The following is a guest post by Jenny Paxson of the Packard Campus.
Thursday, December 7 (7:30 p.m.)
Road to Bali (Paramount, 1952)
Bob Hope and Bing Crosby play a pair of vaudevillians on the run from a shotgun wedding who sign on to a deep-sea diving expedition in the South Pacific. There, they meet the lovely Princess Lala (Dorothy Lamour) and vie for her affections. The plot is just an excuse to introduce songs by Johnny Burke and Jimmy Van Heusen and a number of in-jokes from Hope. This sixth of the seven “Road to …” movies features several surprise cameo appearances from well-known stars of the day and is the only one filmed in Technicolor.
Friday, December 8 (7:30 p.m.)
McLintock! (United Artists, 1963)
John Wayne made a big hit at the box office as George Washington McLintock, an aging, self-made, hard-drinking cattle and land baron in this raucous Western comedy, loosely based on William Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew. Maureen O’Hara, Wayne’s friend and co-star in The Quiet Man (1952), plays his estranged high-society wife, Katherine, with his son Patrick Wayne, Stefanie Powers, Chill Wills and Yvonne De Carlo also highlighted in the cast. Michael Wayne, John’s eldest, earned his first credit as producer, while Andrew V. McLaglen, son of actor Victor McLaglen, handled the directing duties on his first major big-budget film. The project was filmed in Technicolor and Panavision and produced by Wayne’s company Batjac Productions.
Saturday, December 9 (2 p.m.)
Double Feature: 1930s Westerns
Forlorn River (Paramount, 1937)
Based on the book by Zane Grey, Forlorn River stars Larry “Buster” Crabbe as a young cowboy named Nevada who takes a job on a ranch rounding up horses, but runs afoul of a former bank robber posing as a powerful cattleman who frames Nevada as a horse thief. Crabbe, a two-time Olympic swimmer before breaking into acting, is best known for playing Tarzan, Flash Gordon and Buck Rogers in serials and features. After his first two books were adapted to the screen, Grey formed his own motion picture company, which he later sold to Paramount Pictures. Between 1911 and 1996, 112 films were adapted from the novels and stories of Zane Grey.
The Painted Desert (RKO-Pathe, 1931)
Clark Gable made his talking film debut in a supporting role in this Western about conflict and romance between the adopted son and daughter of two long-feuding Westerners. William Boyd (in his pre-Hopalong Cassidy days) and Helen Twelvetrees are the stars, as is the superior cinematography of the Arizona desert by Edward Snyder. Gable’s notable performance as an unrepentant former criminal opened the door for him to become “The King of Hollywood” during the 1930s.
Saturday, December 9 (7:30 p.m.)
Second Chorus (Paramount, 1940)
In this jazzy musical comedy, Fred Astaire stars with Burgess Meredith as Danny O’Neill and Hank Taylor, a pair of friendly-enemy musicians whose careers have dead-ended after spending seven years in a college band. They sweet-talk pretty Ellen Miller (Paulette Goddard) into being their manager to help them get an audition with Big Band leader Artie Shaw, all the while competing for her affections. Among the highlights are Astaire and Goddard’s dance to “(I Ain’t Hep to That Step But I’ll) Dig It.” Choreographer and frequent Fred Astaire collaborator Hermes Pan was on board to work out the dance numbers and also has a small role as a clarinetist in the film. Second Chorus received Oscar nominations for Best Music Score for Artie Shaw and for Best Original Song for “Love of My Life,” lyrics by Johnny Mercer and music by Artie Shaw.
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