The following is a guest post by Jenny Paxson of the Packard Campus.
Thursday, September 7 (7:30 p.m.)
The Lost Weekend (Paramount, 1945)
A landmark social-problem film, The Lost Weekend provided audiences of 1945 with an uncompromising look at the devastating effects of alcoholism. Directed by Billy Wilder and co-written by Wilder and Charles Brackett, the film melded an expressionistic film-noir style with documentary realism to immerse viewers in the harrowing experiences of an aspiring New York writer willing to do almost anything for a drink. Despite opposition from his studio, the Hays Office and the liquor industry, Wilder created a film ranked as one of the best of the decade. It won Academy Awards for Best Picture, Director, Screenplay and Actor In a Leading Role (Ray Milland), and established Wilder as one of America’s leading filmmakers. The film was added to the National Film Registry in 2011.
Friday, September 8 (7:30 p.m.)
Two-Lane Blacktop (Universal, 1971- R-rated *)
In the late 1960s, following the success of such youth-oriented fare as Easy Rider, Hollywood executives greenlighted a spate of innovative, low-budget films by young filmmakers influenced by European directors like Robert Bresson and Michelangelo Antonioni. One such film was the minimalist Two-Lane Blacktop, which follows two “gearheads” (singer-songwriter James Taylor and Beach Boys drummer Dennis Wilson) in their souped-up ’55 Chevy as they’re challenged to a cross-country race by a middle-aged driver (Warren Oates) in a Pontiac GTO. The leisurely pace set by director Monte Hellman and screenwriter Rudolph Wurlitzer bathes audiences in spare landscapes and car culture rituals that engender a myth of freedom promised by life on the road. Two-Lane Blacktop was added to the National Film Registry in 2012. *No one under the age of 17 will be admitted without a parent or guardian.
Saturday, September 9 (2 p.m.)
The Lion King (Disney, 1994)
A young lion cub hides from his colony after being blamed for his father’s death, but triumphantly returns when he realizes it his destiny to be King. The animated Disney feature won two Academy Awards: for its original score by Hans Zimmer and for the song Can You Feel the Love Tonight by composer Elton John and lyricist Tim Rice. Directed by Roger Allers and Rob Minkoff, and featuring the voices of Matthew Broderick, Jeremy Irons, James Earl Jones and Jonathan Taylor Thomas, it is the highest-grossing animated film of the 20th century. The Lion King was added to the National Film Registry in 2016.
For more information on our programs, please visit the website at: www.loc.gov/avconservation/theater/.