The following is a guest post by Jenny Paxson of the Packard Campus.
Thursday, January 4 (7:30 p.m.)
711 Ocean Drive (Columbia, 1950)
Edmond O’Brien stars as Mal Granger, a telephone company lineman and electronics expert with a weakness for gambling. He is recruited to create a vast bookie broadcast system for crime boss Vince Walters (Barry Kelley), and takes over operations when Walters dies. Granger soon finds himself caught in a murderous web with a ruthless gangster. Joseph M. Newman directed this film noir thriller that features Joanne Dru and Otto Kruger in supporting roles. A title card at the beginning of the film states: “Because of the disclosures made in this film, powerful underworld interests tried to halt production with threats of violence and reprisal.” Two Columbia short subjects from 1950 will also be on the program: Cavalcade of Broadway: Village Barn featuring Dick Thomas and His Santa Fe Rangers and the Three Stooges in Dopey Dicks.
Friday, January 5 (7:30 p.m.)
Dead Reckoning (Columbia, 1947)
Humphrey Bogart plays Rip Murdock, a paratrooper captain just back from the war who learns that he is to receive a Congressional Medal of Honor along with his buddy Johnny Drake (William Prince). But Johnny inexplicably panics and leaps off the train enroute to Washington, triggering Rip to go AWOL and track him down. Rip soon becomes enmeshed in the mysteries of Johnny’s past including his relationship with the duplicitous Coral “Dusty” Chandler (Lizabeth Scott). John Cromwell directed this energetic film noir that is told mostly in flashback. Cinema scholar Richard Koszarski praised the director, writing that, “He brought a theater director’s respect for the actor and the writer, a quality which gave his work a uniformly high performance standard. To Cromwell the work of the director was not to throw off individual sparks of creativity, but to fuse the efforts of the entire creative team for the best interests of the finished work.” Two shorts made in 1947 will precede the feature: Thrills of Music: Ray Anthony and His Orchestra and the Columbia All-Star comedy Bride and Gloom.
Saturday, January 6 (7:30 p.m.)
Gilda (Columbia, 1946)
Rita Hayworth, who had risen through the ranks from bit player to one of America’s most popular actresses, became a leading pinup girl with U.S. soldiers overseas who eventually voted her as the leading “Back Home Glamour Girl.” Columbia Pictures Chief Harry Cohn assigned producer Virginia Van Upp to come up with a suitable project for his leading star in her first post-WWII picture. This highly charged emotional triangle was still being written when production began. Johnny Farrell (Glenn Ford) has made a new friend in Ballin Mundson (George Macready) and soon takes over operations of his South American casino, but is disturbed to meet the owner’s vivacious and dangerous new wife Gilda (Hayworth). The film noir drama was in keeping with the prevailing attitudes of the American post-war era, playing upon U.S. political paranoia of German-Nazi war criminals that escaped and assumed new identities in South America. Hayworth would be forever identified with Gilda and the strapless black satin gown she wore for the iconic “Put the Blame on Mame“ number. The film was added to the National Film Registry in 2013. The short subject Thrills of Music: Ray McKinley and His Orchestra will be shown before the feature.
For more information on our programs, please visit the website at: www.loc.gov/avconservation/theater/.