrick who received an Academy Award nomination.
Friday, December 9 (7:30 p.m.)
Act of Love (United Artists, 1953)
Filmed in Paris, this romantic drama stars Kirk Douglas as a lonely American soldier who, after trying to help a down-and-out French girl (Dany Robin) by posing as her husband, soon begins to fall in love with her. Anatole Litvak directed the film which was based on Alfred Hayes’ novel The Girl on the Via Flaminia. Also featured in the cast are Robert Strauss, Sydney Chaplin and. in a small role, 17 year-old Brigitte Bardot. In a 2014 article, Kirk Douglas wrote about his career for the HuffingtonPost, he said of Act of Love, “I don’t know if this is a good film, but to me it’s a great film because that’s where I met my wife, Anne Buydens, to whom I have been married for 60 years.”
Saturday, December 10 (2 p.m.)
Mr. Magoo’s Christmas Carol (UPA, 1962)
This animated, musical version of Charles Dickens’ timeless classic A Christmas Carol features Jim Backus as the nearsighted Mr. Magoo/Ebenezer Scrooge who learns the true meaning of Christmas from three spirits who haunt him one Christmas Eve. The original songs by Jule Styne (music) and Bob Merrill (lyrics), who collaborated on the musical Funny Girl soon after their work on this special, helped to make this a Christmas classic. Mr. Magoo’s Christmas Carol first aired on NBC in 1962 and was broadcast as a TV special many times during the Christmas season from the 1960s through the 1980s, though edited to allow for more commercials. The voice actor cast includes Paul Frees, Morey Amsterdam, Joan Gardner, and Jack Cassidy. Also on the program, the 1971 made-for-television, animated version of A Christmas Carol, based on John Leech’s illustrations for the original edition of Dickens novel. This latter film was winner of the Academy Award for Best animated short film and features the voice of Alastair Sim as Scrooge.
Saturday, December 10 (7:30 p.m.)
Ace in the Hole (Paramount, 1951)
Kirk Douglas gave one of the finest performances of his career as Chuck Tatum, an amoral newspaper reporter who ends up in dead-end Albuquerque, who happens upon the scoop of a lifetime, and will do anything to keep getting the exclusive lurid headlines. Directed by the great Billy Wilder and inspired by actual events, the film was a financial failure at the time of its release–perhaps because it was ahead of its time in the negative way it portrayed journalists and the public’s insatiable appetite for sensationalism. Ace in the Hole fared better overseas than in its own country, winning the highest prize at the Venice Film Festival and earning good grosses in European theaters. It is now considered by contemporary audiences as among Wilder’s best films. Jan Sterling won the National Board of Review Award for Best Actress for her portrayal of the callous wife of a cave-in victim and the film earned an Oscar nomination for Best Story and Screenplay.
For more information on our programs, please visit the website at: www.loc.gov/avconservation/theater/.